No. 6/05

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. Agarwood: New tree species found in Central Highlands of Vietnam
2. Bamboo: Rare bamboo flowering in Gujarat yields tonnes of seeds
3. Bamboo is underutilized in India
4. Bamboo proposed as an aesthetic alternative to steel fences
5. Bamboo: Villages in Fiji learn bamboo furniture trade
6. Brazil nuts: Reforestation with Bertholletia excelsa
7. Bushmeat: Monkeys infect bushmeat hunters
8. Bushmeat: WHO confirms Ebola outbreak in Congo, nine dead
9. Ginseng legislation
10. Lantana: The alternative to bamboo
11. Medicinal plants: indigenous knowledge
12. Medicinal plants to be nurtured in Orissa, India
13. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua
14. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua derivative 'kills worms that cause bilharzia'
15. Ramps: Demand for wild leek prompts harvest limit
16. Seabuckthorn: Harvesting seabuckthorn in Nepal
17. Vegetable ivory: Could plant ivory save elephants?


18. Azerbaijan: Hirkan preserve to be added to UNESCO's Natural Heritage list?
19. Bangladesh: Forests for sustainable growth
20. Brazil gets new drug based on local knowledge
21. Brazil: Amazon tribe faces 'annihilation
22. Greece: Beekeepers’ insects killing pines
23. India: UP to spread honey 'sweetness' in global market
24. India: Sandalwood Protection Squad
25. India: Freedom of the forest
26. India: Plea for including forest-dwellers in ST Bill
27. Italy: Honey producers protest because "wood honey” is not legal
28. Malaysia: Perak to protect tualang trees due to role in honey production
29. Russia: Tomsk Region and its forests


30. Biodiversity: Protecting biodiversity 'may clash with pursuit of MDGs'
31. Biodiversity: World map of plant biodiversity
32. Equator Ventures: UNDP offers up to $500,000 to those who promote conservation
33. Nobel Peace Laureate urges Congo Basin Forest Conservation
34. Fellowships: Hosei University (Japan)


35. Tropical forest conservation volunteers and staff required
36. World Bank: Young Professionals Program


37. International Symposium on Herbal Medicine, Phytopharmaceuticals and Other Natural Products: Trends and Advances
38. African healing wisdom: from tradition to current application and research
39. ITTO regional workshop on sustainable development of rattan sector in Asia
40. Forests in the balance: Linking tradition and technology. XXII IUFRO World Congress


41. Small-medium forestry, enterprises for poverty, reduction and sustainability
42. Other publications of interest
43. Web sites and e-zines


44. Request for information: baobab fruit juice
45. Request for information: Cardamom in Vietnam


46. Ice Age forest due for spruce up
47. Loch's new forest will be step back in time
48. Malaysia: Resettled orang asli get keys to their new homes
49. Payout idea to save rainforests
50. Study calls Canadian forest a continental bird nursery



1. Agarwood: New tree species found in Central Highlands of Vietnam

Source: Viet Nam News - Hanoi, Vietnam, 27 April 2005

A Vietnamese scientist has discovered a new species of an endangered rainforest tree valued for its resin that has been used for centuries as incense and in traditional medicine.

The species of the Aquilaria tree, named Aquilaria rugosa, was found in the Central Highlands and is the 25th species known in the world, said Henry Heuveling van Beck, director of The Rainforest Project (TRP) Foundation (a Netherlands-based non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the world’s forests).

Botanist Le Cong Kiet, TRP’s senior scientist for its Viet Nam project, made the discovery, and the new species was confirmed by analyses of the Leiden National Herbarium in the Netherlands.

Both Kiet and van Beck have been working for nearly 10 years on a TRP project that aims to preserve Aquilaria trees that are found in southern and central Viet Nam.

Illegal loggers have been cutting the trees down for years and selling the resinous wood or oil found inside natural-growth trees for very high prices to overseas companies that supply Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

The resin is highly regarded for use in Buddhist and Islamic cultural activities, and in Japan for incense.

The tree is native in Southeast Asia and has become very rare because of increased harvesting, van Beck said. Some artisans in Viet Nam, who use it illegally to make decorative objects, have even sold their wares at auctions, receiving sums as high as VND1.37 billion (US$80,000).

