No. 8/05

Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. A special thank you to all those who have shared information.

Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en

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PRODUCTS

1. Bushmeat: LAGA reinforces wildlife laws
2. Cork: Smart wine corks stop deforestation
3. Ginseng guidelines sent back to drawing board
4. Gum arabic: Agreement made to stabilize gum arabic supplies
5. Honey: Brazilian honey has flavours and colours for all tastes
6. Honey production increases in Nepal
7. Honey bank proposal
8. Medicinal plants: Centurion Lake Declaration
9. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua Asia fights malaria
10. Medicinal plants: African governments urged to support herbal medicine development
11. Medicinal plants: Plant savers focus on conserving medicinals in USA
12. Moringa tree production gets $60 million boost
13. Mushrooms: Morels in Alaska (USA)
14. Seabuckthorn: Breakthrough in the fight against acne and eczema
15. Shea butter boosts W. Africa business
16. Spices: Mabira forest nurtures country’s spice farming

COUNTRY INFORMATION

17. Angola: Creation of database on biodiversity
18. Burkina Faso: TREE8, nationwide tree planting
19. Canada: Turning a new leaf on the maple tree
20. China: WWF Funds Ecological Protection in China
21. India: Women cooperatives add value to NWFP, especially lac and tamarind
22. India: bamboo export
23. India: ‘Vision, Bamboo-2020'
24. Kenya's forests at risk
25. Malaysia: Orang Asli and gaharu (species of the genus Aquilaria)
26. Malaysia: More plant species for bio-prospecting programme

NEWS

27. £10.5 million for new Darwin Initiative projects
28. Asian nations to build biodiversity conservation corridors
29. Biopiracy: Brazil gets tough on 'biopirates'
30. Biopiracy: Amazon countries team up to tackle biopiracy
31. Climate change 'threatens to evict African plants'
32. Tree Aid
33. World Agroforestry Centre forms alliance with Conservation International

REQUESTS

34. Request for information: Global Bamboo Resources Assessment
35. Request for assistance: Syllabus for a training program in medicinal plants

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

36. CIFOR opportunities

EVENTS

37. Transformative Learning
38. International Bamboo Inventory Training Workshop
39. International Beekeeping Congress

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

40. Forests for the new millennium – making forests work for people and nature
41. USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests: Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance
42. Now online: Unasylva 220, COFO 2005
43. Other publications of interest
44. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS

45. Lure of amber keeps 80-year-old digging for years
46. Rare mushroom found in the Netherlands

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PRODUCTS

1. Bushmeat: LAGA reinforces wildlife laws

Source: Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé), 5 July 2005

One of the provisions of the 2003 Yaounde International Ministerial Conference on Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) harps on the important role of independent monitoring of bushmeat trade alongside proper investigation. This is important because the stipulated offences of the 1994 wildlife law cannot be proven before any law court without pure investigation to establish that the case is valid.

Despite the difficulties involved in monitoring wildlife law offenders, the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) has been experimenting on monitoring in the wildlife sector by combining wildlife law enforcement with pure field investigation since the adoption of the AFLEG Declaration. Speaking to the press after a recent audience with Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni, LAGA Director Ofir Drori said, "What we are doing is not only law enforcement but also independent monitoring, getting all wildlife cases sent to court published through the media." He explained that the Website of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) now carries these cases.

In 2003, MINFOF launched a nation-wide operation aimed at the effective implementation of the 1994 wildlife law by bringing offenders to justice. This has received the strong support of the Ministry of Justice, the General Delegation of National Security, LAGA, the Limbe Wildlife Centre and the Cameroon Wildlife Aid Fund (CWAF). Since its launching, over 40 wildlife crimes have been brought before the courts in the West, Centre and Littoral Provinces. The 1994 wildlife law is severe and provides for serious prison sentences and fines. The operation has also been

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507060505.html

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2. Cork: Smart wine corks stop deforestation

Source: Rainforest Matters [rainforestalliance@ra.org]

While many cork forests have been sustained for thousands of years, the recent increase in demand for synthetic cork, particularly to stop wine bottles, has prompted concern that by threatening the traditional cork industry, the new stoppers could undermine the economic basis of cork farming.

In the cork-producing areas of the Iberian peninsula, cork oak forests (montados) represent around 21% of the forest area and are responsible for the production of more than 50% of the cork consumed worldwide.

The SmartWood certification of cork forests paves the way for the conservation of one of the last remaining natural forest ecosystems in Western Europe and with it, the environmental, economic and cultural stability of the cork producing region.

For more information about the Rainforest Alliance's Smartwood Program, please see: www.rainforest-alliance.org/news/2005/cork.html?tr=y&auid=980992

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3. Ginseng guidelines sent back to drawing board

Source: Food Navigator – France, 5 July 2005

An international standard on ginseng will take several more years to be adopted, as discussion at the Codex Commission yesterday revealed a wide difference of opinion on the scope of the standard.

The standard proposed by the Korean government a few years ago has made slow progress under the Codex decision makers because of diverse opinions on the herbal’s status as well as a significant number of different species used on the market.

Although the Codex regional committee in Asia succeeded in drawing up a first draft standard last year, discussions in Rome yesterday revealed that there is still no harmonised opinion on the guideline within Asia.

The Commission recommended that the standard go back to step three of the eight-stage decision-making process. Although we consider this standard to be very valuable, further work needs to be done on the text," said David Pineda, director of regulatory affairs at the International Alliance of Dietary Supplement Associations (IADSA). "It is unfortunate that it has to wait one more year before the draft is endorsed but there are several issues to be addressed," he added.

In some countries, including within Europe, ginseng is not listed as a food ingredient. A Codex guideline on the herbal would recognise its status at an international level as a food.

For full story, please see: www.foodnavigator.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=61085-ginseng-guidelines-sent

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4. Gum arabic: Agreement made to stabilize gum arabic supplies

Source: Food Ingredients First – Netherlands, 20 June 2005

Three Gum Arabic producing countries, international distributors and international trade organizations have agreed to work together to stabilize the Gum Arabic supplies and availability on a worldwide basis. Representatives from Sudan, Chad and Nigeria, representatives of AIPG (Association of the International Promotion of Gums), FAO, the World Bank and NGARA (Network for Natural Gums And Resins in Africa) were present at the meeting.

An agreement has been reached to counteract the supply weakness and price increase which arose from the gum shortage in 2003 along with the political unrest.

All involved parties made clear their determination to take specific measures to make sure that their global clientele will not be deprived of ample quantities of Gum Arabic (also named Acacia Gum) at fair price levels and with substantial information about market developments. A catalogue of concrete targets and practical mechanisms to ensure a rapid progress of the various points has been put into place. It has been decided to build up a security stock amounting to one year's crop quantity in each of the main three exporting countries. Progress of actions will be evaluated at regular meetings, the first of which is planned in about three months.

As Mr Hinrich Wolff, President of AIPG, says: “A global consensus plus a strong commitment plus a concerted action on all operational levels is the basis we have built up at the Khartoum meeting to ensure the future of Gum Arabic." Mr Wolff is Senior General Manager at Alfred L. Wolff (Germany), a company with more than a century of dedication to Gum Arabic as a natural product and a versatile ingredient for various industrial applications. "I am confident that we are going the right way in joining forces to create credibility and trust among the Gum Arabic users while securing all stages of the supply chain, from the Acacia tree to the processing units of the worldwide industry", he says.

For full story, please see: www.foodingredientsfirst.com/newsmaker_article.asp?idNewsMaker=8437&fSite=AO545&next=2

Additional story: www.npicenter.com/anm/templates/newsATemp.aspx?articleid=12723&zoneid=9

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5. Honey: Brazilian honey has flavours and colours for all tastes

Source: ANBA (Brazil-Arab News Agency) - Sao Paulo, Brazil, 29 June 2005

Brazil is the seventh largest producer and exporter of honey in the world. This position was reached due to the quality and variety of the honey, mostly wild, and also to the space left open by China, which faced sales restrictions due to the use of pesticides in the production. With the return of the Chinese to the market, however, Brazil must go after new buyers so as to maintain foreign sales.

Brazil is currently the seventh largest honey producer and exporter in the world. This position was reached in less than a decade. In 2004 honey exports exceeded US$ 43 million. In terms of volume, the total was 21,400 tonnes, i.e., 47.5% of the yearly production of 45,000 tonnes.

In recent years, Brazilian apiculturists have lived their best moment. In 2001 China, the largest honey producer in the world, with 275,000 tonnes per year, was prohibited from exporting due to the strong presence of pesticides in the product. Another important factor for the conquest of the foreign market was the quality of the Brazilian honey, produced mostly in native areas and free of the use of pesticides.

"We have honey of colours and flavours for all tastes. Our product ranges from brighter to darker and from weaker to stronger aromas," explained Joail Humberto Abreu, president of the Brazilian Apiculture Confederation (CBA). According to Abreu, around 70% of the domestic production is of wild honey. "We have 173 catalogued honey plants. For this reason, diversity and quality are our differentials".

With the return of China to the market, in August last year, however, Brazil did not manage to maintain the rhythm of growth of foreign sales. From January to April 2004, Brazil exported 8,700 tonnes, which generated US$ 20.4 million. In the same period in 2005, exports totalled just 3,300 tonnes, equivalent to US$ 6.6 million. This is a significant reduction in terms of volume and revenues. However, due to the quality of the Brazilian honey, one of the paths shown by the CBA is prospecting new importer countries.

The Arab market is considered favourable. Last year the countries in the League of Arab States imported 50,000 tonnes of honey from China. "More than double our exports," explained Abreu. Brazilian honey may already be consumed in the Arab market. "As we export large quantities to Germany and the honey is shipped in bulk, it is certainly then bottled and shipped to the Arab market". In 2004, Germany was the main importer of Brazilian honey, a position the country had lost to the United States in 2002, but which was reached again in 2003.

Now the intention is to come closer to the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. For this the organization should seek the support of the Brazilian Export Promotion Agency (Apex) and of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB). "We must present our products and also all the technology there is in Brazil. We are open to the Arab businessmen who want to learn about our honey production," he guaranteed.

Apiculture may also be considered an excellent option for diversification of cultures and for the generation of income for farmers, mainly in the poorest regions of the country, as is the case of the North and Northeast.

According to Abreu, between 2002 and 2005, jobs were generated for 150,000 people, guaranteeing greater opportunities in the interior and thus avoiding the rural exodus by many families. Apart from providing incentives to production, regional association and cooperatives were created for the honey to be traded.

In three years, northeastern Brazilian states like Piauí, Maranhão, Ceará, Pernambuco and Bahia developed apiculture and now compete with southern Brazilian states like Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina for the position of main honey producers and exporter in the country.

The state of São Paulo is still responsible for the largest volume of honey exported by Brazil as it concentrates the shipping of many states, including some from the North and Northeast of the country.

