No. 7/05

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:




1. Bamboo textiles
2. Bamboo art: bamboo pictures in Vietnam
3. Brazil Nuts: Kleinhans Fellowship winner will study Brazil nut production
4. Bushmeat 'safe'
5. Bushmeat: demand lures poachers
6. Camu Camu: Es el primer recurso de la biodiversidad amazónica. el camu camu logra certificación orgánica
7. Ginseng substances fight brain disease in rats
8. Honey: Nectar of the gods, the world's most coveted honey
9. Honey: Ugandan honey enters EU market
10. Honey: Bee-keepers strive to keep honey flowing in Vietnam
11. Pine resin: Cuban forestry by-products in international market
12. Rattan: 1,500 families earn through rattan craft in the Philippines
13. Sandalwood: Four arrested for smuggling sandalwood
14. Sandalwood: Government to curb sandalwood smuggling


15. Armenian ecology in danger
16. Armenia's Shikahogh Nature Reserve and Mtnadzor Forest at great risk
17. India: Bamboo blues: Pardhi adivasis lose traditional crop
18. India: NEC eyes bamboo for trade growth
19. India: GCC to procure herbal produce from forests
20. Mexico: Creature-eating source of income and nutritious food
21. Namibia: UNAM now offers biodiversity studies
22. Peru: plantas medicinales del Perú atraen a empresarios chinos
23. Tanzania: Bamboo trade and poverty alleviation in Ileje district
24. Vietnam: Thanh Hoa to begin exporting bamboo
25. Vietnam: With bamboo scarce, producers act


26. Angolan refugees help to rehabilitate Congolese camps
27. Bio-diversity Research and Development Center (BIRD)
28. Biopiracy: Brazil launches popular campaign against biopiracy
29. Biopiracy: Tackling biopiracy in Malaysia through legislation and cooperation
30. Cultivated forests play important economic and ecological role
31. The International Center for Underutilized Crops (ICUC) moves to Sri Lanka


32. Forestry Officer (Wildland and Forest Fire Management), FAO, Rome
33. Senior Forestry Officer, FAO, Cairo, Egypt


34. National Workshop on “Sustainable NTFP marketing in Vietnam: Economic, Social and Ecological Opportunities and Risks”
35. V Ibero-American Congress of Environmental and Forest Rights (V Congreso Iberoamericano de Derecho Forestal Ambiental 2005).
36. International Seminar on Sarawak Herbal Medicine and Spices.
37. The 2005 ProForest forest and certification summer training programme
38. “Community Enterprise Development and Rural Livelihoods
39. Regional Workshop on Sustainable Development of Rattan Sector in Asia.
40. The 2005 International Shea Butter Convention & Business Expo
41. Multifunctional Forest Ecosystem Management in Europe: Integrated approaches for considering the temporal, spatial and scientific dimensions
42. Conference on Forestry and Forest Products Research


43. Bamboo and Cane: Potential of Poor Man’s Timber for Poverty Alleviation and Forest Conservation. A case study from Bjoka, Zhemgang, Central Bhutan
44. Rainforest Alliance Annual Report
45. Utilization of bamboo from sustainable sources in Thailand
46. Book on medicinal plants released
47. Community-based enterprise development program (CBED) guidelines
48. Other publications of interest
49. Web sites and e-zines


50. Request for information: medicinal plant harvesting/extraction


51. Date palm buds after 2,000 years
52. To Bee the Best in the World…….



1. Bamboo textiles

Source: The Bangladesh Journal, 8 June 2005

A group of Japanese investors has taken an initial decision to set up in Bangladesh textile and cotton factories that would produce cloth and yarn from bamboo. The decision was taken at a meeting between the visiting six-member Japanese delegation and Textiles and Jute Minister Shajahan Siraj.

The minister and the delegation members will visit Bogra and Rangpur to choose the factory sites and see for themselves the quantum of the raw materials in the areas.

The delegation showed their interest in establishing such industrial units here because of “availability of bamboo as raw material and low labour cost”. They also said that they would set up additional factories in Bangladesh if their initial investment proved successful. The entire production would be used as raw material in Bangladesh’s garment industry and exported.

With the setting up of such enterprise, Bangladesh would earn foreign currency as well as mitigate the unemployment problem.

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo art: bamboo pictures in Vietnam

Source: Voice of Viet Nam - Hanoi, Vietnam

Bamboo pictures made their first public appearance in1989. Green bamboo trees are popular but are only used to make ordinary objects because of its single colour.

How can you make bamboo more colourful without using chemicals? This question has obsessed artisan Nguyen Kim Xuan, the initiator of the art of making bamboo pictures in Vietnam. He once experimented with bamboo slats soaked in leached limewater and the result was amazing: the green bamboo slats turned yellow, then after being dried under sunlight, became yellowish.

Step by step, Xuan has succeeded in creating different colours for the bamboo. Mr Xuan explained that the process of making bamboo pictures "takes about 20 steps". A successful bamboo picture should look natural and also inspire your imagination."

Bamboo pictures are attractive not only for their sophistication and subtlety lines but also for their materials. They look gorgeous, cordial and lively when placed on velvet background, simple and rough on woven bamboo, and close and gentle on paper.

Some pictures 3 meters wide and 1.5 meters high are made from tens of thousands of bamboo pieces, each takes two years to finish.

Vietnam is proud of the bamboo, which symbolizes the traditional values and staunchness of the Vietnamese nation. This unique new art needs to be preserved for succeeding generations.

For full story, please see:


3. Brazil Nuts: Kleinhans Fellowship winner will study Brazil nut production

Source: Rainforest Matters,], 9 June 2005

Amy Duchelle has been awarded the Rainforest Alliance’s 2005-2007 Kleinhans Fellowship for her study of the production of Brazil nuts in the face of major landscape changes in the Western Amazon.

Specifically, she will examine how the production of these nuts, a popular non-timber forest product (NTFP) and important source of income for communities in the area, is affected by the construction of the Transoceanic Highway. This new road promises to have a huge impact on the region, by linking the Amazon River port of Assis in Brazil with Pacific Ocean ports in Peru.

Duchelle is focusing her study on extractive reserves where the nuts are harvested, in the tri-national frontier region of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.

Read more about Duchelle’s work in the Amazon >>


4. Bushmeat 'safe'

Source: The Guardian, 13 June 2005

Food standards experts have said that bushmeat - an illegal import prized by some African communities in the UK - is as harmless to eat as any other meat if cooked correctly.

A study by the Food Standards Agency says that the meat is harmless to eat when cooked, but poses an "extremely low" risk of life-threatening infection from anthrax, brucellosis and monkeypox virus to people who come into contact with it before it is cooked.

Anthrax and brucellosis are already found in the UK and the import of bushmeat does not significantly increase the risk to public health, the report says. But monkeypox, which is common in animals in some parts of Africa, is a "resilient" virus which poses a new, albeit extremely slight, risk to public health.

Bushmeat can refer to meat from any wild animal, including endangered species such as gorillas. It is smuggled into the UK and sold from some shops and market stalls, mainly in London.

The report has prompted questions within the FSA about whether certain bushmeats could be farmed for import to the UK. Roger Skinner, who wrote the report, said: "It is theoretically possible to have a legal trade which would meet the objections [about] the animals' health and wellbeing and meet any concerns in relation to human health."

For full story, please see:,3604,1505027,00.html#article_continue


5. Bushmeat: demand lures poachers

Source: News24 - Cape Town, South Africa, 02/06/2005

Tsavo East National Park - As the sun sets over the acacias and tall grass in Africa's second-largest wildlife reserve in Kenya, game wardens brace for the nightly onslaught of wily two-legged invaders: poachers. Driven by a drought-sparked surge in demand for illegal bushmeat and hampered by stepped-up efforts to protect trophy species like elephant and rhino, organised poaching rings are turning to increasingly devious and brutal methods to hunt smaller game, officials say.

Second in size on the continent only to South Africa's vast Kruger National Park, the 13 747-square-kilometre Tsavo East poses an enormous challenge for wardens policing Kenya's strict hunting laws.

Eager for the freshest meat possible, many poachers are turning away from traditional snares — which can leave a trapped animal lying for days and prone to the vagaries of scavengers — and have begun to "spotlight" their quarry. Singling out a lone animal, they blind it with a bright light and sound an air horn to further stun the terrified creature and swiftly slash off its legs with a machete, officials say. In the past two years, KWS officers have arrested five men with the carcasses of nearly 100 dik diks, the smallest species of antelope, that had been killed in this manner, officials said. Another newer method involves setting upturned nails in bits of wood that are partially buried along well-worn game paths. An unsuspecting animal that steps on such a device, hobbles away and is easily tracked before it is caught or dies on its own, they said.

The meat, especially from small animals, is mainly for local consumption, but as demand rises it is increasingly being sold in Kenya's coastal towns of Mombasa and Malindi, they said.

After patrols aimed at saving larger beasts were boosted three years ago, poachers in Tsavo East killed only 14 elephants in 2003 and 2004 and no such deaths have been recorded this year. But park security officials say they have in the past month collected 200 snares from one 50-kilometre stretch in the reserve, where some 10 000 were found in 2002.

For full story, please see:,,2-11-37_1715036,00.html


6. Camu Camu: Es el primer recurso de la biodiversidad amazónica. el camu camu logra certificación orgánica

Source: Revista Bosques Amazonicos virtual Primera Quincena Junio 2005

Al haber aprobado los estándares internacionales establecidos, la firma SKAL International ha decidido conceder a CEDECAM la certificación orgánica a este cultivo emblemático de la Amazonía peruana. El certificado es válido para los mercados de EE.UU., Europa y Japón.