To stem illegal harvesting from natural forests, TRP began a project several years ago that trains extremely poor farmers in central and southern Viet Nam to grow Aquilaria trees from seedlings in home gardens or plantations. By using a technique developed by wood micro-biologist Robert Blanchette of US-based University of Minnesota, the farmers can induce the production of resin in plantation-grown trees within several years. The plantations eliminate the need to cut old-growth Aquilaria forest for resin and will help save the endangered species from possible extinction.

Funded by the European Commission, the project serves as an example for the entire Southeast Asian agarwood industry, he said. It involves more than 200 very poor farmers in the southern province of An Giang and the central province of Kon Tum.

Farmers have recently planted 15,000 high-quality seedlings of the new species in the Central Highlands. The farmers are offered technical training and assistance by local scientists from the National University of Technology and the Science Technology and Environmental Services.

The resin is marketed and sold worldwide.

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo: Rare bamboo flowering in Gujarat yields tonnes of seeds

Source: Zee News - Noida, India, 14 May 2005

After experiencing what they call a "historic" moment, Gujarat Forest Department officials have collected 22 tonnes of bamboo seeds from two regions of Surat district during the gregarious bamboo flowering season, a fantastic phenomenon.

The collection of seeds during the bamboo flowering, which occurs once in around 45 years, was done from Mangaldev and Fatheddev ranges of Surat district in South Gujarat, within 2 550 ha of dense vegetation, a senior forest department official involved in the much-awaited project, told news agencies.

"Gregarious bamboo flowering that is scientifically known as 'tendrocly sprictus' and known as `Manvel' in local parlance, is a historic moment for any forest official due to its rare occurrence in any bamboo growing region," the official said. The sale of full length bamboos that have flowered is expected to touch Rs 10 lakh, he added.
The phenomenon also occurs in north-eastern states of the country like Mizoram where it is associated with tribal superstitions.

For full story, please see:


3. Bamboo is underutilized in India

Source: Economic Times – India, 4 May 2005

Underutilization of bamboo has led to the growth in the demand for wood and its products without any care being taken for the regeneration or search for a natural alternative, Meghalaya Governor M M Jacob said on Wednesday.

India was next only to China in its potential to generate enormous wealth from bamboo products through value addition, but in comparison to the latter's annual turnover of Rs 18,000 crore, India stood at a mere Rs 2,000 crore, he said delivering the valedictory address at the second International Bamboo Festival (BAMFEST).

For whatever reasons, bamboo (a fast regeneration plant) was used only in a limited traditional way and the benefits from it were not fully exploited, he said. While timber took 30-40 years to mature, bamboo was one of the most eco-friendly plants with the potential to replace timber in a big way. In using more wood, a substantial part of the world's forest cover has been lost and its ecosystem disturbed, Jacob said.

In the northeastern part of the country, which accounts for two-third of the country's bamboo resource, the rural population depended on it in a large extent to meet their day to day needs. North Eastern Council member P P Srivastava said with a large number of people in the region using bamboo, a small value addition with a proper marketing action plan would increase the income of a large segment.

For full story, please see:


4. Bamboo proposed as an aesthetic alternative to steel fences

Source: The China Post, 12 May 2005

Fences made out of bamboo around construction sites can greatly enhance the beauty of the metropolitan area, suggested the National Taiwan Craft Research Institute (NTCRI). Instead of the steel fences utilized by most constructors around building sites, it is far more pleasing on the eye if they utilize bamboos, said Director Lin Ding-tzann of NTCRI.

He suggested that bamboo fences can be used first during maintenance constructions on historic sites. Once the method is popularized, the costs associating with the material will decrease dramatically, Lin said optimistically.

Bamboo is known for its sturdiness. The fences can also employ a variety of designs to make construction sites appear artistic when compared with the cold, hard surface of steel. Better yet, the fences can easily be disassembled and transported to another site for reuse.

Utilizing bamboo products can also help stimulate the island's craft industry. Aside from fences, bamboo can be made into many other products that are elegant. Bamboo products have been widely used in interior design, because of bamboo’s ability to absorb moisture without compromising its durability.

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5. Bamboo: Villages in Fiji learn bamboo furniture trade

Source: Fiji Times, 31 May 2005

Using bamboo for domestic purposes may soon change for a number of youths and men from the tikina of Wailevu in Wainibuka, Tailevu (Fiji).

