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3. Agarwood: Deep in the perfumed forests of Papua New Guinea
4. Bamboo solution to lake pollution
5. Bamboo structures for Indian quake survivors
6. Cork: Alcan seeks to turn tables on cork diehards
7. Edible insects on sale in UK
8. Ginseng: Root of the matter in Korea
9. Gum Arabic farmers undergo training
10. Honey exports from Nepal to EU likely to resume
11. Honey: Moldova to acquire first honey certification laboratory
13. Medicinal plants: Traditional medicines could help African environment
14. Medicinal plants: Lucrative medicinal plant cultivation in MP, India
15. Medicinal plants: Rescued plant shows capability to treat melanoma
16. Medicinal plants: Patel Pharma files for cancer drug patent
17. Medicinal plants: Nature's medicine
18. Mushrooms: The humble mushroom turns money spinner in Namibia
19. Pine resin: First Vietnam ink factory creates local market
20. Sandalwood: Just sniff this scent to change your mood
21. Seabuckthorn: Ladakh Berry beverage
22. Silk: Revival of the silk industry in Jharkhand (India) is bright
23. Truffles: Secretive truffle growers in New Zealand
24. Truffles: White magic - truffle auction hits new high
25. Brazil: In one year, 1.3 billion less trees
26. Brazil: Forestry businesses to hold an unprecedented event in Sao Paulo
27. Canada: Release of National Forest Strategy Accomplishments Report
28. Ghana: 500 trained annually in mushroom production, bee keeping and snail farming
29. India: Aggressive strategy for MFP exports planned
30. United States: Hurricane hurt Mississippi's Christmas tree growers
31. Biodiversity: Economic benefits of conserving the rainforest
32. Biodiversity may help slow disease spread
33. Biopiracy and Indigenous Knowledge: Alert over food security
34. Fighting malaria with traditional medicinal plants
35. High sales boost plant extract drug company
36. Mangroves: Twenty percent of the world's mangroves lost over the last 25 years
37. Mangroves: Abu Dhabi Municipality launches drive to plant mangroves
LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES
41. Empowering communities through forestry: Community-based enterprise development in the Gambia
42. Other publications of interest
43. Web sites and e-zines
44. Democratic Republic of Congo: No new logging in green heart of Africa
45. EU to give 30 million euro for biodiversity conservation in China
46. Tree lovers bid for fossil pine trees in Sydney
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
The Key Findings of FRA 2005 have just been released. The main results can be found on the FRA web site at: www.fao.org/forestry/fra2005. The full report is scheduled for release in early 2006.
Key Findings on NWFP include:
One-third of the world’s forests are primarily used for production of wood and non-wood products
Wood production continues to be an important function of many forests, and reported removals of non-wood forest products are on the rise. Production of wood and non-wood forest products is the primary function for 34 percent of the world’s forests. More than half of all forests are used for production of wood and non-wood forest products in combination with other functions such as soil and water protection, biodiversity conservation and recreation.
The value of wood removals is decreasing, while the value of NWFPs is increasing – and underestimated
The forecasted value of NWFP removals amounted to about US$4.7 billion in 2005. However, information was missing from many countries, and the reported statistics probably cover only a small fraction of the true total value of NWFP removals. Edible plant products and bushmeat are the most significant products in terms of value. The trends at the global and regional levels generally show a slight increase since 1990.
For more information, please contact:
Global Forest Resources Assessment
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
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Source: FAO Newsroom, 14 November 2005
Deforestation continues at an alarming rate -but net forest loss slowing down.
Each year about 13 million hectares of the world’s forests are lost due to deforestation, but the rate of net forest loss is slowing down, thanks to new planting and natural expansion of existing forests, FAO announced today.
The annual net loss of forest area between 2000 and 2005 was 7.3 million hectares/year -- an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama -- down from an estimated 8.9 million ha/yr between 1990 and 2000. This is equivalent to a net loss of 0.18 percent of the world’s forests annually.
These are some of the key findings of The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005 (FRA 2005), the most comprehensive assessment to date of forest resources, their uses and value, covering 229 countries and territories between 1990 and 2005.
“This assessment allows us to gauge the important role of the world’s forest resources in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in meeting the targets set for reducing poverty and ensuring a sustainable global environment," said Hosny El-Lakany, Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department.
"It provides a comprehensive update on how we manage and use our forests, and shows that while good progress is being made in many places, unfortunately forest resources are still being lost or degraded at an alarmingly high rate,” he added.
The changing profile of world forests
Forests now cover nearly 4 billion hectares or 30 percent of the world’s land area, however 10 countries account for two-thirds of all forest area: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Indonesia, Peru, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.
South America suffered the largest net loss of forests between 2000 and 2005 - around 4.3 million hectares per year - followed by Africa, which lost 4.0 million hectares annually. Oceania had a net loss of 356 000 ha/year in 2000-2005, while North and Central America together had a net loss of 333 000 ha/yr. Asia moved from a net loss of around 800 000 ha per year in the 1990s to a net gain of one million hectares per year between 2000 and 2005, primarily as a result of large-scale afforestation reported by China. Forest areas in Europe continued to expand, although at a slower rate than in the 1990s.
Primary forests -- that is forests with no visible signs of past or present human activities -- account for 36 percent of total forest area, but are being lost or modified at a rate of 6 million hectares a year through deforestation or selective logging.
FRA 2005 also found that new forests and trees are being planted at increasing rates, but plantations still account for less than 5 percent of forest area, it notes.
From biological diversity to carbon sequestration
Forests have multiple functions, including conservation of biological diversity, soil and water, supplying wood and non-wood products, providing recreation opportunities and serving as carbon sinks.
While most forests are managed for multiple uses, FRA 2005 found that 11 percent are designated principally for the conservation of biological diversity -- and such areas have increased by an estimated 96 million hectares since 1990.
Around 348 million hectares of forests are used to conserve soil and water, control avalanches and desertification, stabilize sand dunes and protect coastal areas.
One-third of the world’s forests are mainly used for production of wood, fibre and non-wood products, and more than half have production of these products as one of their management objectives, indicating the importance of forest products at the local, national and international levels.
Forests are particularly important as carbon sinks: the amount of carbon stored in forest biomass alone is about 283 Gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon, though it decreased globally by 1.1 Gt annually between 1990 and 2005. Carbon stored in forest biomass, deadwood, litter and soil together is roughly 50 percent more than the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
A global effort
The data for FRA 2005 was provided to FAO by national governments and resource assessment specialists, with more than 800 people involved in the entire process, including 172 national assessment teams, according to Mette Løyche Wilkie, who coordinated the effort. "The outcome of this global partnership is better data, a more transparent reporting process and enhanced capacity to analyse and report on forests and forest resources,” she said. “The findings of FRA 2005 will support decision-making for policies, programmes and outlook studies in forestry and sustainable development at all levels - local, national and international,” Ms Wilkie added.
FRA 2005 results: http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra2005
For full story, please see: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2005/1000127/index.html
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Source: WWF, 21 October 2005
In a land once famed for its fearsome head-hunters, it’s a relief to report that nowadays the machete-wielding hunters have recently found a rather different commodity to prize — agarwood. A local from the East Sepik village of Pukapuki holds aloft a rather unimpressive looking chunk of wood. It has been splintered from an equally unimposing tree — certainly unremarkable when compared to the towering forest that surrounds us. However, its discovery was greeted with great excitement.
But with the likes of gold, copper, oil and gas already discovered in Papua New Guinea (PNG), not to mention the vast timber resources, why is agarwood considered so important? “What makes it so valuable is its smell,” says WWF’s sustainable resource use trainer Leo Sunari. “When these trees are injured or infected — maybe by certain insects, maybe by other means, we’re not too sure yet — they produce this dark resin in response.”
The resin’s long-lasting fragrance has made agarwood (also referred to as eaglewood and aloeswood, and more locally as gaharu) popular for thousands of years throughout Asia and the Middle East, where it’s used for cultural, religious and medicinal purposes, and as a perfume. Worldwide sources are now dwindling, so its discovery in PNG in 1997 spurred intense harvesting.
To curb the rate of destruction, WWF has been working with local communities in PNG — who own about 97 per cent of the land — offering workshops to help them map their land, predict where the agarwood trees are, and develop ways of managing their resources sustainably. “As part of that work, we’re teaching them how to extract the agarwood resin without killing the trees,” adds Leo. “And, we’re making sure they know its real value, so they’re not ripped off by traders.”
WWF is also helping communities designate certain regions as official wildlife management areas, which will help to protect them from being handed over as concessions to loggers and mining companies.