La certificación orgánica, conocida también como biosello, sello verde o certificación ecológica es la garantía que el camu camu está exento de insumos prohibidos, pesticidas, agroquímicos o cualquier otra sustancia tóxica para el organismo humano y que puede alterar el carácter ecológico del producto. Los beneficios son tangibles en diferentes niveles:

Para los exportadores, la certificación se convierte en una poderosa estrategia de marketing que facilitará la internacionalización de este producto. Podrán ofrecer pulpa de camu camu, pulpa concentrada y/o liofilizada con el sello verde, lo que les permitirá incursionar con mayor éxito en un mercado tan competitivo como el de bebidas nutracéuticas y la industria farmacéutica.

Para la región Loreto, esto es un hecho inédito, pues se convierte en el primer recurso de la biodiversidad amazónica con esta distinción, con lo cual nos ubicamos a altura de la actual tendencia mundial de producir productos naturales. Constituirá, al mismo tiempo un incentivo para que la población ribereña se dedique más a este cultivo, generando empleo productivo.

Para los productores de camu camu que se orientan al mercado internacional representa una oportunidad para obtener mayores ingresos, que en opinión de los exportadores es del orden del 30% adicional al precio actual; pero al mismo tiempo, significa un reto porque tienen el compromiso y la obligación de cumplir con las normas establecidas.

Para los consumidores a nivel nacional e internacional, el biosello obtenido significa una garantía de la calidad y el carácter orgánico de los productos con camu camu.

Cómo fue el proceso y a quiénes involucra

El proceso de certificación ecológica se inició en Enero del presente año cuando CEDECAM contrató los servicios de SKAL International, empresa holandesa de reconocida trayectoria, altamente especializada en certificación de sistemas agrícolas y reconocida a nivel internacional, siendo la certificadora más grande de América latina.

Javier García, Presidente ejecutivo de CEDECAM, manifiesta que la certificación ecológica del camu camu se inscribe dentro de la estrategia de posicionamiento de este recurso en el mercado internacional de productos orgánicos en el marco del proyecto “Programa integral para el aprovechamiento racional del camu camu en cuencas seleccionadas de Loreto” que implementa CEDECAM con el apoyo de la Unión Europea, Agro Acción Alemana, CESVI de Italia e Hivos de Holanda.

SKAL analizó las parcelas de camu camu, los rodales naturales y el proceso de transformación industrial de este recurso de la biodiversidad amazónica teniendo en cuenta las entradas y salidas de insumos durante este proceso. Visitaron 17 comunidades ubicadas en las cuencas del Mazán/Napo y Ucayali/Tapiche, que son las áreas de intervención del proyecto. Se garantiza una oferta sostenible de fruta de los rodales naturales de estas cuencas mediante planes de manejo que actualmente están en proceso de implementación por las comunidades organizadas con el apoyo de CEDECAM.

Se pueden obtener alrededor de 60 TM de fruta en la cosecha 2005-2006 con una proyección creciente.

Este logro de CEDECAM y los actores de la cadena productiva del camu camu directamente involucrados en el proceso trae consigo la responsabilidad de cumplir rigurosamente con las normas establecidas para renovar el certificado anualmente sin problema alguno. CEDECAM asume el compromiso de vigilar estrechamente el cumplimiento de las normas, sistematizar, documentar los procesos y capacitar permanentemente a los productores.

CEDECAM es una asociación civil sin fines de lucro que articula a los productores de camu camu con el mercado; no produce ni comercializa directamente. En este sentido, juega el rol de “bisagra” entre la oferta y la demanda del mercado. Se preocupa de garantizar la calidad y, a partir de ahora, de velar por el carácter orgánico en la fase agrícola y de transformación de la pulpa en la UNAP para los mercados de exportación.

Es probable que con la certificación y la creciente demanda del mercado, la exportaciones de camu camu superen en esta cosecha las 150 TM de pulpa.


7. Ginseng substances fight brain disease in rats

Source: Annals of Neurology, May 2005 (in Reuters, 2 June 2005)

Certain active substances in the herbal supplement ginseng appear to combat degenerative brain disease in rats, a new study shows. The findings, according to the researchers, lay the groundwork for studying the effects of certain ginseng components on diseases marked by progressive degeneration of brain cells -- including Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. In the West, it is mainly touted as a way to boost energy and immune system defences; the various commercial preparations are generally made from the roots of one of several plant species, including Panax ginseng -- also called Asian ginseng -- and Panax quinquefolius, better known as American ginseng.

In the new study, reported in the Annals of Neurology, a whole-root preparation of American ginseng did not fight degeneration in the brains of rats. But a partially purified extract of some of the herb's active chemicals, known as ginsenosides, did.

The study focused on brain damage that, in rats, mimics the degenerative process seen in Huntington's disease, an inherited disorder of the central nervous system that progressively impairs movement and mental function. But the findings suggest that certain ginseng components have potential for treating other degenerative conditions, such as Parkinson's.

"Isolated ginsenosides or partial purifications of ginseng look promising as neuroprotective agents," study co-author Dr. Janet L. Stringer, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told Reuters Health.

For full story, please see:

Related story:


8. Honey: Nectar of the gods, the world's most coveted honey

Source: Agence France Presse (AFP) (in Daily Star – Lebanon) 14 June 2005

When two French beekeepers, husband and wife Thierry and Camille Sergent, heard rumours about a mythical wild honey gathered on a tiny island somewhere in the Indian Ocean, they knew adventure was beckoning.

Famous throughout the Arabic-speaking world for its alleged virtues as a medicine and an aphrodisiac, the honey in question sells for upward of $180/kg. The trail led to the island of Socotra, 350 km (220 miles) off the coast of Yemen, and the Sergents were both enthralled and appalled at what they found.

The golden nectar was there, and unlike anything they had ever tasted: a heady distillation of the island's unique and densely diverse flora. What shocked them were the way the honey was collected and the destruction of the ecosystem that produced the island's only source of cash income.

"There is no sustainable apiculture here," said Camille. "The inhabitants scramble up the granite cliffs with bare feet and hands, sometimes risking their lives, to collect this wild honey which they sell for 15 euros/kg only to be resold for 150 in the emirates," she said.

Even worse, the island's 80,000 inhabitants failed to prevent roaming and ravenous goats from devouring the tender shoots of Socotra's 850 plant species, one of the richest floral ecosystems in the world. Camille, also an ardent amateur biologist, rattled off some of the names: Boswellia (also known as the "incense tree"), the Dortenia fig, the juju berry, and sandragon, a "honey bush" that takes centuries to mature.

The French beekeepers decided to try to save Socotra's flora, and offered to teach the island's inhabitants how to keep bees and make honey. Everybody would come out a winner. With seed money from the French embassy in Yemen, the couple have made three trips to Socotra in the last 18 months, to train the men and women of the Bedouin tribes living there.

They brought 200 beehives and protective clothing, and taught 15 men how to use them. In a more delicate operation, Camille - who was born in Lebanon and speaks Arabic - convinced the men to let the women take care of the equipment and the wax.

As they wait for the first harvest of the sandragon honey, the Sergents are preparing the next phase of their adventure. "With an additional 200,000 euros (US$250,000) already pledged, we hope to launch a veritable business in 2006 in the form of a cooperative," Camille said.

The honey-coated story of Socotra is told in a documentary film by Richard Hamon, to be premiered on French television in September.

For full story, please see:


9. Honey: Ugandan honey enters EU market

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), 23 May 2005

The Head of the European Commission to Uganda, Mr Sigurd llling, has said Uganda's honey has got access to the European market. He said countries that wish to export honey to the EU must have a Residue monitoring plan and an outline that shows that the exporting country has the necessary legal and regulatory framework.

"This framework is to assure EU importers that the honey is safe for human consumption and to demonstrate that the system is robust enough to quickly detect potential risks of plant and animal disease," he said.

Sigurd said the Residue monitoring plan must be submitted to the EU authorities every year in order for a country to maintain its status and license as an exporter to the EU. "To monitor the quality of honey, processors and exporters will have to take steps to adopt practices that do not comprise the quality of their honey, otherwise they risk losing the EU market," he said.

He said this would additionally improve the quality of honey available in Uganda and exporters would also be better placed to exploit markets other than the EU.

For full story, please see:


10. Honey: Bee-keepers strive to keep honey flowing in Vietnam

Source: Viet Nam News Agency - Hanoi, Vietnam, 28 May 2005

Only a few years ago, Nguyen On, a bee-keeper in Bao Loc district, the central highlands province of Lam Dong (Viet Nam), had to feed his bees with their own honey, as he could not sell any. But everything changed four years ago.

Since then On's 3,000 bee hives have earned him more than 600 million VND (about US$40,000) each year. All his honey, estimated at 100 tonnes a year, has been heading to other countries. On said this is all thanks to improvements in the honey quality after he learnt from experts on bee-keeping techniques.

The Central Bee Company under the Beekeepers' Association has been sending out experts to train bee-keepers, and buying all their honey for exports.

On and some 26,000 bee-keepers nationwide sold abroad a record 14,000 tonnes of honey worth nearly US$20 million in 2002, putting Viet Nam in the list of the world's top ten honey exporters and making it the second biggest honey exporter in Asia, after China. Also that year, the country started to export queen bees and bee-keeping tools in addition to traditional products like honey, beeswax and queen-bee milk.