A two-week workshop, which is currently in progress, would teach the men from the villages of Malabi, Dakuivuna, Naiyala, Natokalau and Wailotua how to make furniture out of bamboo. The workshop organized and promoted by the Department of Culture and Heritage has proved to be most popular amongst the villagers. Senior Cultural Development officer Niqa Tuvuki said the workshop was the first of its kind in Tailevu and has proved to be most effective and timely.

Bamboo had only been used for domestic purposes but this workshop may change the views of rural dwellers as it may be considered an upcoming business and a lucrative income generator for many rural dwellers.

Usaia Korodrau, the tutor and specialist of the project said most of the participants were really amazed with the many uses of bamboo. "This workshop has created immense awareness and even women have taken the initiative in joining men," he said.

Korodrau said the bamboo craft would be showcased during closing ceremony hosted by the Assistant Minister for Culture and Heritage Nanise Nagusuca at Malabi village.

For full story, please see:


6. Brazil nuts: Reforestation with Bertholletia excelsa

Source: Agência FAPESP, 17 May 2005 (in Amazon News, 19.5.05)

Reforestation of Amazonia regions with the Brazil nut (also known as the Para nut, Bertholletia excelsa) is an excellent alternative for this region, suggest technicians from the Rondonia's Brazilian Company of Agro-business Research (EMBRAPA).

The tree, whose exploitation has been prohibited by federal decree for native trees, could offer an important way to preserve the environment and also guarantees income for the local population.

According to Marilia Locatelli, a researcher from EMBRAPA, it is necessary to create policies to stimulate the extractivist producer who wants to work with this fruit. Then, it will be feasible for humans to live from the forest, increase production-principally for export - and to preserve the environment. "In the case of Amazonia, various native species need more investment to be planted", stated Locatelli.

The advantage to using the Brazil nut tree would be on soils with low fertility as compared with other forestry species. Another option would be for reforestation of agro-forestry systems.

In 2004, according to the National Brazilian Company (CONAB), Brazil earned 21.6 million reales from the export of more than 13 000 tons of Brazil nut, mostly to the US and Europe.

Brazil nut trees, with an average height of 50 metres and 2 metres width, are found in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia and Guyanas. However, the largest number exists in Brazil, where they are concentrated in Para, Amazonas, Acre, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, Amapa and Roraima.

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7. Bushmeat: Monkeys infect bushmeat hunters

Source:, London, UK, 16 May 2005

Cameroon survey suggests viruses often jump from primates to people.

The transfer of viruses from animals such as monkeys to human populations is a relatively common event, suggests a study of African hunters.

A survey of a group of 1,000 bushmeat hunters in Cameroon has turned up two viruses that the researchers suspect come from primates. The result should remind us to stay on guard against diseases that spread from one species to another, say the researchers.

"These are not rare historical events. This is an ongoing phenomenon," says Nathan Wolfe, a field virologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, who led the study.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is thought to have migrated from primates to humans. Ebola, an often fatal fever, is also thought to have entered the human population from primates in Africa. And last year, Wolfe and colleagues showed that a fairly innocuous bug called simian foamy virus had made the leap to hunters in Cameroon.

Now a survey of those same hunters has turned up two more viruses, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1. The viruses, called HTLV-3 and HTLV-4, are from a group known as the human T-lymphotropic viruses. Such viruses infect many millions worldwide, causing neurological disease in a small percentage of cases.

HTLV-3 and HTLV-4 have never been seen in humans before. HTLV-3 has a primate analogue and although HTLV-4 does not, the researchers strongly suspect that it originated in primates too.

Wolfe's team chose to study hunters in southern Cameroon because they are known to hunt and eat many different types of primates, as well as keeping them as pets. The man whose blood turned up the mysterious HTLV-4, for example, is a 48-year-old who has hunted monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas.

The researchers, including scientists from the Army Health Research Center in Yaounde, Cameroon, are continuing their survey of the population. They say they hope to catch viruses in the act of leaping species.

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8. Bushmeat: WHO confirms Ebola outbreak in Congo, nine dead

Source: Reuters AlertNet, 18 May 2005

Ebola has returned to the Republic of Congo, killing nine people since the end of April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday after tests confirmed the presence of the deadly virus. "The results (of laboratory tests) came in yesterday ... It is indeed a case of Ebola," said Adamou Yada, WHO's representative in Congo, which has faced serious outbreaks of the disease in the past.