For full story, please see: www.anba.com.br/ingles/noticia.php?id=7785

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6. Honey production increases in Nepal

Source: Kathmandu Post - Kathmandu, Nepal, 22 June 2005

Production of honey has increased considerably in Chitwan (Nepal) over the year after Salt Trading Corporation (STC), signing an agreement with local honey producers, assured them to purchase their product and export it to India and Gulf countries. Although the STC has been purchasing honey from local farmers (as per the agreement), it has not yet exported it.

The honey production in Chitwan has increased by 100 tons compared to last year, according to Nepal Beekeeping Farmers Association (NBFA). Last year, the production was just 200 tons, said Dhruva Tara Lamichhane, president of NBFA. The association alone had supplied 105 tons of honey to STC. The rest was purchased by businessmen for local sales. Currently, the corporation is paying farmers Rs 115/kg of honey.

'Assurance of market has encouraged the farmers,' Lamichhane told the Post. 'Chitwan alone has seen two-fold rise in the number of bee-hives,' he added. The number of hives, according to the association, has reached 13,000 against some 7,000 of the last year. STC has already bought 150 tons of honey from the farmers of Dang, Sarlahi and Chitwan so far in the current fiscal year and the association is further preparing to collect and supply additional 50 tons of honey to the corporation. The corporation, meanwhile, has informed that it would export the honey once the collection reaches 400 tons.

For more information, please contact: www.kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=43710

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7. Honey bank proposal

Source: ABC Online – Australia, 26 June 2005

The Tasmanian Government is considering the establishment of a honey bank to help balance the cash flows of beekeepers. The bank would purchase and sell honey during production seasons and keep a reserve to provide a constant supply during the off season.

Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings says the Government will discuss the proposal with the Beekeepers Association and other industry stakeholders. "The honey bank is one way to even out the peaks and troughs that occur with the honey as it is a seasonal product," she said. "It also provides us with an opportunity to value add with our honey here in Tasmania."

Ms Giddings says a honey bank would remove some of the cash flow pressures from honey production and stabilise the supply of honey to world markets. "What it means is that honey will be bought from the producers and stored so that it can be used when the season is not as good and we can keep on providing supply to our markets around the world," she said.

Ms Giddings announced the honey bank proposal at the annual Tasmanian Beekeepers Association conference in Hobart.

For full story, please see: www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200506/s1400674.htm

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8. Medicinal plants: Centurion Lake Declaration

Source: Phytomedica, 20 June 205

One of the major constraints identified at the Medicinal Plants Forum for Commonwealth Africa held in Cape Town in 2000 was the lack of suitable technical specifications and quality control standards for African medicinal plants and herbal medicines. The lack of such standards was considered to be a major constraint on regional and international trade and an important barrier to integrating traditional medicine into African public health services.

In an attempt to overcome this problem the ACP-EU Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA) agreed to part finance a two phase project to prepare 50 herbal product profiles/standards for key African Medicinal Plants. These profiles will include most of the important African plants presently traded as well as others judged to be of sustainable long term importance. The profiles combine information normally contained in drug monographs with data usually found in medicinal plant trade specifications and quality control sheets.

CDE contracted the Phytomedicine Programme at the University of Pretoria to begin preparing these profiles in association with other medicinal plant specialists from African and Europe. A meeting to review progress on the first 23 herbal profiles was organized at Centurion Lake in South Africa in May 2005. Twenty seven experts were invited to the meeting who unanimously agreed to sign the following declaration.

Declaration

We the undersigned with a view to improving the health, safety, welfare and livelihood of the people of Africa hereby declare the intention:

• To establish an Association (www.aamps.net) with a registered office in Mauritius to support the African herbal industry and regulatory authorities by developing quality control and quality assurance standards for African medicinal plants and herbal medicines.

• To offer membership of the newly formed association to any individual or organizations dedicated to the establishment of such standards and to the creation of an African Herbal Pharmacopoeia

• To jointly review and promote the 23 African herbal profiles currently being prepared by the Department of Phytomedicine, University of Pretoria. These herbal profiles include plants of African origin which are considered of regional and international importance and which can be sustainably sourced in Africa.

• To raise funds to prepare and disseminate a further 30 African herbal profiles selected by the founding members of the association at the Centurion Lake Hotel review meeting on May 2005.

• To prepare and publish an African Herbal Pharmacopoeia as a living data-base drawn initially from the 53 herbal profiles mentioned in List A & B and to promote its use nationally and internationally.

• To help obtain international acceptance of these herbal standards and the subsequent herbal pharmacopoeia and to lobby health authorities throughout Africa to use such standards to facilitate licensing safe and effective herbal medicines in Africa

• To promote capacity building in Africa for the establishment of regional training centres for certification, compliance and quality control of herbal medicines.

• To promote the safe, sustainable national and international trade in the fifty profiled African medicinal plants

• To carry out any other activities deemed by the members of the association as required to further the objectives of the Association.

For more information, please visit: www.aamps.net

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9. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua Asia fights malaria

Source: Guardian Unlimited – UK, 17 June 12005

Patandi Village, Tanzania (AP) - Atanasia Vincent Moshia stands proudly next to the knee-high plants she's growing to fight two African ills: malaria and poverty. In March, Moshia, a farmer and agricultural extension officer with the Tanzanian government, switched from planting the corn and beans she's been growing for years to Artemisia annua, a medicinal herb from which artemisinin is extracted to make a drug or a combination of drugs used to treat malaria. She expects it to be a more lucrative crop.

Artemisia annua, more commonly known as wormwood or sagewort, has been applied to a variety of ailments, including hemorrhoids, coughs and fevers. China and Vietnam are the main sources of the plant native to Asia, but they have been unable to meet a steep increase in demand. The World Health Organization says demand for artemisinin-based combination drug treatment rose to 30 million courses in 2004, from just 2 million courses in 2003.

Last year, after trials in several countries, it was found that the plant grows well in East Africa - fitting, as Tanzanian health officials call malaria this country's No. 1 killer. Tanzania has an estimated 16 to 18 million cases a year and about 100,000 fatalities, mainly children, said Dr. Alex Mwita, program manager of the country's National Malaria Control Program.

Resistance to other anti-malarial drugs has grown over the years, leading the World Health Organization in 2001 to recommend artemisinin-based combination drug treatment to fight the ancient mosquito-borne disease that infects as many as 400 million people and kills one million a year.

`We want people to plant this crop because if we don't, many of us will die of malaria,'' farmer Moshia said. She planted her Artemisia annua on a part of her quarter-acre farm that is near a footpath used by fellow villagers, so that they can see it and be encouraged to try it.

Farmers need not turn to Artemisia annua purely out of altruism. The treelike plant that grows up to six feet is valuable. And it does not need as much care as corn, largely acting as its own pesticide and insecticide, Moshia said. She expects to earn about $36 in August when she harvests the plant's thick foliage, compared to about $22.7 she earned from her maize crop.

Thomas Dixon, country director for Technoserve, which works with small farmers in Tanzania and Kenya to grow Artemisia annua, said that a year ago only a small number grew the plant. But this year the acres under Artemisia annua grew several times. Dixon declined to give specific numbers. In both countries small farmers produce most crops.

However, Dixon cautioned that it is possible a cheaper synthetic version of artemisinin will emerge in a few years. ``We are cautioning farmers not to think of this as a new coffee or a long term crop, but basically advising them that they probably have a secure market for three or four, maybe five or maybe six years,'' Dixon said. Scientists are working on a synthetic version, but have not so far perfected it.

For farmers, switching back once the Artemisia annua market fades should not be a problem, as the medicinal plant takes less toil on the soil than corn.

In the meantime, increased Artemisia annua supplies could bring down the costs of artemisinin-based treatment, crucial in a poor country like Tanzania. Mwita, of Tanzania's anti-malaria program, said artemisinin-based combination treatments cost about $2 a dose. Other anti-malarial drugs cost between 10 and 15 cents, he said.

Walter Opiyo, coordinator of Anamed Kenya, said that a cheaper alternative to artemisinin-based combination drug treatment for malaria is for people growing the plant in their gardens to pluck and dry a few leaves to make an infusion taken over seven days. There have been no widely recognized scientific studies of such infusions, though Opiyo says his group conducted its own study in Congo and determined it was effective.

For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5080560,00.html

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10. Medicinal plants: African governments urged to support herbal medicine development

Source: Accra Mail - Accra, Ghana, 30 June 2005

African governments have been asked to give budgetary allocation to support the search for herbal cure for HIV/AIDS.

Even though plants contain substances vital for the development of medicine that could cure the infection, African governments had downplayed the role of traditional medicine in favour of the orthodox, Mr Kamara Agyapong, managing director of the Peace Herbal Clinic at Ejisu-Zongo, told the Ghana News Agency.

Mr Agyapong said if African Governments were determined to give its people good quality health, then the authorities should assist health practitioner to develop their own medicine, using plants instead of relying on orthodox medicine. He said herbal preparations from natural materials did not have hazardous side effects unlike orthodox medicine, which depended on synthetic base.

Mr Agyapong said apart from being medicinal, plant medicine also served as food for humans, and are very accessible and less costly too.

He called on cooperate bodies in Ghana that use their profits to complement efforts of the government and herbalists at developing plant medicine.

Mr Agyapong has recently developed "Koankro", a herbal preparation for the management and cure of HIV/AIDS. He said the Bio-Chemistry Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi had certified the preparation as potent and he was awaiting confirmation through the Viral Load CD4 Count Determined Machine, before it could be commercialised.

For full story, please see: www.accra-mail.com/mailnews.asp?id=13337

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11. Medicinal plants: Plant savers focus on conserving medicinals in USA

Source: Barre Montpelier Times Argus - Barre, VT, USA, 5 June 2005

United Plant Savers is a Vermont-based non-profit with a goal of preserving North America's native medicinal plants. It has about 2,000 members nationwide and for each member the focus is on its "at risk" list, about 20 plants in danger of disappearing due to habitat loss and over-harvesting. From the well-known American ginseng to the lesser known lomatium, the group is keeping watch and educating people about the problem.

"Eleven years ago we looked around and saw that the medicinal herb industry was burgeoning, it was going into supermarkets and it wasn't just small health food stores that were carrying these remedies anymore," said executive director Lynda LeMole. "More people have access to herbal medicine than ever before."

The increased usage posed a problem, though. According to LeMole, herbalists noticed that the increase in demand was not being met by a corresponding increase in supply. The plants were being harvested in the wild, and the supply was beginning to dwindle. “One of the first measures that United Plant Savers took was to come up with a list of the plants that we were most concerned about," she said. "And we came up with what we call the 'at risk' list." With the list in hand, the organization could direct its energies into seeking a solution to the problem. Knowing which plants were most threatened LeMole said allowed the organization to begin studying safe cultivation methods and educating the public about sound harvesting practices.