Director Dinh Quyet Tam of the Bee Research Centre said in recent years, 80 percent of Viet Nam's honey exports have gone to the US.

However, honey exports, which account for 87 percent of the country's honey output, have been declining over the past two years, from 14,000 tonnes in the peak year of 2002 to 11,000 tonnes in 2003 and 8,000 tonnes in 2004. The export volume is estimated to stay at around 8,000 tonnes this year. Decreasing honey prices coupled with losses due to unfavourable weather have forced many beekeepers to drop out of the trade.

Tam said to address the problems, the sector has decided to focus its efforts on diversifying its products and improving quality instead of increasing the number of bee hives, with the aim of earning US$25 million from honey by 2010.

Since 2003, the number of bee hives nationwide has stood at around 600,000, concentrated mainly in the central highlands provinces of Gia Lai, Dac Lac and Lam Dong, and several southern and northern provinces. Beekeepers are establishing "production groups", which only admit those whose products have never been returned by customers.

The sector also continues to hold training courses on clean bee-raising techniques and upgrading equipment for quality checks. It plans to build a system of quality standards for honey which is compatible with EU standards.

Meanwhile beekeeper On is preparing to establish a honey export company. "I will pursue the job as long as my health allows and will pass on the job to my family," he said, adding that he believed Vietnamese honey, already popular in Asia, can reach out to the world market.

For full story, please see:


11. Pine resin: Cuban forestry by-products in international market

Source: CubaXP, 9 June 2005

Cuba's forestry sector is boosting the production of by-products, as part of a strategy to increase the Island's offers in the international market.

Baracoa's Integral Forestry Company, in western Cuba, has increased production of pine resin, an essential component in several industrial products.

Pine resin is used to make wax, paint, soap, adhesives and pharmaceuticals, among other highly-demanded products. In addition, pine resin is the raw material to produce turpentine and colophony, which are used to fight harmful insects.

Obtaining pine resin is a manual process and was resumed after nearly a decade, despite the vast areas of pine trees that exist in the region.

Experts predicted an annual extraction of 100 tons of pine resin, so the country's exporting potential will increase.

For full story, please see:


12. Rattan: 1,500 families earn through rattan craft in the Philippines

Source: Inquirer News Service, 5 June 2005

Cabanatuan City - At least 1,500 farm families and agricultural workers in four towns and one city in Nueva Ecija have found a steady source of income from their contracts on woven rattan crafts.

The workers, according to Brigida Pili, provincial director of the Department of Trade and Industry in Nueva Ecija, have been recruited by four trade groups which have weaving services contracts with a furniture firm.

She said many of the farm families earn at least P3,000 a week for the woven crafts they turn over to sub-contractors every week. The products' frames, along with the split rattans, are distributed to the workers and are retrieved later by the sub-contractors after the weaving jobs are finished. These sub-contractors, which provide capital for the initial funds needed for the job contracts, have proved that sub-contracting can cash in on this business, Pili said.

For full story, please see:


13. Sandalwood: Four arrested for smuggling sandalwood

Source: The Hindu - Chennai, India, 24 May 2005

Four persons have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle sandalwood worth over Rs 90 lakh to China, police said today.

The four were held yesterday after police recovered two trucks loaded with nearly 12 tonnes of sandalwood near Dahisar in suburban Mumbai. "The sandalwood was hidden in the trucks belonging to Andhra Pradesh.

For full story, please see:


14. Sandalwood: Government to curb sandalwood smuggling

Source: Kerala Online - Kerala, India, 8 June 2005

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said that a sandalwood division and four forest stations have been constituted at Marayoor in the state to effectively curb sandalwood smuggling. 70 additional staff would be deployed in the forest stations in the Marayoor region, where there were several sandalwood trees.

For full story, please see:



15. Armenian ecology in danger

Source: A1plus, June 6, 2005 (in CENN – 7 June 2005 Daily Digest)

According to Karen Afrikyan, head of the NGO “Forests of Armenia”, the road to be constructed through the Shikahogh state reserve to Iran represents huge ecological danger.

Not only 26 000 big and 117 000 small trees will be chopped down, but also 70 plants recorded in the Red Book will be annihilated. As Mr. Afrikyan said, there are alternative solutions to this problem, for example, the road can be constructed though the village Shishkert near the reserve; thus the forest will not be damaged.


16. Armenia's Shikahogh Nature Reserve and Mtnadzor Forest at great risk

Source: Armenia Tree Project (in CENN – 7 June 2005 Daily Digest), 6 June 2005

Armenia, a country which historically had forest cover of 40-45%, is today at serious risk of becoming completely deforested. Current estimates place forest cover at around 8%, and at current rates of cutting, the last of the forests could be gone in as little as 20 years.

Despite this, the government recently announced plans to build a new highway in southern Armenia right through the middle of the old growth Mtnadzor (Dark Canyon) forest, which occupies about half of the Shikahogh nature reserve, one of only three pristine reserves in the country.

The Shikahogh reserve, established in 1958, is home to innumerable rare and endangered plant and animal species, including up to 12 leopards, whose habitats would be gravely threatened by the road's construction and the ensuing traffic pollution.

A coalition of organizations and individuals, including Armenia Tree Project (ATP), Armenian Forests NGO, World Wildlife Fund, and Armenian Assembly of America have been working together to identify viable alternatives to the proposed route which would do less environmental damage, and put a stop to the plan to begin immediate construction until public hearings are held.

ATP founder Carolyn Mugar sent a letter on May 25 to President Robert Kocharian and Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan, in addition to the Minister of Nature Protection, Minister of Transportation, and other high-ranking officials. "The Shikahogh forest reserve provides unique habitats for many rare and endangered plants and animals whose survival depends upon the government's responsible stewardship. We call on you to protect this reserve for the sake of future generations of Armenians and the world's ecosystem," wrote Ms. Mugar.

The Armenian government has cited "strategic" reasons for choosing the route through the reserve, but hasn't provided adequate justification for the plan, which would violate numerous national laws and internationally signed treatises to protect such nature preserves, which are widely regarded as part of a national heritage.

To date, the Ministry of Transportation as well as the Ministry of Defense has stated their intention to move forward with construction plans and ignore any proposed alternatives. In response, the Minister of Nature Protection announced his intention to resign if the road is constructed through the reserve. This stated determination to ignore alternative routes has led many to question the true motivation for the government's plan, given the monetary value of the oak trees from the old growth forest that will be destroyed.

"[If Armenia's government] does not demonstrate responsible management of its natural and historical heritage, it weakens its ability to protect Armenia from the impact of destructive policies in neighboring countries. Any gains that may be realized by building this road through the preserve will be far outweighed by the long-term environmental and political damage that Armenia will suffer," said Ms. Mugar in her appeal.

The full text of the letter from ATP is available on:


17. India: Bamboo blues: Pardhi adivasis lose traditional crop

Source: - New Delhi, India, 26 May 2005

The proposed Forest Rights Bill, which has now run into controversy, talks not just of giving adivasis right over land, but also of restoring the traditional co-existence between the adivasi and the jungle.

But for the Pardhis of Bastar, hunter-gatherers now turned agriculturists, the incentive has come too late.

A Pardhi adivasi, Dhaniram Netam grew up hunting, gathering and living off the shoots of the wild bamboo plant. Three decades ago, as bamboos began vanishing, he had little option but to settle down and begin cultivation. Now life has come a full circle. The land that he once ploughed has been fenced off. The Forest Department says it was forestland that never belonged to him.

In a cruel irony, Dhaniram now finds that on the same land there is a bamboo plantation. "Bamboo was not just a source of food. It gave us all that we needed for our homes," says Dhaniram. "It's because bamboo disappeared from the forest that our parents came here to settle down," says Lachchu Ram Netam, Pardhi Adivasi.
Back in the village, the Pardhis say that life as illegal occupants has taken a toll. "Our crops get destroyed, the forest officials fine us, arrest us, take us to court. But where do we go?" adds Lachchu Ram Netam.

It's well documented how the culture of plantations has meant a radical shift from the jungles as subsistence for the adivasis to the forest as a source of revenue for the forest department.

It's this commercial exploitation that many believe not just led to depletion of forests, but also disrupted the traditional co-existence of the adivasi and the jungle - something that the Forest Rights Bill wants to restore.

The Pardhi adivasis now need to buy bamboo to even weave a basket. What was once their own, is now the property of the state.

For full story, please see:


18. India: NEC eyes bamboo for trade growth

Source: Calcutta Telegraph - Calcutta, India, 20 May 2005

The North Eastern Council (NEC) has planned “Bamboo-2020”, a vision for developing the bamboo sector which will boost the economic growth and generate an annual turnover of approximately Rs 10,000 crore.

P.P. Shrivastava, a member of NEC, said the bamboo sector would help create a million jobs and by 2020 it will push up the global export of value-added bamboo products. “We have to act immediately to speed up the growth. The bamboo sector is an area which can yield profits and it is the most easily available natural resource of the region,” Shrivastava said.

The plan aims at providing gainful employment to at least one member of a family, thus triggering productive community income. The project involves development and dissemination of sophisticated technology that will diversify the products and improve the look of the product.

The raw bamboo stock in the Northeast is valued at Rs 5,000 crore and utilization of just 25 percent of the stock can generate a revenue of Rs 2,500 crore annually.

He said a mission approach has been adopted for the project. With the help of the bamboo mission, the state will be able to affect policy decisions taken by the concerned central ministries.

