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1. Agarwood: Chip off the golden block
2. Bamboo T-shirts
3. Bamboo flowering in India – risks and opportunities
4. Bushmeat: Game park wildlife at risk as farmers turn poacher
5. Cork: Wine company abandons cork stoppers
6. Devil’s claw: Moves to protect it from German patents
7. Ferns: Arsenic-eating fern holds hope for tainted soils
8. Ginseng export restrictions toughened in the United States
9. Ginseng export regulations pose problems for industry
10. Gum Arabic: Nigeria to boost gum arabic supplies
11. Lac: Shellac may combat skin disorders
12. Medicinal plants: Mappia foetida in India
13. Medicinal plants: Operation Inventory in India
14. Moringa: The ultimate multipurpose tree
15. Shea butter: Japanese organization to help find market for Ghana's shea butter
16. Armenia: Deforestation plans ditched
17. Benin: The limits of cotton
18. Brazil's Kayapó Tribe protecting biodiversity
19. Canada: The Healing Taiga
20. Finland: Forest berries find their way to cosmetics
21. India: Kerala Assembly passes Bill to promote tree growth
22. India: Plant extinction threatens traditional medicine systems
23. India: Proposal for bamboo industry
24. Indonesia: Disaster for upland forests of Indonesian Borneo?
25. Madagascar's unique forest under threat
26. Malawi: Is honey Malawi's hidden treasure?
27. Malaysia: Camphor forest gazetted for educational use
28. Malaysia: Rare find in newly gazetted forest
29. Philippines: Promote use of indigenous materials
30. United States: Alaska woods hold potential for new drugs
31. Vanuatu: Planting seeds in sandalwood harvest season
32. Biodiversity oils: processing and packaging of natural ingredients
33. Biopiracy: Amazon nations gear up to fight biopiracy
34. Biopiracy: Women against biopiracy, in Africa
35. Curbing Bio-piracy
36. Coral Cay Conservation Society
37. Forests' recreational value is scaled back
38. "Lesson Learned"
39. New Amazon project targets water, forests, wildlife
40. PhytoTrade Africa: Adding Life to Trade
41. Training opportunities in Kenya
43. A Future Beneath the Trees
44. Buy BC Wild Conference
45. Shop The Wild Tradeshow
46. Intergovernmental Meeting on Great Apes and first Council Meeting of the Great Apes Survival Project
47. International Bamboo Inventory Training Workshop
48. Cameroon Ethnobotany Network (CEN), Second International symposium: Plants to cure humans and the environment
49. Shea Workshop Proceedings
50. Wild edible fungi
51. One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment
52. Other publications of interest
53. Web sites and e-zines
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Source: Malaysia Star – Malaysia, 9 August 2005
Hamzah Hassan was possibly the richest man in Kampung Bukit Jering in Jeli, Kelantan, during the pre-independence years. All he did then was to venture into the forest close to his village and cart out dark-coloured resin embedded in the tree which locals call karas.
Chinese and Arab traders paid him RM50 for one katty (600gm) of gaharu. “I collected as many as 10 katties a day” says the 81-year-old who is still ignorant of the value of gaharu today.
Soon, almost every man in the village was collecting gaharu. Hamzah became the master and taught them how to identify and cut the trees. As many as 30 collectors went into the jungle each day.
The practice lives on but present-day collection is a shadow of the past. Like elsewhere in Kelantan, collectors are getting only woodchips with low resin content.
Fortunately for the villagers, a distillation plant was set up by Mokhtar Sulaiman and his brother in 2003, which accepted the lower grade agarwood. “Villagers are collecting what has been left behind by Thai poachers; the high value gaharu have all been taken by these men who come in groups of 10 to 20.” He claims that the Thais are still in the forest in spite of increased enforcement patrols.
“Without the processing, it’s difficult for villagers to dispose of their collection,” says Mokhtar. He says housewives chip the wood for 30 sen per kg and can each earn up to RM20 a day.
He says production volume is erratic as supplies dwindle, adding that a collector has to spend some six hours to gather 5kg of agarwood.
The state’s biggest distillation plant, consisting of 44 boilers, sits close to the Thai border in Rantau Panjang. Because of shrinking gaharu supplies, Chung Chi Pao (the Thai-Chinese caretaker of the plant) mixes sandalwood into the concoction.
The production typically uses 2,000kg of sandalwood and 1,000kg of gaharu. Both types of heartwood are sourced from Pahang. The fragrant oil is sent to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to cater to tourists from the Arab world. “Business is getting really tough with insufficient raw material. We have to experiment with new ways,” he says. He claims that there were 10 distillation plants in the district as recent as four years ago but all failed as “they couldn’t find the right formula”.
For full story, please see: http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2005/8/9/lifefocus/11596733&sec=lifefocus
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Source: I-Newswire.com (press release), USA
Bamboo Fiber T-shirts are the most comfortable and softest textile product. Made from a 21/1 Ring Spun yarn. The Bamboo T-shirt is 70% bamboo fiber and 30% cotton and is pre-shrunk. Bamboo fiber T-shirts are naturally anti-bacterial, biodegradable and extremely soft. Once you wear one of a Bamboo T-shirt you will never want to wear another 100% cotton T-shirt.
Bamboo clothing will never stick to your body or skin, even on the hottest of days, and will always make you feel extremely cool under any condition. These T-shirts have much better moisture absorption with ventilation and are known for their breath ability.
Bamboo fiber clothes are the world's most comfortable clothes.
The species used for bamboo fiber is Phyllostachys heterocycla pubescens, commonly known as Moso bamboo. This is the largest of the temperate zone bamboo species and is the most economically important bamboo species in China. It is most commonly used for construction purposes and edible bamboo shoots.
Moso bamboo is prevalent throughout China. Bamboo Textile’s factory however, owns and maintains its own plantations on a large mountainside located in Zhejiang Province, which is south of the factory in Suzhou.
Bamboo is known to be the fastest growing plant on earth, making it naturally highly renewable. In fact, bamboo grows to its maximum height in approximately 3 months and matures in 3-5 years for harvest.
Harvest Practices: Like all plants grown and managed for commercial purposes, harvesting practices must be exercised. Crop rotation and intercropping with bamboo is not unheard of, but they are not common practices integrated with bamboo plantation management. Our factory in China is utilizing the best harvesting practices to ensure a long-term supply of bamboo fiber.
Land quality and land use: Bamboo’s growth characteristics enable it to spread rapidly across large areas. Because of its growth characteristics and ability to spread, bamboo is known to improve soil quality in degraded and eroded areas of land.
Use of pesticides and fertilizer: Bamboo’s natural growth habits allow it to reproduce in abundance without the use of fertilizers and without the need for pesticides.
Processing and manufacturing
The process to make bamboo fiber and yarn is similar to the process used to make rayon. Stalks of bamboo are essentially crushed and pulped to separate the natural fibers. The fibers are then mixed with chemicals such as caustic soda to convert the plant fiber into textile quality fiber.
For full story, please see: http://i-newswire.com/pr39548.html
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Source: Business Standard / New Delhi August 12, 2005
Almost the entire north-eastern hilly region is beset with an ecological phenomenon which portends food insecurity and its consequential socio-economic repercussions.
Bamboo trees, which abound in this region, have begun flowering, something that happens once after every 30 to 50 years, and people fear that it will lead to famine. This is because bamboo flowering invariably causes an unusual spurt in the population of rats, who devour foodgrain crops, causing food scarcity. The bamboo flowers and seeds are believed to enhance the fertility of female rodents.
Though there is hardly any danger of food shortage even if the crops fail, the tribal people of the north-east are unconvinced and many of them are reported to have started migrating to other areas.
That the bamboo, especially its Muli Bamboo species, would begin flowering has been known for about two years and planning for combating it has also begun. But the actual action on these plans falls far short of the requirement. Some of the states have requested the Centre to position additional foodgrain stocks there to ward off any food scarcity. The Arunachal Pradesh government has offered an incentive to people to kill rats.
However, this is unlikely to solve the problem or instil confidence in people. Many of them still remember the last bamboo bloom of the late 1950s and early 1960s, peaking in 1959, and its unsavoury consequences. Though measures like money-for-rat-tail were taken even then, the situation had gone out of control. In fact, the disillusionment and ire of the people had resulted in the Mizo National Famine Front, a voluntary relief organisation, changing itself into the rebellious political outfit Mizo National Front.
Thus, what is needed is something more concrete than such peripheral measures. Fortunately, this problem is not insurmountable and there is still time for worthwhile action.
The maximum flowering is expected to occur in the next two years. A smart strategy can convert this ecological nightmare into an opportunity for the economic development of the region by putting in place infrastructure for a gainful utilisation of the vast bamboo resources of this region.
Out of an estimated 12,000 sq km of bamboo plantations affected by flowering in the forests of this region, a sizable part is in the physically accessible areas where these plants could be extracted and processed for value addition.
Of course, the local communities have to be involved in a big way in this task to provide them employment and income. They need to be equipped with hand tools, machine tools and the marketing avenues for extracting bamboos and making products like “agarbati” sticks, tooth picks, bamboo mats, furniture and household items, decorative products and others.
Even the paper- and pulp-manufacturing industry can be encouraged to come up in the area. The export potential of semi-processed bamboo items, such as high-density pulp, also needs to be explored and exploited.
However, the Centre would have to bear the bulk of the expenses, considering the poor financial condition of most of these states.
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Source: Telegraph.co.uk - London, England, UK, 15 July 2005
Poachers are once again stalking Kenya's game parks, 30 years after the slaughter of whole herds in supposedly protected reserves. Unlike in the killings that began in the 1970s and lasted well into the 1980s, the prize for today's hunters is not an animal's horns or hide but its meat.
Four years of drought is driving Kenya's rural poor to switch from subsistence farming to animal trapping, to supply a booming underground trade in "bushmeat". An estimated 20,000 wild animals, including antelope, zebra, buffalo and giraffe, are dying each year around Tsavo National Park, Kenya's largest.
Private conservation groups and the state-run Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) are hugely under-resourced. There are just 27 rangers in the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust's Tsavo bushmeat patrols, plus a further 84 KWS staff, together patrolling 12,000 square miles of remote and wild country roughly equal to the size of Belgium.
A report for the Born Free Foundation found more than half of meat on sale in some Nairobi butcher's shops was not beef or mutton, as advertised, but game meat. The quality and taste of legal or illegal meat varies little.
The foundation's Winnie Kiiru said: "The bushmeat trade is now supplying urban and even international markets, posing what some scientists believe to be the biggest threat facing wildlife populations in many African countries."
Feeding that demand are hundreds of small-scale subsistence farmers whose limited crops have failed again and again after four years of drought, and who are desperate to find food for their families.
Scouts from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust have confiscated thousands of snares, designed for everything from the foot-high dik dik to a giraffe. They found more than 8,000 last year, although that number is thought to be less than five per cent of all the traps lying in wait along Kenya's game trails.
For full story, please see: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/15/wkenya15.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/07/15/ixworld.html
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Source: Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco, CA, USA, 8 August 2005
Concerned with the overwhelming proof that a significant amount of wines sealed with traditional tree bark cork are spoiled by cork taint, Don Sebastiani & Sons today announced that it will focus exclusively on using alternative closures for its entire product line. With annual case production approaching two million, Don Sebastiani & Sons is now the largest wine company in the world to totally abandon the traditional cork closure.
The announcement comes on the heels of the national launch of the company's popular Screw Kappa Napa wines, with a supporting educational and marketing campaign touting the benefits of "Life After Cork."
Don Sebastiani, Jr., marketing director for Don Sebastiani & Sons said. "We have decided traditional cork made from tree bark is not in our best interest, now or in the future. There's just too much risk of tainted wine. And while some in the industry might tolerate what they perceive to be an acceptable failure rate, we feel that just one tainted bottle is totally unacceptable.”
Cork taint occurs when natural mould in corks causes a chemical reaction that produces trichloroanisole, commonly called TCA. The compound can give wine an unpleasant, musty odour.
Sebastiani said the company will use a variety of alternative closures across its product line.
For full story, please see: http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20050808006089&newsLang=en
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Source: Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone), 4 August 2005
Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are engaged in talks to protect the Devil's Claw plant (Sengaparile or Harpagophytum procumbens) from a German company, which wants to have patent rights over it.