All in all, agarwood could provide a long-term sustainable livelihood for some of the poorest people in the country. It will also boost the survival prospects of the world’s third largest remaining rainforest and all the wonders it contains.
For full story, please see: http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/opinions/news.cfm?uNewsID=24015
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Source: East African - Nairobi, Kenya, 7 November 2006
The World Agroforestry Centre (Icraf) has launched a bamboo project on the Lake Victoria basin as a solution to water pollution. Icraf was asked by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency to develop an ecological wastewater treatment that would serve the dual function of filtration and purification of polluted Lake Victoria waters.
The development comes in the wake of reports by the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) that Lake Victoria’s pollution had reached alarming levels. The Lake Victoria Basin supports a population of 30 million people who depend on its waters but only 30 per cent have access to clean water. Water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery are common with about 90 per cent of the population.
However, the report, written by Icraf scientists Chin Ong and Willy Kakuru says that bamboo is a promising alternative since it can take up nitrogen, phosphorous and heavy metals. These metals are attributed to pollution of some of the aquatic ecosystems.
The Icraf project has already started pilot sites in Kisumu to demonstrate the bamboo’s potential for wastewater treatment. The main focus of the project is to expand the project to the whole Lake Victoria Basin, including Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Pilot activities are to be extended to Kampala and Mwanza soon and will later be expanded to other towns on the lakeshore.
The project is expected to offer great potential for income and employment for communities around the Lake Victoria Basin.
The report says that in China, the annual export value from bamboo products is estimated to be more than $600 million, with the total value of the bamboo industry estimated at $12 billion, almost double the total GDP of the three East African countries. According to the scientists, promotion of value-addition in bamboo products will create an incentive for planting it.
That the indigenous bamboo is now restricted to the mountainous areas and is a government-protected resource, Icraf says, there is an urgent need to diversify the bamboo species and products.
Also planned is the promotion of linkages to markets for bamboo products, and improving skills of local artisans in efficient use of bamboo raw materials for high value products.
For full story, please see: www.nationmedia.com/eastafrican/current/Magazine/mag071120052.htm
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Source: Webindia123 – India, 26 October 2005
In view of the fast approaching winter and the long-drawn process of reconstructing damaged houses bamboo structures will be constructed in the earthquake-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir.
An official spokesperson said the Union Science and Technology Ministry will construct the bamboo houses in the earthquake-ravaged Uri and Tangdhar areas. The bamboo houses, which can accommodate 20 people at a time, are transferable and could be airlifted.
For full story, please see: http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=146709&cat=India
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Source: Globe and Mail – Canada, 7 November 2005
The noble cork boasts a storied past and a fine pedigree as the seal of choice for quality wines, not to mention the satisfying "pop" it makes in the ritual of opening a good bottle.
But it looks increasingly to be the lowly screw top's turn, as the fussy global wine industry comes around to the notion that it's superior to both organic and synthetic corks. And Montreal-based aluminium giant Alcan Inc. is in the forefront of the movement to convert the cork die-hards to the view that screw caps really are better, notwithstanding their hard-to-shake association -- in the minds of many -- with cheap jug wine. "The only obstacle is the psychological obstacle," said Bruno de Trémiolles, president of Paris-based Alcan Packaging Capsules. He cites wine guru Robert Parker's prediction that wines closed with corks will be in the minority by 2015.
The key reason for the switchover is that inert screw caps are a superior seal against oxygen, whereas about 10 per cent of wines stopped with cork are affected by cork taint, usually caused by a fungus. Cork taint can deaden a wine's subtle and complex flavours or leave it smelling musty and bad-tasting, according to the industry. Screw tops are also better at maintaining freshness than either natural or synthetic corks, according to studies.
For full story, please see: www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20051107/RCORKER07/TPBusiness/Canadian
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Source: DeHavilland – UK, 31/10/2005
Add a chocolate coating and apparently people in the UK will eat anything – even ants, scorpions and worms. London's Fortnum & Mason has started stocking a range of novelty drinks and nibbles containing the insects, as well as hornets and snakes.
The bizarre bites apparently boost energy levels and the libido and are coated in honey, chocolate or vodka in order to help all this medicine to go down.
Tom Dalton, the founder of Edible which produces the insect appetisers, said: "We are shifting about 750,000 units a year and Fortnum & Mason sold around 1,500 of our giant ants covered in chocolate in the last two weeks alone."
Animal rights activists claim that the treats are twisted and cruel.
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Source: China Business Weekly - Beijing, China, 7 November 2005
South Korea's largest ginseng producer is poised to cash in on the Chinese public's increasing appetite for healthcare products with Korean red ginseng expecting to become the latest "Korean Wave" export to hit China.
"Our company has been producing red ginseng for more than 100 years and Cheong-Kwan-Jang is the top brand in South Korea. We hope it will also prove popular in China," says Jun Sang-Dae, president of Korea Ginseng Corp (KGC). Jun says the South Korean company will spend a significant amount of money to promote Cheong-Kwan-Jang in the Chinese market. He refuses to reveal specific figures, but says a large portion of the marketing budget will be put into a TV endorsement deal with South Korean actress Lee Young-Ae.
"Our key market is in the southern parts of China, because people there are more affluent and have a relatively longer history of adding ginseng and other herbs to their food," Jun says. Beijing is still an important market, however, given the important role it plays in the country and its high income levels. "We expect annual sales in the Chinese market to hit US$30 million next year," Jun says.
Cheong-Kwan-Jang red ginseng root has been sold in large, wholesale traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) markets in Guangdong Province. Korean red ginseng is not competitive in that kind of market, says Wang Zhong, an analyst with China Health Care Association. "China is also a large producer of ginseng and has a big share of the wholesale markets. Korean ginseng really has no big advantage there," Wang says.
Daniel Ghill, executive director of KGC's foreign business department, says that the company will introduce a series of Korean red ginseng healthcare products on the Chinese market for the first time. Items such as Korean red ginseng extract, powder, capsules, tea and candy, are easy and convenient to buy. KGC also plans to hold various activities in China, including ginseng seminars, to help consumers better understand the nature, function and uses of Korean red ginseng, Jun says.
Wang says many Chinese people think that Korean ginseng, like the Chinese root, is "warmer," or more "yang" than American ginseng. It can sometimes cause dryness of the mouth, sore throats, or even nosebleeds if used incorrectly. It is usually taken in autumn and winter. American ginseng, on the other hand, is seen as relatively "cool," and can be taken more frequently.
Koreans believe that Korean ginseng can help the human body maintain or regain its harmonious internal balance. They eat ginseng chicken soup in the summer, which sounds strange to many Chinese people. "That is a major reason why American ginseng slices and tablets control about 20 per cent of China's health care product market," Wang says. Wang adds that this different understanding of ginseng may be an obstacle to KGC's expansion in China.
There are three main types of ginseng. "Asian ginseng" is a collective term used to refer to the Chinese and Korean varieties. American and Siberian ginseng are the other two kinds. The best Asian ginseng grows in eastern regions between 30 and 48 degrees north latitude. This area includes Northeast China's Jilin Province and the Korean Peninsula.
Today, authentic wild mountain ginseng is very difficult to find. People now cultivate it in fields.
Korean ginseng is categorized into three types, according to the processing methods used. Fresh or raw ginseng is unprocessed, with its original shape intact. White ginseng is peeled and dried in the sun. Red ginseng is steamed and dried to a brown hue, and can be kept for longer.
The Korean government has monopolized red ginseng production since the late-1800s. Only red ginseng produced in the Samjeongkwa (Ginseng Management Division) could be sold on the market. The monopoly was lifted in 1999 and Ginseng Corp was established.
The company's sales reached 305 billion Korean won (US$290 million) last year. Seventy per cent of its products are for domestic consumption. Its export volume reached US$55 million last year. Approximately US$27 million of that total came from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
For full story, please see: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-11/07/content_491785.htm
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Source: The Tide - Port Harcourt, Niger Delta, Nigeria, 31 October 2005
A training programme on how best to utilise the 20 million gum Arabic seedlings provided for Yobe state in the last five years has begun in Gashau, Bade Local Government Area. The two-day training is being jointly organised by the Federal Department of Agriculture and the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria liaison services of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. The farmers would be taught how best to establish plantations and maximise profits through proper processing of the commodity to generate foreign exchange.
The federal and state governments were urged to encourage the cultivation of the “Senegal acacia” brand of gum Arabic.
A cross section of farmers expressed the hope that gum Arabic farming would sustain them and enhance the development of their communities.