In Orange (Vermont), herbalist Betzy Bancroft manages the United Plant Savers offices on Knox Mountain. There, Bancroft said, the organization has created a botanical sanctuary where plants such as ginseng, blood root and goldenseal thrive in their natural setting. And across the country, members have created private sanctuaries to preserve indigenous plants. "They range in size from somebody's backyard to hundreds of acres," she said. In Ohio, Bancroft said, Untied Plant Savers has one of its largest sanctuaries. "We have a 370-acre botanical sanctuary there of herbs as far as the eye can see."

According to Bancroft, once someone decides to designate property as a sanctuary, United Plant Savers can help in a number of ways. First, the organization can provide contacts for seeds and seedlings that would typically grow wild in the area. Also, the group has a network of affiliated land consultants who can assist in creating a sanctuary suited to a particular bioregion.

Cultivation of native plants can be tricky, though. According to Jeff Carpenter of Zack Woods Herb Farm in Hyde Park, most of the plants on the "at risk" list can be cultivated, but in some cases special accommodations need to be made. "These are woodland plants, so we had to create an artificial shade structure," Carpenter said. That structure, he said, mimics the tree canopy that would exist in a forest setting. Such accommodations have allowed him to cultivate numerous native medicinal plants, which he sells in seed, seedling or dried form. Currently, Carpenter said, he has between 20,000 and 30,000 goldenseal plants growing under the shade structure. Carpenter said about a third of the calls he receives during the year are referred to him from United Plant Savers.

However, cultivation of native plants is not something to be taken lightly. According to Bob Popp, a botanist with the state's Nongame and Natural Heritage Project, the introduction of rare plants into the wild can cause serious problems. Someone could unknowingly introduce a rare plant into the wrong habitat, which could upset the balance that exists in nature, he said. Or someone could inadvertently introduce a non-native strain of plant into the wild, which could cause problems with the native strain. Popp recommends educating people about rare plants and working to protect natural habitats.

At United Plant Savers, education is the primary concern, Bancroft said. Through literature and herbal symposiums, Bancroft said the organization works to teach the public about plant identification, natural habitats, safe cultivation methods and ethical harvesting techniques.

Plants such as ginseng and bloodroot, which can be used to treat a number of ailments including stress, skin cancer and others, are of particular concern, Bancroft said. Because the root of the plant is used to create remedies, harvesting the plant kills it. Therefore, teaching harvesting ethics is crucial to ensure that native medicinal plants continue to thrive in the wild. Root dividing, pruning and seed planting are a few of the ethical harvesting methods the organization promotes, Bancroft said.

According to United Plant Savers founder and president, Rosemary Gladstar, the solution to the problem is for herbalists and consumers to know the sources of their herbs, and whenever possible, use cultivated sources.

Bancroft agreed, and she encourages people to notice the labels on herbal products and to purchase items that are known to be made from cultivated herbs. And for the average person, Bancroft said even small efforts can make a big difference. "Plant native plants," she said. "And just leave room for wilderness in your yard, and that goes for bugs, birds and plants."

For full story, please see: www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050605/NEWS/506050358/1003

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12. Moringa tree production gets $60 million boost

Source: The Herald (Harare), 30 June 2005

Farming and propagation of moringa tree, referred to by medicinal scientists as "Africa's wonder tree", has gathered momentum in Zimbabwe with Tree Africa donating $60 million towards the large-scale cultivation of the tree.

The tree became popular recently after tests conducted by scientists in West Africa and India revealed that it can boost the immune system of humans while the seeds can be used to process oil and for water purification.

Tree Africa programme advisor Mr Jacob Jepsen said the money would go a long way in expanding moringa tree cultivation and conservation projects in Zimbabwe. "The exotic plant has a lot to offer and we would like people to have access to it. It originates from India, but is cultivated in Binga, Mazowe and at a small-scale in Matabeleland South, North and Nyanga areas," Mr Jepsen said.

He said his organisation encourages all people to come up with nutrient herbal gardens that would see them improve their health. "The moringa tree is highly nutritious in Vitamins A, B and C and it is also a good source of calcium, phosphorous, proteins and carbohydrates.”The plant does not cure HIV and AIDS as people have been speculating of late," he said.

Tree Africa programme officer Ms Decent Nyoni said the moringa tree leaves and roots can be pounded differently into powder form and used to spice up food or taken as herbal tea. "The plant is being processed into capsules but we encourage people to take the unprocessed powders as no traces of other essentials would have been destroyed," Ms Nyoni said. The leaves can be chewed fresh while the flowers can be used as relish.

She said Tree Africa Harare offices also sell genuine moringa tree seedlings for less than the exorbitant prices charged by some unscrupulous dealers.

The organisation has so far established seven clinics around the country where they conduct investigations pertaining to what else could be of benefit from the wonder plant.

Delta community projects manager, Mr Herbert Nyabonda said the corporate sector has a role to play in conserving natural resources. "It is interesting to know what could be benefited from growing a herbal garden. The magnitude of the project makes it imperative for all stakeholders to be involved," Mr Nyabonda said.

He said this is not a new concept. "We grew up in an environment where our parents, especially the mothers, would pluck medicinal leaves to treat various ailments.”The thrust for all environmentalists is to ensure measures are put in place to conserve these precious plants."

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200506300599.html

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13. Mushrooms: Morels in Alaska (USA)

Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Fairbanks, AK, USA. 28 June 2005

Biologists studying mushrooms and other fungi for the Fungal Genomics Project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) would appreciate it if mushroom pickers shared with them a mushroom cap or two--especially the most unusual looking fungi of their harvests.

There are nine known subspecies of morel mushrooms, not all of which occur in Alaska, said Gary Laursen, a senior research biologist with the Institute of Arctic Biology. There are two species of black morel--the most common and popular fruit in this state. But there may be more. No one knows for sure because a true scientific taxonomy of Alaska mushrooms has yet to be completed.

Alaskans may have been sautéing a whole new variety of morel mushroom for years and not known it. Laursen and four colleagues are focusing on fungi specifics beyond the common names that most fry cooks would care about. "Common names tend to cluster what we as taxonomists might put into two or three different species," Laursen said.

He and others connected with the mycological herbarium at UAF are examining and describing all varieties of Alaska fungus for the project. Broader public interest in mushrooms this summer--given the possibility of commercial quantities of morel mushrooms popping up after millions of acres of Alaska's Interior forests burned last year--means a chance for the scientists to, perhaps, land an interesting specimen or two.

As Laursen put it in terms of hunting mushrooms in general, "the more eyes you have in the woods the more you find."

As incentive, Laursen noted that this is a scientific first for Alaska and those whose mushrooms are found useful in the study would be listed as contributors in documentation of the project. "We like to get people's names. ... They're given credit in publications," he said.

Looking closely at sponge-like morels, the surface looks like a field of pits and ridges. The mushrooms actually are called”cup” fungi because the pits on their surface serve as cups where spores are produced. One species may be all brown, one may have brown pits and white ridges, and one might have white pits and brown ridges. The combinations are endless in grays, yellows and variations of colour and shape. "There are a lot of subtleties that a taxonomist would use to delineate a species," he said.

The scientists not only look at the shape, colour and size of the mushrooms, they consider where individual fruits grow and do microscopic and chemical tests on the fungi as well. Microscopic views look at the individual spores, of which a single mushroom might produce billions, and the cell makeup of the stem, cap and other parts of the fruit, Laursen said.

Chemical tests are then performed to sort out the RNA of the mushroom. RNA, Laursen explained, is half of the familiar helical DNA ladder that has become well known thanks to television and movies. "Saw the ladder in half down the rungs and one half is the RNA," he said. The scientists actually focus on one small portion of the RNA as an identifier of mushroom species.

But, Laursen is quick to emphasize, the RNA finding is just one piece of the puzzle. "It's information to help delineate the species along with the macro and microscopic information," he said. "You have to look at the whole picture. It's not like DNA fingerprinting with humans."

The mushrooms are quite a puzzle for scientists, Laursen said. People know morels pop up after a fire, but exactly what nutrients are at work and in what quantity, what specific temperature and moisture combination is at work and even whether the mushrooms are specific to certain tree species--having a mycorrhizal relationship--is unknown, he said.

Trees could not grow around Fairbanks without the help of mycorrhizal relationships with fungus, he said. "Some have assumed morels are mycorrhizal, but it has not been documented," Laursen said. To explain the relationship, Laursen described fungus as a sprawling web of fibers underground that digest nutrients in the soil. The mushrooms people see at the surface are the equivalent of fruit that appear only when conditions are just so. Tree roots also seek nutrients from the soil, but Interior Alaska soil is so nutrient-poor that trees could not pull up enough nutrients on their own. What roots do have are sugars produced in photosynthesis by the tree. The fungi feed on the sugars, the trees feed on the nutrients pulled in by the fungi, and the symbiosis is complete.

Some mushrooms grow only with certain kinds of trees. Some scientists have speculated that morels have some sort of relationship with spruce trees, thus explaining the reason so many would pop to the surface when a spruce forest burns. "The roots may still be alive under the surface," Laursen said. "But they're throwing out all their sugars in a last-ditch effort to survive. The morels may key on that and fruit in response to the tree being stressed."

The scientists ask those who bring mushrooms to note where the items were found, what the ground was like and what types of trees were present--if any. He asks that people bring mushrooms to the mycological herbarium at Room 305 Bunnell on the UAF campus or call him at 474-6295.

For full story, please see: http://www.news-miner.com/Stories/0,1413,113~7244~2942103,00.html

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14. Seabuckthorn: Breakthrough in the fight against acne and eczema

Source: I-Newswire.com (press release) – USA, 7 July 2005

Seabuckthorn is an extraordinary plant that has been recognized for centuries in Eurasia for its exceptional medicinal and nutritional benefits. The berries of seabuckthorn are so rich in vitamins and nutrients that it has been speculated that the plant must have been cultivated by ancient plant-breeders.

The oil of seabuckthorn has general nourishing, revitalizing, and restorative action. It can be used for acne, dermatitis, irritated, dry, itching skin, sore skin, eczema, skin ulcers, postpartum pigmentation, burns, scalds, cuts, and tissue regeneration. The stimulation of tissue regeneration is helpful in the treatment of burns, bedsores and poorly healing wounds. It helps reduce the damaging effects of sun radiation. Seabuckthorn oil effectively combats wrinkles, dryness and other symptoms of malnourished or prematurely aging skin and is utilized in anti-aging skin creams and lotions.

The berries appear to be an unsurpassed natural source of vitamins A and E, carotenes and flavonoids. Seabuckthorn berries are second only to Rose hips and Acerola in vitamin C content. They are also rich in several other vitamins, including B1, B2, K and P as well as in more than two dozen microelements.