Botswana’s Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tutu Tsiang, said yesterday that the talks involve government officials from the three countries. She declined to disclose the name of the German company involved in the matter. She said the plant grows in the three countries therefore it would be unfortunate for the company to claim rights over it. She was not aware if there were plant species exported to other countries to be processed and patented. There was confusion last year when Convention In Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) said it wanted to put Sengaparile under its list of endangered species. The plant grows in sandy areas such as the Kgalagadi Desert, and is known to have medicinal value.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200508040513.html
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Source: Environmental News Network, 21 June 2005 CFRC Weekly Summary 6/30/05
Tacoma, Washington, USA.– State pollution fighters planted a small patch of pitiful-looking plants inside a wire cage in Tacoma's Point Defiance Park and labelled them poison.
The 100 subtropical ferns inside the test plot near Fort Nisqually are part of a two-year, $30,000 experiment in pollution control that began in April on Vashon and Maury islands. "We just want to know whether it's taking arsenic from the soil. We're watching for other things, but that's our primary objective," said Norm Peck, a state Department of Ecology investigator.
Four years ago, scientists in Florida found that Chinese brake ferns (Pteris vittata) thrive on arsenic, sucking the poison out of soil and concentrating it in their fronds. A company now markets the ferns as a pollution solution for arsenic-plagued communities.
Ecology Department officials decided to test whether the ferns will grow locally and reduce soil contamination in areas affected by windborne arsenic from the former Asarco smelter. Its smokestack and buildings have been demolished, but the site, adjacent neighbourhoods and nearby shoreline are the focus of a federal Superfund cleanup. Beyond that, elevated concentrations of arsenic, lead and cadmium still taint soils in a 1,000-square-mile area around Puget Sound.
Health officials have cautioned residents in many parts of Pierce and King counties to limit exposure to contaminated dirt because of the risks of long-term arsenic exposure. Children are particularly vulnerable. Earlier this year, Metro Parks agreed to allow the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to sample soils at about a dozen sites at Point Defiance and other Tacoma parks. So far, about half -- including those in Point Defiance -- have been sampled. Detected arsenic concentrations have not been high enough to warrant alarm, said Glenn Rollins, a health department environmental health specialist.
As for the ferns, scientists in the Florida laboratory experiments measured arsenic concentrations in them that were as much as 200 times higher than in the soil where the plants grew. "The fronds themselves will become poisonous," said Marian Abbett, an environmental engineer who oversees the Ecology Department's Tacoma smelter project.
Pteris vittata, as scientists call the ferns, looks a lot like native sword ferns. But Chinese brake ferns are considered invaders in Florida, where they dominate their habitat. "We don't think it will be an invasive here. In fact, we're concerned whether we're going to keep it alive," Abbett said. "They like the warmer, tropical climate."
Bhaskar Bondada, a Washington State University plant physiologist who studied the fern in Florida, said that the beauty of this plant is it only accumulates arsenic in the fronds, which are easily picked. But in the process, the fern also converts arsenate to arsenite, which is more toxic, he said.
In all, Ecology Department officials bought 750 plants for $5 each.
Rita Schenck, who runs the Institute for Environmental Research and Education on Vashon Island, said she thinks the ferns should be studied, but she urged caution. They could prove to be invasive, she said. Besides that, the fronds might have to be buried in a hazardous waste repository.
"We have to harvest the leaves," Abbett said. "They can't just fall back on the ground." Nor does the Ecology Department plan to compost them, she said. The plan is to test the arsenic concentrations and decide whether the fronds are hazardous before dumping. Regular soil testing also is planned.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/today.html?id=8014
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Source: RedNova.com - Dallas, TX, USA, 12 August 2005
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a notice this month that it is increasing the age limit for ginseng roots eligible for export from five years to 10 years this season. The five-year age restriction, put in place in 1999, was the first ever on ginseng exports.
The change applies to Virginia and 18 other states. It is meant to halt the rapid disappearance -- caused by overharvesting -- of wild ginseng on private land and in national parks and forests. The age restriction also applies to ginseng grown under simulated wild conditions unless the grower obtains an exemption from the agency.
Virginia's ginseng hunting season begins Monday and runs through 31 December. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has asked the federal agency to delay the new rule until hunters and buyers and sellers of ginseng can be notified. It has not received a reply to that request.
Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a slow-growing, long-lived perennial herb. The age of ginseng can be determined in two ways: by counting the scars on the plant's underground stem caused by the yearly loss of its above-ground stem or by counting the number of above-ground compound leaves, also known as "prongs." Plants with three prongs are 5 years old and those with four prongs are 10 years old.
The primary market for ginseng is overseas. Most of the dried root goes to east Asia, where it has been prized for centuries for medicinal properties. Ginseng is taken as a sexual stimulant and as a cure for impotence, fatigue and a variety of other ills.
Hunting ginseng to generate extra cash -- at least $250 a pound -- has long been a practice among some residents of the Appalachian Mountains, who sometimes refer to the herb as "sang."
Virginia is one of the largest exporters of ginseng in the nation and along with West Virginia accounts for roughly 18 percent of the 60,000-pound annual national harvest, although reporting varies among agencies.
In the past three years, the state agriculture department certified 4,000, 5,000, and 3,600 pounds of ginseng for export at an annual value approaching $1 million.
Virginia, like the other states affected by the new rule, has state laws governing the harvest. Virginia, however, is one of only three states that do not require hunters to plant ginseng seeds in the spot where they dig a plant.
For full story, please see: www.rednova.com/news/technology/205491/ginseng_export_restrictions_toughened/
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Source: NutraIngredients-usa.com - Montpellier, France, 8 August 2005
New regulations on the export of wild ginseng root aim to help preserve the plant from extinction but could cause problems for the herbals industry, at least over the next five years.
In its 2005 CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) finding, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has determined that wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) root must be at least ten years old (double the previous minimum age of five years) and have four ‘prongs’ or leaves before it can be legally exported from the US.
Although most states allow for the harvesting of ginseng at five years, the new restriction, which is effective for the 2005 harvest, effectively overrules them as any roots younger than 10 years will not be able to be sold for export.
Over the next five years, there is likely to be considerably less wild ginseng available for export, until the plants’ maturity catches up with the regulation.
“We now have a situation where wild ginseng that can be legally collected at five years old throughout its range will not be able to be sold to its primary market, which is in Asia,” said Tony Hayes, of Ridge Runner Trading Company.
Ginseng takes between four and five years to reach maturity and start producing seeds, but becomes more fruitful with age. The life span of a plant is around 30 years.
According to Nature Serve Explorer, wild ginseng has “declined considerably” in the US since European settlement, and populations are “critically imperilled” in Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Nebraska. It says that irresponsible digging of roots is the single most threatening factor for the species’ survival.
Annual exports of wild plants are estimated to be in the region of 125 million and the main market is China.
Between 85 and 90 percent of ginseng exports come from cultivated sources, which are excluded from the FWS restriction.
“It is unfortunate that a decision of this importance has to happen behind closed doors, as the cart has gotten before the horse, at least for the 2005 harvest,” said Hayes. Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association agreed: “It must be acknowledged that the current system does not allow our input in the decision-making process, which makes it very difficult to make good business plans if wild ginseng is important to your company.”
A statement published on the website of Sylvan Botanicals said that the announcement of the regulation so close to the harvesting season could do more harm to the wild populations than so-called wildcrafters could do in decades. It predicts that the next step will be the outright ban on the harvesting of wild ginseng. Sylvan Botanicals is a proponent of wild simulated ginseng which, along with woods grown ginseng, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis if applicants can document the origin of their roots.
For full story, please see: http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=61787-ginseng-export-regulations
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Source: Food Navigator – France, 22 July 2005
Global supplies for the hydrocolloid gum arabic could creep up as Lagos announces plans to sow 500 million seeds to produce the popular confectionery ingredient.
The Jigawa state government (Nigeria) will plant gum arabic, a shrub with distinct commercial value, in its bid to stop the fast advancing desert sand.
Gum arabic, also known as acacia gum (E414 in the EU), is widely used by the food and beverage industry; particularly in confectionery categories, where it is included to delay or prevent sugar crystallisation and to emulsify fat.
Obtained from Acacia trees in the gum belt of Africa, the top producers (Sudan, Chad and Nigeria) bring about 50,000 tonnes of gum arabic to the market each year. But political and climatic factors in these primary producing countries have led to spikes in the price of the ingredient, known as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of gums.
Since Spring 2004, prices have remained fairly stable, seeing only slight fluctuations, and are currently in the region of $4,000 a tonne. But this is still considerably higher than its ‘natural’ price, of about $2000 to $2500 a tonne.
Hoping to gain from the strong demand for the ingredient, the county’s daily paper, This Day reports that the seeds will be distributed free, and will also serve as source of income to the people.
About 10,080 hectares of land is expected to be planted with gum arabic between now and 2007.
Desert encroachment is a major problem for the country, with hundreds of kilometres of fertile land already lost to desert sand.
For full story, please see: www.foodnavigator.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=61437-jigawa-state-to
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Source: Japan Corporate News (press release), Tokyo, Japan, 8 August 2005
Ivy Cosmetics (TSE: 4918) announced on August 5 that it has identified a unique property of shellac, a natural resin secreted by insect Laccifera Lacca.
In collaboration with Kitasato University, the company has confirmed that the powder or extract of shellac can inhibit the production of interleukin-8, one of the causing factors of skin disorders.
The company and the university have concluded that shellac-derived substances can be applicable to an external preparation for skin.
Ivy has applied for patents for these findings.
For full story, please see: www.japancorp.net/Article.Asp?Art_ID=10639
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Source: Indian Express - New Delhi, India, 3 July 2005
The international trade in a medicinal plant found on the Western Ghats is now the focus of an environmental debate
The Western Ghats, designated as one of the 18 bio-diversity hotspots in the world, are home to the medicinal plant Mappia foetida, commonly known as narakya or amruta. The alleged illegal international trade of this plant is now becoming an issue of concern.
Mappia foetida is sought after for what it contains: a high concentration of camptothecin - an agent used in drugs to treat cancer in countries such as Japan, Germany, Spain and China.
Besides Karnataka, Mappia foetida is found in Satara, Pune, Kolhapur, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Jalgaon in Maharashtra. Interestingly, most of the land that it grows on belongs to the forest department. Yet, the plant has been plundered unchecked for the last eight to ten years.
Dr P.S.N. Rao, director of the Botanical Survey of India, Pune, who has done a study on this plant says: ‘‘Of late, a world wide search for plant and animal based anti-cancerous drugs has gathered momentum and so the plant is being regularly harvested from reserve forest zones of Maharashtra. According to figures from the Forest Research Centre at Wada in Thane districts, about 16 lakh kg of this plant powder has been exported to Japan and Spain from Maharashtra during 2002. While the middlemen sell it for Rs 1,700 per kg, the villagers who supply the dried bark and wood to the dealers receive just Rs 2 to 3 per kg.’’
However, Rao feels that instead of including the plant in the endangered species list, it should be cultivated on a large scale to procure foreign exchange. The debate now revolves around whether its potential should be exploited in a scientific manner or whether it should be put on the endangered species list.
For full story, please see: www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=73734
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Source: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad, India. 17 July 2005
The Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation has inventoried medicinal plants of the state by carrying out an intensive survey for over three years by a team of scientists and foresters to save them from destruction. This study shows that 1315 plant species of Gujarat have medicinal value: these include 754 herb species, 248 tree species, 165 shrubs and 148 climbers.
The Director of GEER foundation, C N Pandey, said the study revealed local people utilized the plants for curing over 70 diseases. The study, according to Pandey, also showed how the medicinal plants have suffered destruction from a myriad of human activities such as deforestation, clearfelling, diversion of forest land for non-forestry purpose and mining.
Pandey, who along with his other colleagues, has brought out a book ’Medicinal plants of Gujarat’ feels high pace of industrialisation and urbanisation has made the wild natural resource more vulnerable to damage.
The government should, therefore, come out with a multipronged approach to conserve the rare and threatened species of medicinal plants, Pandey said. He further added that a total of 102 plant species in the state need conservation.
Out of 1315 plant species, 1016 medicinal plant species have been found in the wild and 299 in plantations or cultivations. The study also recorded the medicinal herb Zingiber roseum for the first time in Gujarat as well as in the northern western ghats.
Pandey says that in view of the medicinal richness Gujarat has, it would be worthwhile to have a state-level policy regarding their conservation and utilisation.