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Source: Xinhuanet – China, 26 October 2005
Export of Nepali honey, once greatly in demand in Europe, is likely to resume soon due to latest efforts being made related to quality testing to meet the European standard, a leading honey producer and exporter of Nepal said here Wednesday.
Gandaki Bee Concern (GBC), a leading private honey producer and exporter of Nepal, is eyeing to resume exports to EU," Dev Bahadur Gurung, executive chairman of GBC, told reporters. Nepali honey quality testing and documentation as per Residual Control and Monitoring System will be carried out in Germany soon, Gurung noted, adding, "We will resume exports once quality certification and documentation is approved."
"Though Nepal still needs to do a lot, we are hopeful at resuming imports from Nepal soon, as Nepali honey holds an immense potential in European markets," said Brinkmann Karsten, head of Franks Bigard, a Denmark-based leading honey importer.
The European Union banned import of Nepali honey in 2002, stating the quality of Nepali honey was not as per the European standard. Use of pesticides in bee keeping and brood harvesting was major reason that have completely halted honey exports for the last three years, Gurung noted.
Nepali honey is famous in Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries, and about 100 metric tons of honey used to be exported from Nepal every year, Gurung added.
For full story, please see: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-10/26/content_3685648.htm
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Source: Moldova.org, 8 November 2005
Moldova will acquire the first honey certification laboratory worth 500,000 euros in the first half of 2006 within the Food Security Programme financed by the European Union (E.U.).
"The laboratory is regarded as a lifebelt for beekeepers, as certification will allow the resumption of honey exports to the E.U.," Andrei Zagareanu, chairman of the association of beekeepers Apis Meliffera, has stated to BASA. The E.U. stopped the importation of Moldovan honey in June 2004 because it doubts over its quality.
The laboratory will be acquired from the 9.2 million euros fund, money allocated by the E.U. for the Food Security Programme that started in Moldova in April.
Moldovan beekeepers hold 80,000-85,000 bee families. They collect about 2,500 tons of honey every season. As a rule, most of the honey is consumed on the domestic market. A bee family on the domestic market costs about 800 lei (US$64), while a beehive costs between 400 and 500 lei. A kilogram of honey costs 12-45 lei, depending on production period.
For full story, please see: http://social.moldova.org/stiri/eng/6286/
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Source: Llewellyn Journal - St. Paul, MN, USA, 7 November 2005
The world of aromatherapy suggests many types of essential oils that are useful for healing. But incense can also be utilized as a remedy for certain conditions. Headaches are a common ailment many people face, but with the calming effects produced by certain aromas, symptoms can be relieved.
Incense and aromatherapy work because our sense of smell is a direct path to the brain. This process activates our Limbic System and is the reason why certain odours trigger an immediate response. Particular aromas are known to stimulate the brain to produce essential chemicals. Many of the ingredients used in incense contain phytochemicals, which are chemicals found in plants that have protective, disease-preventing properties.
Incense or aromatherapy is not a substitute for seeking medical attention. Once you have attempted to identify the cause of the discomfort (stress, hormones, sinusitis), you can find the particular ingredient for your symptoms. Here are three types of incense recommended for headache relief:
Borneol (Dryobalanops camphora), a resin derived from the camphor tree, is refreshing and cleansing. Its camphor-like aroma opens the nasal passages, so it’s especially beneficial for headaches brought on by sinus problems. Borneol smells wonderful even when it’s not burning. The Chinese call it “The Brain of the Dragon.” It kills bacteria, purifies the air, and stimulates the adrenal cortex of the brain. Borneol is a primary ingredient in Buddhist incense.
Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi), a woody herb found mainly in Nepal, is closely related to valerian. The dried roots are used, and have a musky aroma that helps enhance contemplation. Its sedative properties are useful for easing headaches, migraines, and relieving stress.
Star Anise (Illicium verum) comes from a small tree native to south-western China that produces a fruit that ripens into the shape of a star. It is well-known for its liquorice taste, of which an extract is used in making true liquorice. Star Anise contains certain phytochemicals and ACE inhibitors, which lower blood pressure. This can produce a calming effect and help reduce pain.
For headache relief simply breathe in the smoke. If you’re using good quality incense the smoke will be light coloured or white – it should never be black, which indicates the presence of impurities.
Try to find these ingredients in stick incense form or look for the loose resins and wood and burn them on a bamboo charcoal to avoid toxic chemicals. If you can, grind the ingredients all together with mortar and pestle to make an all-purpose headache relief blend.
For full story, please see: http://www.llewellynjournal.com/article/883
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Source: SciDev.Net, UK, 31 October 2005
Growing plants used in traditional medicines could rescue Africa's driest regions from total soil degradation and provide much-needed income and healthcare for the rural poor, said the World Bank in a report published last week (27 October).
It says the global market for traditional medicines and the plants they are derived from is worth about US$65 billion, partly because of demand for plants used as raw materials in Western medicines. Being able to capture even one per cent of this — US$650 million — would mean a significant injection of cash for Africa's arid regions, says Warren Evans, the World Bank's director of environment.
Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa struggle to make a living from arid land that not only gets little rain but also has been damaged by overgrazing, deforestation and poor irrigation practices.
According to the report, growing medicinal plants "can help check runoff and erosion, control flooding, purify water, and protect against wind".
The report identifies 38 plants that could grow in dry conditions. One is a type of acacia tree that is the source of 'gum arabic', used to treat inflammation of the throat and stomach. Sudan's dry savannas are a major source of the gum, whose global market is worth US$90 million. Another of the plants, known as devil's claw, is grown in the arid grasslands of southwest Africa. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat arthritis.
The report stresses the need for growing indigenous plants. Although non-native plants might hold more commercial promise, it says, they could threaten the local biodiversity.
For full story, please see: http://www.scidev.net/gateways/index.cfm?fuseaction=readitem&rgwid=4&item=News&itemid=2447&language=1
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Source: Webindia123 – India, 8 November 2005
Cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants has turned out to be lucrative with more farmers in Madhya Pradesh taking keen interest in it. The number of farmers engaged in medicinal plant cultivation is increasing every year with incentives like 30 percent grant and marketing facilities provided at the Krishi Upaj Mandis, official sources said yesterday.
A record 1264 proposals were received this year from farmers by the National Board of Medicinal Plants, the sources added. Farmers are asked to cultivate 32 species including Aaonla, Kalmegh, Safed Musali, Shatawari, Tulsi and Kalihari.
Recently, the Madhya Pradesh Laghu Vanopaj Sangh, an apex body of minor forest produce collectors' cooperative societies, has recently made arrangements for sale and purchase of the medicinal and aromatic products at the Krishi Upaj Mandis across the state keeping in view the marketing problems faced by the farmers
For full story, please see: http://news.webindia123.com/news/showdetails.asp?id=156449&n_date=20051108&cat=India
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Source: All Headline News – USA, 9 November 2005
Researchers at New Zealand's Wellington School of Medicine are working on a possible treatment for melanoma derived from a Vietnamese herb. This herb’s potential came to light through a project that aims to save endangered medicinal plants and develop sustainable incomes for Vietnamese hill tribes, whose people are among the poorest in Asia.
Director of Forest Herbs, Peter Butler, says the find was unexpected. "We certainly weren't looking for a cure for cancer. Our expertise is in natural products to control Candida albicans outgrowth."
Butler says the patent for the melanoma treatment will be assigned to a collective of the hill tribe’s people in the Sa Pa district, near the Chinese border.
"The plant with anti-melanoma properties is a very rare tuber found at high altitudes in the forest," he adds. "Methods have been developed to propagate and cultivate the plant to protect the wild stock and to provide a viable base for an industry."
The tuber of the plant Stephania brachyandra traditionally has been used for many purposes, including as a relaxant and sleep aid. New research has shown its anti-melanoma properties are untapped.
Dr. Paul Davis, who heads the Biological Investigation Group (BIG) at the Wellington School of Medicine, is supervising a series of trials through the rest of this year to corroborate the initial laboratory results.
For full story, please see: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7000944758
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Source: Business Standard – India, 11 November 2005
B V Patel Pharmaceutical Education and Research Development (PERD) Centre has filed for a patent for potential leads to fight cancer. These are the potential molecules from a plant that can later be converted to drugs, informed M Rajni, assistant director and head, pharmacognosy and phytochemistry department, B V Patel PERD centre. PERD will also be filing four more patents in coming few months.
PERD has not yet fixed any deals with any pharmaceutical company but the talks for few of its leads are on. The centre will also be filing around five more patents, a few of which will be for Parkinson disease. In the past three years, the centre has filed for 12 patents, most of which being for the chemical drugs.