The restorative action of seabuckthorn oil may be in part due to its high content of essential fatty acids, carotenes, tocopherols and phytosterols, which are all important for the maintenance of healthy skin. The EFA content in the seabuckthorn oil is 80 - 95%. Major EFAs are oleic and linoleic. Others are pentadecenoic, palmitoleic, heptadecenoic, linolenic, eicosenoic, eicosadienoic, erucic and nervonic.

Among the carotenes found in Seabuckthorn are alfa- and beta-carotenes, lycopene, cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, taraxanthin and phytofluin. Tocopherols are mostly vitamin E and gamma-tocopherol. Phytosterols of seabuckthorn include beta-sitosterol, beta-amirol and erithrodiol. Taken internally, it can help prevent gums from bleeding, recuperate mucous membranes, heal peptic and duodenal ulcers, urinary tract and cervical erosion, solar and cancer radiation injuries and is a source of carotenes, phytosterols, and EFAs.

For full story, please see: http://i-newswire.com/pr35169.html

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15. Shea butter boosts W. Africa business

Source: Reuters UK, 27 June 2005

Accra - In northern Ghana, tradition forbade men to stoop and pick up the fruit that fell from the towering shea nut tree. It was beneath them to do so. But that's not the case anymore. Shea butter is the new 'It' cosmetic in the West, where it is applied to smooth wrinkles and cure blemishes, while nut oil is used more and more in Europe as a cheap substitute for cocoa butter in chocolate.

For generations women gathered the fruit, pounded the nuts, and sold the salve to feed their families. Now foreign firms and home-grown entrepreneurs are scrabbling to boost production capacity and export to lucrative foreign markets.

"We started with cashew nuts but realized there was much more potential with shea nuts and we've been successful since we moved over," said Milind Bhat, finance director and operations manager for Blue Mont Ghana, a company which has a factory in the northern Ghanaian town of Tamale.

When the leaders of the world's richest nations discuss African poverty at next month's Group of Eight (G8) summit, Ghana may be held up as an exception. The government of the former British colony is determined that years of liberal market policies, peace and stability will drive private sector investment and economic growth.

Starting in 2001 and helped by its British-based parent, Blue Mont Ghana now employs 45 full-time staff and is seeking funds to boost capacity at its shea oil plant in northern Ghana to produce more high-value exports.

For Kwesi Abeasi, chief executive of the Ghana Investments Promotion Center, the investment and profits made by companies exporting shea nut butter are "a small slice of the great opportunities that a small country like Ghana can offer."

The shea nut trees grow easily in the savannah belt that separates the Sahara desert from the verdant, tropical coast of West Africa. They only start to bear fruit after 20 years, reach maturity after 45, but can go on producing for two centuries.

Several countries in the region export 60,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes of shea nuts each year, but the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization says that could increase ten fold.

"Shea nuts could be big business for West Africa. The cosmetic and personal care industry in America is becoming more and more interested in it because consumers have discovered its magic," said Peter Lovett, a shea nut consultant, who advises the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH). WATH, a U.S.-funded outfit with a regional office in Ghana, supports West African entrepreneurs to export their products to U.S. markets under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Blue Mont's Bhat says the advantage of being in northern Ghana, where the company has 16 permanent collection units, is that there is no shortage of nuts and good labour is plentiful. "Pickers can earn tens of dollars a day" during the peak rainy season.

The world market price per metric ton of raw nuts is $190, crude butter sells for $450 dollars and refined butter for $900.

Little known a few years ago in North America, a four-ounce shea butter body balm can retail for $16 in boutiques across the Atlantic and demand for creamy, yellowish butter is growing. "Shea butter is a high-value product, highly sought after by middle class suburban women," said Kara, who founded Planet Botanicals in New York in 2003 with her sister Michelle Gilfoil.

For Ghanaian entrepreneur John Hayford, breaking into foreign markets has been the toughest nut to crack. Hayford spotted the growing niche market for shea butter in the United States a few years ago. He invested just over $2,000 in 2002 and built a machine from scrap metal in junkyards to mold the butter into cosmetics. He added a boiler to process the nuts and two years later his company, Haymor Natural Cosmetics, had turnover of $38,000 and small contracts to supply in the United States and Norway.

But restrictions in one European country meant every time he bought shea nuts from a different village, his products would have to undergo a strict testing procedure all over again. "We hadn't anticipated that and we just couldn't keep up," Hayford told Reuters. "I'm not giving up but we've learned to try and walk through this rather than running through it."

For full story, please see: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=healthNews&storyID=2005-06-27T125920Z_01_N27173329_RTRIDST_0_HEALTH-GROUP-AFRICA-BUSINESS-DC.XML

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16. Spices: Mabira forest nurtures country’s spice farming

Source: New Vision (Kampala), 22 June 2005

Deep in Mabira forest (Uganda), there is a spice island! It is in form of a 360-ha assorted spice shamba. To the lay eye, the farm looks nothing less than just partly cleared section of Mabira forest. But on close scrutiny, one observes that there are tens of thousands of elephant grass-like plants among the rows of very tall trees. Further scrutiny indicates that almost each of the trees has got a climbing plant growing on it.

The spice shamba is owned by one of the largest spice farms, Fourways Group of Companies. "We got the initial seeds from India," says Ivan Bolingo, the farm manager.

Cardamom cannot grow under direct sunshine. It grows under trees. The tree cover should be as high as 50 feet above the tip of the plants because cardamom cannot sustain the competition for space," Bolingo explains. Once planted, the cardamom seeds take 45-60 days to germinate. Two weeks after germination, they are transferred into a secondary nursery for about eight months. Cardamom flowers after 18 months. The fruits resemble small oval nuts and inside are several black seeds that produce the spice. After harvesting, cardamom seeds are dried and graded before being sold off.

Everyday, they harvest between 50-60kg of cardamom. Each kilogramme is sold between sh15,000-25,000 depending on the grade. Cardamom is used as a spice in almost all beverages.

On the same shamba is black and white pepper. These are climbing plants that thrive alongside trees. Like cardamom, the seeds were imported from India. "We took advantage of the thousands of trees and planted the seeds around their trunks. However, the plants do not have any negative effect against the trees, because they do not depend on them for survival. "Unlike cardamom, black pepper flowers only once a year and the farm harvests are about 500kg a year. We are yet to enter any big foreign market. Most of our produce is sold to local beverage makers," Bolingo says.

If there are crops that one can grow without affecting the environment, then cardamom and black pepper are some of them.

Since cardamom thrives under the shades of trees, while black pepper climbs on trees, no farmer can cut them down. This is a case for production without destroying the environment. "We are keen on protecting our environment. This is why we selected crops that do not require cutting down trees," D. W. Kasozi, Fourways General Manager, Operations, says.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200506220153.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

17. Angola: Creation of database on biodiversity

Source: Angola Press Agency (Luanda), 7 July 2005

Angolan Member of Parliament, Fatima Jardim, defended the need for the creation of a database in the country to collect and keep all information related to biodiversity. She suggested this while addressing the theme "Practical Analysis of Biodiversity's Usage", during the First National Workshop on Strategy for Maintenance of Biodiversity in Angola", taking place since Wednesday.

Fatima Jardim also said that it is urgent that the participants reach a comprehensive proposal for the creation of a national database, an initiative that will be submitted to the Parliament. She proposed the creation of an institute which works together with the database in order to store all information related to the flora, fauna and ecosystems. She said that the state-run Agostinho Neto University (UAN) is better placed to draft programmes which enable the evolution of gender instruments, capable of responding to biodiversity demands, based on traditional knowledge of Angola's communities.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507080316.html

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18. Burkina Faso: TREE8, nationwide tree planting

Source: TREE AID (United Kingdom), 5 July 2005

Thousands of women in Burkina Faso, one of the world's most deprived countries earmarked recently by G8 Finance Ministers for 100 percent debt relief, will mark the start of the G8 summit discussions on Africa with a nationwide tree planting initiative called Tree8.

TREE8 symbolises the two key themes of the G8 Summit: Africa and climate change.

The British environmental charity TREE AID, will be taking part in TREE8 with local organisation Regeneration Sahel at the village of Yantega in the north of Burkina Faso where a circle of eight baobab trees, one for each G8 country, will be planted. They will be joined by leading Burkinabe women, demonstrating the high level support for grass-roots initiatives that improve the environment and alleviate poverty in that country.

Miranda Spitteler, Chief Executive of TREE AID said: "Our goal at TREE AID is to draw upon local expertise and empower communities to become self-reliant through the sustainable management of trees and use of tree resources, which is particularly vital in rural communities in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Environment Minister, Laurent Sedogo, said "TREE8 demonstrates our government's commitment to the poorest communities that are most affected by climate change. It will also raise awareness nationally about how trees improve the environment and make a significant economic contribution to ordinary people's lives through tree products. Over time, the whole economy can benefit, even more so with equitable trade rules."

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200507051021.html

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19. Canada: Turning a new leaf on the maple tree

Source: Globe and Mail - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2 July 2005

After early Canadian settlers learned the secrets of maple syrup from the natives, the maple tree went on to inspire the sickeningly sweet cabane à sucre, its wood became a favourite of furniture makers and its emblematic leaf is now ubiquitous: An exhibition in Vancouver is now celebrating the maple tree's unique contribution to the art of woodturning.

“Maple: Our Nation's Tree” opened yesterday at the Crafthouse Gallery during Canada Day festivities on Granville Island. The exhibition features six British Columbia artists who do woodturning -- carving wood as it spins on a lathe -- using timber from the local big-leaf maple.

The tree's grain is often riddled with bizarre patterns, called figuring, meaning it's worth little to the logging industry, but is highly coveted by woodturners looking for unique and beautiful patterns. Some wood features a bumpy "quilted" pattern, while other pieces have a "fiddle-back" pattern -- a wavy grain often used to make fiddles and guitars. The patterns are created by fungi when the wood was in the early stages of decay.

Larry Stevenson belongs to a woodturners' organization and often gets a phone call after a storm blows down a maple. He has a tradition of returning to the donor's home, often more than a year later, to give them a piece of art created from their tree. Each of Stevenson's pieces is carved on a lathe, carefully dried, returned to the lathe and later sealed with wax.

For full story, please see: www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050702/MAPLE02/TPEntertainment/Style

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20. China: WWF Funds Ecological Protection in China

Source: CRI – China, 18 June 2005

The World Wildlife Fund will invest 1.2 billion euros in the coming years to help improve the environment in the Heilongjiang River valley along the border between China and Russia. The money will be mainly used in the construction of nature reserves in the border areas and building of a cross-border passage for Siberian tigers.

The program also covers protection of valuable forests and the Xingkai Lake as well as tourism development in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.

This is part of a program launched by the fund to build a "green corridor" in the valley of Heilongjiang River which runs through Russia, Mongolia and China. Sources from the fund say preparations for ecological protection in the river valley areas in Mongolia are going smoothly.

Zhu Chunquan, forest program director of WWF China, said the WWF has during the past three years invested about US$1.5 million in Heilongjiang Province and another US$ 4 million in Russia.