For full story, please see: http://cities.expressindia.com/fullstory.php?newsid=140103
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Source: Agana Pacific Daily News - Agana, Guam, 31 July 2005
The ultimate multipurpose tree: the versatile moringa, or malungai, plant abounds in nutrients and vitamins.
The concept of using multipurpose trees has gained popularity in recent years -- and no discussion of multipurpose trees would be fitting without focusing on moringa.
Moringa is most commonly called malungai or marungai on Guam. Although the plant has been grown here for many years, other countries have selected superior varieties that have been unavailable to Guam gardeners until recently.
The University of Guam is holding a workshop on Aug. 6 to discuss this amazing tree. Plants of two very popular varieties, called PKM-1 and PKM-2, will be available for distribution. These varieties were developed in India to boost commercial production of moringa products.
One measure of the versatility and usefulness of a tree is the number of names it has been given. "Although moringa originated in India, it is now grown in so many countries and used for so many purposes that the number of names it has acquired may seem endless," says Dr. Martin Price, executive director of Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, or ECHO, a 25-year-old non-profit organization in Ft. Myers, Fla. (USA).
One of the more common international names for this plant is "horseradish tree," due to the flavour of the roots.
Perhaps the most endearing name attributed to this tree is "Mother's Best Friend." According to Price at ECHO, this name arises primarily from the nutritional value of the fresh or dry leaves. Widely consumed to increase protein, calcium and iron in the diet, moringa leaves are also packed with vitamins A, B and C. Recent research has revealed that moringa leaf powder may contain seven times the vitamin C content of oranges, four times the vitamin A content of carrots, and three times the potassium content of bananas. When added as a supplement for a child's diet, only 25 grams of this leaf powder reportedly supplies all of the calcium and vitamin A daily needs, about half of the protein and potassium daily needs, and about three-fourths of the iron daily needs.
Moringa's value for human nutrition is not restricted to its leaves. Flowers are cooked and used in many dishes, and seeds are boiled, sautéed, or fried before consumption.
This plant, also called "drumstick tree," comes from the nutritional value of the plant's fruits or pods. These pods are long and slender, and look like drumsticks. The immature green pods are probably the most esteemed and widely used of all the tree parts. Most countries throughout Asia have traditional dishes utilizing these pods.
Other uses flourish
Several other uses of this versatile tree deserve mention. According to Price, moringa seeds are the source of a fine oil called Ben or Behen oil, an oil prized for many years because of its culinary uses, its burn quality of illuminating without smoke, and its lubricating capabilities for very small workings, such as those in watches.
"Crushed moringa seeds are also used to clarify muddy water," says Price. Moringa seeds are so effective in clarifying water that recent research has focused on identifying if any unique chemicals are responsible for this trait. Indeed, research in Germany indicates there are several unique proteins in the seeds that are able to bind with the suspended solids in turbid water.
No discussion about this tree would be complete without mentioning its medicinal value. In India's traditional medicinal practices, every part of the plant has been used since ancient times for prevention of various diseases or to treat assorted ailments.
Moringa is easily propagated, easily established, and requires little to no attention to keep the tree thriving and growing well. In fact, stem growth of up to 10 feet or more in one year is not uncommon. Highly managed moringa plantations in India receive fertilizer and water, but outside of India, these trees are rarely fertilized or irrigated. According to Price, pruning a tree after harvest season is effective for promoting side branches, increasing subsequent pod production and simplifying harvesting due to the smaller tree size.
Perhaps the most beneficial development in moringa production has been the selection of improved varieties. Two such varieties originated in India and have been used in intensive production systems to produce pods by treating the plants as annual plants. These varieties will produce fruit in as little as six months from planting. They are rigorously managed for one year, and then are removed to make room for a new batch of moringa seedlings. Thus, they never reach the age to become a tree. One of these selections is called PKM-2, selected for heavy production and particularly long, fleshy pods. Another, called PKM-1, was selected because pruning allows the tree to be restrained to a bushy growth habit. "I have been wanting to find this trait in a moringa variety for a long time," says Price. "A few of the limbs even grow almost horizontal after pruning."
(Written by Thomas Marler, professor with the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Guam.)
For full story, please see: www.guampdn.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050731/LIFESTYLE/507310314/1024/NEWS01
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Source: GhanaWeb - Accra, Ghana, 4 July 2005
The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) on Monday promised that it would do its best to conduct a market survey to facilitate the export of processed shea-butter into the country. Mr Shinnichi Saito, Executive President of JETRO said it was the desire of the organization to promote African products this year, and that it had set up "African Kitchen Corners" in various Asian countries to promote processed products from Africa.
Mr Saito was speaking when Ghana's Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kyerematen called at his office as part of a six-day working visit to Japan, in connection with Ghana's national day celebration at the on-going World Expo 2005 in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan, under the theme: "Nature's Wisdom."
Mr Saito said officials of the South African Division of the Organisation had already visited Tamale and northern parts of Ghana to acquaint themselves with shea butter production there, and reported back that it was vital to help raise the average income of the producers there.
Mr Kyerematen said he was happy that JETRO was interested in Ghana's shea butter and pledged that the Government would give the necessary support to encourage intermediate processing of shea butter, stressing "once we are able to do intermediate processing, it will enhance the value of the butter".
For full story, please see: www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=85058
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Source: Institute for War & Peace Reporting, 7 July 2005 (in CENN, 14 July 2005 Daily Digest)
The Armenian government has abandoned plans to build a new highway through a nature reserve after an unusual public outcry, led by local environmental groups. In June, the government approved a road route linking Armenia and Iran, to the south, via the Shikahogh reserve. Instead, the road will now circumvent Shikahogh and the Mtnadzor forests, home to unique trees, plants and even a small number of rare panthers.
The government was forced to bypass the park by adopting an alternate route that will add seven kilometers to the original 89-km projected length. Armenian environmentalists say avoiding Shikahogh will save 14,000 rare trees and hailed the climb down by the government as a major victory. But Transport and Communications Minister Andranik Manukian said the plan to build the road through Shikahogh had been reconsidered not because of pressure from NGOs, but due to so-called “strategic problems”. Some observers said the government was merely reluctant to admit a defeat.
Many species in Shikahogh - like the Bezoarian Goat and the Armenian moufflon (a species of wild sheep) - are indigenous to Armenia. The reserve is also home to between five and eight Asian Panthers - an endangered species of which there are only 20 in the greater Caucasus.
The name Shikahogh (orange earth) comes from the orangey, fiery red colour of soil in the area. Scientists say the ten thousand hectares of forest help to moderate hot winds blowing from desert plains in Iran to the south. The vegetation is also influenced by air from the Caspian Sea to the east. These climatic conditions have created a mix of flora and fauna unique to the region, they say.
The oldest parts of the forest in Shikahogh are 1,000 years old. The growth is so thick in places it block out almost all sunlight, meaning that deep in the forest even the brightest days can seem dark here. Experts say the local ecosystem has been kept intact largely because of the region’s remoteness.
The president of the Armenian Forests NGO, Jeffrey Tufenkian, told IWPR, “Yes, we believe this is a great precedent. We would like to see the continuation of this kind of involvement by NGOs, international organizations, the Diaspora and the general public. If this kind of public participation continues, Armenia will have a great future.” But Tufenkian said it remained to be seen whether the decision to cancel the road project through the reserve was part of a larger trend.
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Source: Leif Brottem, CADTM.org - Liège, France, 18 July 2005
Cotton farming is an industry on which over 15 million Africans depend on for their livelihoods. Oxfam, a UK-based charity and development organization, has led an effective campaign to bring cotton subsidies in rich countries to the forefront of the debate on extreme poverty in Africa. Eliminating the billions of dollars in handouts to some 25,000 American cotton growers would benefit countries in West and Central Africa that depend heavily on exporting the crop. However, the belief that cotton is a panacea for rural Africans ignores a huge problem: in the regions where the crop is grown, the land is being destroyed.
Benin receives 80% of its export revenues from cotton. In Benin’s largest producing region of Banikoara, trucks loaded impossibly high with white fluff rumble by every few minutes during the weeks of harvest. Just as hunting is etched into the collective identity of the local Bariba people, the community’s identity in recent times has been defined by growing “white gold”.
Banikoara’s cotton boom began long before the environmental impacts of growing the cash crop were considered. Now that most local forests have been cut down, residents point to the crop to explain why temperatures are rising, there is less rainfall than before, and all the wildlife has disappeared, including the elephants which attracted the area’s original inhabitants.
Losing the Forest
Benin loses around 100,000 hectares of forest every year, a loss that is most pronounced in cotton producing regions. In practical terms, forest loss means fewer sources of medicine, wood for fuel and construction, and livestock forage. Rapid population growth has outstripped traditional natural resource management systems. To feed their growing families and produce enough cotton to pay off debt and buy necessities, people leave less agricultural land fallow and exhaust the soil, which forces them to clear more land the following year. “Cotton production here will have to shrink eventually because the soil is being exhausted” reported Orou Guere, secretary of a local farmers’ cooperative.
Adapting to the new pressure of sustainable development is extremely difficult given that cotton receipts pay for schools, clinics, and other community infrastructure.
Africans have a more difficult time paying for such basic necessities than they did 25 years ago. In Benin, 22% of the population does not get enough to eat. As the wealth gap between Africa and the rest of the world has grown into an alarming chasm, the term “fourth world” has been broached to describe the continent’s position in the global economy.
Alternatives to Cotton
Alternatives such as ecoagriculture attempt to address this, and other issues, through more adaptive and diversified land use systems. One of the fundamentals of ecoagriculture is the use of native plants that hold economic and ecological value. Economic incentives to exploit and conserve native vegetation are essential but in Benin’s cottonbelt, such incentives are practically nonexistent. Shea butter, a valuable ingredient in cosmetics, is an indigenous product that holds such potential yet there is no infrastructure for large-scale production in Banikoara. In some cases, male farmers cut down shea butter trees, which are exploited by women, to make room for their cotton.
In light of changing local conditions, diversification will be more important for farmers’ livelihoods than improving market conditions for one single cash crop. The recent commencement of an international effort to conserve the biodiversity of Park “W” is radically transforming access to land. The park, which includes nearly 50% of the district of Banikoara within its boundaries, previously served as an unregulated resource pool and important route for cattle migration. Bans on grazing and hunting in the park are now strictly enforced under pain of a large fine or prison sentence. Herdsmen and farmers alike are driven even further into settled areas.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a network of scientists based in Gland, Switzerland, is working to address this and other issues by promoting ecologically sustainable livelihoods amongst people residing near the park. What is the highest priority of the project? It is to diversify away from cotton farming.
Instead of working at cross purposes with conservation groups, development agencies and G-8 governments must match the rhetoric of sustainable development with policies that integrate poverty reduction and biodiversity protection. In cotton-dependent areas such as Banikoara, farmers would conserve the forest habitat that bees require if a viable market existed for honey.
But cotton is king in this part of the world and the ambitions of the international community are not always consistent. Proposals by park officials to reduce cotton production near the park are met with hostility and accusations of “worsening the peoples’ poverty” by agricultural extension officials who are under pressure to ensure that the cotton piles high in the markets. Weeks after the park director repeats his warning to farmers that consequences of setting foot in the park will be grave, officials in the same agency arrived to tell the same farmers to double their output of cotton.
The forest that is giving way to cotton fields is also the source of traditional medicines. Such cures are still very important for rural residents who often lack the money to buy or do not have access to the modern varieties. Sitting under a mango tree in his courtyard, the chief traditional healer of Banikoara, Lotoro Theophile, described how he now must ask herdsmen to gather materials, which used to be abundant, during their trips deep into the bush.
Degradation of their local environment is not lost on those who live with it every day. Unlike policymakers in Washington and Geneva, the farmers of Banikoara know they cannot rely solely on cotton. Many are planting cashew and mango trees as alternatives. One cotton farmer stated enthusiastically: “These trees are our retirement!”
Levelling the playing field of global trade is a worthy goal, particularly vis-à-vis the poor who are currently shut out of the markets for their products. However, the real potential for market-based solutions to poverty in Africa is seriously constrained by growing populations that rely on shrinking areas of land for life’s necessities.