In the first phase (2005-2010), highest priority would be accorded to efforts aimed at mitigating the consequences of the impending famine after bamboo flowering. “There would be large-scale harvesting of bamboo before flowering to preserve the quality,” Shrivastava said. Adequate measures would be taken to develop the market for bamboo. A turnover of Rs 1,000 crore is expected in the first phase by substantially enhancing the quantum of value-addition.

Efforts will be made to promote bamboo housing in urban and semi-urban areas.

In the second phase (2010-2015), emphasis will be laid on transition from low value-added applications to high value-added applications. “In this phase, bamboo, from being a mere forest produce, will be transformed into a major commercial commodity. And there will be an annual increase in the turnover to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore,” said Shrivastava

For full story, please see:


19. India: GCC to procure herbal produce from forests

Source: Business Standard – India, 14 June 2005

Girijan Cooperative Corporation Limited (GCC) recently received permission from the state government to procure 34 varieties of medicinal herbs from the forests.

GCC expects the marketing of medicinal herbs to be a new revenue stream to the corporation. According to PDV Prasad, general manager of GCC, the turnover is expected to touch Rs 5 crore this fiscal.

As per government orders, GCC can now procure 34 varieties of medicinal herbs, including Abrus precatorius seeds, Achyranthues aspera plant, Aegle marmolos fruit and root, Aloe indica plant (Kalabanda), Argyeia speciosa fruits and flowers, Bombax melabarcium gum, Caosalpinia bonduc nut, Centella asiatica plant, Gymnema sylvestre leaves, Mollotos ohillippensis leaf, Syzyaium cumine seed and bark, Tinospora cordifolia stem bark and Woodfordia fruiticosa flower.

“The tribals have been illegally collecting herbal plants from the forests and selling the produce to local traders at throwaway prices. GCC, however, had no rights to procure the herbal produce from the tribals. Keeping this in mind, we approached the state government for permission, and the government responded positively,” Prasad said.

He said that the corporation is planning to train the tribals on how to collect the herbs while maintaining its medicinal qualities. “We have a ready market to sell these herbal plants. So, to collect more herbs from the forests and to avoid the intervention of private merchants, we are encouraging the tribals by way of announcing attractive prices for herbal plants,” he said.

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20. Mexico: Creature-eating source of income and nutritious food

Source: EITB - Euskadi, Spain, 14 June 2005

As Mexico's centuries-old tradition of eating insects becomes more lucrative, researchers are trying to convince poor communities to cash in on eating the creatures as a source of income and nutritious food. With a protein content almost twice that of beef, some insects could become a welcome diet supplement among the estimated 20 million Mexicans who live in extreme poverty on incomes of US$1/day or less.

In many towns, especially in southern Mexico, insects are a regular part of the diet. But many Mexicans are still repulsed by the thought. While the spicy, leggy bodies of locusts; the crusty, French fry-like fried caterpillars; or bursting, buttery ant eggs may be an acquired taste; the movement is winning converts in a variety of ways.

Consider the chocolate-covered locusts, locusts in sweet sauce, worm Jell-O and worms covered in clear, hard candy invented by biologist Juan Garcia Oviedo of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico. They have been a big hit in test groups he has held over the last decade. "The children love them. They tend to eat the candy to get at the insect to see if it's real," Garcia Oviedo said. "Once they find out it's real, they keep on eating anyway."

Farmers on the outskirts of Mexico City were spending large amounts of money on pesticides to kill grasshoppers, Garcia Oviedo said, until they found they could get more money for the edible bugs at local markets than for their crops. It's also more environmentally sound, researchers say, noting that in Aztec times, pest control was accomplished largely by eating rather than spraying.

In Tlaxcala State, just east of Mexico City, maguey worms are raised year-round. Currently available only in certain seasons, farmers can now produce the worms year-round by using cut maguey leaves and in-vitro production of larvae. Increased availability would improve the market for the sought-after white and red wrinkly worms -actually caterpillars- which are fried and sold with butter and garlic for as much as US$40 per 12 at some upscale Mexican restaurants, about 15 times the price paid to those who gather them.

The insect renaissance also seeks to revive ancient practices in Mexico, like "hidden" insect ingredients, for those too squeamish to swallow a locust whole. In some villages in southern Mexico, insect "contamination" is hardly accidental. A few ground-up insects are added to hot chilli salsa in villages as a nutritional boost.

Garcia Oviedo applies that same principle to modern products, like grinding up grasshoppers into hotdogs and enriching tortillas by adding a high-protein powder made from milling less commercially valuable larvae.

While the ideas have reached the stage of test groups and marketing studies, they all still require money. Garcia has received interest from foreign investors, but has been hamstrung by Mexican food-safety standards that treat insect content as contamination -rather than a potential main ingredient.

But the biggest challenge is reviving an appetite for some of the estimated 360 insect species that Mexicans' ancestors used to eat, like the stink bug, honey ants, beetle grubs, water beetles larvae, bees and fly eggs.

So far, Garcia's test groups have been successful. Apart from some black specks, no one could tell the difference between his "enriched" tortillas and the regular kind.

For full story, please see:


21. Namibia: UNAM now offers biodiversity studies

Source: The Namibian (Windhoek), 18 May 2005

IN an effort to help Namibia get its own experts on biodiversity protection, the University of Namibia has introduced a two-year Masters Degree Course on biodiversity. The course is project between Unam and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in collaboration with the University of Humbold in Berlin, Germany.

"This is a very good thing because it keeps international capacity (on sustainable development) in the country," said Professor Ulrich Zeller, who lectures in biodiversity at Unam. Zeller said it was very important that Namibians became involved in biodiversity studies, as the country's biodiversity was unique in terms on endemism.

Namibia became a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in March 1997.

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, describes the variety of life forms on earth. Today's biodiversity is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms a web life of which the human race is an integral part and upon which it fully depends.

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22. Peru: plantas medicinales del Perú atraen a empresarios chinos

Source: El Comercio, lima, del 1° de mayo de 2005 (Revista BOSQUES AMAZONICOS virtual Primera Quincena Mayo 2005)

Los lazos comerciales entre nuestro país y China se afianzan cada vez más. Esta semana estuvo en nuestro país uno de los seis empresarios más importantes del gigante asiático: Li Jin Yuan, presidente del grupo Tianshi, multinacional especializada en la producción de nutrientes con negocios en más de 180 países.

Durante su estadía en Lima, Jin Yuan se reunió con diversas autoridades del sector público y privado y manifestó su interés por instalar plantas industriales para la producción de nutrientes y productos de belleza en el Perú. "Hemos iniciado un estudio general del mercado para ver si es factible invertir en este país", señaló.

Asimismo, manifestó que un equipo de la multinacional evalúa plantas peruanas como el huanarpo macho y el aguaje. "Sabemos que el Perú tiene una abundancia de hierbas naturales y medicinales, y nos interesa mucho desarrollar productos naturales en base a estas especies", agregó el empresario chino.


23. Tanzania: Bamboo trade and poverty alleviation in Ileje district

Source: IPPMEDIA - Guardian - Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, 21.5.05

A study was recently carried to investigate the impact of the bamboo economy on poverty alleviation in the Ileje District, Mbeya region of Tanzania, since there is a universal belief that a strong relationship exists between resource utilization and poverty alleviation.

Various studies have shown that a sustainable utilization of resources has a large impact on the development of any community. This is because sustainable utilization of resources leads to sustainable development. On the other hand, deep-rooted poverty leading to a dependency on a single resource for livelihoods undermines the capacity of the population to carry out sustainable resource management. This problem is more critical in developing countries where rapid population growth coupled with agricultural stagnation leads to invasion of marginal lands, environmental degradation and poverty.

This study by Milline Mbonile on behalf of Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) investigates among other things, the relationship between bamboo trade and sustainable resource management in Ileje District, which is among the leading districts in the bamboo trade in the Mbeya region and probably the whole country.
Bamboo goods are marketed in all regions of the country, as well as in other countries like Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Therefore, in the case of Ileje, any sustainable development of the bamboo trade would promote and diversify the economy of a remote and less developed district in the country. On the other hand, however, since bamboo harvesting is carried out in one of the most important catchment areas in the South West of Tanzania, poor management of this resource may lead to environmental degradation that would affect other districts like Rungwe, Kyela, Mbozi and Mbeya Rural.

Discussions with households producing bamboo showed that the production of bamboo goods started a long time ago, when people from Ileje produced them locally for domestic use and sold them through barter trade to neighbouring districts like Kyela and Rungwe Districts.

There are two major sources of bamboos in Ileje District: forest reserves in the highlands and along river valleys; and plot-lets, where most are grown very close to the households especially near river valleys.

Commercial production of bamboo goods is concentrated in Undali Division. However, there is a big potential for this technology to spread to Bulambya Division, where there are many bamboo forests and plot-lets.

Most households indicated that they acquired the skills of making bamboo goods from their parents and grandparents (54.2%), while others through training after realizing that the bamboo goods trade was profitable (45%).

The most popular period for making and marketing bamboo goods is in the dry season when agricultural activities have been reduced to a minimum. That is the period when there is plenty of sunshine to dry the bamboos and in a semi-landlocked district like Ileje the dry season has more reliable transport.

The most popular bamboo product marketed all over the country and abroad is the winnowing basket. Recently, however, some bamboo weavers are producing special decorated bamboo goods.