Research has found that the Heilongjiang River, with abundant natural resources, is one of the few rivers in the world which have been well preserved. The river valley has the richest wetland resources and forest biodiversity in the world. Zhu said the protection of biodiversity should not be separated by boundaries within the 1.84 million square kilometers region irrigated by the Heilongjiang River, among which about 940,000 square kilometers are in China. Many species such as the Siberian tiger and black bear need a large habitat. Hundreds of bird species such as the red-crowned crane and white crane also take it as a migrant passage or habitats, Zhu said.

Governments, companies and institutes in the region should work with international organizations to carry out biodiversity conservation.

For full story, please see: http://en.chinabroadcast.cn/2238/2005-6-18/135@248820.htm

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21. India: Women cooperatives add value to NWFP, especially lac and tamarind

Source: Calcutta Telegraph - Calcutta,India, 19 July 2005

Jharkhand Jungle Bachao Aandolan (JJBA) has adopted a resolution to set up all-women co-operative societies in forest villages to spread the message of community participation to protect the dwindling forest cover.

Women, who are considered to be more close to nature than men, have been roped in for a unique experiment which aims to dispel the notion that tribals are cutting down trees.

JJBA spokesman Sanjoy Bosumallik cites instances in which tribals have fought police and forest officials to protect forests in their vicinity. “Contrary to popular notions, the tribes, who had at one time cleared forests to settle down and cultivate land, have always been at the forefront to protect whatever remained of the forests,” he said. Moreover, the JJBA spokesman said, as creators themselves, tribal women are closer to nature than the men. They depend on the forests for the household more than men ever do.

According to Bosumallik the first such all women co-operative has been formed comprising women in 20 villages in the Maranghada area under Khunti sub-division in Ranchi district. Not to be left behind, women in other seven villages too demanded inclusion in the co-operative. A formal launch of the co-operative will be made on July 21, at a mass meeting at Maranghada.

The Maranghada-based society has been named Maki Dai Mahila Sahkari. The constitution states that no males would be allowed to have any participation except in the capacity of a facilitator. These co-operatives would add value to minor forest produce, particularly lac and tamarind, found locally and sold directly to producers of the finished products.

Earnings would be shared between the co-operative and members constituting them.

The Maki Dai society will begin by collecting lac from Khunti forests. A portion of the lac collected would be sent directly to lac-based factories, for which talks have already been concluded with a manufacturer at Murhu in Ranchi district. The manufacturer has already agreed to pay Rs 120 to Rs 15 more per kilo than the ruling market prices of all lac supplied to it by the society. Arrangements are also being made to install a crusher machine to crush dried lac and sell it at higher prices directly in the open markets, Bosumallik added.

JJBA has taken a cue from a draft bill framed by Union tribal welfare ministry which proposes that all villages in reserved forests which have been in existence prior to 1980, would be granted land rights along with the right to use minor forest produce. The draft bill says every resident in all such forest settlements would be granted “pattas” ensuring them rights over two-and-half acres of land.

JJBA has demanded that the cut off date be extended from 1980 to 1993 to ensure justice to thousands of people who have over the years made forest their home.

For full story, please see: www.telegraphindia.com/1050719/asp/jamshedpur/story_5006979.asp

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22. India: bamboo export

Source: Calcutta Telegraph - Calcutta,India, 16 June 2005

With reports of sporadic bamboo flowering in Mizoram, the ministry of commerce and industry has declared free export of muli bamboo to facilitate the marketing of the harvested crop. Sources said the offer would be valid till 31 March 2007 under the Export and Import Policy under Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act 1993, subject to transit rules of the concerned states.

Muli bamboo (Melocanna baccifera) grows over an area of approximately 18,000 square km in Mizoram. The total area under muli bamboo in the Northeast is 18,000 square km and the total stock is 26 million tonnes, of which only 10 million tonnes can be harvested.

Sources said to facilitate harvesting of the standing crop before flowering, all necessary arrangements will have to be made to facilitate its transport. Effective ways of transporting the harvested crop will have to be worked out by establishing links with paper mills such as the Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd. Promoting bamboo-based cottage industry and establishing chipping and pulping units in the small-scale industrial sector will also figure in the promotion plans.

Experts have suggested that an action plan would have to be formulated for regeneration of the flowered areas. The plan would involve introduction of economically-important bamboo species.

A steering committee has been formed under the ministry of environment and forests to deal with the prospective flowering in the Northeast. The committee will have three focus areas — harvesting, regeneration of the area and rodent control.

The ministry has agreed to allocate a sum of Rs 85 crores for 2005-2009. The action plan stated that both Tripura and Mizoram have indicated their export plans to the Centre. Tripura has already exempted timber transit rules for bamboo. It has also drawn up a harvesting 10-year plan from 2002-03 to 2012-13.

The committee has advised the states to conduct the sale of standing crop before flowering through open auctions so that the infrastructure requirements for facilitating extraction is met by the bidders and the sale proceeds can be subsequently utilised for regeneration of the area.

For full story, please see: www.telegraphindia.com/1050617/asp/northeast/story_4876578.asp

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23. India: ‘Vision, Bamboo-2020'

Source: Hindustan Times - Delhi, India, 2 July 2005

North Eastern Council (NEC), the apex central development agency of the region, has conjured a vision for higher bamboo production with a 15-year perspective. The NEC has put special emphasis for bamboo development under a master plan for production, which will become operational in three stages, each spanning five years, official sources said.

The plan 'Vision, Bamboo-2020' aims at utilization of bamboo, envisages double digit economic growth and foresees over 7 percent GDP growth in the NE region with bamboo cultivation.

To act as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for building up a favourable scenario for the sector in another 15 years, Bamboo-2020 has been conceived with the hope to generate millions of jobs in the trade.

This would result in enhancement of family and community income through value-addition of bamboo products and at least one member of each family was expected to get full employment throughout the year, sources said.

To evolve a sophisticated technology for diversification of the products with improved quality and creation of a global export network with neighbouring countries are other objectives of the plan.

For full story, please see: www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1418676,0002.htm

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24. Kenya's forests at risk

Source: Inter Press Service News Agency, 5 July 2005 (in CENN, 14.7.05 Daily Digest)

Kenya is home to 1.7 million hectares of indigenous forest, which is now under threat.

”There is great loss of biodiversity, especially in forests where people are using (land) for settlement, agriculture or other activities,” Parkinson Ndonye, a senior researcher at the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), told IPS. ”At the same time, it may prove difficult to act when these people are trying to survive,” he added. ”This is a matter of grave concern and should be talked about, including with the communities, to see how best to increase the forest cover.” NEMA is a government body that coordinates conservation initiatives across the country.

If a controversial proposal to reintroduce Kenya's ”shamba” system is accepted, the situation in forests could become even worse. Under this system, communities would be allowed to grow crops on forest lands.

Certain officials argue that communities might be encouraged to protect indigenous forests if this ensured them access to agricultural land. Others, led by Assistant Environment Minister and Nobel laureate Wangari Mathai, maintain that shamba will result in a further loss of plant and animal life. Mathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work in environmental protection. She is founder of the Green Belt Movement, a conservation group that has led women in planting about 30 million of trees.

A further threat is posed by illegal logging, notably in the Mau area of the Rift Valley and the Mount Kenya Forest in central Kenya. Camphor and cedar trees, which produce prized varieties of wood, are said to be particular targets of loggers.

In the face of these hazards, the Green Belt Movement has warned that government will need to adopt a more inclusive approach if indigenous forests are to survive. ”All communities must be involved in planting and replanting indigenous trees to allow regeneration of natural forests, since this protects much of the biodiversity,” said Njogu Kahare, programmes officer at the Green Belt Movement.

At present, rising populations and certain forms of development are leading to diminished biodiversity.

In a bid to halt this trend, the Convention on Biological Diversity was presented for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. The treaty, now ratified by over 170 countries, entered into effect in 1993. It has set 2010 as the year by which loss of biodiversity must be significantly reduced. The success or failure of global efforts in this regard will be determined by, amongst others, the extent to which ecosystems (such as forest areas) are being sustainably managed - and the number of species listed as endangered.

Conservationists will also ascertain how many of the products we consume come from sustainable sources, and whether alien species have been contained in certain habitats - or allowed to crowd out their indigenous counterparts.

The aims of the Convention on Biological Diversity are also reflected in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted by global leaders in 2000 in a bid to tackle key aspects of poverty and under-development. MDG seven calls for the notion of environmental sustainability to be woven into policies and programmes adopted by governments.

However, a press release issued by the Secretariat of the convention has pointed out that all the MDGs will be harder to attain if greater efforts are not made to preserve biodiversity. (The Montreal-based secretariat helps oversee the implementation of the biodiversity convention.) ”Less biodiversity leads to a decline in the crucial ecosystem goods and services needed for life, such as food, clean water, and the materials for clothing and shelter,” the May 19 document noted.

”Although all people rely on biodiversity, it is the poor who will disproportionately bear the costs of this loss.”

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25. Malaysia: Orang Asli and gaharu (species of the genus Aquilaria)

Source: Bernama - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 4 July 2005

The Orang Asli community needs to find alternative source of income in future due to resource depleting and the need to practice sustainable non-timber forest resource management.

Dr Lim Hin Fui of the Forest Research Institute Malaysia said that most gaharu harvesters in Peninsular Malaysia were Orang Asli and a good grade of gaharu could fetch RM5,000 to RM6,000 per kg while low grade goes for as low as RM4 per kg. He said that international trade in gaharu was now regulated and as such a permit was needed to harvest but Orang Asli hardly applies for such permit.

Speaking at the International Conference on the Indigenous People 2005, Dr Lim noted that since 1985, encroachment by Thais on Malaysian forests to search for gaharu had also resulted in resource depleting. "Orang Asli's continued dependence on gaharu remains doubtful...they need to find alternative source of income," he said in his talk on Gaharu in Malaysian Forests: How Long Can the Orang Asli Community Depend on It. As such, Dr Lim said that Orang Asli needs long term commercial agriculture projects as one of the alternative sources of income.

Gaharu, one of a few non-timber forest products well known internationally such as in Middle East for wealth, hospitality and medicinal purposes, is produced from the resinous, fragrant and highly prized heartwood of species of Aquilaria of the family Thymelaeaceae.

Dr Lim said that their study in 2003 in Hulu Perak showed that of the 71 households surveyed in seven Orang Asli villages, 57 households (80 per cent) generated cash income from gaharu harvesting. The average monthly income derived from the sale of gaharu was RM69 or 20 per cent of the monthly household cash income, he said.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Dr Spencer Empanding, of the University Malaysia Sarawak who spoke on indigenous people's participation in tourism industry in Sarawak said that the development of tourism had helped improved the living standard of local indigenous population in that state. The establishment of longhouses and also national parks as tourist destinations had directly or indirectly involved the local indigenous people to participate in the state's tourism. He said that although local indigenous people's participation in the tourism industry was encouraging, consideration must also be given to whether their quality of life had improved.