As farmers in Banikoara harvest their cotton, the refusal of the Americans to practice what they preach and give up subsidies to their own is not the most important topic of conversation. The corn and millet crops are more likely on peoples’ minds. If in times past, people thought cotton was the answer, no one is kidding themselves anymore. Africa can’t escape poverty through single crop export solutions.
Leif Brottem is a Foreign Policy In Focus scholar (online at www.fpif.org). He wrote this article following two years of grassroots conservation work with local people in the most productive agricultural district of Benin
For full story, please see: www.cadtm.org/article.php3?id_article=1553
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Source: Lance Belville, Gringoes.com - Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 2005
The nearly 2,000 environmental scientists and their students meeting here in Brasilia this week invited a Kayapó Indian to address them and his 20-minute talk moved this scientific gathering.
Megaron Txucarramae is a smallish man in physical stature but a very large man in the life of his tribe. About 6,000 Kayapó live on their 10 million hectare reserve which stretches from south Para into north Mato Grosso. The Kayapó fought their way--sometimes literally as well a figuratively--to recognition of their tribal lands from a reluctant Brazilian government in a twenty-year struggle which started shortly after an indigenous Brazilian Francisco Meireles first established regular, peaceful contact with them under the aegis of the old Brazilian Indian Protection Service (SPI), the Brazilian service that preceded the present-day National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI).
The challenges the Kayapó face in hanging on to their lands and their way of life are shared to greater or lesser extent by the approximately 200,000 indigenous people inhabiting the Amazon today. Conservation scientists believe that the extent that tribes like the Kayapó are able to cling to their lands and their way of life are crucial to hopes for preserving the biodiversity of the Amazon region.
The Kayapó way of life depends on the forest that surrounds them and now the forest depends on them. In his talk Txucarramae related how many have asked why so few Kayapó need so much land to survive. He explained that the Kayapó hunt, fish and gather most of the necessities of their way of life. "We don‘t raise things. Our food is in the streams and the jungle." He explained that important festivals--critical to their religious and social life"--require weeks of preparation. "We need two months of hunting to get ready for a big festival."
Denied these resources the Kayapó themselves cease to exist. Scientists believe that if the Indians can maintain their traditional way of life, the forests and their priceless biodiversity can survive as well.
They have taken the protection of their lands from outsiders as seriously as personal honour. The willingness of the tribe to attack and repel the errant gold prospector, adventuresome logger or hardy colonist played an important part in the Brazilian government‘s granting them the legal rights to their land. Now, as then, the protection of their lands falls largely on the tribe itself. The Brazilian government and the FUNAI have scant resources to back up Kayapó land rights with much more than a pile of paper.
In the past the tribe has had more allies. Previously the Body Shop chain of beauty and health products purchased Brazil nut oil from the tribe and provided a plane for surveillance flights around Kayapó borders. But recently the company pulled out of its agreements with the tribe. The search is on to replace this and other sources of support with resources from NGOs, foundations and compatible economic activities to help the tribe resist the blandishments of outsiders angling for the riches of the Kayapó jungle home.
The reservation the tribe must defend is something of a mixed blessing. While it provides the tribe their necessities, it has both gold and stands of mahogany (the most valuable wood in the world), as well as Brazil nuts and a host of other forest products sought after by the outside world. The tribe has selectively permitted some logging and gold mining but pressures are constant on them both from increased illegal cutting and inducements to authorize more logging and mining. And without the help of aircraft as well as boats and engines provided sporadically by FUNAI it is becoming increasingly difficult to defend the hundreds of kilometers of Kayapó borders.
And the temptation to trade short-term profit from their gold and tropical woods may prove irresistible to tribal chieftains who increasingly find that prestige and influence may come as much from providing civilized trade goods as returning game-laden from hunting expeditions.
As it now stands, the tribe does not have the resources of surveillance and enforcement to repel a new wave of deforestation and invasion that is spreading like a human tsunami from the nearby highway linking Cuiabá, south of their lands and Santarem near Kayapó northern borders.
The Kayapó, tough and independent as they are, both as individuals and as a tribe, now need their friends, perhaps more than ever. If both Brazilian and international NGOs come to their aid their lands and a sizeable chunk of Amazon forest biodiversity may be secured. If not, the Kayapó‘s next battle with the incursions of the outside world may be their last.
For full story, please see: http://www.gringoes.com/articles.asp?ID_Noticia=857
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Source: Taiga News, Issue 50, Spring 2005
Rose and Ric Richardson are a Metis couple living and working in Sakatchewan. At their business, they promote the pride and dignity of Metis people and work on ensuring that cultural knowledge is shared with their own people and others. They work with traditional medicines found in the northern boreal forest and teach some uses of these in the ‘Medicine Walk’ part of their eco-tourism business.
They also lobby the governments of Saskatchewan and Canada to promote sustainable practices in the use of the resources of the boreal forest, as well as to gain support for aboriginal eco-tourism. They believe eco-tourism can help to preserve the traditional knowledge of native people, as well as provide an economic basis from which they can offer opportunities based on the sustainable use of natural forests.
Rose has a degree in education, which helps in developing programmes for sharing knowledge of plant identification and use. They have spoken about traditional medicines at the University of Saskatchewan and are the co-ordinators of the ‘Medicines’ Venue’ of the International Gathering of Traditional Healing and Medicines, which is held annually at the Nekaneet First Nation in south-western Saskatchewan. They have also made numerous presentations around Saskatchewan promoting the knowledge and use of traditional ways of health and healing, including teaching about the recognition, use and importance of sustainability of plants used for medicines.
For more information, please contact:
For full story, please see: www.taigarescue.org/index.php?view=taiga_news&tn_ID=1035
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Source: forest-fi, 22 August 2005
Lumene is a trailblazer in the use of berries in cosmetics. Now the company’s products include arctic cloudberry extracts. “Our research to find new raw materials from Finnish nature has been going on for years and we have had several ideas. The crucial thing is of course what kind of cosmetic effects the ingredients have. This research has led us to arctic forest berries such as cloudberry, lingonberry and cranberry,” explains Ms. Tiina Isohanni, Vice President R&D, QA for Lumene.
Using Finnish ingredients is important to Lumene for two reasons, she explains. “We are a Finnish company and we make Finnish products, it’s a way to distinguish us. Another reason is that due to the short but light Nordic summer many arctic berry species have a high concentration of the active ingredients.”
The fact that Finnish nature is considered to be pure is also an important factor to Lumene and its customers.
Ms. Isohanni says that developing cosmetics from berries took years; the process has been going on for six to seven years now. And it took two, three years of development before Lumene had a product containing berry extracts on market.
Lumene uses cloudberries, lingonberries and cranberries as well as pine and birch extracts in its products. For example, cloudberry, lingonberry and cranberry are used in face creams, pine bark extracts in men’s products and birch sap and birch leave extracts in body care products.
Cloudberry seed oil is used to protect skin from radical damage and to enhance regeneration. Pine extracts are used to prevent premature skin ageing and birch leaves extract to boost circulation. Cranberry is an old, well-known medicinal herb in Finland.
Ms. Isohanni says that the company uses approximately 100,000 kilos of berries each year. “That figure includes all berries used. However, we do not process the berries ourselves. We use mostly berry seed oil which we buy from a Northern Finnish company called Aromtech. Major part of those 100,000 kilos is cloudberry.” For example in order to get a kilo of cloudberry seed oil you need a hundred kilos of berries. Ms. Isohanni stresses that even though Lumene uses only the oil from the seeds, other parts of the berries do not go to waste. “The other parts of the berries are made good use of, in juices, jams and so forth.”
According to her, Lumene has not had problems with berry procurement so far. “Of course we have thought about it a good deal as crops vary from season to season. It’s a small risk, but we have had to plan for alternative sources.”
Face care products containing cloudberry are Lumene’s most successful both in Finland and abroad. Lumene’s products are available in Scandinavia, Baltic countries, Russia and USA. In Russia cloudberry is a well-know berry, but in USA it has thus far been unknown. Gaining USA markets is notoriously difficult. Lumene has the help of its exotic Nordic origins and big partner, CVS/Pharmacy.
Lumene continues the search for new active ingredients from the Finnish nature. Isohanni says that they research lots of different raw materials. “We look closely at tree species for instance, what we could find there as well as corn species. All plants found in Finland are interesting to us.”
In Finland Lumene is the leading cosmetics brand with its 27 percent market share.
For full story, please see: www.forest.fi/smyforest/foresteng.nsf/tiedotteetlookup/CA7D686338A05F40C2257065003ECCF3
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Source: NewKerala.com - Ernakulam, Kerala, India, 22 July 2005
The Kerala Assembly today enacted legislation to promote tree growth in non-forest areas. The Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth in Non-Forest Areas Act allows the owner to plant and cut any tree, except sandalwood, in their private land.
While the government argued that the law would encourage the people to plant different species, the Opposition alleged that it would result in large scale felling of trees.
For full story, please see: www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=8280
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Source: Business Standard – India, 30 June 2005
The medicinal plant collection and traditional medicine sector in India is under threat, from illegal collection and depletion of forest resources.
The Rs 4,000 crore market for traditional systems of medicine, dependent largely on medicinal plants, was growing at 20 per cent annually but would be derailed by these threats. The ayurveda market worth around Rs 3,500 crore was also growing at 20 per cent annually but faced a similar disaster, according to a study conducted by a consortium of south Asian NGOs, called South Asian Watch on Trade, Economic and Environment (SAWTEE), the National Medicinal Plant Board under the central ministry of health and family welfare, and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).
The special focus of the study were four states of the central and north eastern region of the eastern Himalayas - Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh (with over 500 species of medicinal plants), Himachal Pradesh (with 3000 plant species) and Meghalaya (another storehouse of medicinal plants in the country).
Most medicinal plants grew in the wild and in the four surveyed states, up to 90 per cent material was sourced from the wild. But these were being illegally collected by hiring the local mountain tribes and communities at daily wages of Rs 70 or less for onward sale in wholesale markets. Even endangered and banned plant varieties were not spared.
To check powerful local contractors in ‘bhaishaj sangh’ or medicinal plant cooperatives, forest departments have been granted greater power over collection and marketing procedures in states like Uttaranchal.
The government was also trying to promote legal cultivation, but factors like high economic risk and inadequate technology for cultivation of such plants on a large scale were hampering the process.
In states like Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya in order to prevent excessive collection from the wild, the government has introduced concrete policies to promote cultivation which includes schemes to train farmers for cultivation projects which are being done in tandem with non government organisations.
Medicinal plants could only be harvested after three years and most farmers felt that prices were uncertain and too low to justify the effort.
A comparative analysis done by the National Medicinal Plant Board between potato, rajma and the medicinal plant ‘kutki’ demonstrated that ‘kutki’ cultivation was more profitable in the long run. Cost of cultivation of potato was Rs 32,400 with a net calculated profit of Rs 12,600, while rajma cost Rs 9,675 to grow and yielded profit of Rs 5,325, but ‘kutki’ cost Rs 22,216 to rear and yielded profit of Rs 88,284.
National as well as state level research institutes are working for the promotion of medicinal plants in the Himalayan foothill regions. Species being promoted for cultivation include Cinchona ledgeriana or quinine, sarpagandha or Rauvolfia serpentina and Aconitum heterophyllum or atis, Coptis teeta or mamira, Picrorhiza kurrooa or kutki in Arunachal Pradesh.
India’s export of medicinal and herbal plants, which stood at Rs 446 crore in 2000, was expected to reach Rs 3,000 crore this fiscal, the National Medicinal Plant Board said in the study.
All this was at risk because of lack of good practices.
Over 1.5 million practitioners of the Indian systems of medicine in the oral and codified streams use medicinal plants for preventive and curative applications, noted Ghayur Alam, director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Mussorie.
About 5 crore people rely on non timber forest products (NTFP), the majority of which were medicinal plants.
Collection and processing of medicinal plants contributed to at least 35 million work days of employment annually according to the survey.
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Source: Calcutta Telegraph - Calcutta,India, 13 July 2005
The Jharkhand State Forest Development Corporation today submitted a proposal to the state government to set up bamboo-based industries in Ranchi and Jamshedpur.
According to the proposal, the Jharkhand State Forest Development Corporation would plant bamboo worth Rs 1.9 crore in different parts of the state and establish two units, one in Ranchi and another in Jamshedpur to produce bamboo items. The project is along the lines of the bamboo-based industries in north-eastern part of the country. The initial cost involved for setting up the units, according to the proposal, is Rs 60 lakh.