The centre is working on three projects for Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), one of which is for development of standards of therapeutically important medicinal plants. PERD is also working on two projects that are funded by Gujarat Council of Science and Technology, one for design and development of phytochemical evaluation of shoot culture of two important medicinal plants of Indian Systems of Medicine and the other on indigenous method for synthesis of anti- tubercular drug.
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Source: The News Journal - Wilmington, DE, USA, 13 November 2005
Pharmaceutical companies used to look to plants as the primary source of new drugs. Over the years, however, drug makers largely turned to the laboratory, developing drugs from synthetic compounds in a process called "combinatorial chemistry."
Natural sources fell out of favour. They were thought to be expensive to use, and hard to synthesize and reproduce on a large scale.
Athena Biotechnologies Inc., a startup company at DuPont's Stine-Haskell Research Center, wants to lead the drug companies back to nature. AthenaBio is building an inventory of compounds it harvests from the roots of medicinal plants grown hydroponically in its greenhouse. It sells them to drug manufacturers and agriculture companies as possible leads for new drugs or agricultural chemicals.
Plants have natural defence systems that protect them from a wide variety of attackers such as insects, nematodes, fungi, bacteria and even other plants. AthenaBio has a process for provoking plants' defence systems to simulate an attack. The plants defend themselves by producing protective chemicals. In the lab, the company's scientists remove the chemicals from the roots and purify them.
The idea is that, because these chemicals already protect plants, they could be a more fruitful source of drugs than simply combining synthetic compounds to see what happens.
AthenaBio has harvested materials from about 85 different species of plants native to the United States. Recently, its greenhouse held different varieties of echinacea, used to ward off colds, and chrysanthemum leucanthemum, a natural diuretic.
AthenaBio, which launched in January and has 10 employees, has already inked a 3-year contract to supply DuPont Crop Protection with plant compounds. DuPont researchers will screen them to see if they show promise for controlling insects, weeds and fungi, said Jeff Sternberg, discovery manager for DuPont Crop Protection. Early tests have been encouraging.
For full story, please see: http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051113/BUSINESS/511130356/1003
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Source: New Era (Windhoek), 26 October 2005
Mushrooms are said to be an ideal substitute for meat that could provide relief for meat lovers who live with the painful condition of gout resultant from beef eating. A handful of oyster mushrooms could replace a chunk of meat, while at the same time reducing cholesterol due to the vitamins and proteins that they contain. Because it is a highly nutritious food that is good for one's health, a new trend has now come into play where this umbrella shaped vegetable is being farmed commercially in different parts of the country.
The University of Namibia (Unam)'s new mushroom production house and Marine Resources Research Centre assists communities through viable mushroom cultivation projects in order to improve their living standards. These initiatives are seen as a mechanism through which Namibians could tackle poverty, unemployment and ensure food security. Experts and agronomists say not only is mushroom farming an easy and quick way of farming, compared to beef production, but also people can turn it into a money-spinner while at the same time feeding themselves.
Researcher and mushroom scientist at the University of Namibia Pauline Kadhila-Muandingi said that awareness campaigns are being conducted to mobilise the community on growing mushrooms as a cash crop. Traditionally, many Namibians know and eat mushrooms, especially in the villages where they are picked from the wild, but much needs to be done to turn mushroom cultivation into an agricultural business for the benefit of all the people.
While most locals know how a mushroom tastes, many of them find it strange that such a vegetable could be cultivated. Unlike other crops, mushrooms can grow all year round and they can be cultivated to fruition in a short span of four to six months, while impressive results can be achieved in the first nine weeks under humid conditions.
Muandingi said that the mushroom is a medicinal relish that helps boost the body's immune system, while at the same time it acts as a defence against various types of cancers.
The production of oyster mushrooms, which could easily be cultivated from grains of wheat, is easy to maintain with the right type of humidity at a temperature of 22oC.
Project manager of the Centre, Flip van Vuuren said the projects are geared towards assisting the poorest of the poor to feed themselves and to earn some money. During the first few months, the coastal community members at Henties Bay will earn N$300 a month and once this initiative becomes fully operational, the cooperative would pay each of its 15 members a salary of between N$1 500 and N$2 000 a month.
Unam said the greatest danger of poverty is when Namibians overlook the fact that sustainable solutions to poverty and unemployment should come from within the country. This statement strongly echoes President Pohamba's comment that solutions to Namibia's challenges must be "home-grown." It is in view of this that taking science to the people, like the commercialisation of mushroom production, and translating these technologies into innovative income generating enterprises would pave the way for socio-economic development for many Namibians.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200510260355.html
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Source: VietNamNet, 25 October 2005
The first-ever offset printing ink factory in Vietnam, Pacific Ink, opened recently after six months of construction in the Que Vo Industrial Zone, Bac Ninh Province. Currently in its first phase of production, the US$5mil facility will produce 3,000 tonnes of ink per year, officials said.
Le Ngoc Quang, Chairman and Director General of Pacific, said that previously the local market has had to import 90% of its ink supply and the long-awaited factory will reduce cost and speed service. Pine resin, the main ingredient in printer’s ink, is abundant in Vietnam and the factory makes use of a natural resource, he added. Pacific would also cooperate with the Hanoi Polytechnics University to train students in the factory’s laboratory.
Pacific Ink is the first company in Vietnam to join a newly-formed National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM). The company has signed contracts with the Communist Magazine Printing Company, Sacoin and Fujifilm. Though Pacific will announce no prices until the end of the year, Mr Quang stressed that they would be much lower than those of imported products.
For full story, please see: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/biz/2005/10/503903/
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Source: NewKerala.com - Ernakulam, Kerala, India, 28 October 2005
London: Sniffing sweet fragrances not only soothes your senses, but could also improve your mood, as a researcher has now developed a “medical perfume” which, when sniffed, can also cheer you up.
The sandalwood perfume, which was unveiled recently, contains chemicals which hit the base of the brain via the nose. They then regulate dopamine levels which can affect depression and anxiety.
Inventor Dr George Dodd said the perfume could be more effective than prescription drugs. “One or two sniffs will be enough. We’ve done trials with hundreds of people.” The perfume is expected to reach the shelves in 18 months.
For full story, please see: http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=43569
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Source: agencyfaqs.com - New Delhi, India, 24 October 2005
Delhi based FIL Industries Limited today launched Ladakh Berry-a premium Seabuckthorn beverage in India.
The Ladakh Berry is extracted from the light yellow or orange Seabuckthorn berries that grow in the wild on the hillsides of Ladakh. Ladakh Berry is developed in technical collaboration with the Defence and Research Development Organization [FRL] Leh.
Seabuckthorn is the powerhouse amongst fruits and vegetables containing over 100 nutrients, 8 vitamins, 24 minerals and 18 amino acids. The juice is highly stress-resistant as it contains Natural Vitamins C, E, A, Beta-carotene and Flavonoids. It has ‘No Preservatives’ and serves as an anti-oxidant that slows the ageing process, reduces cholesterol, boosts immunity, Nourishes the brain, eyes and improves memory.
For full story, please see: www.agencyfaqs.com/news/company_news/Marketing/5621.html
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Source: Express Textile - Mumbai, India, 1-15 November 2005
Once a hub for tasar silk, Jharkhand looks up to central assistance for revival of the famous product. Before the state’s creation, the region used to play a major role in enabling undivided Bihar to contribute 50 per cent of the nation’s total raw silk production.
Mostly the tribals had been the rearers of silk worms, producing about 438 metric tonnes of tasar silk and about eight MT of mulberry silk every year - benefiting from natural races like laria, modia and sarihan in suitable agro climatic conditions of southern Bihar, now Jharkhand. It was largely because a total of 2,325 sq km in the region is covered by tasar food plants, 90 per cent of which is Sal trees and the rest are Arjuna and Asan trees which attract silk worms - far behind of southern states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The story has been different since its emergence as a separate state with the production of cocoons coming down to 9 MT and that of mulberry to 2 MT per annum, according to a report of the state sericulture directorate.
The state, however, recently received some hope when the Central Silk Board (CSB) chairman, Mr H Hanumanthappa promised to increase silk production in Jharkhand by 640 metric tonnes, funding Rs 383 crore over a period of 10 years.
For full story, please see: http://www.expresstextile.com/20051115/perspectives02.shtml
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Source: Wairarapa Times Age - Masterton, New Zealand, 9.11.2005
Second only to espionage as the world's most mysterious occupation, truffle growing is taking off in Wairarapa. An industry insider revealed there are at least nine truffle growers in the region, but they like to keep their identities strictly under wraps.