The latest outbreak is in the forested northwestern Cuvette-Ouest region, where nearly 150 people died from Ebola in 2003. Neighbouring Gabon also had outbreaks in 2001 and 2002. There is no known cure for Ebola, which is passed on by infected body fluids and kills between 50 and 90 percent of victims, depending on the strain.

Officials from Congo's Health Ministry, WHO and Medecins Sans Frontieres-Holland are in the field, following up contacts and raising awareness about the disease, WHO said.

Scientists think past outbreaks in Cuvette-Ouest, near the border with Gabon, were caused by the consumption of infected monkey meat. Bushmeat is a staple among forest communities in West and Central Africa and a delicacy in many cities. Yada said elephant hunters might have been behind the latest outbreak, saying they "must have handled a primate found dead in the forest" during a recent long hunt.

Rodriguez Abiabouti, an aid worker in Cuvette-Ouest, said most people in the remote region survive by hunting. "All the outbreaks of Ebola in Cuvette-Ouest have been preceded by the unexpected discovery of an abnormally high mortality rate among animals, primates and antelopes," he said.

Etoumbi has not been quarantined but movement into and out of the region is being monitored.

Information campaigns to warn people of the dangers of eating bushmeat have been stepped up and food aid will be provided to local populations.

An outbreak in Angola of the Marburg virus, a close relative of Ebola, has killed 277 people, WHO said earlier this month

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9. Ginseng legislation

Source: Wisconsin Ag Connection - Marshfield, WI, USA, 22 April 2005

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has re-introduced his Ginseng Harvest Labeling Act. This bill would protected both consumers and producers of ginseng by requiring that the product be sold at retail with a label clearly indicating the country that the ginseng was harvested in.

"Wisconsin ginseng especially is widely known as some of the highest quality ginseng produced anywhere in the world, making it the target of knock offs world wide," Feingold said. "This bill aims to supply consumers with reliable labeling of ginseng so there is no confusion as to where it was grown, what quality it is, or whether it was grown using dangerous pesticides."

Feingold introduced the bill because smugglers from Canada and Asia have labeled their ginseng product as "Wisconsin-grown," misleading consumers and undercutting domestic ginseng growers. Wisconsin ginseng commands a premium price in world markets because of its high quality and low chemical residue.

For full story, please see:


10. Lantana: The alternative to bamboo

Source: Deccan Herald - Bangalore, India, 3 May 2005

The discovery that the various species of lantana could be used as an alternative to bamboo, especially by tribes living in forest fringes, is a sure step forward. But the discovery is also the beginning of greater challenges calling for planning and market savvy before the finished product could be made a success in today’s competitive market place.

The day-long confluence on lantana, organized by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) at MM Hills recently brought together a host of people representing different sections of society, including the artisans working on lantana. The interaction about problems and prospects led to similar conclusions — that the market success of lantana was still a planned distance away.

In his address, Conservator of Forests, Chamarajnagar Circle, D A Venkatesh assured of providing assistance to the tribals to collect lantana, while lauding the efforts of ATREE. He admitted that the quantity of bamboo had come down significantly but hoped that lantana would become a success in 10 years.

Kumar Puskar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kollegal, appreciated the positive use of a resource hitherto considered a liability.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chamarajnagar, Raju, gave an insight into the many weeds that exist in India and expressed the need for a workshop, a forum to discuss and explore possibilities of using them.

While 14 species of minor forest produce (MFP) have been given exemption under the Wildlife Act, the tribals can place a petition before the government to include lantana as an MFP to enable their collection and use, he added.

But Mysore Deputy Conservator of Forests Srikantaiah said that some plants and shrubs should not be considered useless at first sight. “There must be a reason for their existence. We should not go all out to remove lantana thinking it is an obnoxious weed. It surely has a role to play in conserving soil,” he said. Hence lantana’s role should be researched into carefully before permitting extensive use, he added.

Though the use of lantana, to make baskets and other utility items, is still in its infancy, it promises great potential as a raw material alternate. But the study and resolution of issues that are likely to arise as part of this research-entrepreneurial effort, may hold the key to its success. Indiscriminate use of bamboo resulted in its near extinction.

The current effort should therefore be to ensure that a similar fate does not befall the lantana, although at present it is considered a weed. For once lantana becomes a hit in the market, it is likely to be abused till the last straw, given that we live in a world, where everybody wants to make their share of the money.