Sources at forest and environment department said the proposal is likely to be approved by the minister by the end of October this year.
For full story, please see: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050714/asp/jamshedpur/story_4987976.asp
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Source: WWF: Environmental News, 12 August, 2005
Plans to create the world’s largest palm oil plantation in Kalimantan along Indonesia’s mountainous border with Malaysia could have a devastating impact on the forests, wildlife, and indigenous people of Borneo, warns WWF. The proposed scheme, funded by China, is expected to cover an area of 1.8 million hectares (equivalent to about half the size of The Netherlands).
Most of this mountainous region, part of the "Heart of Borneo", still holds huge tracts of forests, where threatened species such as orang-utans and the Borneo bay cat live, and 14 out of the island's 20 major rivers originate from. According to WWF, new species have been discovered there at a rate of three per month over the last ten years making the area one of the richest on the globe in terms of biodiversity.
WWF stresses that infertile soil and steep areas, such as those in the Heart of Borneo, prevent the development of oil palm plantations. According to experts, oil palm is not recommended to be planted in areas above 200 metres sea level, because of low productivity at these levels. Furthermore, oil palm plantations should be restricted to areas where the incline is less than 30 per cent. Most of the Heart of Borneo border area is between 1000 and 2000 meters high. Research carried out in 2004 by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in the Heart of Borneo area, showed that out of 200 sample sites, none were suitable for the cultivation of oil palm.
"It doesn’t make commercial or conservation sense to rip the forest out of the Heart of Borneo to plant a crop which cannot grow in mountainous conditions," said Dr Mubariq Ahmad, Chief Executive Director of WWF-Indonesia. "Such a project could have long-lasting, damaging, consequences for the people who depend on the area and its massive water resources, which feed the whole island."
Despite the Indonesian government's assurance that the project would not harm the environment, WWF insists that development of palm oil plantations should follow strict sustainable and environmental principles, which exclude the destruction of forests of high social and biological importance. According to the global conservation organization, there is plenty of degraded, non-forested, land on Kalimantan where oil palm plantations could be established.
"We are calling on the Indonesian government to work only with serious and responsible palm oil investors who support sustainable palm oil," added Dr Mubariq Ahmad. "Borneo needs sustainable development not short-term economic measures which will accelerate the loss of the remaining natural forests in South East Asia."
For full story, please see: http://www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/news.cfm?uNewsID=22371
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Source: The Observer, 7 August 2005
One of the world's biggest mining companies has been given permission to open up an enormous mine on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar which will involve digging up some of the world's most unique forest.
The decision has outraged campaigners at Friends of the Earth, who had opposed the plans from the outset.
Madagascar is unique for its wildlife - of its estimated 200,000 plant and animal species, three-quarters exist nowhere else in the world. Its beauty and coastline are also beginning to make it a popular tourism destination.
But the company, mining giant Rio Tinto, which has the backing of the World Bank for the plan, is adamant that environmental damage will be kept to a minimum. It says it will bring much-needed economic growth to an impoverished region. The project in the Fort Dauphin region of the island is being developed by QIT Madagascar Minerals, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, with 20 per cent owned by the government.
Up to 1,000 hectares of land and coastal rainforest bordering the Indian Ocean will be dug up in different phases of the £430 million project to extract ilmenite, a mineral which can be used to produce titanium dioxide pigment. Around 750,000 tonnes of the ore will be extracted each year at the start of the operation, which could last for 40 years.
The huge economic growth of China has led to enormous demand for the white pigment, which is used in paper, paint and plastics, at a time when other ilmenite mines in Australia and South Africa are being exhausted.
The first production will begin in 2008, once a new port has been built, partly with $35 million of funding from the World Bank.
The decision comes 10 years after Lees died while investigating proposals for the controversial mine. His disappearance in 1995 sparked a search and he was found in the forest where he had collapsed and died from heat stroke.
Madagascar has more groups of unique animals that anywhere else on earth. There are 24 families of species that are found only on the island. Best known of Madagascar's animals are the lemurs, monkey-like creatures with large eyes, of which there are 32 different species. Other creatures under ecological stress are the ploughshare tortoise, the world's rarest tortoise, of which only a few hundred survive today, and the sideneck turtle.
Tony Juniper, head of Friends of the Earth, is aghast that the project has got the go-ahead. He said last night: 'This is a very sad day and very bad news for the people of Madagascar. Rio Tinto is exploiting natural resources in the developing world and, once again, it is the local people who will pay the price. 'This mine will not solve the terrible problems of poverty on the island, but it will damage its precious biodiversity.
He said that it was time international laws were introduced to protect the interests of people and the environment. 'It is becoming increasingly clear that companies cannot be trusted to do so.'
Rio Tinto, highly sensitive to conservation criticisms, set up an independent biodiversity committee in order to assess any likely damage and to see how much could be avoided or minimised. As a result, the company decided to set aside a conservation area on land it was previously going to mine, so that some of the plants and species could be protected. It also worked with experts from Kew Gardens in London to preserve the seeds from threatened plants. Kew received sponsorship money from Rio Tinto as part of the deal.
Roger Smith, formerly head of the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew, said it was neutral on the decision, saying it was not its role to criticise what was essential a decision for the Madagascar government. 'We wanted to see the least environmental damage possible from this project. With our expertise we can do a great deal to protect their species, and we have nursery skills which will ensure that the plants have the best possible chances of growing.'
Andrew Mackenzie, head of Industrial Minerals, the product group of Rio Tinto responsible for the mine, said yesterday: 'We believe we have done everything we can do to minimise the impact on what I would say was an inevitable decision.' He pointed out that much of the forest in the south has already disappeared because local people have chopped down many of the trees for firewood. 'We will actually restore the forest to them, by planting seeds and saplings in areas that have been denuded.' He added that, working in areas of 50 hectares at a time, they would remove the ore from the sand and then replace the sand and replant it with trees.
But Juniper said no company could guarantee that its plans would work out in the best way possible. 'You might have lots of plans for environmental protection, backed by lots of experts, but we are looking at a mine which will operate for 40 years.
'What are we going to do if, at the end of it all, there are species which become extinct and a habitat that is ruined and people who are still impoverished? Who's going to be held accountable for that? No one. It's the age-old story of multinationals getting exactly what they want, whatever the environmental cost.'
For full story, please see: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1544101,00.html
Related story: http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=10345&channel=0
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Source: The Chronicle Newspaper (Lilongwe), 30 June 2005
Can it take over from tobacco?
It is an undisputable fact that the anti-tobacco lobby in the western world is determined as ever to completely phase out, off the face of the earth, Malawi's main foreign exchange earner - tobacco. This is going to have far reaching consequences for the country that, up to now is yet to identify an acceptable alternative to the crop.
But should Malawians smile when they consider there is a chance to make Honey, the hidden Treasure?
The government in its diversification drive have suggested many and varied products to replace tobacco like tourism, paprika, cotton, cassava and other crops. But none of the above comes anywhere near to honey, which can be the answer to the majority of Malawians and the country since it can indeed bring much needed foreign exchange. This single commodity is currently in short supply.
Beekeepers and a group of researchers in Nkondezi Village in Nkhata-Bay north have a point to prove to Malawians; that honey can replace tobacco if harnessed properly. They contend that the nectar can fetch much higher prices on the local and international markets than tobacco.
Small Bee-keepers Development and Research Association [SBDARA] is a grouping of researchers established in 1986 which brings together 2,000 clubs, with 4,000 farmers involved in bee-keeping whose aim is to conduct research and help farmers to realize their full potential for harnessing honey to improve on standards which can easily compete on the international market.
According to SBDARA Chief Director John Harawa, bee farming is better than any other farming. He said it helps other horticultural and crop farmers because of the pollination work that bees conduct. He also indicated that even in the conservation of forestry bee keeping helps since the beehives are often located in forest reserves.
Said Harawa: "Bee-keeping is an affordable undertaking yet its product is highly profitable. Malawi's honey has got big markets within and outside the country but we are failing to satisfy the market because we can't meet the supply and demand."
SBDARA said that Malawi's honey has markets in Malaysia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya and United Kingdom, apart from the local markets. The price of 500 grams of honey is MK185 and 1kg is MK370 [US$3], which by far surpasses tobacco, which this season is selling at an average price of US$1 per kg.
The researcher said that honey quality needs to be of a high standard for it to fetch good prices on the international market, especially in the European Union markets that are difficult to penetrate. In order to be able to send Malawi's honey to these markets there needs to be a lot of education on standards. "Honey with less than 18% water content and without chloramphenicol traces is the one that can be bought on the international market," said Harawa.
Speaking in an interview, Austin Manda, a bee farmer said that they need a laboratory in their area so that they can meet the standards that are required on the international market. He concurred with the other speakers that honey indeed could replace tobacco as the main foreign exchange earner saying that at peak periods a hive with a main flow can yield 15-25 kg while semi flow yield is 9-12 kg per harvest. "We harvest honey twice a year. You can see honey has the potential of making a lot of money for the farmer and the country. One meter beehive can produce 30 kgs a season and if translated into monetary terms you can see for yourself how much a farmer gets in a season," said Manda.
Manda said that once honey has been harvested the residue is also used as raw material for some other products. Unlike tobacco which needs a lot of money to produce with no residue that can be used, beekeeping has many spin-off benefits.
The farmers in SBDARA area are asking government to consider taking positive steps in order for them to have greater profits by introducing bee-keeping education in the agricultural colleges' curricular.
Community Partnership for Natural Resource Management [COMPASS] is helping these farmers in pricing, packaging and marketing so that farmers can fetch good prices for their honey. According to COMPASS Public Awareness Specialist Levi Zeleza Manda, community based natural resources management [CBNRM] in which bee-keeping is a component, should be viewed as a viable strategy for rural development because wealth derived from natural resources is sustainable.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507010190.html
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Source: New Straits Times - Persekutuan, Malaysia, 13 July 2005
A forest near Dungun - home to a unique species of camphor trees - has become the biggest green lung in the country. The area, the size of 6,666 football fields, has been gazetted as an educational forest.
The decision by the Terengganu Government was embraced by conservation groups. "We are going to provide essential infrastructure to promote the area as a popular educational forest."
Most dryobalanops species of camphor trees in the country were the result of more than 40 years of replanting in logged-over forests; but those found in Bukit Bauk, Dungun, were endemic.
The aromatic resins from these species are highly sought after by producers of camphor and camphor oil.
The gazetted area will be maintained by both the State Forestry Department and the Dungun district office.
For full story, please see: www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Thursday/National/20050714075500/Article/indexb_html
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Source: New Straits Times - Persekutuan, Malaysia, 7 August 2005
The gazetting of 7,504ha of forest at Bukit Bauk, Dungun, as a recreational area has led to an unexpected find — rare camphor trees and the Livistonia endauensis fan palm. Researchers have also found 89 species of trees and plants endemic to Bukit Bauk.
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh is excited by the discoveries which he feels will help in Malaysia’s efforts in biotechnology. "Each new discovery brings hope for research into the biochemical properties of these species.”We may find something that can save lives," he said after visiting the area, which is 85km from here, this morning.
He said the gazetting two months ago made the area the largest educational and recreational forest nationwide.
He said the camphor trees (Dryobalanops aromatica) were not common while the fan palm was thought to be endemic to the Endau-Rompin forest.
The Bukit Bauk recreational forest is the second noteworthy development in recent conservation activities in the State, the first being the gazetting of 49,107ha of forest in Tasik Kenyir, Hulu Terengganu.
"Forests are a heritage that must be preserved. This is our contribution to future generations," Idris said
For full story, please see: www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Monday/National/20050808083355/Article/indexb_html
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Source: Sun Star – Philippines, July 20, 2005
A Bicolano congressman is calling for the establishment of a system that would promote and propagate the use of indigenous raw materials in order to feed the growing demand for such materials. Representative Luis Villafuerte (2nd district, Camarines Sur) said promoting the use of indigenous materials would be "timely and appropriate" because of the current economic predicament of the country.
"The growing need for indigenous raw materials such as bamboo, rattan, buri, anahaw, tambo and the likes as functional and ornamental items for home craft and other industries had been felt and recognized," Villafuerte said in introducing House Bill No. 3364.
Unfortunately, Villafuerte pointed out the demand in both the local and international market has not been met because there is a lack of an organized public or private sector effort to augment the supply so it can meet the demand.