The reason for truffle growers' notorious secretiveness comes down to the sheer value of their crops. Truffles can fetch up to $3500 a kilogram so the potential for a grower who has a hundred or so trees in his truffle orchard – known in the business as a "truffiere" -– is huge.
Truffles are the fruits of specific varieties of fungi that grow underground, in a symbiotic relationship with tree roots. They usually grow with oaks and hazelnut trees, but they may also grow with sweet chestnut, some pines and other tree types.
In New Zealand truffles generally fruit between May and August, but growers have to be quick to harvest them as they're ripe for only a matter of days. They also have to have a well-trained dog that can sniff out the truffle's location. (In France it was traditional to use a pig, but truffle hunters occasionally lost fingers in the tussle to get to the truffle first.)
There are two main varieties of truffle commercially grown in New Zealand – the Tuber melanosporum, which produces the Perigord black truffle originally found in the south of France, northern Italy and north-eastern Spain, and the Tuber borchi, which produces an Italian white truffle called Biancetto.
The industry took off in the late 1980s after Dr Ian Hall – a mycologist at the Invermay Agricultural Centre near Dunedin – began growing tree seedlings, which he deliberately infected with the Perigord black truffle fungus. Since then would-be truffle growers around New Zealand have bought infected seedlings from Crop & Food Research in the hope of making mega dollars.
The oldest truffle plantations in the region are eight years old, but it can take five to 10 years for the truffle fungi to fruit and even then there's no guarantee that they will fruit at all. Carolyn Dixon, a field technician with Crop & Food Research, believes Wairarapa is "borderline" in terms of having the right climate conditions for truffle growth. But she says the region can take heart from Ashburton, where a grower has produced truffle crops two years in a row despite the area being initially considered too cold for truffles to fruit.
For full story, please see: http://times-age.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3660162&thesection=localnews&thesubsection=&thesecondsubsection=
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Source: Independent - London, England, UK, 14 November 2005
Truffles are famously expensive, but a charity auction attended by some of Britain's most famous restaurateurs set a new record yesterday - £63,000 for a tartufo bianco (white truffle) weighing 1.2 kilos.
For full story, please see: http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/food_and_drink/features/article326886.ece
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Source: O Estado de S.Paulo, 13 October2005 (in Amazon News 20.10.05)
Bring attention to the potential to generate businesses with a forestry base, as well as inserting these undertakings in the most diverse productive chains, are the objectives of the Forestry Market, the first business fair with this profile, which will be held in Sao Paulo from 5 to 8 November. The event was organized by the NGO Friends of the Earth – Brazilian Amazonia, which dedicates itself to consulting and training business persons in Amazonia, always promoting sustainability.
"We do not have an exact notion yet what the forestry economy represents to Brazil. What will come to Sao Paulo will be only a sample of the innumerable types of products and services that the forest can generate", stated Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth – Brazilian Amazonia. The list is extensive and covers items such as typical fruits, cosmetics, handicrafts and vegetable leather.
The intention, according to Smeraldi, is to offer visibility for small businesses, such that they become part of the most varied productive chains. As an example, he makes reference to native cacao, produced on the river plains of the Amazonas River. In Amazonia, native cacao, a tree that can reach up to 15 meters in height has special characteristics that make it an interesting product for determined niches in the market, such as the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and fine chocolate industries. This cacao has a larger content of major fats than the cultivated species, which makes it more resistant to heat. "But as it is missing the structured productive chain, this special cacao often falls into the common grave of cultivated cacao", he stated. "This is the type of product that we will show in the fair."
For full story, please see: http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=182797
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Source: O Estado de S.Paulo, 27 October 2005
On the map, Brazil lost 26,130 km2 of Amazonia forest between August 2003 and August 2004, as divulged by the National Institute for Spatial Research (INPE) during the first semester. In reality, 1.3 billion trees were felled; 46.5 million birds and 1.5 million primates were affected during the period, on average.
The numbers compose an estimate made by three Brazilian researchers and published in the last edition of the scientific journal of Advanced Studies of the University of Sao Paulo (USP). With an evaluation, the three researchers show that behind the official announcement of indices and plans against those who deforest, there exists an impact upon the biodiversity and upon the availability of natural resources difficult to be recuperated.
Peter Mann de Toledo, coordinator of the GEOMA project and one of the authors of the study admits that the numbers are an "extrapolation" without scientific proof: For Toledo and his two colleagues, Irma Vieira, director of the Goeldi Museum and Jose Maria Cardoso da Silva, from the NGO Conservation International, the solution is apparently as simple as the golden rule: zero deforestation and sustainable use of land. The proposal had been made in 2003 by the Museum and the NGO, however the debate on the proposal did not advance. "There exists a high political cost", stated Vieira.
For full story, please see: http://www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=185378
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Source: ForestNewsWire (press release) - Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 7 November 2005
A new report on initiatives taken to further sustainable forest management in Canada is now available.
The National Forest Strategy Coalition has just released a report on its accomplishments from 2003 to 2005. These include the establishment of a national council to coordinate and enhance research and development efforts among government and industry; new strategies for dealing with forest threats, such as insects, fire and climate change; and collaborative efforts to advance boreal forest conservation. These are just a few of the achievements of Canada’s diverse forest community featured in the report, entitled Highlights of Accomplishments: Two Years of Progress-Advancing the National Forest Strategy (2003-2008).
The spirit of cooperation among Canadians finds no greater expression than in Canada’s National Forest Strategy. It is the overarching national action plan that guides forest policy, science and program initiatives in Canada, and helps address priority issues in the forest sector. It is implemented across Canada through the determined actions of governments, Aboriginal organizations, the timber industry, non-timber forest product organizations, academia, research institutes, the recreation and tourism industry, forest practitioners, private woodlot owners, and environmental groups.
As the National Forest Strategy Coalition’s report emphasizes, the activities that have taken place in the first two years of implementation are the building blocks the country needs to provide environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits for years to come.
The Accomplishments report is available on the Web at http://nfsc.forest.ca .
For full story, please see: http://forestnewswire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=31
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Source: FreshPlaza – Netherlands, 9 November 2005
The Bencom Mushroom Enterprise Project at Twimia Nkwanta, near Techiman, trains more than 500 youth annually since 1992 in mushroom production, grasscutter rearing, bee keeping and snail farming. On a study tour of the project site, Mr. Bernard Bempah, Managing Director of the Company, briefed members of the Mushroom and Bee keeping Club from the Ejura Agricultural College in Ashanti Region, saying that the project served as the training centre for the youth in the northern sector of the country.
Mr. Bempah said the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and Rural Enterprise Project sponsored the training programmes to enable youth acquire skills for employment. He said students from some agricultural institutions in the country undertake practical training at the project site and appealed to financial institutions and NGOs to offer credit facilities to such students to initiate their own projects.
A review was needed of the short-term granting of loans by some banks for grasscutter farmers, because the farmers usually enjoyed production after keeping the animals for a year. The Chairman of the club said the visit had offered them the opportunity to study more about mushroom production and bee keeping. He said nutrients in mushroom were good for the body and a ready market existed for it.
For full story, please see: www.freshplaza.com/2005/09nov/2_gh_mushroomtrainees.htm
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Source: Press Trust of India, 2 November 2005
With competition in Minor Forest Produce (MFP) export sector hotting up, a government-sponsored body has planned an aggressive strategy for tapping virgin markets.
The Shellac Export Promotion Council (SEPC), a Kolkata-based body sponsored by Union Commerce ministry, launched an MFP information centre (MFPIC) - a one stop call for all the stake-holders. The MFPIC will build a community of stakeholders by bringing producers, traders, cooperatives and exporters under its umbrella and provide them a platform to highlight problems faced by them vis-à-vis support measures needed for export development.
To realise its goal, SEPC is also conducting market surveys and developing an export promotion strategy, besides organising publicity programmes, awareness campaign etc - to nurture and groom new and upcoming exporters, promote international competitiveness and identify scope and export potentials.
India's MFP exports presently amount o $362 million, comprising only 4 percent of the global trade. New and emerging global markets like South Asia and some western countries in this sector remain largely untapped.
MFP include bamboo, medicinal herbs, cane, honey, tamarind (both dried and seed), lac, shellac, amla, tendu leaf and others. According to a study, some 50 million tribal people in the country depended on MFP for meeting their subsistence consumption and income needs.