For full story, please see: www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news.php?id=143335

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26. Malaysia: More plant species for bio-prospecting programme

Source: Malaysia Star - Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, 16 June 2005

More minority groups are expected to contribute plant species known to have medicinal value to the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre’s bio-prospecting programme. Those expected to do so in the next few months include the Bisayas from Limbang, Kayan-Kenyahs from Sungai Asap, Melanaus from the Mukah division and Ibans from Selangau and Betong.

State Planning and Resource Management Minister Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the centre had met with leaders of these groups on taking part in its traditional knowledge documentation programme. “The centre already has a collection of some 9,000 plant extracts in its natural product library from over 600 plant species from the local communities,” he told the state assembly during question time yesterday. These species were contributed by the Bidayuhs, Penans, Kelabits, Lun Bawang and Malays from the various regions.

Awang Tengah said the centre’s two laboratories started carrying out extraction of plant samples and early-stage screening for bioactive compounds 16 months ago. These facilities, he added, could enable research officers to conduct preliminary screening for potential anti-cancer compounds. He said five more laboratories, expected to be ready in three months’ time, would enhance the centre’s capabilities in the chemical analysis of plants for the development of various therapies, microbial prospecting for potential antibiotics and industrial enzymes, DNA sequencing of organisms and plant tissue culture and bioinformatics. “Currently, five research officers are being trained by our Japanese partners (biotech company Nimura Genetic Solutions) in various techniques in microbial prospecting,” he added.

Awang Tengah said the state had to build up a critical mass of scientific expertise, to have access to research findings and good research partners to jumpstart its biotech initiative. “When the new laboratories are fully commissioned and the research team adequately trained, the centre will be on track to bring in some discoveries,” he added.

For full story, please see: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/6/16/nation/11228509&sec=nation

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NEWS

27. £10.5 million for new Darwin Initiative projects

Source: UK Government (in noticias.info, Spain, 16 June 2005)

A record number of new projects will share £10.5 million in funding over three years under the Darwin Initiative, Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight announced today. Mr Knight said new funding would build on £45 million invested by the UK Government since 1992 in the Darwin Initiative, which aims to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of resources in poorer countries.

"The Darwin Initiative directly recognises that the world's poorest regions, with the least resources to put towards conserving their natural environments, are also home to some of the world's richest natural habitats and ecosystems," he said. "These projects will span 59 countries, and include initiatives encouraging tourism that supports species conservation in Cambodia's Srepok wilderness, coupling biodiversity and modern farming practices in Uganda, and getting young people involved in managing the protected areas of Romania's Rodna Mountains.

"One of the most important aspects of Darwin projects is that they take experts from British universities and institutions, and send them to develop expertise in host country institutions, with a strong focus on collaboration, community involvement and ownership, and improving livelihoods long-term.

Mr Knight said the Darwin Initiative had supported more than 400 projects in over 100 countries since its inception, with a current investment of £7 million each year. "Darwin projects have made a significant contribution towards enhancing wildlife conservations, and helping local communities secure economic, health, and social benefits from the sustainable use of biodiversity.”These benefits have included setting up community-led ecotourism projects and developing the cultivation of medicinal plants in areas seriously affected by Aids and HIV."

Mr Knight also announced £69,729 for 28 pre-project grants and £40,760 for four new scholarships in 2005/06. The pre-project schemes fund one-off costs for UK institutions to travel to host countries to collaborate on developing Darwin Initiative proposals and projects. The scholarships will enable four people from El Salvador, Chile, and Kenya who have participated in current and recent Darwin projects to receive training and on-site experience at the Natural History Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Cambridge University, and the RSPB.

As of October 2004, there are 125 active Darwin projects in 100 countries. More than two thirds of projects are located in the tropical zones of Africa, Asia and South America. Other projects are in temperate environments including Central America, Oceania, and the Caribbean.

Applications for pre-project and scholarship grants are invited annually. Recommendations for funding are made by the Darwin Advisory Committee.

For full story, please see: www.noticias.info/asp/aspComunicados.asp?nid=75356&src=0

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28. Asian nations to build biodiversity conservation corridors

Source: Financial Express - Bombay, India, 5 July 2005

Beijing, 4 July. The six Asian countries sharing the Lancang-Mekong river have pledged to build Asia’s first biodiversity conservation corridors for wild species movement and the maintenance of viable populations. The corridors are unprecedented in Asia and the news is a blessing to wildlife and plants struggling for survival in their highly fragmented habitats in the Mekong river basin, the state media reported on Monday.

This is a timely and necessary initiative, said Jin Liqun, vice president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the main sponsor of a decade-old sub-regional economic cooperation programme involving Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Habitat fragmentation, mainly caused by rapid economic development, poses a growing threat to the rich animal and plant diversity in the greater Mekong subregion (GMS), Jin said. The initiative was adopted at a recent conference of GMS environmental ministers and is expected to get a nod from the heads of government of the six GMS countries, who are now in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province for the second GMS summit.

For full story, please see: www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=95599

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29. Biopiracy: Brazil gets tough on 'biopirates'

Source: SciDev.net – UK, 22 June 2005

Brazil has introduced a law to regulate the development of commercial products from its native species. Those who use indigenous resources without permission or without sharing the benefits with the state or local communities could face a fine of up to US$20 million. The money obtained by penalising such 'biopiracy' will be used to fund conservation science in Brazil.

The law, which defines ten offences and a range of penalties, was enacted on 8 June. It prohibits, for example, the unauthorised export of Brazilian species. The Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) and Brazil's navy will enforce the law.

Biologist Eduardo Vélez, executive secretary of the Ministry of the Environment's Council for the Management of Genetic Patrimony says the law aims to ensure Brazil retains sovereignty over its biodiversity, whilst educating people about the importance of conserving it.

Fines will be used exclusively to conserve biodiversity, for instance by creating and maintaining gene banks, supporting scientific research and training personnel.

Brazil is a member of the 17-nation group of 'megadiverse' countries. According to the Ministry of the Environment, 22 per cent of the Earth's species are found in Brazil and the country has 18 per cent of the planet's fresh water and the biggest tropical forest.

Patented products originating in Brazil's native plants include medicines derived from the guarana plant, Paullinia cupania.

The Convention on Biological Diversity, which Brazil has signed, includes tackling biopiracy among its aims.

The law was enacted on the same days as the Brazilian government launched a national campaign to raise public awareness about biopiracy.

For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=2174&language=1

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30. Biopiracy: Amazon countries team up to tackle biopiracy

Source: SciDev.net – UK, 18 July 2005

Representatives from patent offices in six Latin American nations that share the Amazon basin have agreed to work together against 'biopiracy' — the unauthorized commercial exploitation of their native species.

According to the Rio Declaration — signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 1 July — Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela will share information and jointly develop policies to tackle the phenomenon.

Along with Colombia and Guyana, the countries are members of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, which organised the Rio meeting.

They are concerned that researchers could patent drugs and other products derived from their native species, including products based on traditional knowledge such as herbal medicines, without sharing the benefits fairly. To tackle this threat more efficiently, the countries agreed to harmonise their intellectual property laws and share technical information included in patents.

The Amazon basin is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth, with many species found nowhere else on the planet.

The Amazon Cooperation Treaty was created in 1978 to promote sustainable development in the region.

For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=2231&language=1

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31. Climate change 'threatens to evict African plants'

Source: SciDev.Net, 1 July 2005

Climate change could drastically alter the distribution of thousands of plant species across Africa, say scientists. The researchers, led by Jon Lovett of the University of York in the United Kingdom, looked at 5,197 species of African plants — about 10-15 per cent of the continent's plant species.

Using computer models that predict future climate, the researchers concluded that by 2085, the habitats in which nearly all of these plants can live would either shrink or shift, often to higher altitudes, as a result of anticipated changes in Africa's climate.

Lovett says the team did not look explicitly at the risk of species extinction, but at the loss of areas with a suitable climate for the plant species studied. They say that for between one-quarter and one-half of the species they studied, there will be no part of Africa with a suitable climate by 2085.

The study will be published this month in the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, a leading journal for research on African vegetation.

The researchers say changes will be particularly drastic in the forests of West Africa, stretching from Guinea to the Congo basin. They believe the predicted changes in plant distribution could mirror the large-scale decline in West African forests that occurred 2,500 years ago during the last Ice Age. Other areas expected to be hard hit are eastern Africa and the continent's south-west coast.

Climate change is a factor that needs to be taken into account when identifying areas in Africa that are important to plant conservation, say the researchers.

Lovett told SciDev.Net that his research suggests climate change could greatly reduce the availability of medicinal plants in Africa. According to the World Health Organization, nearly three-quarters of Africans rely on traditional medicines derived from local plants.

"This is an important piece of work, providing a more comprehensive picture of the threats to African plants from climate change than has previously been available," says Chris Thomas, also at the University of York, though not part of Lovett's team. He says Lovett's team estimates are based on conservative estimates of future climate change.

Last year, Thomas and colleagues published research in Nature that claimed that a substantial proportion of the world's biodiversity was under threat of extinction from climate change (see Climate change 'threatens one million species').

The study came under fire from researchers at the University of Oxford who doubted the possibility of predicting with accuracy the fate of global biodiversity using a computer model of just 1,103 species, as the authors had done. They also criticised the press announcement issued to the media, which claimed that a quarter of land animals and plants could eventually go extinct if climate change was left unchecked (see Inaccurate media reports hinder conservation efforts).

The changes predicted by Lovett's team do not necessarily imply that the species will go extinct, but ecologists tend to agree that significant reductions in the area a species can inhabit will reduce their likelihood of survival.

For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=2198&language=1

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32. Tree Aid

Source: Times Online, UK, 2 July 2005

Tree Aid, a lesser-known but well established charity, set up in 1987, has planted more than six million trees across Africa and has protected many more. “Not only do trees provide wood for homes, food, medicines and fuel, but they allow communities to develop an income from their products, such as shea butter, soaps and gum,” says Miranda Spitteler, Tree Aid’s chief executive.

A donation of £18 covers the cost of a zizyphus tree, which bears vitamin-packed fruit. For donations of £550 or over, you can be linked with your own Tree Aid project and the charity will keep you closely involved with its progress.

For more information, please visit: www.treeaid.org.uk

For full story, please see: www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8123-1675847,00.html

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33. World Agroforestry Centre forms alliance with Conservation International

Source: Press release, Conservation International - Washington, DC, USA, 24 June 2005

The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Conservation International (CI) are forming a unique partnership to use their expertise in science-based research to save species and improve livelihoods of rural communities.

A Memorandum of Understanding between ICRAF, a global agricultural-based organization, and CI, an international conservation group, will be signed on June 24th. Under the agreement, the two organizations will focus their joint efforts on the world’s biodiversity hotspots – areas identified by CI as top conservation priorities because of their high levels of endemic plant and animal species that are under great threat – as well as on the high-biodiversity wilderness areas, in particular Amazonia.