Based on this study, the researcher has made recommendations to both the local and central governments. Recommendations included the fact that the bamboo trade is employing a reasonable proportion of the population in Ileje District and is a good source of income that helps to alleviate poverty in the district. Since the bamboos can be replanted in plot-lets, deliberate measures should be taken by the Ileje District Council, Central Government, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and NGOs to set up programs that encourage the propagation of bamboos for sustainable development of the trade. This can be done by mobilizing local funds from the community that has realized the importance of the bamboo trade and writing project proposals to solicit funds at international level.

The future of bamboo trade, also, depends on the production of high quality bamboo goods. Therefore, it is recommended that the District Council and other organizations based in the district should train bamboo goods producers in Small Industries Development Organization (SIDO) centers established in nearly every region. SIDO will also assist in bamboo goods market research because it has a wide coverage in the country.

Any sustainable propagation and harvesting of bamboos will reduce environmental degradation in Ileje district. Hence it is recommended that deliberate measures should be taken by the District Council, CBOs and NGOs to increase the awareness of the people on conservation of important resources such as bamboos.

The promotion of bamboo trade in Ileje District depends on the improvement of infrastructure in the district. Hence, it is recommended that the Local Government and Central Government through the Rural Road Maintenance Program must improve the transport network of the district.

For full story, please see:


24. Vietnam: Thanh Hoa to begin exporting bamboo

Source: Vietnam Economic Times - Hanoi, Vietnam, 6 June 2005

At least 400 farming households in rural low-income areas of central Thanh Hoa Province are to be given an opportunity to raise their income through a new bamboo product export scheme.

The project – managed by the International Finance Corporation’s Mekong Private-Sector Development Facility (MPDF) – aims to increase the area of bamboo cultivation to meet a production target of 2 million culms (trunks) per year, by providing local farmers with technical assistance including cultivation techniques, practical support and advice on good plantation management.

Many consumers of bamboo products desire reassurance that cultivation does not adversely affect the environment, and farmers will be taught responsible growing methods to satisfy this condition.

Ken Key, the MPDF Programme Manager, said the properties of bamboo made it an excellent substitute for wood, and added that its rapid growth rate meant that increasing its use will reduce strain on slower-growing timber forests. He also said that the project has the potential to be replicated in other areas of Viet Nam.

The MPDF is co-ordinating with the Asian Development Bank’s “Making Markets Work Better for the Poor” programme, international home furnishings retailer IKEA and the Viet Nam-based manufacturer The Bamboo Factory (TBF) to kick-start the project, which will have additional funding from the Governments of Luxembourg and the Netherlands

For full story, please see:


25. Vietnam: With bamboo scarce, producers act

Source: Vietnam Economic Times, 14 June 2005

Bamboo processing enterprises are scrambling for stock due to increasingly scarce reserves.

Vietnam has dozens of bamboo processors and hundreds of trade villages producing bamboo handicrafts for export. Yet all face a sudden scarcity of raw materials, prompting some to place advertisements in local papers for suppliers to no avail.

Leading bamboo products exporter TBF Enterprises, in Thuong Xuan District, Thanh Hoa Province, is suffering from the conundrum. Normally, TBF processes about 4,000 units per day, with their main output being bamboo sleeping mats, furniture and other household items, many of which ship to the US, Japan and Asian nations. But production is slowing.

TBF is slated to conduct a joint project with MPDF Enterprises, an arm of the International Financial Company (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and IKEA to pump more investment into bamboo farms. Directors believe the programme would not only improve peasants’ income but would also help double bamboo growing to support processing.

According to agriculture analysts, bamboo products are now in great demand all over the world as bamboo will soon be a substitute for hardwood, a natural material even more scarce

For full story, please see:



26. Angolan refugees help to rehabilitate Congolese camps

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 3 June 2005, in Reuters AlertNet

It's common courtesy to clean up after yourself, but some refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have gone one step further by greening their camps before repatriation.

More than 17,000 out of a planned 60,000 seedlings have so far been planted in the villages of Nkondo and Kilueka in the Bas Congo province of south-western DRC. The area hosted more than 23,000 Angolan refugees for six years, but fewer than 3,000 of them are left now after the majority headed home to Angola.

These days, the two villages are almost empty in the morning, as their inhabitants, equipped with shovels and hoes, work in the bush land where the young seedlings are planted. "Wild weeds are suffocating the young trees," said Jean Diakese of Nkondo village while rooting out weeds sprouting around the seedlings.

To lessen the refugees' impact on their environment, UNHCR had set up two tree nurseries at the Nkondo and Kilueka refugee sites. The target is to grow 30,000 in each village area, or one tree for each house. The refugee agency distributes the seedlings free of charge to the local population. An environmental protection committee comprising Congolese villagers and Angolan refugees has been established to safeguard the nurseries and to sensitise the population. Only their participation will guarantee the project's success.

The project's beneficiaries have chosen the tree species themselves. They asked for fruit trees. "These plants mean wealth to us," explained Joseph Kinzunga, the chief of Ndembo village in the Kilueka area. "Apart from selling and eating the fruits, we also thought of making fruit juices."

As a result, the nurseries are populated by different varieties of fruit trees, including citrus fruit trees – mainly orange and mandarin – as well as avocado trees and Safutiers, whose grilled fruits make a good side dish to meat. Acacia is another species used in the reforestation programme, as specialists say that the tree can adapt to all soils and is not very demanding.

More experimental species are also cultivated for their different virtues: The leaves of the Kikalasa are edible, while the plant itself contributes to the enrichment and fertilisation of the soil.

The Moringa tree also has multiple uses. "Every part of this plant is important," stressed Charles Muanda, an agronomist working with UNHCR's implementing partner, OXFAM. "The leaves can be eaten and are used for the treatment of certain diseases. The bark and the roots can be used to produce medicines against diarrhoea, high blood pressure, hepatitis and other illnesses. The fruits are also important, as one can use the oil extracted from them. Finally, the oilcake is used to purify water."

Both the refugees and their hosts know that the trees will only bear fruits after at least three or five years of hard work and patience. These fruits are destined for consumption, but also as cash crops on the market.

In addition, the trees are important for the environment and for human life, filtering and refreshing the air. As a result of this reforestation programme, it will be easier to fight soil erosion, which is already visible around Nkondo.

"After our repatriation, the Congolese population will remember us for the trees we plant today," said Edouardo Matota, the president of Angolan refugee community in Kilueka.

For full story, please see:


27. Bio-diversity Research and Development Center (BIRD)

From: Rana B. Rawal, BIRD,

The Bio-diversity Research and Development Centre (BIRD) is a governmental registered NGO located in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The main goal of BIRD is to integrate conservation with development by

    • safeguarding the bio-diversity of the area

    • improving the socio-economic condition of the local people,

    • developing and studying development models for social enlistments.

Among BIRD’s objectives are to facilitate and develop physical infrastructures for bio-diversity conservation and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) and Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) sustainable collection, production and market management.

BIRD accomplishes its mission through: Community based enterprises; Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation; Study and Research; Training and awareness; and Extension and outreach.

BIRD’ has been working in the fulfilment of its mission in control and management of natural resources and improvement in bio-diversity sector.

    • BIRD directly works with the grass-root level rural people and related organizations to improve their socio-economic condition through bio-diversity development and commercial utilization of local resources.

    • BIRD acts as a medium to develop in bio-diversity sector implementing through various studies and research in the country to improve the biodiversity conservation and environmentally sound scientific approach.

    • BIRD encourages the local level initiatives in managing NTFP based enterprises to improve the rural livelihood.

    • BIRD coordinates with relevant stakeholders to devise and facilitate policy formulation on bio-diversity management and NTFPs Conservation, Utilization and Marketing.

    • BIRD acts directly in developing and disseminating Market Price Information System (MPIS) of NTFPs/Jaributi’s from local to national level for better information among relevant stakeholders.

For more information, please contact:

Rana B. Rawal


Bio-diversity Research and Development Center (BIRD)

G.P.O.Box : 23162

Mitranagar, Ramhiti Phant, Boudha-6

Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel # +977-1-4494514



28. Biopiracy: Brazil launches popular campaign against biopiracy

Source: Brazzil Magazine, 9 June 2005

The development of integrated policies and activities to combat biopiracy is the purpose of a technical cooperation agreement signed yesterday in the Ministry of Environment by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the Federal Police Department, and the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin).

IBAMA will launch a consciousness-raising campaign on the harmful consequences of biopiracy, which will include the distribution of printed materials in universities, schools, and airports. The symbol of the campaign is the Phyllomedusa oreades frog, which is mainly green in colour, is only encountered in the Central Highlands, and whose skin contains an active ingredient with the potential to fight the Trypanossoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas' disease. It was chosen as a form of symbolic denouncement, since the ingredient has been patented abroad.

The ceremony also included the publication of a decree regulating the penalties for illicit activities committed against the genetic patrimony and associated traditional knowledge.

According to the Biological Diversity Convention, the use of genetic resources presupposes substantiated prior consent and the division of benefits. However, although it has been in force for ten years, countries with great biodiversity, such as Brazil, continue to be victims of non-authorized use of their genetic patrimony.

For full story, please see:


29. Biopiracy: Tackling biopiracy in Malaysia through legislation and cooperation

Source: Bernama - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 22 May 2005

The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) and a Japanese research organisation, Nimura Genetic Solutions, want to facilitate the introduction of a law to tackle the problem of biopiracy in Malaysia, one of the world's top biodiversity countries.