In addition to these issues, the confluence also threw up a number of questions like will they be able to face market demands on time? Do they have the resource? Do they have trained people, with adequate skills and intelligence to meet the demands?

Cut off as the tribals are in the forests, it seems a huge task before they can be turned into successful entrepreneurs. But a beginning has been made. And that itself is an occasion worth mentioning.

For full story, please see:

Information on the ATREE project:,,contentMDK:20214647~menuPK:214469~pagePK:180691~piPK:174492~theSitePK:205098,00.html


11. Medicinal plants: indigenous knowledge

Source: – USA, 14 May 2005

How did rainforest shamans gain their boundless knowledge on medicinal plants? The short answer – no one really knows.

Ethnobotanists, people who study the relationship between plants and people, have long been aware that rainforest dwellers have an astounding knowledge of medicinal plants.

For thousands of years, indigenous groups have extensively used rainforest plants for their health needs – the peoples of Southeast Asian forests used 6 500 species, while Northwest Amazonian forest dwellers used 1 300 species for medicinal purposes.

Today pharmacologists and ethnobotanists work with native healers and shamans in identifying prospects for development of new drugs. The yield from these efforts can be quite good – a study in Samoa found that 86% of the plants used by local healers yielded biological activity in humans – and the potential from such collaboration is huge with approximately one half of the anti-cancer drugs developed sine the 1960s being derived from plants.

Perhaps more staggering than their boundless knowledge of medicinal plants is how shamans and medicine-men could have acquired such knowledge. There are over 100 000 plant species in tropical rainforests around the globe, how did indigenous peoples know what plants to use and combine especially when so many are either poisonous or have no effect when ingested. Many treatments combine a wide variety of completely unrelated innocuous plant ingredients to produce a dramatic effect. Some like curare of the Amazon are orally inactive, but when administered to muscle tissue are lethal.

No one knows how this knowledge was derived. Most say trial and error. Native forest dwellers say the knowledge was bestowed upon them by spirits of the rainforest. Whatever the mechanism, evidence from Amazonian natives suggests that indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants can develop over a relatively short period of time.

Ethnobotanists studying medicinal plant use by recently contacted tribes like the Waorani of Ecuador and the Yanomani of Brazil and Venezuela reported a relatively limited and highly selective use of medicinal plants. They had plants for treating fungal infections, insect and snake bites, dental ailments, parasites, pains and traumatic injuries. Their repertoire did not include plants to treat any Western diseases. In contrast, indigenous groups that have had a history of continuing contact with the outside world have hundreds of medicinal plants used for a wide range of conditions. It seems that after contact, in response to the introduction of Western diseases, these tribes accelerated their experimentation with medicinal plants. This notion contradicts the idea that indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants was accumulated slowly, over hundreds of years.

These questions are becoming increasingly academic as rainforests around the world continue to fall – the Amazon alone has lost more than 200,000 miles of forest since the 1970s – and indigenous populations vanish or become assimilated, often by choice, into mainstream society.

As youths from these communities leave their traditional societies, native cultures are forgotten and considerable knowledge about the processes for developing new medicinal recipes are lost forever.

Anthropologist Wade Davis has written two books that explore both the indigenous knowledge of plants and the disappearing cultures of the world. One River touches on the history of ethnobotany in the Amazon along with a plethora of other topics, while Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures presents photographs and stories from his 30 years of exploring the planet's most remote regions. After reading these works, you will probably come away with the understanding that it's important to know what we're losing before it's gone.

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12. Medicinal plants to be nurtured in Orissa, India

Source: - New Delhi, India, 9 May 2005

Koraput in Orissa, which is home to rare and medicinal plant species, has now become the centre of interest for the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. For centuries, the adivasis living in the region have put over 1200 varieties to use in the treatment of both minor and major ailments. The Foundation has decided now to collaborate with the state government to draw on that traditional wisdom and conserve the rare medicinal plant species as well as indigenous practices.

"There are three aspects: conservation, research and marketing. We have to find out which are the plants and which are in great demand. If the people produce something and it is not sold, they will be disappointed," said Dr M S Swaminathan, Chairman, MSSRF. "Biodiversity must be converted to bio-happiness and bio happiness comes from income," he added.

The Biju Patnaik Medicinal Plants Garden and Research Centre will be built on a six-hectare plot, to encourage greater cultivation of the plant herbs among adivasis.