In the bill, Villafuerte proposed that the government make the scientific propagation, culture and development of these indigenous raw materials a priority program and give it the proper administrative and financial support.
He proposed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should initially set aside 10 hectares in appropriate areas for the planting and propagation of bamboo, rattan, buri, anahaw and tambo.
Villafuerte said the "pilot demonstration farms" of the trees and plants for these raw materials could serve to replace denuded forests and will be a positive step in preserving the country's fragile ecosystem.
He said the bill will require only a very small investment but this will reap considerable economic benefits for the country.
For full story, please see: www.sunstar.com.ph/static/pam/2005/07/20/oped/mark.allen.c..sison.html
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Source: Ned Rozell, Alaska Science, Anchorage Daily News, 7 August 2005
Saplings of the Alaska paper birch tree produce a sticky resin on new branches that discourages snowshoe hares from eating them. Some scientists think that such chemical defences might be useful drugs and a new natural resource for Alaskans to tap.
Tom Clausen and John Bryant think so highly of birch trees' promise that they took a 600-mile journey up and down the Porcupine River early this summer to clip birch twigs from different locations. The researchers compared twigs from Circle all the way up to Old Crow in the Yukon Territory. They found that new twigs of birch were more heavily encrusted with resin nodules the farther north they went. "As we went upriver, the trees got gooier and gooier," said Clausen, the chairman of the University of Alaska Fairbanks' department of chemistry and biochemistry.
In the late 1970s, Bryant, a UAF professor emeritus who now lives in Wyoming, noticed that Alaska birches seemed to protect themselves from hares by producing resinous glands on saplings and stems growing close to the ground. Current UAF provost and chemist Paul Reichardt determined that the stems of birch saplings are stubbled with tiny beads of papyriferic acid, a sweet compound with a bitter aftertaste.
Twigs growing higher on mature trees don't have the glands.
"When a tree gets knocked down, the tops are like candy for hares," Clausen said. The papyriferic acid on sapling twigs causes snowshoe hares to pass more sodium with their urine. This loss of sodium indicates birch defences, such as papyriferic acid, which are potential hypertension drugs, Bryant said.
"Papyriferic acid and other substances are clearly affecting hares, and things that affect mammals are of interest as potential drugs," Clausen said. Medical researchers first derived aspirin, for example, from a chemical extracted from willows, and the cancer drug Taxol originated in Pacific yew trees.
The north has a bumper crop of birch and other trees and shrubs that seem to be loaded with papyriferic acid and other potentially valuable chemicals. Bryant has sampled trees from Connecticut to Galena, and the northern ones are the richest. "In Connecticut, trees contain no papyriferic acid; Old Crow trees have 50 percent," Bryant said. "That's a huge difference."
On their recent trip to the village of Old Crow and beyond, Clausen and Bryant found a striking relationship between forest fires, snowshoe hares and resinous birch. The extreme forest fires of the North -- an area the size of Vermont burned in Alaska in 2004 -- could be a reason why it's such a storehouse for papyriferic acid and other natural chemicals.
"Fire yields hare habitat, which yields hares, which yields hares eating plants, which yields juvenile plants evolving a chemical defence against hares," Bryant said.
Since the birches with the highest concentrations of the chemical are between Fort Yukon and northwest Canada, Bryant sees potential for villagers to start a new industry of harvesting young birch and other woody plants. This sort of small industry is already under way in Minnesota, where researchers from the University of Duluth have joined a biotech company to harvest birch bark for betulin, a chemical effective as a herpes and skin cancer drug and as a component of cosmetics.
"If one wants to look for drugs, it makes sense to look at plant-mammal interactions," Bryant said, "and the strongest plant/mammal interaction is between hares and the trees and shrubs of northern Alaska and northern Canada." "There's tons of this stuff right outside our door," Clausen said.
For full story, please see: www.adn.com/life/story/6791708p-6681125c.html
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Source: Vanuatu Online - Port Vila, Vanuatu, 25 July 2005
Sandalwood harvest and trading season opened on 15 July, and the Ministry of Agriculture last week advised farmers and traders to plant 4000 to 5000 trees by end of 2005, as a sustainability and reforestation initiative.
The Minister of Agriculture, Quarantine, Forestry and Fisheries, Barak Sope, has authorised sandalwood traders to harvest until 15 October 2005. "By end of 2005, they should show a record to the Department of Forestry and equivalent of 4000 to 5000 plants planted as a [sustainability] initiative. And as a matter of policy, each license holder must established their own plantations, process sandalwood locally and only export sandalwood oil," Minister Sope advised.
Minister Sope sent a letter to the Director of Forestry informing him of the order, and said sandalwood license holders and farmers must adhere to the conditions of harvesting sandalwood as set out by the Department of Forestry. "The harvesting season is open for three months and is only applicable to the islands of Santo, and Tafea province which consists of Erromango, Tanna, Aniwa and Futuna," said the Minister.
He explained that since the sandalwood industry is a developing industry, the Ministry further advised all license holder to seriously engage in the reforestation programs
For full story, please see: http://www.news.vu/en/business/Agriculture/050725-Vanuatu-sandalwood-harvest-season.shtml
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Source: Cosmetics Design - Montpellier, France, 19 July 2005
Ensuring a constant supply of seasonal natural ingredients is one of the most challenging aspects for businesses within this category. Brazilian rain forest ingredients specialist Beraca Ingredients has used specific packaging and processing methods to overcome this problem.
According to Bereca, the essentials for ensuring the supply of seasonal ingredients are down to both logistics and employing accurate methods to avoid the deterioration and degradation of ingredients while they are in storage, including microencapsulated the oils in powder form and specially designed packaging.
Bereca’s vegetable oils in its Rain Forest Specialties line are formed from buriti, urucum, andiroba, Para chestnut (Brazil nut), copaiba, and passion fruit; and the butters of cupuaçu, ucuuba and muru-muru.
But because each of these oils originates from the Amazonian forest, the seed crops are harvested when they are ripe. This means that as they are seasonal products, each one has its own specific harvesting times and conditions, the company says.
“To avoid the deterioration and the degradation of the seed oils, the harvesting and the storage of the seeds obey strict technical norms,” Filipe Sabará, Beraca Ingredient’s marketing director. ”In addition, the promptness of product availability during the whole year is guaranteed for the user by all logistics operation involved in the production process of those raw materials.”
Beraca's butters and oils of Rain Forest Specialties line are processed at the factory of Belem do Para, in the Northern Brazil state of Para, and then finished at its refining unit in Santa Barbara D'Oeste, in the state of Sao Paulo, in the south. Beraca says that both factories are FSC - Forest Stewardship Council certified, and that it is in the process of obtaining Good Manufacturing Practices certification. The current production capacity is 600 tons/month and the production process is said to be completely traceable.
The raw materials, which are cold-pressed, are physically- and vacuum-refined according to international quality standardization. Further to this, Beraca says it maintains the quality and the regularity of active ingredients contents, batch by batch to ensure there are no irregularities.
Many of Beraca’s raw materials are backed up by international patents, which include the production technologies for powdered oils - constituted by the micro encapsulation of the oils for protection against the oxidation processes. This allows for the easier formulation of oils and butters into cosmetic preparations, as well as ensuring the quality and efficacy of the ingredient.
Currently rain forest oils available in powder form include Andiroba, Brazil Nut, Copaíba, Buriti and Passion Fruit. Other ingredients also available in powder form include Jojoba, Peach and Sweet Almond Oils.
But the quality process does not stop at processing. The quality of the products during transportation and storage are ensured by using specific packaging that both ensures the quality of the contents and helps to protect it during transportation.
Last month Beraca launched a new line of active ingredients sourced primarily from the Brazilian rainforests and said to be completely natural.
Currently the company's annual turnaround is around $6 million derived from sales in 17 countries around the globe, with growth rates of 45 per cent per year.
For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=61392-biodiversity-oils-a
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Source: Inter Press Service News Agency, 4 July (IPS) (in BIO-IPR, 17.7.05)
Around 500 products based on plants native to Peru are registered in patent offices in the United States, Europe and Japan, but many of them may have been produced by breaking Peruvian laws on access to biodiversity and traditional knowledge.
This complaint was voiced by Santiago Roca, the president of Peru's National Institute for the Defence of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property, at the first meeting of intellectual property officials from the eight Amazon basin countries.
These hundreds of products were derived from just seven native plants from Peru, Roca told IPS at the Jun. 30-Jul. 1 meeting in Rio de Janeiro, in which officials from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela took part.
The statistics on the number of products based on native Peruvian plants came from a study by a commission set up by the Peruvian government to examine patent registries in Europe, Japan and the United States.
The report, which was completed in January, laid the groundwork for verifying whether the applications for patents were legal. Roca said authorities from his country will now investigate whether patent applications infringed Peruvian legislation on access to genetic resources, which requires prior consent from and compensation for the indigenous communities that possess the traditional knowledge used in developing the products. Peru's ”regime for protection of indigenous peoples' knowledge related to biological diversity”, which was adopted in 2002, regulates these questions in Peru, and orders remuneration in exchange for access to traditional knowledge, which goes into a fund to be distributed to the communities involved, he explained.
Of the 500 products, two or three cases of proven legal infractions will be selected, to demand the revocation of the patents, and ”the success of this first step will set a precedent” that will pave the way for a broad offensive against biopiracy, said Roca.
Biopiracy is defined as biological theft, or the unauthorised and uncompensated collection of indigenous plants, animals, microorganisms, genes or traditional communities' knowledge on biological resources by corporations that patent them for their own use.
Countries with great biological diversity like those of the Amazon jungle must protect that wealth and the knowledge about it held by traditional indigenous peoples, just as industrialised nations apply pressure around the world to fight the piracy of their products, like software, films and albums, Roca argued.
The meeting of intellectual property officials, which was sponsored by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO), was a first step towards the sharing and exchange of information on biopiracy, cooperation and international negotiations on patents. Achieving effective recognition of ”collective rights” requires an effort by all countries, because national laws generally only protect the copyright and intellectual property rights of individuals or companies, not of the communities that developed the knowledge in the first place, said ACTO secretary-general Rosalía Arteaga.
Arteaga said the question calls for debate and reflection among countries, especially those with ”mega-biodiversity,” like Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
A pressing question now is obtaining reparations for indigenous communities for the knowledge that they have collected over centuries and which is being used to develop food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, she underlined. This will be ”a long process,” and is a particularly sensitive issue in the Amazon jungle region due to its immense biodiversity, she said, pointing out that each hectare of this part of South America contains more biological diversity than all of Europe combined.
An emblematic case of the illegal appropriation of biodiversity occurred a few years ago in Brazil, when the Japanese company Asahi Foods patented the name of an Amazon fruit, cupuazú, which is related to cacao. Legal action that was initially led by non-governmental organisations got the patent annulled in Japan and Europe this year.
Brazil's National Institute on Industrial Property has begun to inform its counterparts around the world of the names of Amazon jungle plants in order to prevent further cases of inappropriate registration of patents, said Roberto Jaguaribe, secretary of industrial technology in Brazil's Development Ministry.
Peru's experience could make a significant contribution to Brazil's struggle in this area, since many species are shared by both countries, like the ”quiebra piedra” (literally ”stone breaker”) plant used to make herbal tea for people suffering from kidney stones or gallstones, said Jaguaribe, who called for joint international legal action against biopiracy.
One hurdle to cooperation in this area is the diversity of national legislation. For that reason, future meetings of intellectual property officials from the Amazon nations will focus on the ”harmonisation of laws,” Arteaga announced.
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Source: WorldChanging – USA, 25 July 2005
Triggers for Innovation – New Models for Change and Social Entrepreneurship
Despite recent court rulings, "biopiracy" -- non-locals patenting treatments based on plants used by indigenous communities -- continues to be a problem. Construction of databases and knowledge archives about native group uses of local plants is an increasingly popular way of combatting biopiracy (by establishing "prior art," and blocking patents), but such projects are not easily accomplished. Indigenous knowledge is often an oral tradition, and remote communities in the developing world may not be willing to share that knowledge with outsiders.
The Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project is a South African effort to identify and protect the unique local biosystems used by local communities as medicines, based on the authority -- and knowledge -- of female traditional leaders. The result has been something even greater than a knowledge archive:
The female traditional leaders from the Eastern Cape said that the initiative to manage indigenous knowledge systems was community-driven. Before embarking on the Management of Indigenous Knowledge Systems Project, female traditional leaders from Rharhabe Kingdom focused on how commercial exploitation of traditional foods could help develop their communities. However, they later realized the need to link the management of indigenous knowledge systems on traditional foods with that of traditional medicines in order to make their promotion of rural livelihoods or development effective. The sources of traditional foods and medicines are largely indigenous plants and grains. Some medicines are also acquired from animals and reptiles.
The female traditional leaders said that they intended to uplift the socio-economic well-being of their communities through the establishment of community business enterprises that produced, marketed, and sold traditional foods and medicines. Already, a traditional food production center and restaurant have been set up in the Eastern Cape-based Rharhabe Kingdom. About 20 female traditional leaders from Rharhabe Kingdom said that they also intended to set up a traditional medicine pharmacy in their Kingdom.
One notable aspect of the project is that it aims to stop not just institutional biopiracy (from pharmaceutical concerns, for example) but also casual biopiracy from local city dwellers. Apparently, a number of useful plants are being over-harvested by South African urbanites looking for medicinal or nutritional supplements.
For full story, please see: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/003186.html
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Source: The Rising Nepal, Kathmandu, 29 July 2005
The most controversial provision in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the one relating to patenting of life forms. While this provision is a boon for biotech and agro-chemical companies of the North, it has opened the floodgate for the piracy of genetic resources and misappropriation of associated traditional knowledge (TK) from the South. In fact, it has provided a legal cover to the biopirates. The gene-rich developing countries could not even take shelter under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), since it lacks legal measures against non-compliance unlike TRIPS in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) system. This has led to a wide debate over the issue of TRIPS and CBD during WTO negotiations.
The debate took constructive shape when pressures from the gene-rich developing countries culminated in the explicit recognition of the iniquitous nature of TRIPS in the Doha Development Agenda. Ministers instructed the TRIPS Council to examine, inter alia, the relationship between TRIPS and CBD, the protection of TK and folklore, and other developments. However, till date, the council has failed to persuade members, resulting into more heated discussions over the issue of the reconciliation of TRIPS and the CBD.
Among the many conflicts, the most pertinent one is that CBD calls for benefit sharing between commercial users of genetic resources and associated TK, and donors of such resources, whereas TRIPS negates such a mechanism by providing exclusive rights to the patent holder. As if injustice inherent in the patent system was not enough, the developed countries are also ready to flout the basic tenets of patent (novelty, inventive step and commercial application) in order to appease their vested interests.
For example, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted US Patent 5,401,504 on 28 March 1995 on the Use of Turmeric in Wound Healing to the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Whereas it is common knowledge in most South Asian countries that turmeric has numerous properties, including wound healing. When granting the patent, either the USPTO did not examine whether such knowledge was pre-existing or the researchers misled the USPTO, arguing they fulfilled all the patent criteria. The twin major criteria of novelty and inventive steps were, in fact, not fulfilled.
Fortunately, the patent was later challenged by the Center of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)—an Indian government undertaking—and subsequently the patent was revoked. What was spine chilling was the very idea that an exclusive right to sell and use turmeric for the purpose of wound healing, as claimed in the patent, was granted to the university. Had the patent not been challenged, the university would have been able to license the patent to a company, which, in turn, would have charged royalty to the inhabitants of South Asia for having used wound healing property of turmeric. This is not the only example; patents granted on specific properties of neem, bitter gourd, eggplant and grape are a few other examples.
To control bio-piracy, many developing countries are demanding “disclosure requirement” as a positive obligation on the patent applicants, making it mandatory to disclose the source or country of origin of genetic resources and associated TK.
This requirement ensures that the patent applicant will comply with the access and benefit sharing legislation of the host country. It would also enable patent offices to be more vigilant while examining patent applications. Moreover, it would serve as a critical tool for gene-rich countries to track down applications based on genetic resources and related TK, and enable adequate challenges to specious patents.
For full story, please see: www.gorkhapatra.org.np/pageloader.php?file=2005/07/29/editorial/editorial2
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Source: H. Gyde Lund, FIU 8 AUG 05 [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Do you want to do more to assist with coral reef and tropical forest conservation, but lack the time, energy and freedom - well why not join the Coral Cay Conservation Society and we'll do the hard work for you. The recently launched Society is owned and run by the Coral Cay Conservation Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to protecting coral reefs and tropical forests - and the livelihoods of the people who depend on them. Joining the Society will enable you to not only support the Trust but also become involved with CCC’s important charitable work to enhance the livelihoods of those that are dependant on the conservation of reefs and forests. Members of the Society will be able to sign-on for marine and terrestrial expeditions, go on live-aboard educational dive trips, learn to report their observations through the Earthdive indicator-species global monitoring programme and more.
For more details, go to: http://www.coralcay.org/membership/
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Source: CFRC Weekly Summary 18 August 2005
Forest Service officials have scaled back their assessment of how much recreation on national forest land contributes to the American economy, concluding that these activities generate just a tenth of what the Clinton administration estimated. Under President Clinton, the Forest Service projected that by 2000, recreation in U.S. forests would contribute nearly $111 billion to the nation's annual gross domestic product, or GDP. Bush administration officials, by contrast, have determined that in 2002 these activities generated about $11 billion.
For full story, please see:
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Source: CEPF E-News, July 2005, email@example.com
This month sees the launch of “Lesson Learned” on the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund's Web site, a new resource to help CEPF grant recipients and partners share and learn from each other. Each month, the site’s Resource Center will feature an individual describing a key lesson they learned and the effect it had on their project or how they adapted their approach in response.
To begin, Anabelle Plantilla, executive director of the Haribon Foundation, writes about what she has learned as part of managing the CEPF-supported Threatened Species Program in the Philippines. Read about Plantilla’s lesson: "The clearer your priorities are in running a small grants program, the more effective you will be."
If you have learned something in your work you’d like to share with others or would like to share your ideas on this new feature, contact Ben Jolliffe.
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Source: Linkages Update - 20 July 2005
A new project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to help conserve and manage economically important waters, forests and wildlife in the Amazon Basin has been launched. The project in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela will be implemented by UNEP/GEF and is being undertaken by the Organization of American States, with the Organization of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty as the regional body. The project will cost approximately $1.5 million and take two years to complete.
For full story, please see: http://www.iisd.ca/media/forests_deserts_land.htm#new
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From: Lucy Welford, Zimbabwe, firstname.lastname@example.org
PhytoTrade Africa is the Southern African Natural Products Trade Association and represents over 50 members across the Southern African region. Together we are developing a viable, sustainable and ethical natural products industry. PhytoTrade Africa is unique in the way it is tackling business, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and benefit sharing in one practical package. PhytoTrade Africa reaches marginalized producers all over Southern African and seeks to combine both organic and fair trade standards.
Southern Africa is rich in biodiversity that has contributed to the fabric of domestic life for centuries. The demand for raw materials produced by PhytoTrade’s members is growing rapidly, as the results of generations of traditional use and refinement become globally recognised.
PhytoTrade Africa is a member of the International Federation for Alternative Trade. In addition, some members will achieve organic certification this year, and whilst all members are signatories of the PhytoTrade Africa Fair Trade Charter, we are currently developing ways to apply these standards to the cosmetic industry.
All products from PhytoTrade Africa’s members are:
Through extensive research, PhytoTrade Africa has chosen seven indigenous tree species, each producing fruits containing valuable constituents for the cosmetics industry. These fruits are naturally organic and have been sustainably harvested by marginalized rural producers for generations. By creating viable and ethical markets for these products, local value is added, and the traditional culture associated with their usage is secured. In this way, rural producers’ livelihoods and food security is enhanced, and the trees are conserved.
From educated and empowered producers
PhytoTrade Africa’s members are supported by a dynamic management team who provide advice and training on a wide variety of key topics including quality standards; export procedures; market penetration strategies; business planning; certification criteria; health and safety issues; cosmetic formulation; oil processing; supply chain management; and regulatory environments. In addition, the welfare of each producer is considered with fair prices paid and long-term buyer relationships nurtured.
Within equitable relationships
The communities that harvest these products are organised groupings of rural producers that have the proven business capability to manage production. The roots of every product are firmly planted with these communities and for this reason all intellectual property and genetic rights are protected, and any patents that may arise from the research and development are co-owned through the supply chain. Through the creation of co-ordinated partnerships linking producers, regional organisations, governments and industry, benefit-sharing as envisaged under the Convention on Biological Diversity is ensured.
Implications for the cosmetic industry
• Quality ingredients
• Every ingredient has a rich African cultural
• Every producer has been fairly treated
• Every material has been sustainably harvested
• You can be safe in the knowledge that by purchasing PhytoTrade Africa products, you will be providing support to communities that will re-invest that money in themselves; from paying for school uniforms, to school fees, or even a school.
For more information, please contact:
Dr L A Welford
Information Services Manager
9 Lezard Ave
PO Box BE 385
Ph (263) 4 704178
Fax (263) 4 723037
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Source: H. Gyde Lund, FIU 15 AUG 05, email@example.com
Volunteers For Africa and a regional organization involved in development consultancy and training have teamed up to initiate professional training courses in. 1. Geographical Information Systems for Development. 2. Remote Sensing for Development. 3. Monitoring and Evaluation for development workers. 4. Voluntarism and community action. And 5. Natural Resource Planning and Governance. The courses are being offered in three sessions, of morning, afternoon and evening, at Hurlingham, Nairobi, Kenya. Interested participants may get in touch with the training centre officials on email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Position: Forestry Officer (Participatory Forestry)
Location: Rome, Italy
Closing date: 21 September 2005
Under the general supervision of the Director, Forestry Policy and Institutions Division, and the direct supervision of the Chief, Forestry Policy and Institutions Service, to plan and implement programmes, which promote and enhance the contribution of forestry to poverty alleviation and food security.
For details, go to http://www.fao.org/VA/PROF/1436fonE.htm
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25-27 August 2005
Victoria, BC, Canada
This Symposium addresses the opportunities and challenges of commercial development of Non-Timber Forest Products and the impacts of commercialization on rural communities and forest ecosystems. A Future Beneath the trees is one of three events taking place at Royal Roads University, August 2005.
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27-29 August 2005
Victoria, BC, Canada
The Centre for Non-Timber Resources invites you to attend an important event in August 2005 designed to make your business more competitive in the B.C. and global markets. Non-Timber Forest Products play an increasingly significant role in rural economic development as domestic and international consumers become aware of the rich variety that forests and other wild areas have to offer - from natural health products, wild foods, native plants and floral products to specialty wood and First Nations art, cultural and eco-experiences. Business experts and academics will share their knowledge and experience to help you build your business sustainably. Learn about harvest to consumption cycles, building effective business plans, expanding into new markets and ideas for addressing resource tenure issues.
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28 August 2005
Victoria, BC, Canada
The Centre for Non-Timber Forest Products at Royal Roads University is proud to host this opportunity for businesses to showcase the vast array of products being sustainably harvested from forests and other wild areas - from medicinals and neutraceuticals, wild foods, native plants and floral products to specialty wood and First Nations crafts, cultural and eco-experiences. In addition to the trade show and exhibition the public is invited to participate in lectures, workshops and demonstrations of wild crafting, wild food preparation and indigenous knowledge
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5-9 September 2005
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
This meeting will be attended by all key stakeholders with an interest in the long-term survival of viable wild populations of great apes (gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo, orangutan) and the conservation of their habitat.
Participants at the meeting will discuss the way forward to ensuring the long-term survival of wild populations of great apes and their habitat. It is expected that a declaration on great apes will be signed re-affirming the international community's commitment in this regard.
The Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) was launched in May 2001 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin will be providing daily reports of the meeting proceedings. These will be available at: www.iisd.ca beginning September 5th.
For more information, please contact:
Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP) Partnership
United Nations Environment Programme
PO Box 30552, Nairobi, 00100, Kenya
Tel: +254 20 62 46 29, Fax: +254 20 62 43 00 firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.unep.org/grasp
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24 October-4 November 2005.
Beijing and Zhejiang Province, China.