FRIM senior director (Biotechnology Division) Dr Daniel Baskaran Krishnapillay said FRIM and Nimura had come up with a Memorandum of Understanding on their collaboration which the drafters of the proposed Access & Benefit Sharing Bill should take a look at. "Most of the collaborators from advanced countries want to take the research out of the country," he told Bernama. "It is unique to have the lab in the resource country with local researchers, conducting all the research here and transferring technology to FRIM's researchers."

Malaysia is one of the world's 12 megadiverse countries and ranks fifth in plant diversity in the Asia-Australia region, Baskaran pointed out. With its rich biodiversity, it is an obvious hunting ground for bioprospectors. Some bioprospectors come in illegally, posing as tourists, to collect material and take it out of the country, Baskaran said. "Once they find the active ingredient, they can synthesise it in the lab for use in the cosmetics or pharmaceutical industry."

To prevent such biopiracy, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has drafted a Framework on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing, which is being studied by the relevant agencies in Malaysia. Malaysia has also prepared a draft Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Bill which is being reviewed to take into account the new government setup.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment deputy secretary-general Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin hopes that both the ASEAN Framework and Malaysia's own Bill could be ready within a year. And in the interim, he said, Malaysia is using the "Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilisation" issued by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Malaysia's ABS Bill will promote local scientific R&D, encourage bioprospecting by the private sector and multinational companies, and enforce sharing of benefits from the use of bio resources and traditional knowledge. "People who want to come will have to get the necessary approval from the authorities and it has to be on mutually agreed terms before we allow people to go in," Suboh explained. "At the point of trying to patent, we insist on having 'prior informed consent'. You have to declare where the sources are." He stressed that there will be separate access requirements for pure R&D work and inventory exercises. "When it comes to commercialisation, other provisions will kick in to ensure the benefit-sharing element and intellectual property rights (IPR) issues are covered," he said.

FRIM's Baskaran said one way to ensure benefit-sharing is joint-ventures with legitimate bioprospectors such as their project with Nimura Genetic Solutions. FRIM has provided laboratories on its grounds and helps collect soil, from which 30 Malaysian staff, one Japanese scientist and one Japanese lab manager are isolating microbes. Every sample which has been identified is duplicated and one "copy" is kept by FRIM.

Nimura Genetic Solutions chairman Satoshi Nimura hopes to develop some "novel compounds" which would be patented with FRIM. FRIM would also get a share of the royalties.

Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) president Datuk Dr Salleh Mohd Nor is also part of a soil bioprospecting joint-venture between his TropBio Research Sdn Bhd, Sirim Bhd and Fujisawa Pharmaceuticals, Japan's second largest pharmaceutical company. All benefits from licensing and product development will be shared 50:50 with the relevant state authorities, Salleh said.

The future Bill should require proper documentation and recording from such ventures, he said, as well as duplicate samples. "The life cycle of the material must be documented and open to inspection by interested parties or third parties."

But even before the legislation is finalised and tabled in Parliament, Salleh stressed the importance of an inventory of Malaysia's biological resources and traditional knowledge. "We may be burning our books before we finish reading them," he said.

FRIM has been collaborating with some local universities on this since 2002 and has registered 300 species and their uses, said Baskaran. FRIM is also growing 200 of these species in its arboretum.

For full story, please see:


30. Cultivated forests play important economic and ecological role

Source:, 17 May 2005

Old growth tropical forests are valuable and irreplaceable ecosystems that house the majority of Earth's known terrestrial biological diversity. While these forests are rapidly disappearing, they are not necessarily being completely cleared without replacement. In some regions, primary forests are being replaced with "cultivated forests" or "forest gardens," where useful trees are planted on farmlands after the removal of pre-existing natural forests.

A new report Domesticating forests: How farmers manage forest resources by Geneviève Michon explores the characteristics and implications of these forests in Indonesia.

It is important to understand that "cultivated forests" are not "secondary forests," plantations, or home gardens. The authors note: "Unlike conventional forest plantations, which are physiognomically and ecologically quite distinct from natural forests, these forests cultivated by smallholder farmers in the tropics do look like natural forests. But they are more than just managed forests. They are not the result of any integration of economic tree species in natural forests through gradual planting. They have evolved from the total clearing of the natural forest vegetation, usually through slash-and-burn agriculture, and the planting of selected tree species on the cleared plot. They are socially defined by bundles of rights that clearly differ from those concerning natural forests."

Michon estimates that in Indonesia, these forests comprise a total of 6 million to 8 million hectares, generally extending between open farmlands and natural forests in blocks covering tens of thousands of hectares

Michon uses several examples of cultivated forests in southeast Asia to conclude what qualities make this form of agriculture an attractive alternative to forest extraction or specialized forest plantations: On the island of Java, lands not under forestry regulations often bear more trees than ‘forest lands’. These trees are managed in forests planted by farmers. In many areas of Sumatra and Borneo the last patches of dense forest are located on farmlands and constitute cultivated forest and agroforests, whereas natural forests are being overlogged or converted. In the eastern lowlands of Sumatra, rubber forests planted during the twentieth century by swidden farmers constitute the last large reservoir of forest biodiversity. All of Indonesia’s exported damar resin (an important ‘non-timber forest product’ from Dipterocarps, the major constituents of South-east Asian forests) comes from cultivated dipterocarp forests.

The report notes that in many parts of the region, the majority of sustainable use occurs not in natural forest but in these cultivated forests. This is important given both the depletion of natural forests and that fact that these "cultivated forests" provide many of the ecological benefits of natural forests while generating economic returns for their managers/cultivators.

In Indonesia, in economic terms, "cultivated forests" provide

• 80% of the processed and exported rubber latex,

• 80% of the dipterocarp resin

• 95% of the benzoin resin

• 60% to 75% of the main tree spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg)

• about 95% of the various fruits and nuts sold in the country

• a significant proportion of bamboos, small cane rattan, fuel wood, handicraft material and medicinal plants traded or used domestically.

Ecologically, "cultivated forests" preserve many forest functions including soil protection and erosion reduction; the regulation of water flows; the maintenance of a significant proportion of original forest biodiversity; and the ongoing production of renewable forest products like timber, game, resins, fibers, medicines, and fruit and nuts.

Despite the economic and ecological value of these forests, their existence is not guaranteed under some legal systems. Often, "cultivated forests" are classified as "natural forests" and therefore they are essentially considered public lands. As such, they can be concessioned off to forest developers and the rights to use of small farmer holders are frequently ignored.

The report argues that it is critical for cultivated forests to be recognized as distinct entities apart from "natural forests" to both protect the rights of local users and ensure the ongoing economic and ecological functions these important lands.

The report was sponsored by the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Center for International Forestry Research, and The World Agroforestry Centre.

For full story, please see:

For information on the report


31. The International Center for Underutilized Crops (ICUC) moves to Sri Lanka

Source: Joint Statement by IWMI and ICUC, 7 June 2005

The International Center for Underutilized Crops (ICUC) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) are pleased to announce the relocation of ICUC’s Headquarters from the United Kingdom to Sri Lanka, with effect from April, 2005. The ICUC is now co-located and hosted by IWMI at its Headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Established in 1992, the International Center for Underutilized Crops (ICUC) is an autonomous, non-profit, scientific research and training center. The Center addresses ways of increasing the use of underutilized crops for food, medicinal and industrial products, and also for environmental conservation. It provides expertise and acts as a collaborative institute for tropical, sub-tropical and temperate crop development. The ICUC operates through regional offices and works in close collaboration with national partners for sustainable technology development for products and marketing of underutilized crops.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in agriculture and on the water needs of developing countries. IWMI works with partners in the South to develop tools and methods to help these countries eradicate poverty through more effective management of their water and land resources.

ICUC’s move to IWMI is expected to provide greater synergy to the programs of both institutes through its research activities. For example, the ICUC’s strategic theme Improving Degraded Land through use of Underutilized Crops is closely linked to IWMI’s research theme on Land, Water and Livelihoods. Hence, both institutions will greatly benefit by working together on research projects of mutual interest such as “The potential of underutilized crops to contribute to the drought coping strategies of the poor” and “The potential of underutilized crops to grow under wastewater reuse conditions.”

Since the founder Director of the ICUC —Dr. Nazmul Haq is retiring soon, a new Director will be appointed shortly. The ICUC and IWMI will be working in close collaboration in developing a partnership of mutual cooperation. The global program of ICUC will continue to be run through its existing network in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

For more information on ICUC’s move to IWMI, please contact:

Prof. Frank Rijsberman, Director General of IWMI (

For more information on the ICUC Program, please contact:

Dr. Nazmul Haq

International Water Management Institute
127, Sunil Mawatha
Pelawatte, Battaramulla
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11 2787404, 2784080
Fax: +94 -11 2786854
E-mail: or



32. Forestry Officer (Wildland and Forest Fire Management), FAO, Rome

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Forestry Officer (Wildland and Forest Fire Management)

P3, Fixed Term, Three years

Deadline for applications: 29 July 2005

VA 1414-FOR

Under the overall guidance of Director, Forest Resources Division, and the direct supervision of Chief, Forest Resources Development Service, will support development and implementation of fire management practices. Specifically to:

• assist in planning, administrating and implementing FAO’s normative functions in forest fire management, including awareness, preparedness, prevention, detection, suppression, monitoring and rehabilitation, and provide technical guidance for FAO’s activities in this field;

• develop joint activities to raise the awareness and knowledge about relationships between agricultural practices and wildland and forest fire management;

• work closely with the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, member countries, and other international and regional partners to enhance international collaboration and networking related to forest fire management;

• coordinate the development of guidelines and best practices for forest fire management; with special emphasis on community based fire management;

• assist planning and organising of, and participate in, international meetings, seminars and workshops in matters related to forest fire management;

• provide support and technical backstopping to field projects and to member countries and institutions related to forest fire management;

• coordinate reporting on forest fire within the framework of the global Forest Resources Assessment process;

• supervise the electronic publishing of forest fire management information on the FAO website;

• as required provide guidance and supervision of project staff and consultants for overall coordination of activities;

• serve as FAO focal point for collaboration with other divisions and departments on wildland and forest fire management issues, in particular cross-sectoral aspects;

• perform other related duties as required.