The North East is home to a wide variety of economically important non-wood forest products, including medicinal plants having vast potential for exports all over the world. With 35 percent of India's forest in this region, it is identified as the richest biodiversity habitat, the paradise of green gold. However, for lack of focus and cohesiveness among the growers, the trading community and the government policies, this sector has not seen its optimum growth.
Major markets for Indian MFPs are the USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Hong Kong and UAE. Whilst Indian exports are $362 million, global imports are estimated to be $9 billion.
SEPC was formed five decades ago and was made the nodal Export Promotion Council (EPC) by the ministry to promote exports of MFP. It is the registering authority for the related exporters under the foreign trade policy of 2004-09.
For full story, please see: http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1535322,00020009.htm
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Source: Associated Press (in Biloxi Sun Herald - MS, USA, 4 November 2005)
Mississippi's Christmas tree industry suffered a one-two punch from Hurricane Katrina's punishing winds and rain, experts say. Steve Dicke, forestry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said frequent summer rains had trees in good shape until the Aug. 29 hurricane blew many of them over. The following drought prevented some growers from being able to right affected trees. Dicke said Mississippi's choose-and-cut farms have reached annual sales of 100,000 trees in recent years.
Tree grower Michael May of Newton County thought Hurricane Ivan was bad in 2004 when 40 percent of his trees needed to be straightened. Katrina pushed twice that many trees to an angle. "Growers really need to straighten trees within a few days of a storm or the soil will get too dry. If the ground is not wet, you will break the roots and kill the trees when you try to straighten them," May said. "After we straightened some trees from Katrina, Hurricane Rita came and blew them over again."
May said the hurricanes have increased his 2005 labour costs. While he expects to lose 5 percent of his trees from the hurricanes, he has concerns for the survival of next years Christmas trees.
Overall, growers are optimistic about the market potential for this year. "Real trees have been making a comeback in recent years, and we expect people to be even more ready to focus on family traditions this holiday season."
For full story, please see: www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/politics/13082856.htm
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Source: EurekAlert (press release) - Washington, DC, USA, 31 October 2005
The economic benefits of protecting a rainforest reserve outweigh the costs of preserving it, says University of Alberta research--the first of its kind to have conducted a cost-benefit analysis on the conservation of species diversity.
"The traditional moral and aesthetic arguments have been made about why we should conserve the biodiversity in rainforests, but little has been done that looks at whether it makes pure economic sense to do so," said Dr. Robin Naidoo, who did his PhD at the U of A in biological sciences and rural economy. "We provide some good evidence from a strict economic side, that yes, it does."
Naidoo, now with the World Wildlife Fund, and Dr. Wiktor Adamowicz, from the U of A's Department of Rural Economy, examined the costs and benefits of avian biodiversity at the Mabira Forest Reserve in southern Uganda. They wanted to see if it was economically viable to protect this forest in an area where an impoverished community is heavily dependent on the region's resources. Pressure on the forest is intense--harvesting timber, making charcoal, collecting fuelwood and agricultural development compete with rainforest conservation.
Since 1996, an ecotourism centre has been established at the forest and a growing number of international tourists continue to visit the reserve. Naidoo and Adamowicz found that the higher the number of bird species that could be seen, the more tourists would be willing to pay. And by increasing entrance fees, the reserve could preserve 90 per cent--or 131 species--of the forest's birds.
"This is one of the few studies where people have put a tangible number on what rainforest biodiversity is worth to them," said Naidoo, adding that the benefits should be distributed to the local people bearing the conservation cost. "And although this is about a Uganda forest, it has international implications."
The research team also learned that based on current land values, it would not be economically justifiable to convert agricultural land back into forest. In other words, it is far cheaper to preserve these tropical forests now than to rehabilitate spoiled ecosystems in the future.
"There have been lots of examples of dollar figures associated with rainforests but this looked specifically at whether it is economically worth it to preserve diversity or would they be better off selling the land privately," said Adamowicz. "By providing a cost-benefit analysis, this study has just closed the loop."
The research is published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For full story, please see: www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-10/uoa-rcw102805.php
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Source: Reuters.uk – UK, 25 October 2005
Better protection for the diversity of the planet's creatures and plants could help shield humans from diseases like AIDS, Ebola or bird flu and save billions of dollars in health care costs, researchers said on Tuesday.
They said human disruptions to biodiversity - from roads through the Amazon jungle to deforestation in remote parts of Africa - had made people more exposed to new diseases that originate in wildlife. "Biodiversity not only stores the promise of new medical treatments and cures, it buffers humans from organisms and agents that cause disease," scientists from the Diversitas international group said in a statement. "Preventing emerging diseases through biodiversity conservation is far more cost effective than developing vaccines to combat them later," it said ahead of a November 9-10 conference of 700 biodiversity experts in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Peter Daszak, a scientist who helped find links between Asian bats and the SARS virus, said the 2003 outbreak of the flu-like disease cost about $50 billion, largely because it cut travel and trade from Asia. About 800 people died. And AIDS, widely believed to have originated in chimpanzees, killed an estimated 3.1 million people in 2004 and the United Nations estimates that $15 billion will be needed for prevention, treatment and care in 2006 alone. "Emerging diseases are causing a crisis of public health," Daszak, executive director of the consortium for conservation medicine at the Wildlife Trust, New York, said.
Diversitas experts urged governments to work out policies to protect biodiversity, including tougher regulations on trade, agriculture and travel to reduce chances that diseases like avian flu can jump from wildlife to people. "We're not saying that we should lock up nature and throw away the key," said Charles Perrings, a biodiversity expert at Arizona State University. But he said humans should be more careful about disrupting areas of rich biodiversity.
"The value of services provided by nature and its diversity is under-appreciated until they stop," said Anne Larigauderie, executive director of Paris-based Diversitas, an NGO. She said China had to employ people in some regions to pollinate apple orchards because the over-use of pesticides had killed off bees. "It maybe takes 10 people to do the work of two beehives," she told Reuters. And the Australian gastric brooding frog had once been seen as key for anti-ulcer drugs because it bizarrely incubated its young in its stomach after shutting off digestive acids. It has since become extinct, taking its secrets with it.
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Source: Standard - Nairobi, Kenya, 5 November 2005
Over half a billion people are threatened with hunger in the world today and the situation will get worse in years to come, a recent FAO survey has revealed.
Of the 852 million threatened with hunger, 815 million reside in developing countries.
The worsening situation has been linked directly to loss of indigenous knowledge in food production in Africa. From the 173 million who were chronically hungry in the 1990-1992 period, the figure jumped to 200 million in the 1997-1999 period. Concomitant with the increasing number of the world’s chronically hungry is the diminishing role of indigenous knowledge in determining food sovereignty in sub-Saharan Africa.
The intrusion of foreign technologies into the African farming set-up has also been blamed as a key trend sounding the death knell of indigenous knowledge. These technologies promise short-term gains or solutions to problems without being able to sustain them, experts say. In this regard, they warn, indigenous knowledge systems are seen as inappropriate for new challenges and unnecessarily slow.
Mr James Ongwae, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture (Kenya), contends that there is lack of consideration for local knowledge as technology from countries perceived as more advanced are seen as superior and appropriate, thereby overlooking local potentials, experiences and practices when it comes to finding solutions to agricultural challenges. Today many indigenous knowledge systems in Kenya are at risk of becoming extinct. The tragedy of this impending disappearance of indigenous knowledge systems is most obvious to those who developed them and continue to make a living through them. But the implications for others can be detrimental as well when skills, technologies and problem solving strategies are lost. This has been generally attributed to rapidly changing environment as witnessed in the fast-paced economic, political and cultural changes in the global scale.
Biopiracy is fast becoming the major challenge to indigenous knowledge systems as the race to appropriate bio-resources is gaining ground every day. Seed, medical plants, microbes and other forms of life are continuously becoming targets of intellectual property regimes that want to appropriate this free knowledge for commercial gain. The sinkholes inherent in this impassioned commercial thrust can best be captured in light of the value that indigenous knowledge systems play in increasing the capacity of the people to manage change, minimise risks and develop appropriate technologies for a community’s continued existence.
Noteworthy, indigenous knowledge was never appropriated as private property. It was valued as common property, held in trust and communicated from one person to another.
Indigenous knowledge has contributed immensely to food security of many rural communities. In Western Kenya, for instance, people still rely on gathered vegetables, which normally sprout during the hunger months of March though to June just before the crops are ready. These vegetables and termites have become the bridging foods during this tough period when generally there is nothing to eat.