The Workshop is jointly organized by International Center for Bamboo and Rattan, China (ICBR), International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (FAO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO). Invited are FAO FRA2005 National Correspondents, forest inventory department personnel, forestry researchers/academicians, forest managers/foresters, NGO staff, and any individuals involved in the forest inventory, natural resources management, land use planning and development. Number of participants is limited to about 30. The participants should only cover their travel cost to and from Beijing. Local cost (including food, accommodation, and airfare in China) will be covered by the Workshop organizers.
Please register before 31 August.
For further information on the workshop, please visit www.inbar.int
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6-7 December 2005
CEN is happy to announce that online registration for the Second International Symposium.
The objective of the symposium is to contribute towards the valorisation of plant diversity and, more specifically, to:
• promote sustainable management of natural resources derived from plants.
• find out concrete strategies to ensure effective application of research result
Sub Theme 1 : Medicinal plants.
Production of ameliorated « phytodrugs »
Developing a plat-form of collaboration
Sub Theme 2: Spice and aromatic plants
Identification of new species
Sub Theme 3: Ornamental plants and green species
promotion of local species
Sub Theme 4: Plant and waste management
Waste water treatment using plant
Anti dust plants
Sub Theme 5: Valorisation technologies and intellectual property rights
Development and utilisation
Access to patents
Register early to secure your place and to benefit from the early registration rate. For foreign participants, you can register now and pay all fees on your arrival to Cameroon.
Pr. Bernard-Aloys Nkongmeneck
BP: 812 Yaoundé
Tel :(237) 223 02 02 (H)
(237) 999 54 08
E-mail : email@example.com
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
A recent publication “International Workshop on Processing and Marketing of Shea Products in Africa”, covers the proceedings of a workshop held by FAO, the Common Fund for Commodities and Centre de suiví écologique, which took place in Dakar, Senegal in March 2002.
Copies of this publication, which is available in either English or French, are available free of charge from FAO’s NWFP Programme at firstname.lastname@example.org (stating whether you would like to receive the English or French version).
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Wild edible Fungi, no. 17 in FAO’s NWFP publication series, has now been translated into Spanish: “Los hongos silvestres comestibles. Perspectiva global de su uso e importancia para la población”.
Copies of this publication can be purchased from FAO’s Sales and Marketing Group at email@example.com
An electronic version is available at: www.fao.org/docrep/008/y5489s/y5489s00.htm
The French version will be available later this year.
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From: H. Gyde Lund [firstname.lastname@example.org]
In celebration of World Environment Day on June 3, 2005 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with NASA, United States Geological Survey (USGS) and University of Maryland launched One Planet, Many People: Atlas of our Changing Environment, a publication that provides visual evidence of environmental change using satellite images, graphics and text. The focus is on the status and trends over several decades, both in physical and human geography.
The 334-page hardbound Atlas discusses human influences on our Earth including changes in land use, biological diversity, and climate. One Planet presents visual evidence of global environmental changes – both the good and the bad -resulting from natural processes and human-induced activities including those of the atmosphere, coastal areas, waters, forests, croplands, grasslands, urban areas, and tundra and Polar regions.
The Atlas demonstrates how our growing number of people and their consumption patterns are shrinking our natural resource base. The challenge is how do we satisfy human needs without compromising the health of ecosystems. One Planet, Many People is an additional wake-up call to this need.
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Bonn, A., and Gaston, K.J. 2005. Capturing biodiversity: selecting priority areas for conservation using different criteria. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(5):1083-1100.
Burrows, J.E., and WIllis, C.K. (eds.). 2005. Plants of the Nyika Plateau: An Account of the Vegetation of the Nyika National Parks of Malawi and Zambia. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 31. SABONET. Pretoria.
Cunningham, A,; Campbell, Bruce and Belcher, Brian. 2005. Carving out a future: forests, livelihoods and the international woodcarving trade. CIFOR, Indonesia. ISBN: 184407045X
Carving out a Future is the first examination of the international woodcarving trade and its critical links to rural livelihoods, deforestation, biodiversity and conservation, forestry and forest policy and the international trade regime.
For more information and to order with a 10% discount visit: http://shop.earthscan.co.uk/ProductDetails/mcs/productID/591/groupID/6/categoryID/8/
da Silva, J.M.C., Rylands, A.B., and da Fonseca, G.A.B. 2005. The fate of the Amazonian areas of endemism. Conserv. Biol. 19(3):689-694.
de Thoisy, B., Renoux, F., and Julliot, C. 2005. Hunting in northern French Guiana and its impact on primate communities. Oryx 39(2):149-157.
Giulietti, A.M., Harley, R.M., de Queiroz, L.P., Wanderley, M.D.L., and Van den Berg, C. 2005. Biodiversity and conservation of plants in Brazil. Conserv. Biol. 19(3):632-639.
Lang, Chris. 2004. Genetically modified trees: the ultimate threat to forests. World Rainforest Movement and Friends of the Earth International.
Non Governmental Organizations and Indigenous Peoples Organizations can ask for a free copy of the book. To do so, please contact WRM International Secretariat at: email@example.com.
Lebedys, Arvydas 2004. Trends and Current Status of the Contribution of the Forestry Sector to National Economies, Rome: FAO.
Leigh, Egbert Giles Jr., et al. 2004. Why Do Some Tropical Forests Have So Many Species of Trees? BIOTROPICA 36(4): 447–473. (Abstract) www.bioone.org/bioone/?request=get-abstract&issn=0006-3606&volume=036&issue=04&page=0447
Lewinsohn, T.M., and Prado, P.I. 2005. How many species are there in Brazil? Conserv. Biol. 19(3):619-624.
Mittermeier, R.A., da Fonseca, G.A.B., Rylands, A.B., and Brandon, K. 2005. A brief history of biodiversity conservation in Brazil. Conserv. Biol. 19(3):601-607.
Oudhia, Pankaj n.d. Alsophila species: The rare tree fern species of Chhattisgarh, India. http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/publish/journal.cgi?folder=journal&next=1098
Oudhia, Pankaj n.d. The search for Al (Morinda species) in dense forests of Chhattisgarh, India. http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/publish/journal.cgi?folder=journal&next=1100
Rojas, Manrique y Aylward, Bruce. 2005. ¿Qué estamos aprendiendo de la experiencia con los mercados de sevicios ambientales en Costa Rica? Revisión y crítica de la literatura. IIED. ISBN: 1 84369 455 7.
El uso de mercados y el pago de servicios ambientales es un tema que ha venido ganando terreno entre los hacedores de políticas, ambientalistas y desarrolladores alrededor del mundo. En el mundo en vías de desarrollo, Costa Rica ha liderado esfuerzos para experimentar con la aplicación de esos mecanismos. Este documento examina la literature sobre la expeiencia costarricense con el fin de visualizar lo que estamos aprendiendo de esa experiencia: ¿cómo ha calzado dentro de estas iniciativas la información técnica, científica y económica sobre servicios ambientales? ¿Qué alcance tienen el monitoreo y la evaluación de estas experiencias iniciales? El objectivo principal de esta revisión bibliográfica es identificar y analizar los materiales que estén dentro de la siguiente temática:
• Los origienes locales del concepto de pago y mercados de servicios ambientales y como estos han evolucionado a través del tiempo
• El tipo de iniciativas existentes relacionadas con los mercados de servicios, y quien está participando en estas actividades
• El conocimiento base que soporta el desarrollo de mercados
• Las iniciativas tomadas con respecto al monitoreo y evaluación de las experiencias con pagos y mercados de servicios ambientales y hasta donde y con que resultados la literatura toma estas iniciativas en terminos de eficiencia económica, eficiencia ambiental , equidad social y/o reducción de la probreza.
To order visit, www.earthprint.com/go.htm?to=9247SIIED
Sands, R. 2005. Forestry in a Global Context. CABI Publishing PB 272 pages ISBN 0 85199 089 4 £25.00 (US$50.00)
This introductory text examines world forestry in the context of social, environmental, historical, economic and conservation issues. It focuses on how people relate to forests and how forests have been, and should be used. It looks at the development of forests, the factors determining their distribution, the classification of forest types, the value and benefits of forests, and the products of forests and their associated trade. It is an ideal textbook for general courses in world forestry or forestry and society.
For more information, including table of contents go to: www.cabi-publishing.org/bookshop
Sayer, Jeffrey (ed.) 2005. The Earthscan Reader In Forestry & Development. WWF International Forests for Life Programme. Earthscan. ISBN 1-84407-153-7
Arrangements for the governance and management of forests have been changing rapidly in recent decades. The post-Rio period has been one of unprecedented re-examination of what the world’s forest resources consist of, who they should belong to, who should benefit from their conservation and management, and how all of this should be organized. This collection of outstanding papers on forests, development and livelihoods (until now widely dispersed throughout the literature) brings together the most recent thinking on these issues, and will give students and practitioners of forestry and natural resource management a rapid overview of what is changing, how and why. The papers provide a balanced view of subjects that have been controversial or which the media and influential decision makers have misunderstood or misrepresented.
This book updates and supersedes the best-selling Earthscan Reader in Tropical Forestry, edited by Simon Rietbergen, but this time with a broader focus covering all types of forests and contexts.
For more information, please see: http://shop.earthscan.co.uk/ProductDetails/mcs/productID/593/groupID/6/categoryID/12/
Schwartzman, S., and Zimmerman, B. 2005. Conservation alliances with indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Conserv. Biol. 19(3):721-727.
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From: FAO’s NWFP Programme
Department of Forestry, Nepal
EEA multilingual environmental glossary
Rainforests of the world
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From: Pankaj Oudhia, India, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have read this article on malaria: WHO Approves Artemisinin for Malaria in Africa http://www.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/articleview.asp?a=2733
I am eager to know the performance of African Ethnomedicine in treatment of Malaria. If Malaria can be treated with the help of native herbs then what is the need of introducing exotic drug for treatment. In ancient Indian literatures related to different systems of medicine it is mentioned that any disease can be (and must be) treated with the help of herbs present in surrounding. There is no need to go far. The traditional healers of Indian state Chhattisgarh are also in favor of using native herbs.
I feel that the emphasis must be on the native anti-malarial herbs and African herbs are having enough potential to cure this trouble.
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Source: People's Daily Online - Beijing, China, 18 July 2005
The forest coverage rate in west China has maintained its fast growth in recent years. The latest survey shows the forest coverage rate has risen from 9.03 percent in five years ago to 12.54 percent in west China. In five provinces and autonomous regions in northwest China the rate has increased from 3.34 percent to 5.86 percent.
In the past five years, China has invested 82.4 bln yuan in six key forestry projects in western regions, accounting for 55 percent of total investment in forestry This has effectively protected 1.03 bln mu (15 mu=1 hectare) of natural forests, and helped build 86 national nature reserves. Sand control projects have been implemented in a total of 438 mln mu of land.
According to Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Forestry Administration, China is one of the countries that are seriously affected by desertification, with 400 mln people living in the desertification area. Therefore, China has made sand control the "top priority" in ecological construction in the west, firmly adhered to development strategy concentrating on ecological construction as well as promoted harmonious development between human and nature in west China.
For full story, please see: http://english.people.com.cn/200507/18/eng20050718_196791.html
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Source: UPI, Washington Times - Washington, DC, USA, 11 August 2005
Nineteen years after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, researchers say the surrounding land in Ukraine has more biodiversity.
Some 100 species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of threatened species, as well as bear and wolf, have been found in the evacuated zone, says Viktor Dolin, of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, reported the Moscow News Thursday.
There are a lot of mutations in species but they get weeded out and many young fish living in the reactor's cooling ponds are deformed. But adults tend to be healthy, implying that those harmed by radiation die young, said James Morris of the University of South Carolina.
However, with some 40 different radioactive elements -- including strontium-90 and decay products of uranium and plutonium -- released into the exclusion zone, it will be many hundreds of millennia before humans could live in the area again, said Dolin.
For full story, please see: http://washingtontimes.com/upi/20050811-063314-6254r.htm
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Source: CFRC Weekly Summary 7/21/05
Scientists wearing protective face masks roamed a private, remote 80-acre grove in Wisconsin, USA, checking the levels of greenhouse gases being sprayed onto the trees. For the last eight years, researcher David F. Karnosky and dozens of scientists have trucked billions of pounds of ozone and other gases to these woods, where aspen and pine trees blanket the surrounding hills. They have sprayed thousands of trees with the gases to simulate what pollution is expected to be 50 years from now. Their goal is to determine how Wisconsin forests will fare with increased levels of pollution.
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