Minimum requirements

• Advanced University Degree in Forestry or a related field

• Five years of relevant experience in the field of forest resources management, including wildland fire management and experience in developing countries or countries in transition

• Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and limited knowledge of one of the other two.

For complete Terms of Reference, please see:


33. Senior Forestry Officer, FAO, Cairo, Egypt

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Senior Forestry Officer

P5, Fixed Term, Three years

Deadline for applications: 2 August 2005

VA 1422-RNE

Under the overall managerial and administrative leadership of the ADG/RR, RNE and the direct technical supervision of the ADG/FO, to lead, coordinate and facilitate technical assistance to the forestry programmes and activities of FAO Members in the Near East Region. Specifically, to:

• advise FAO Members and institutions in the region on technical and policy matters related to national forestry sectors;

• promote and lead studies and reviews on technical, policy and programme issues;

• advise in the preparation of national forest programmes, other action plans and programmes, and projects;

• participate in the development and implementation of the field programme, including identification, technical advice, formulation and provision of technical backstopping to forestry projects; monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the forestry field programme; identify project follow-up and negotiate project-related issues with Members and donors;

• collaborate with relevant national and regional institutions in identifying, promoting and backstopping forestry and related activities;

• supervise the collection, analysis and review of data and information on forests and the forestry sector in the Region;

• lead and conduct seminars, workshops and training courses on topics of relevance to FAO Members;

• liaise with international institutions and NGOs and represent FAO in meetings and discussions on forestry programmes and projects in the region;

• lead and/or participate in project development and evaluation missions of forestry issues;

• contribute to the implementation of the Regular Programme, and provide inputs for periodic reporting and planning;

• perform other related duties as required.

Minimum requirements

    • Advanced University Degree in Forestry or related field.

    • Working knowledge (level C) of Arabic and either English or French.

    • Ten years of professional experience in forestry at the international, regional and/or national level, including policy development and implementation of national forestry sector policies, plans and programmes.

For complete Terms of Reference, please see:



National Workshop on “Sustainable NTFP marketing in Vietnam: Economic, Social and Ecological Opportunities and Risks”

28 and 29 June 2005

Hanoi, Vietnam

The workshop will explore the opportunities and risks of a growing NTFP market. The workshop is organized around four different topics:

    • NTFP marketing worldwide and in Vietnam – an introduction to concepts, opportunities and challenges.

    • NTFP market information

    • NTFP marketing and biodiversity conservation

    • Tools for market assessment and analysis

For more information, please contact:

Mr Maurits Servaas

NTFP project Training Advisor

8 Chuong Duong Do

Ha Noi, Vietnam

Fax: 84 4 9 320 996



V Ibero-American Congress of Environmental and Forest Rights (V Congreso Iberoamericano de Derecho Forestal Ambiental 2005).

28–30 June 2005

Aguascalientes, Mexico.

For more information, please contact:

Lic. Fernando Montes de Oca Dominguez,

Secretario General del V

Congreso, Garibaldi 1810

Col. Ladrón de Guevara,

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico;


International Seminar on Sarawak Herbal Medicine and Spices.

17 July 2005.

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

For more information, please contact:

Sally Sheriza

Ahmad, Sarawak Forestry

Corporate Office, Kuching,

Sarawak, Malaysia



The 2005 ProForest forest and certification summer training programme

11-15 July 2005

Oxford, UK

This program provides a range of courses for those involved in forest management, forest certification and sustainable natural resource management. The courses are based on up-to-date practical experience and are designed to bring together key players in a range of fields to provide a unique training opportunity.

Training courses will be available in the following subject areas:

• introduction to certification and standards (one day);

• forest certification in practice including practical auditing (four days);

• responsible purchasing in practice, including product tracing and chain of custody (two days);

• high-conservation-value forests and biodiversity monitoring (two days); and

• climate change policy and forests (one day).

Delegates can select the combination of courses that suits their needs and attend them in one integrated event. The courses range from one-day introductions to five-day intensive courses, and fees range from £200 for one day to £850 for four or five days. Fees include coffee, lunch and training materials.

For more information, please contact:

Andry Rakotovololona, ProForest, ProForest Ltd, South Suite, Frewin Chambers, Frewin Court, Oxford OX1 3HZ, United Kingdom



Community Enterprise Development and Rural Livelihoods

18 July -2 August 2005

Bangkok, Thailand

This training course provides middle management professionals and experienced field practitioners with the skills necessary to facilitate participatory planning and development of micro and small scale enterprises within a context of sustainable livelihoods.

Course tuition fee: US$ 2,850 per participant.

Further information on course content or for an application form please visit or contact:

Somjai Srimongkontip


Capacity Building Services Unit
Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)
P.O. Box 1111, Kasetsart University, Jatuchak, Bangkok 10903, Thailand
Tel: (66 2) 940-5700 Ext. 1212
Fax: (66 2) 561-4880


Regional Workshop on Sustainable Development of Rattan Sector in Asia.

24–30 July 2005.

Beijing, China.

For more information, please contact:

Huang Shineng, PhD,

Assistant Project Director & Secretary of the Workshop Organizing Committee

Research Institute of Tropical Forestry

Chinese Academy of Forestry

Long Dong, Guangzhou 510520

P R China

Tel 86–20–8702 8675;

Fax 86–20–8703 622;



The 2005 International Shea Butter Convention & Business Expo

12-14 August 2005

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Sponsored by The American Shea Butter Institute, The Aaa Shea Butter Company, Goutterdor International and the Shea Butter Association.

Two full days of business and educational seminars devoted entirely to the shea butter.

Registration Fee: $ 175 before July 15, 2005

Late Registration Fee: after July 15,2005 $ 275

To Register on line GO TO;

To Register off line GO TO;

For more information, please contact:

The American Shea Butter Institute
Five Concourse Parkway, suite 3000
Atlanta, GA 30328, USA

Tel: +1-404 377 6199 or +1-770 392 3341


Multifunctional Forest Ecosystem Management in Europe: Integrated approaches for considering the temporal, spatial and scientific dimensions
arranged in connection with the EFI 2005 Annual Conference
8-10 September 2005

Barcelona, Spain

For more information please contact:

Brita Pajari, (Ms) M.Sc. (For.)

Conference Manager

European Forest Institute

Torikatu 34, FIN-80100 Joensuu, Finland

Tel.: +358 (0)13 252 0223

Mobile phone: +358 (0)50 359 0362

Fax: +358 (0)13 124 393




Conference on Forestry and Forest Products Research

22-24 November 2005

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The biennial national conference is designed to bring out the latest findings in forestry and forest products to the private sector, researchers, academicians, forest managers, industrialists and policy makers. Discussions will embrace issues pertaining to natural and planted forests, and improved processing and utilization of wood and non-wood products. Issues on conservation of biodiversity, non-wood products, forest ecology, socio-economics, the potential for new developments in forest industry, and others will also be highlighted.

Sessions will cover Forestry and conservation; Biotechnolgy and natural products; and Forest products and services.

For more information, please contact:

The Secretariat, Conference on Forestry and Forest Products Research 2005 (CFFPR 2005), Forest Research Institute Malaysia, Kepong 52109 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, (Attn.: Dr. Lim Hin Fui),

Tel: 603-6279 7541/603-6279 7539;

Fax: 603-6280 4629;




43. Bamboo and Cane: Potential of Poor Man’s Timber for Poverty Alleviation and Forest Conservation. A case study from Bjoka, Zhemgang, Central Bhutan

From: Lungten Norbu, Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre Yusipang, Bhutan

This report presents the findings of a study on bamboo and cane from Bjoka in Central Bhutan. The study assessed the accessible potential growing stocks of Neomicrocalamus andropogonifolius and Calamus acanthospathus, their roles in the household subsistence economy and impacts on commercial enterprise, traditional uses, indigenous knowledge and local resource management systems, post-harvest practices constraints and opportunities, and vulnerability status to commercialization of these two NWFP.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Lungten Norbu

Program Director

Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre Yusipang

PO Box 212

Thimphu, Bhutan

Fax: +975-2-321601

E-mail: or


44. Rainforest Alliance Annual Report

From: Rainforest Matters []

The Rainforest Alliance's 2004 Annual Report is a comprehensive overview of our on-the-ground work, detailing our initiatives and illustrated with spectacular, full-colour photos.

The mission of the Rainforest Alliance is to protect ecosystems and the people and wildlife that depend on them by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Companies, cooperatives and landowners that participate in our programs meet rigorous standards that conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods.

Download the Report now


45. Utilization of bamboo from sustainable sources in Thailand

Source: Tropical Forest Update, Vol. 15, Number 1, 2005

The following publications are all outputs of an ITTO project aimed at promoting the utilization of bamboo from sustainable sources in Thailand. The final report contains papers on a range of technical issues, including the physical and mechanical properties of bamboo species in Thailand, the improvement of bamboo charcoal techniques, the use of bamboo as flooring and the sustainable management of bamboo.