Communities have mastered the use of different types of grass and trees in the construction of shelters. These trees and grasses, by their nature, are quick to mature and tend to resist the adverse weather conditions and harmful insects, information that has been gathered through communities’ experiences. This has seen the deliberate conservation of these trees and grasses, leading to voluntary community environmental protection.
For full story, please see: http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=31759
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Source: The Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (Dakar), 14 November 2005
East African scientists have translated new findings regarding the anti-mosquito properties of indigenous African plants into a low-cost and effective mosquito repellent that could play a role in reducing malaria transmission. Their research, to be presented this week at the Fourth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference, is indicative of a surge of scientific interest in the anti-mosquito properties of indigenous plant life.
Scientists from Kenyatta University and The International Center for Insect Physiology & Ecology (ICIPE), both in Nairobi, working with investigators from other East African research institutions, tested oils extracted from 150 East African plants for their ability to repel malaria-carrying mosquitoes and found that 20 of them appeared to be effective. They then formulated a mixture of the oils into a topical cream that is now being sold under the brand name Mozigone. Tests showed the cream was more effective than DEET, the chemical found in most widely used consumer brands of mosquito repellent and cheaper to produce as well.
The discussion of the scientific process that lead to the development of this new, plant-based repellent is one of many presentations at the MIM conference exploring how modern research is turning to traditional plants to find new weapons for the fight against malaria. Scientific efforts to derive new malaria medicines from indigenous plants have intensified since an extract of the wormwood plant, artemisinin, emerged as the leading drug for fighting the disease.
"There are certainly many opportunities for the use of traditional herbal medicines for malaria control," said Merlin Willcox, coordinator of an international network known as the Research Initiative for Traditional Antimalarial Methods (RITAM). But there are obstacles as well. "The main problem is that policy makers are not open to this idea," he said, "because they are trained only in modern medicine. Also, they demand good quality evidence, but it is hard to find funding for the research needed to produce this evidence."
Willcox will be hosting a symposium, sponsored by the government of Cameroon, which will consider the potential use of traditional plants in national malaria control programs and the research needed to spur their adoptions. For example, scientists will discuss the potential for a Brazilian plant known as "Indian beer" to prevent malaria. Willcox said laboratory studies have shown the plant can kill the malaria parasite early in its lifecycle before it matures and does the most damage to the human body. Officials from Cameroon's Ministry of Health also will discuss new developments in policies affecting traditional medicine.
Other presentations considering the anti-malarial properties plants include the following:
- Souleymane Sanon of the Centre National de Recherche et de Formation sur le Paludisme (Burkina Faso) will present data on two plants used by traditional herbal practitioners in Burkina Faso to treat malaria. Used in combination, Pavetta crassipes and Mitragyna inermis exhibited antimalarial properties when tested against a laboratory culture taken from a drug resistant form of the malaria parasite.
- In the search for new malaria medicines derived from natural sources, West African and U.S. Army researchers have collected and identified plant materials used in traditional medicine for the treatment of infectious diseases, including fevers and drug-resistant malaria. Their study investigated the anti-malarial activity of 1200 plant extracts belonging to 80 plant families and 253 species. Investigators say 53 percent of the extracts, some of which had never before been tested against the most deadly strain of malaria, P. falciparum, showed remarkable activity.
- Edith Ajaiyeoba of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, tested the antimalarial activity of methanol extract of Adansonia digitata (African baobab tree) in mice infected with a rodent form of malaria. The traditional use of baobab as a malaria treatment is well known throughout the West Africa region. The results of the test indicate that A. digitata bark extract was able to reduce malaria parasites in the mouse.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200511140247.html
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Source: The Guardian, 3 November 2005
Phytopharm, which develops drugs based on medicinal plant extracts, said its sales had risen for the full year while its losses had narrowed. The company said its sales had grown to £7.4m for the year ending on August 31 2005, compared with £1.1m the previous year. Losses before tax had dropped to £3bn from £6.8bn.
Chief executive Richard Dixey said the highlight of the year had been signing a worldwide licence agreement with Unilever to develop a cactus extract to be used in slimming products. The hoodia cactus is used by the San bushmen of the Kalahari as an appetite suppressant.
For full story, please see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1607211,00.html
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Source: FAO Newsroom, 9 November 2005
Around 20 percent of the world's mangrove forests have disappeared during the past 25 years as a result of over-exploitation and conversion to other uses, according to a new FAO study. Mangroves today cover around 15 million hectares (ha) worldwide, down from 18.8 million ha in 1980, according to the study. Still, during the same time frame the annual rate of mangrove deforestation dropped from around 185 000 ha per year in the 1980s to 105 000 ha/yr during the 2000-2005 period, it added.
"More countries are now recognizing the importance of mangroves and are making an effort to conserve and better manage them," said Mette Løyche Wilkie, a mangrove expert at FAO. "Yet the true value of mangroves and other wetlands is still underestimated and much remains to be done to reduce the rate of loss, which is significantly higher than for other forest types," she added.
The key findings of the report were presented today at the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which began yesterday in Kampala, Uganda (8-15 November 2005). The report, to be published next January, will provide an overview on mangrove vegetation and species, uses and threats in addition to information on mangrove areas and area changes over time. It is prepared by FAO in collaboration with mangrove specialists throughout the world and is co-funded by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
Mangroves are salt-tolerant forest ecosystems commonly found along sheltered coastlines, in deltas and along river banks in the tropics and sub-tropics. Millions of fishermen, farmers and others depend on them as a source of wood, medicinal plants, and food.
For full story, please see: www.fao.org/forestry/newsroom/en/news/2005/highlight_108389en.html
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Source: WAM - Emirates News Agency - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 November 2005
The Department for Municipalities and Agriculture in Abu Dhabi has launched a campaign to plant mangrove trees along the coasts and beaches of the Abu Dhabi Emirates. ''The drive is part of the Department's plan to boost efforts to conserve and protect the environment and develop its natural resources,'' said Mohammed Jassim Al Hosani, Chairman of Islands at the Department's Public Gardens Section.
''The sensitive Mangroves growing zones are given proper attention by the competent authorities for they represent one of the major universal biodiversity natural resources of high environmental and economic value,'' he added.
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
We are actively seeking contributions for the next issue of Non-wood News. Articles can cover any aspect of non-wood forest products, but we are particularly interested in receiving any NWFP research results and abstracts from Ph.D. candidates, as well as information on any NWFP success stories, new books on NWFP and/or your book reviews.
Contributions of 200-500 words can be in French, Spanish or English and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 December 2005.
Previous issues of Non-wood News are available from the NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/FOP/FOPW/NWFP/nwfp-e.stm
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From: Arvydas Lebedys, FAO Forestry Officer (email@example.com
As part of an evaluation of FAO's forest products statistics, FAO is looking for someone to analyse the results of a questionnaire survey about the use of FAO Forestry Department's forest products statistics. Payment will be US$5,000 (to include all costs) for a two-month assignment in Rome, starting as soon as possible.
Tasks will include the following: 1. Analyse the questionnaire results and prepare a short paper describing the results of the analysis. 2. Through internet and citation searches, examine the extent to which FAO's statistics are quoted in other publications. 3. Participate in other related activities of the evaluation (as required).
Required skills include: 1. Fluency in English 2. BA/BSc in forestry, economics, statistics or similar subject. 3. High level of numeracy and experience with spreadsheets and Internet search tools. 4. Previous experience of analyzing the results of questionnaire surveys
In addition, some knowledge of French and Spanish would be an advantage. FAO will provide the necessary computing tools and equipment and on-the-job training to perform this activity.
28-30 June 2006.
Traditional medical and public health approaches to illness and health are among the successes of modern science. However, society today is faced with the increasing incidence of various forms of poor health related to modern lifestyles. Contributing factors have been identified as an increasingly sedentary population, increasing levels of psychological stress related to urban living and contemporary work practices, and exposure to environmental hazards such as air pollution. These problems encourage new thinking about ways to prevent disease and promote health. Natural spaces and natural elements such as forests and trees have been seen as providing opportunities to ameliorate such trends.
For more information, please see: http://www.e39.com.ee/en/m-main/c-current/d-15/.
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Source: FAO Forestry Policy and Institutions Working Paper 8
“Empowering communities through forestry: Community-based enterprise development in the Gambia” – Forestry Policy and Institutions Working Paper 8
In the fight against poverty the use of forest products is often quoted as having significant potential to improve the livelihoods of rural people living within or close to forest areas. However the realization of this potential seldom materializes for a number of reasons including non conducive institutional frameworks, lack of capacity and initial investment. As a matter of fact, if these essential preconditions are not met, attempts to use forest products to improve livelihoods through the sustainable use of forest resources have little chance of succeeding.