The groups intend to combine their respective strengths in science-based biodiversity conservation to improve local livelihoods through agroforestry. By working together, they hope to help rural poor people obtain greater benefits from local resources by sustainably managing land to protect biodiversity.

Each organization will contribute scientific knowledge, resources and infrastructure toward the shared goals, including the development of joint research projects and sponsoring young scientists and technicians from priority regions.

Initially, the two organizations will work together in four regions –South East Asia (Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand), China, (mountain ecosystems), West Africa (Upper Guinea forest region) and the Eastern Andes and Amazonia (Bolivia, Brazil and Peru). These regions host biologically rich lowland tropical forests with high numbers of endemic species, but are under threat from immense habitat loss and land degradation.

In the future, CI and ICRAF will expand their operations to other hotspot regions including Madagascar and Eastern Africa (the Eastern Arc mountains and coastal forests). The groups also will target wilderness areas in Southern Africa (Miombo-Mopane woodlands) and Central Africa (Congo Basin forests), where both already have a relatively strong presence.

The partnership will enable populations in these regions to attain better living standards and reduce pressure on natural habitats. Smallholder farmers will get help to adopt agroforestry practices, adapt to climate change and develop business and tree-based income generating opportunities. The partners also will work with local institutions to promote the balancing of human needs with conservation goals.

Biodiversity hotspots are those areas on Earth with the greatest concentration of unique plant and wildlife and the greatest threat, having lost at least 70 percent of the original habitat. They cover a mere 2.3 percent of the Earth’s surface but each square kilometer of the land supports as many as 300 people with shelter and livelihoods. More often than not, resources in hotspots are managed unsustainably, with the resulting biodiversity destruction contributing to species extinctions. High-biodiversity wilderness areas, in contrast, are also biologically wealthy but still maintain over 70% of their habitat intact. Maintaining their biodiversity and associated ecosystem services in regions such as Amazonia is a major priority.

CI has just launched its new 5-year strategic plan anchored on three main strategies: science, partnerships and human well-being. “This science-based partnership with ICRAF speaks directly to the core of our strategy to work with a host of powerful organizations to better articulate and deliver on the livelihood benefits of biodiversity conservation investments,” said Gustavo Fonseca, CI’s Executive VP for Programs and Science.

With the development community now focusing on ending poverty with all its attendant problems, concerned organizations must form alliances like the ICRAF-CI partnership to work toward attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

For full story, please see: www.conservation.org/xp/news/press_releases/2005/062405.xml

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REQUESTS

34. Request for information: Global Bamboo Resources Assessment

From: Marco Piazza, FAO Forestry Department, Marco.Piazza@fao.org

As part of the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005 (FRA 2005), the FAO Forestry Department is in the process of preparing a number of Thematic Studies for selected subjects to complement the main report on global statistics and the analysis derived from country reports. One of these thematic studies focuses on bamboo and is being prepared in collaboration with the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).

INBAR staff is currently analysing data from a number of country reports received from National Correspondents in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Country information is complemented with additional literature on bamboo resources. The Report will include information on the extent and characteristics of bamboo resources, ownership, growing stock, amount and value of removal. Additionally, analysis of Landsat images is being performed by INBAR staff at the United States Geological Survey (USGS)/United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) office in South Dakota.

Bamboo is rapidly gaining importance both as an internationally traded commodity and as a tool for livelihood development. The Thematic Study builds on previous bamboo inventory efforts and will constitute the first focused look at the extent of bamboo resources at a global scale.

Contributions are welcome from parties with relevant information; in particular, additional data is being sought for Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia, as well as for the African region.

For information on the study or contributions please contact Marco.Piazza@fao.org, Hong.Ren@fao.org or Mette.LoycheWilkie@fao.org.

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35. Request for assistance: Syllabus for a training program in medicinal plants

From: Edwin Shunda [eshunda_2000@yahoo.com] (in Phytomedica)

My Institute is planning to start a Training Program in Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPS) initially targeting Traditional Health Practitioners, Traditional Birth Attendants and the Local Communities.

I have been tasked to draft this program but I think it’s not an easy job without the help of other professionals. For this reason, I am kindly asking for your assistance or provide me with a syllabus/advice/help/ which will enable us to prepare this program.

If you can help, please contact:

Edwin Shunda

(Forester, Botanist, Plant Conservationist)

Institute of Traditional Medicine-MUCHS,

P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

36. CIFOR opportunities

Source: David Kaimowitz, (CIFOR) [d.kaimowitz@cgiar.org]

Not many research centers have a global view of tropical forests and forestry, stand up for the little people, combine policy and biology, question conventional wisdom, and think constantly about how they can make a difference. CIFOR - the Center for International Forestry Research - is one of those few. Since 2002, CIFOR’s budget has risen about 30%, but the number of senior researchers stayed almost the same. Most of the extra money went to our partners outside CIFOR and to junior staff that come to get experience.

Now we are hiring five or six new senior researchers – and we need your help. We are looking for people who think clearly, take research seriously, write well, have something to say, work well in teams and with partners, raise funds, and see research as a tool for helping low-income families and forests. We don’t expect them to be superwomen (or men), but they should have experience and stand out in what they do. We are looking for people in the areas of: Forests and livelihoods; Sustainable forest management, biodiversity, and environmental services; Forest plantations; Forests and climate change; Decentralization, community forestry, and managing conflict and collaboration between stakeholders; Forest finance & trade, corporate social responsibility, and regulatory reform; Coordination of CIFOR’s regional activities in Africa; and Impact assessment. Developing country candidates and women are especially encouraged to apply.

The full information about each of these positions can be found on CIFOR’s website www.cifor.cgiar.org [Younger, less senior, professionals will also find information on the website about positions that may be suitable for them.] You can also write for information to CIFOR’s Human Resource manager, Jennifer Crocker, at j.crocker@cgiar.org. All applications should be sent to cifor-hr@cgiar.org

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EVENTS

Transformative Learning

12-16 September 2005

Lalitpur, Nepal

This training course is being organized by ForestAction and Environmental Resource Institute. It is a unique course that aims to transform ideas, and ways of thinking and doing so as to be able to improve the deliberative practices in various fields of social development.

For more information, please contact:

Jaya Lamichhane or Amrit Adhikari

ForestAction

Lalitpur, Nepal.

Phone: +977-1-5550631

Fax: +977-1-5552924

Email: forestaction@wlink.com.np

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International Bamboo Inventory Training Workshop

24 October-4 November 2005

Beijing and Zhejiang Province, China

Bamboo is an integral part of the tropical and subtropical forest, however little is known about global bamboo resources. Rapid technological development of bamboo processing technologies increases importance of bamboo resources for the developing countries poverty alleviation, sustainable environmental and economic development. It is needed to further promote and assess bamboo resources in the framework of the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment (GFRA). It is essential to develop remote sensing and on-the ground inventory methods to facilitate global assessment of bamboo resources.

Topics/themes of workshop

• Remote sensing inventory methods and

• Bamboo on-the-ground inventory techniques

For further information on the workshop, please contact:

Fu Jinhe Ph. D.

Program Officer and Coordinator of IUFRO 5.11.05 Bamboo and Rattan

International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)

Mailing Address: Beijing 100102-86, Beijing 100102, P. R. China

Tel: +86-10-6470 6161 ext.208; Fax: +86-10-6470 2166

Email: jfu@inbar.int;

http://www.inbar.int or http://www.iufro.org/science/divisions/division-5

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International Beekeeping Congress

13-18 November 2005

Bangalore, India

The main aim of the congress is to bring together the beekeepers, honey traders and international scientific community involved in research and development of beekeeping for sustainable livelihoods and rural development. The proposed congress will disseminate advanced information on beekeeping for further improvement.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. V. Sivaram

Organizing Secretary

IBC Secretariat - # 35, 3 rd Cross, Vignananagar, Bangalore – 560075, India

Fax: 91-(080)-25244592

E.mail: info@cenfound.org

www.cenfound.org/IBC-2005/indexpage.html

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

40. Forests for the new millennium – making forests work for people and nature

Source: Linkages Update - 20 July 2005

(IUFRO, 2005) This Policy Brief, which is based on the work of over 100 authors, was prepared by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Special Project, “World Forests, Society and Environment.”

The report can be obtained by e-mailing the IUFRO WFSE-Coordinator.

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41. USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests: Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance

Source: POLEX, 6 July 2005

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has reviewed everything they have funded related to natural forests and communities during the last twenty-five years. The result is a three-volume report called USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests: Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance by a Chemonics International team led by Robert Clausen. It provides an overview and ten country studies.

Back in the 1970s, USAID’s forestry activities focused mostly on fuelwood and promoting tree planting as part of watershed management projects. Later, growing concern about deforestation made them shift towards biodiversity conservation and protected areas. After that came a move towards market-based instruments such as forest certification, ecotourism, and tapping consumer demands for non-timber forest products. Over time, they have funded more NGOs and local governments and fewer national bureaucracies. And if the report’s authors have their way, the links between natural resources, democratization, and conflict prevention will soon be high on the agenda.

Through all that time and changes, some things remained the same. For example, it is still important to invest in forests for the long-term and get the technical aspects right. You need to work with specific farms, forests, and parks, but keep your eyes on larger landscapes. If no one invests in studying and monitoring forests and their products and services, when it comes time to justify investments or make decisions the data simply won’t be there. Projects need to focus more on ethnic and cultural issues. You ignore conflicts at your own risk.

Let’s hope other agencies follow USAID’s lead and invest in learning from their own experience.

Clausen, R and A Hube. 2004 USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests, Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance Volume 1, Study Summary, Washington D.C., Chemonics International.

Clausen, R, D Gibson, T Hammett, D Nduwumwami, L Rebugio, and J Seyler. 2004. USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests, Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance Volume 2, Study Report, Washington D.C., Chemonics International.

Clausen, R., T Hammett, and J Seyler. 2004. USAID’s Enduring Legacy in Natural Forests, Livelihoods, Landscapes, and Governance Volume 3, Country Profiles, Washington D.C., Chemonics International.

To request a free electronic copy in pdf format of the three volumes in English or of the summary in English, French, or Spanish or to send comments or queries to the authors, you can write to: Dave Gibson at: DGibson@chemonics.com or Rob Clausen at: rclausen@usaid.gov

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42. Now online: Unasylva 220, COFO 2005

Source: FAO INFOSYLVA 2005-7

Highlights from the Ministerial Meeting on Forests, held 14 March 2005, and the seventeenth session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), held 15 to 19 March. The issue includes speeches by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf; President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso; FAO Deputy Director-General David Harcharik; Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen; and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Also included are an analysis of COFO by D. Kneeland and T. Vahanen, plus articles on forests’ role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and post-tsunami rehabilitation in the forest sector. The statement adopted by the Ministerial Meeting on Forests is presented in full.