Techapun, C. no date. Feasibility study on establishment of bamboo shoots products plant in Chiang Mai. Internal technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev 1 (I). Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

Subansenee, W., Nilkamhaeng, N., Sroithongkham, P. & Chiablaem, S. 2002. The training course on bamboo furniture parts and handicraft. Technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev. 1 (I), No 2. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

Hosokawa, K., Subansenee, W., Panyathanya, W. & Kuhakanchana, C. no date. Bamboo charcoal. Internal technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev. 1 (I), No 3. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

Moktan, M.R., Norbu, L., Dukpa, K., Rai, T.B., Dhendup, K and Gyeltshen, M. 2004. Bamboo and Cane: Potential of Poor Man’s Timber for Poverty Alleviation and Forest Conservation. A case study from Bjoka, Zhemgang, Central Bhutan. YREP/2004/2. Renewable Natural Resources Research Centre Yusipang, Council of RNR Research for Bhutan, Ministry of Agriculture.

Tesoro, F., Subansenee, W., Nilkamhaeng, N. & Fueangvivat, V. no date. Bamboo marketing in Thailand. Internal technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev. 1 (I), No 4. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

Royal Forest Department 2004. Sustainable development of bamboo resources: proceedings of the National Conference on Sustainable Development of Bamboo Resources, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev. 1 (I), No 2. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

Royal Forest Department 2004. Sustainable management and utilization from bamboo. Final technical report of ITTO project PD 56/99 Rev 1 (I), No 2. Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand.

For more information, please contact:

Information Officer

ITTO Secretariat

International Tropical Timber Organization

International Organizations Center – 5th Floor

Pacifico-Yokohama, 1–1–1 Minato Mirai, Nishi-ku

Yokohama 220–0012 Japan

t 81–45–223 1110

f 81–45–223 1111

E-mail: or


46. Book on medicinal plants released

Source: Ahmedabad Newsline - Ahmedabad, India, 6 June 2005

A book detailing the species and occurrence of medicinal plants has just been released. The book titled ‘Medicinal Plants’ will be available in three parts and is the result of three years of intensive survey carried out by the Gujarat Ecological and Educational Research (GEER) foundation under the sponsorship of the Gujarat Forest Department.

The study lists 1,315 species of plants with medicinal value, which includes 76 rare ones. The listed species include 754 herb species, 248 tree species, 165 shrubs and 148 climbers. While 1,016 medicinal plant species were found in the wild, 299 of them were found in plantations or cultivations.

GEER’s Director C.N.Pandey said that the sample study revealed that about 186 species are being commercially utilized in the state, and that 45 medicinal plant sites which are rich in medicinal plant diversity had been identified.

The book also reveals the ethnic knowledge and faith of the local people regarding the medicinal uses of plants. .

For full story, please see:


47. Community-based enterprise development program (CBED) guidelines

From: Sophie Grouwels, Forestry Officer (CBED), FAO,

Are these guidelines for you?

Do you want to help small entrepreneurs in the field to identify and develop natural resource products-based small-scale enterprises? Then these guidelines are just what you are looking for. Whether you work for governmental or non-government development agencies, the guidelines provide you with easy-to-follow descriptions of practical methods and well-tested field tools which you can use to turn villagers into successful small-scale entrepreneurs. Don’t worry. You don’t need to be an expert in business management in order to facilitate this process!

• Market Analysis and Development. Field Facilitator Guidelines TC/D/Y5937E/1/3.05/400

• Analyse et Dévelopement des Marchés. Fiches conseil au faclitateur de terrain TC/D/Y5937F/1/3.05/400

• Análisis y Desarrollo de Mercado. Directrices para facilitadores de campo TC/D/Y5937S/1/3.05/400

More info can be found on the website for Community-based forest enterprises under publications:

or contact

Sophie Grouwels

Forestry Officer, Community-based Enterprise Development (CBED)

Forestry Policy and Institutions Service, FONP

Forestry Department

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Room C-463

Tel (39)06 570 55299 - Fax (39) 06 570 55514



48. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Aravind, N.A., Manjunath, J., Rao, D., Ganeshaiah, K.N., Shaanker, R.U., and Vanaraj, G. 2005. Are red-listed species threatened? A comparative analysis of red-listed and non-red-listed plant species in the Western Ghats, India. Curr. Sci. 88(2):258-265.

Berglund, H., and Jonsson, B.G. 2005. Verifying an extinction debt among lichens and fungi in northern Swedish boreal forests. Conserv. Biol. 19(2):338-348.

Brugiere, D., Sakom, D., and Gautier-hion, A. 2005. The conservation significance of the proposed Mbaéré-Bodingué national park, Central African Republic, with special emphasis on its primate community. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(2):505-522.

Christensen, M. and Larsen, H.O. 2005. How can collection of wild edible fungi contribute to livelihoods in rural areas of Nepal? Journal of Forest and Livelihood 4(2) February, 2005.

Collection of wild edible fungi is important for livelihoods in rural areas of Nepal and neighbouring countries. Only very few species of fungi are being exported from Nepal, and compared to neighbouring countries there is still a potential to be exploited. However, a system of quality control and training of local people must be considered to use this potential. Also, a better understanding of the ecology and management of the wild edible fungi is necessary for the development of a sustainable use of the resource.

Colfer, Carol J. Pierce and Capistrano, Doris (eds). 2005. The Politics of Decentralization. Forests, Power And People. Earthscan. ISBN: 1844072053

Cruse-Sanders, J.M., Hamrick, J.L., and Ahumada, J.A. 2005. Consequences of harvesting for genetic diversity in American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.): a simulation study. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(2):493-504.

Donovan, D.G., and Puri, R.K. 2004. Learning from traditional knowledge of non-timber forest products: Penan Benalui and the autecology of Aquilaria in Indonesian Borneo. Ecol. Soc. [Online] 9(3):3.

Ghimire, S.K., McKey, D., and Aumeeruddy-Thomas, Y. 2004. Heterogeneity in ethnoecological knowledge and management of medicinal plants in the Himalayas of Nepal: implications for conservation. Ecol. Soc. [Online] 9(3):6.

IUFRO. 2005. Forests for the new millennium – making forests work for people and nature.

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 at

Kala, C.P. 2005. Indigenous uses, population density, and conservation of threatened medicinal plants in protected areas of the Indian Himalayas. Conserv. Biol. 19(2):368-378.

Kumar, A., and Ram, J. 2005. Anthropogenic disturbances and plant biodiversity in forests of Uttaranchal, central Himalaya. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(2):309-331.

Refisch, J., and Koné, I. 2005. Impact of commercial hunting on monkey populations in the Taï region, Côte d'Ivoire. Biotropica 37(1):136-144.

Struhsaker, T.T., Struhsaker, P.J., and Siex, K.S. 2005. Conserving Africa's rain forests: problems in protected areas and possible solutions. Biol. Conserv. 123(1):45-54.


49. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Biodiversity Hotspots

An informative Web site hosted by Conservation International

Madagascar – Fantastic Forests

London Wildweb

London has many important nature areas bursting with wildlife. This site helps you to find out where they are, what you may see, how to get there, and why they are vital to the capital's biodiversity.



50. Request for information: medicinal plant harvesting/extraction

From: M.H. Lebaschy, Iran,

I have a Ph.D. in crop ecology and am working in the medicinal plants division of the Research Institute of Forest and Rangelands. Iran has various habitats with rich sources of medicinal plants in its forests and rangelands. Every year some valuable by-products are extracted from Pistacia atlantica or Ferula gummosa and other forest and range plants. These non-wood forest products should be harvested regularly and sustainably.

We are searching for suitable methods of extraction, harvesting, time harvesting (via Growing Degree Days), harvesting in slopes regions, etc. We would be interested in learning from experience in other countries. Please contact me should you have any information that could assist us.



51. Date palm buds after 2,000 years

Source: BBC News Online, 13 June 2005

Israeli researchers say they have succeeded in growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed. The seed was one of several found during an excavation of the ancient mountain fortress of Masada. Scientists working on the project believe it is the oldest seed ever germinated. Researchers in Jerusalem have nicknamed the sapling Methuselah, after the biblical figure said to have lived for nearly 1,000 years.

The palm is from a variety that became extinct in the Middle Ages and was reputed to have powerful medicinal properties. The plant is now nearly 30cm (12in) tall.

Researcher Sarah Sallon of the Louis Borick Natural Medicine Research Centre in Jerusalem said that one of the plant's leaves had been sent for analysis. Dates had "an enormous amount of use in ancient times for infections, for tumours" she told the Associated Press news agency. "We're researching medicinal plants for all we're worth, we think that ancient medicines of the past can be the medicines of the future," she added.

If it continues to thrive, scientists hope the palm will eventually reveal the secrets of its past.

For full story, please see:

Related story:


52. To Bee the Best in the World…….

From: Bees for Development Trust,

On 25 June 2005, Philip McCabe – President of the Federation of Irish Beekeeping Associations – will attempt to wear a record-breaking Bee Beard of 500,000 bees, and enter the Guinness Book of World Records. The current world bee beard record is held by Mark Biancaniello, who was covered by over 350,000 bees.

Philip is raising funds for two charities: Bees for Development Trust and the Irish Aid Organisation Bóthar who are actively involved in providing beekeeping programmes and advice to impoverished families struggling to survive throughout the developing world.

All funds raised will aid the continuation and expansion of both organisations’ essential work.

For more information, please visit: or

Bees for Development Trust or Bóthar



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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009