The Gambia has played a pioneering role in establishing community forestry in Africa in early 1990s. The country has developed and implemented one of the most progressive institutional frameworks, including the permanent transfer of ownership of forest resources to communities, thus creating a favourable environment for development and sustainable forest management.
Experience in participatory forest management in the Gambia has shown that once local communities have recognized the value of trees and forests, they will develop a vested interest in their protection as permanent sources of income and/or livelihoods. The Market Analysis and Development (MA&D) methodology developed and promoted by FAO provides a framework for planning tree and forest product enterprises. It enables local people to identify potential products and develop markets that will provide income and benefits without degrading their resource base. The main strength of the process is its systematic inclusion of social and environmental concerns alongside consideration of the technological, commercial and financial aspects of a product. MA&D is a deliberate process that involves changing the attitude of communities in order to empower them with the skills necessary to control, protect and manage their natural resources and the environment.
The MA&D process has already made a significant impact in many communities across the Gambia and there are reasons to expect this to continue far into the future. With the adoption of the Forestry Act and the sustained efforts of the Forestry Department to implement strong forest policies, the government has demonstrated its commitment to decentralizing the management of forest resources. With legal frameworks already in place and a policy that is conducive to participatory forest management being promoted at all levels, local forest communities are being empowered and their benefits are being ensured.
The authors hope that apart from documenting an existing experience this working paper will be an inspiration for other government agencies, organizations and practitioners who are working on the development and implementation of effective ways to strengthen the role of sustainable forest management in meeting the livelihoods needs of rural populations.
An electronic version of this publication is available at: http://www.fao.org//docrep/008/j6209e/j6209e00.htm or ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/008/j6209e/j6209e00.pdf
For more information, please contact:
Forestry Officer, Community-based Enterprise Development (CBED)
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Badola, R., and Hussain, S.A. 2005. Valuing ecosystem functions: an empirical study on the storm protection function of Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem, India. Environ. Conserv. 32(1):85-92
Brehm, G., Pitkin, L.M., Hilt, N., and Fiedler, K. 2005. Montane Andean rain forests are a global diversity hotspot of geometrid moths. J. Biogeogr. 32(9):1621-1627.
Latham, Paul. 2005. Some honeybee plants of Bas-Congo Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. ISBN 0-9546698-8-6
Lewinsohn, T.M. and Prado, P.I. 2005. How many species are there in Brazil? Conserv. Biol. 19(3):619-624. (Abstract) http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00680.x
Manoharachary, C., Sridhar, K., Singh, R., Adholeya, A., Suryanarayanan, T.S., Rawat, S., and Johri, B.N. 2005. Fungal biodiversity: distribution, conservation and prospecting of fungi from India. Curr. Sci. 89(1):58-71.
Mansourian, Stephanie; Vallauri, Daniel; Dudley, Nigel (Eds.) 2005. Forest Restoration in Landscapes. Beyond Planting Trees. XXVIII, 437 p. 28 illus., Hardcover ISBN: 0-387-25525-7
The importance of restoration continues to grow, and this book integrates the restoration of forest functions into landscape conservation plans. WWF has made forest landscape restoration a key topic and priority for its environmental work. Due to the WWF’s extensive global reach, and together with is many partners and counterparts, it has acquired a significant level of experience on the topic of forest restoration at large scales. This book represents the collective body of knowledge and experience of WWF and its many partners--which is collected here for the first time and which will be invaluable to all of those working in the field. This guide will serve as a first stop for practitioners and researchers in any organization or region and as a key reference on the subject. Along with concise, practical information for a variety of specific systems and issues, it gives many suggestions for further research.
Olsen, C.S. 2005. Trade and conservation of Himalayan medicinal plants: Nardostachys grandiflora DC. and Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora (Pennell) Hong. Biol. Conserv. 125(4):505-514.
Pethiyagoda, R. 2005. Exploring Sri Lanka's biodiversity. Raffles Bull. Zool. Suppl. No. 12:1-4.
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Ecotourism in Hungary.
Indian herbs and insect images
Over 10,000 photographs of herbs and insects taken during Ethnobotanical surveys in different parts of Indian State Chhattisgarh are online at http://ecoport.org/ep?SearchType=pdb&Author=pankaj&Thumbnails=Only”
SIAMAZONIA - Peruvian Amazon Biodiversity & Environmental Information System.
Open network that offers several technical and scientific information resources and communication tools for people and organizations interested in knowledge, conservation and sustainable use of Amazonian biodiversity. This information system allows for on-line register of publications and conferences as well as contact details of specialists, institutions and projects related to the Andean-Amazonian region. Moreover, SIAMAZONIA shares and integrates some of its information tools and contents with other websites.
SIAMAZONIA - Sistema de Información de la Diversidad Biológica y Ambiental de la Amazonía Peruana.
Red que ofrece amplios recursos informativos científicos y divulgativos, así como medios de comunicación para las personas y organizaciones interesadas en el conocimiento, la conservación y el uso sostenible de la biodiversidad amazónica del Perú. Permite consultar y registrar en línea conferencias, publicaciones, así como datos de profesionales, instituciones y proyectos relacionados a la Amazonia andina. También ofrece herramientas de información para compartirlas con otros sitios Web.
Venerable trees of the earth
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Source: Greenpeace, 28 October 2005
Greenpeace welcomed a decree by President Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to reform the Congolese logging sector this week. President Kabila has confirmed the moratorium on the allocation of new logging concessions will be maintained until a process to review the legality of all existing logging concessions is finalised and until new rules for allocation of concessions have been defined.
New logging concessions will be frozen in up to 40 million hectares of rainforest while the legality of all current logging concessions are examined by an inter-ministerial commission, assisted by a team of independent, international experts. If the review is conducted properly, Greenpeace expects that many of the 20 million hectares already slated for logging in DRC will be returned to the state.
The Congo rainforest is the second largest in the world after the Amazon. It is home to more plant and animal life than any other forest in Africa, including rare species such as the Okapi and the Congo Peacock that are found nowhere else in the world. It is also a refuge for three of the four Great Apes - chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas.
Greenpeace has been investigating logging in the Congo and discovered that it does not contribute to sustainable development and prosperity, as the logging industry claims, but creates poverty, social conflict and wreaks environmental havoc.
For full story, please see: http://www.yubanet.com/artman/publish/article_27028.shtml
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Source: Forbes – USA, 6 November 2005
BEIJING (AFX) - The European Commission (EC) said it will give 30 million euro towards a technical co-operation program on biodiversity in China. 'The program will support China to manage its ecosystem sustainably and to contribute to the implementation of the international conventions related to biodiversity,' the EC's China branch said in a joint statement with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
The UNDP will contribute US$500,000 to the project. SEPA, which will be responsible for achieving the program's overall objectives, will make an in-kind contribution of US$265,000.
'This is an unprecedented large scale government-led initiative bringing together, for the first time, all relevant parties at national, sub-national and community levels to agree on a common and innovative strategy to address China's biodiversity conservation challenges,' said Alessandra Tisot, the UNDP's senior deputy resident representative in China.
The five-year program has a total budget of 52 million euro and will mainly focus on the western and southern provinces of China, according to the statement.
China has approximately 10 pct of all species within its borders, the statement said.
For full story, please see: http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2005/11/06/afx2320553.html
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Source: China Post - Taipei, Taiwan, 24 October 2005
Tree lovers Sunday snapped up the first examples ever put on the open market of a pine species known as a living fossil after surviving in a remote Australian valley since Jurassic times. The Wollemi Pine was believed to have been extinct until a parks officer, David Noble, came across a stand of fewer than 100 trees in the Wollemi National Park, 200 km (120 miles) west of Sydney, in 1994.
On Sunday, 292 trees propagated from the original stand went under the hammer at a Sydney auction in 148 lots ranging from single trees to larger groups. The sale raised more than 1 million Australian dollars (US$750,000; euro 624,375).
The trees on sale were all about six years old and up to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall.
The Wollemi Pine is a distant relative of trees such as the Monkey Puzzle and Norfolk Island pines. In the wild, the oldest examples are about 40 meters (130 feet) high and thought to be about 100 years old. The oldest known Wollemi Pine fossils are 90 million years old, but the species is believed to date back 200 million years.
Proceeds from the sale were going toward ensuring the continued survival of the Wollemi Pine and other conservation and education efforts.
For full story, please see: www.chinapost.com.tw/asiapacific/detail.asp?ID=70749&GRP=C
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