Unasylva 220: COFO 2005 – Dialogue into action (www.fao.org/forestry/site/8572/en)

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43. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Agrawal, A. 2005. Environmentality: Community, Intimate Government, and the Making of Environmental Subjects in Kumaon, India, Current Anthropology, 46(2):161-90.

To request a free electronic copy of the paper or to send comments or queries to the author, you can write Arun Agrawal at: arunagra@umich.edu

Agrawal, A. 2005. Environmentality, Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects, Durham, Duke University Press.

Bongers, F.; Parren, M P E. 2005. Forest Climbing Plants of West Africa: Diversity, Ecology and Management. CABI. CABI Publishing HB ISBN 0 85199 914 X £55.00 (US$100.00)

Climbing plants, including lianas, represent a fascinating component of the ecology of tropical forests. This book focuses on the climbing plants of West African forests. Based on original research, it presents information on the flora (including a checklist), diversity (with overviews at several levels of integration), ecology (distribution, characteristics in relation to environment, their role in forest ecosystems) and ethnobotany. Forestry aspects, such as their impact on tree growth and development, and the effects of forestry interventions on climbers are also covered. For more details visit: www.cabi-publishing.org/bookshop

Fazey, I., Fischer, J., and Lindenmayer, D.B. 2005. Who does all the research in conservation biology? Biodivers. Conserv. 14(4):917-934.

Ghate, Vinaya; Sane, Hema and Ranade, S.S. Ranade (eds). 2004. Focus on sacred Groves & ethnobotany. Prism Publications, Mumbai. ISBN 81-85405-02-06, pages 253.

This book is the outcome of the national seminar on ‘Sacred Groves and Ethnobotany: Role in Conservation Strategy of India’ and is the first of its kind on sacred groves and ethnobotany. Areas covered include: threatened medicinal plants from sacred groves, barks used in folk medicines, aspects of forest conservation and utilization, and emergency food resources.

For more information, please contact: tmcs@indiatimes.com.

Hammond, D. 2005. Tropical Rainforests of the Guiana Shield. CABI. CABI Publishing HB ISBN 0 85199 536 5 £75.00 (US$140.00).

The Guiana Shield is an ancient geological formation located in the northern part of South America, covering an area of one million square kilometres. Despite its hostile environment, it is home to many unusual and highly specialized plants and animals, which constitute a rich area of biodiversity. This book represents a comprehensive detailed review of the ecology, biology and natural history of the forests of the area. Subjects covered range from hydrology and soils, to plant-animal interactions, nutrient cycling, and conservation. For more details visit: www.cabi-publishing.org/bookshop

Kathiresan, K., and Rajendran, N. 2005. Mangrove ecosystems of the Indian Ocean region. Indian J. Mar. Sci. 34(1):104-113.

Kessler, M., Keßler, P.J.A., Gradstein, S.R., Bach, K., Schmull, M., and Pitopang, R. 2005. Tree diversity in primary forest and different land use systems in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(3):547-560.

Krüger, P. 2005. The role of ecotourism in conservation: panacea or Pandora's box? Biodivers. Conserv. 14(3):579-600.

Mbatchou, G.P.T. 2004. Plant diversity in a Central African rain forest: implications for biodiversity conservation in Cameroon. Tropenbos Cameroon Series (Netherlands). 2004, no. 7, 215 p.

Medina, G. and Shanley, P. 2004. Big trees, small favors: loggers and communities in Amazonia. Bois et Forets des Tropiques (France), no. 282, p. 19-25

The effects of commercial logging on the livelihoods and resource management choices of 3 rural communities in a dynamic logging frontier region were studied along the Capim River in Para, an eastern Amazonian state of Brazil. A study of 13 successive logging events during a 20-year time span in a 3000-ha community forest shows how the relationship between loggers and communities evolved over time from compatible to conflictive. Over the course of a decade, communities experienced an 80% drop in non-timber forest products that were of high value to their daily livelihoods such as wild fruit, medicinal plants, and game attracting species. Yet, they continued to sell their timber rights because of paternalistic relationships between buyers and community members and an expanding market involvement requiring more cash to meet increasing needs. In 2002, a certain company offered the equivalent of US$ 10 000 to acquire logging rights to 1200 ha, representing 8.30 US$/ha and 1 US$/logged tree. However, only 40% was paid up by 2003. If history repeats itself with regard to previous negotiations throughout the region, the remainder will never be paid.

Rao, M.R.; Palada, M.C.; and Becker, B.N. 2004. Medicinal and aromatic plants in agroforestry systems. Agroforestry Systems (Netherlands). 2004, v. 61-62, special issue.

Many people in developing countries have traditionally depended on products derived from plants, especially from forests, for curing ailments. Additionally, several aromatic plants are popular for domestic and commercial uses. With dwindling supplies from the wild and an increasing global demand, medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) will need to be cultivated to ensure their regular supply as well as their conservation. Since many MAPs are grown under forest cover and are shade-tolerant, agroforestry offers a convenient strategy to promote their cultivation and conservation. Several approaches are feasible, e.g. integrating shade-tolerant MAPs as lower strata species in multistorey systems; cultivating short-cycle MAPs as intercrops in tree plantations; growing medicinal trees as shade providers, boundary markers, and on soil conservation structures; interplanting MAPs with food crops; and, involving them in social forestry programmes. The growing demand for MAPs makes them increasingly remunerative. They require research attention on various topics ranging from propagation methods to harvesting and processing techniques, and germplasm collection and genetic improvement to quality control and marketing. Joint forest management with farmers and contract farming with drug companies with buy-back arrangement will promote cultivation of MAPs.

UNEP.2005. One Planet Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Early Warning and Assessment. 322 p. http://www.na.unep.net/OnePlanetManyPeople/index.php.

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44. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Facts and Figures

A new site from FAO’s Forestry Department.

Do you know...

Which countries have the highest forest cover?

Which countries are the major consumers and producers of forest products?

How many people depend on drugs derived from forest plants?

How much deforestation contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions?

How many countries have less than 10 percent forest cover?

The annual deforestation rate in the world?

How many people are employed in the formal forestry sector worldwide?

The total number of mountain people worldwide?

What percent bioenergy accounts for energy consumed worldwide?

Find out the answers to these questions and many others:

www.fao.org/forestry/site/28679/en

"Historic archives" – 60 years of History

60th Anniversary of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

In "Historic archives" you will find rarely-heard statements and interviews of former FAO Directors-General, Heads of State and Government, Nobel Prize Winners and other eminent world personalities who have marked the history of this Organization, since its founding in 1945 (Quebec City, Canada), from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Pope John Paul II.

www.fao.org/audiocatalogue/index.jsp?category=5&lang=EN

Honey health

This newly launched Web site extols the various health benefits of natural honey, detailing its nutritive values and exploring its role as a primary food in traditional diets.

www.honey-health.com/

Photographs of medicinal plants in Chhattisgarh, India

Over 500 photographs based on the work of Pankaj Oudhia in Chhattisgarh and its herbal wealth.

http://ecoport.org/ep?SearchType=pdb&Author=Pankaj%20Oudhia&AuthorWild=MA

America's National Forests

Video Available Online. A new documentary film about the many wonders of National Forests and the threats they face is now available online. This nine-minute DVD is an excellent introduction of the National Forests and is a resource for educators and citizens interested in the environment and the clean water, wildlife and recreation our forests provide.

Real Player Broadband: http://real.newmediamill.speedera.net/ramgen/real.newmediamill/ufdc/forestsbb.rm

Real Player Dial Up: http://real.newmediamill.speedera.net/ramgen/real.newmediamill/ufdc/forestsmd.rm

Windows Player Broadband: http://real.newmediamill.speedera.net/ramgen/real.newmediamill/ufdc/forestsmd.rm

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MISCELLANEOUS

45. Lure of amber keeps 80-year-old digging for years

Source: Asahi Shimbun - Tokyo, Japan, 28 June 2005

At age 80, Kikutaro Kamiyama likes nothing more than to be underground, alone and with small lamps to guide him in the darkness. But Kamiyama is hardly a miner. Rather, he is on a quest that has consumed him for the past quarter century: his search for amber.

Once a city official, he now totes a 10-kilogram drill to work each day. Alone in the dark pit, Kamiyama sets to work. He turns on a small electric generator to pump water from the tunnel he has dug, turns on a light to check for flooding and then he gets to work. He cautiously excavates the porous rock to free precious bits of amber without shattering them.

The pit has only one entrance. But it resembles a maze because Kamiyama has tunnelled 2,000 meters in his search for the usually yellow translucent fossil resin that is often used in jewellery.

Kuji is famed for its petrified tree sap, but yields only about 100 grams of amber per ton of mudstone or sandstone. The pit is in the city's Ube district, nicknamed "Kitsune-Batake (fox field)."

Kuji has yet to regain its lustre of old, when its prized amber was burned as insecticide or used as a key ingredient in electric components and warship paint, among other things. In those days, Kamiyama recalls from his youth, the military would purchase a 600-gram chunk of amber for about three times the average daily wage.

Driven by his passion, Kamiyama quit his city job. Much later, in 1991, he set up Kamiyama Kohaku Kogei (Kamiyama amber manufacturing). He still recalls the inspiration he felt when he found his first chunk of amber, about the size of an egg, three months after he had begun digging at the site.

Kamiyama shapes the amber with knives and cutters before polishing the pieces.

What makes the work so special, Kamiyama says, is that amber from Kuji is almost like no other in terms of variation in colour.

For full story, please see: www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200506280095.html

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46. Rare mushroom found in the Netherlands

Source: Expatica – Netherlands, 13 July 2005

A new type of mushroom for the Netherlands has been discovered in a nature area near Rotterdam. Heritage organisation Natuurmonumenten said the fungus, Lenzites warnieri, is a rare variety from Southern Europe.

Park ranger Barry Teunissen of the Ackerdijkse lake area, where the mushroom was found, has speculated climate change may have made the Netherlands more attractive to the fungus. The Ackerdijkse area is best known as a bird nesting ground. Some 115 species of bird, including 80 migratory types, use the area.

Natuurmonumenten suspects some of these birds may have brought spoors from the fungus to the Netherlands. Alternatively, the spoors could have been carried by a southern wind.

The mushroom, named vorkplaathoutzwam in Dutch, can be between 10 and 18 centimetres wide and three centimetres thick. The upper part of the head or button is grey to greyish-brown in colour in the centre and can be dark grey on the edge.

It was discovered by the Dutch Mycology Association during an inventory of the nature in the Ackerdijkse area. It was growing on an old elm tree that had been blown over.

For full story, please see: www.expatica.com/source/site_article.asp?subchannel_id=19&story_id=21889&name=Rare+mushroom+found+in+the+Netherlands

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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009