And the herb nurturing could prove useful for even the pharmaceutical industry in the country. At the moment 15 percent of the ingredients of modern medicines come from medicinal plants, and the herbal medicine industry uses close to 800 of these species.

"We can make some money. But we don't know the market. The Foundation is teaching us how to earn money through the cultivation of herbal plants," said Ralia, a tribal physician from Jeypore.

And while this initiative in Koraput could well be a beginning, conservationists want the government to accord priority to preservation and protection of the state's natural forests from plunder, by both herbal traders and large-scale mining.

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13. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua

Source: The East African (Nairobi), 25 April 2005

Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood, is a highly aromatic annual herb which has traditionally been grown in China as a medicinal plant. Its extract, artemesinin or qinghaosu in Chinese, has been used to treat fevers in the Orient for the past 2,000 years, making it easily one of the world's oldest medicines.

As a plant, A. annua is relatively easy to grow, and has high biomass yields in the form of leaves, which can be harvested in just six months. The plant, which is basically a shrub, does particularly well in cool and wet areas such as the highlands, although it can also be grown in drier areas.

According to East Africa Botanicals Ltd (EAB), one of the most important considerations in the growth of commercial artemesia is the selection of a sub-species with high artemesinin content, as research has shown that this can vary widely.

The artemesinin is found in the leaves, making up a maximum of about 0.5 to 0.6 percent. The artemesinin content is highest when the plant is in flower, which is the time traditionally recommended for collection of the herb. Once a crop is fully harvested, it is uprooted, with crop rotation being recommended.

Extraction of the artemesinin is then done through fairly simple laboratory procedures. According to EAB, a hectare of good land can produce up to 4 tonnes of artemesinin-rich leaves, although the average is 2 tonnes.

In East Africa, other than the EAB, organizations that have experimented with growing the herb include the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Kenyatta University.

Other than the extraction of artemesinin, experts say that the fragrant A. annua essential oil is another product from the plant that has commercial value.

For full story, please see:


14. Medicinal plants: Artemisia annua derivative 'kills worms that cause bilharzia'

Source: SciDev.Net, 25 May 2005

Chinese scientists say a derivative of the shrub Chinese wormwood (Artemisia annua) can prevent and treat bilharzia — a disease caused by parasitic worms called schistosomes. The scientists say the compound could help tackle the growing problem of parasite resistance to current drugs.

According to lead researcher Li Chuan of the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, experiments in the laboratory and on animals showed that the compound can kill both juvenile and adult schistosomes and is harmless to mammals.

The compound, called SM618, works by disrupting the schistosome's metabolism, says Li. Different forms of bilharzia — also known as schistosomiasis — occur throughout the tropics. Together, they kill 15 000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization.

Until now, the main drug used to treat bilharzia has been praziquantel. But Li says "it is quite urgent for us to find alternatives" because after 30 years of praziquantel use, there is evidence that some parasites are becoming resistant to it.

Li says that while praziquantel kills only adult schistosomes, tests on infected rats showed that SM618 also kills juveniles.

He adds that the production of SM618 should pose fewer risks to health or the environment than praziquantel manufacture, which involves using toxic chemicals such as potassium cyanide.

The researchers are now testing the compound on rabbits and dogs. Li says the animal research should be finished by the end of this year, and an application for clinical trials in people will be submitted to China's State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) early next year.

Although the compound itself has been patented, Li's team need to secure other patents, such as one for the production technique, to protect their intellectual property rights before publishing their findings.

Li Ying, who began the Institute of Materia Medica's research on SM618 nearly 30 years ago, says some drug manufacturers showed initial interest in investing in it after arthemeter, also derived from Chinese wormwood, proved lucrative when the World Health Organization recommended using it to treat malaria.

But, says Li, because bilharzia is a disease mostly affecting the poorest in China, the drug companies lost interest in investing. "This has greatly delayed the research process," says Li Ying, adding that the current studies are funded by the state and the institute's own money.

Bilharzia has spread rapidly in China in recent years. About one million Chinese are infected with the schistosome parasite and 50 million live in areas where the disease is common.

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15. Ramps: Demand for wild leek prompts harvest limit

Source: The Associated Press, 3 May 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. (USA): Demand for ramps (Allium tricoccum) – a wild leek prized for its strong flavour – is expanding far from the mountains, propelled by a craze for regional and seasonal food. So great is the appeal that officials are trying to limit the annual harvest.

Beginning next year, civic groups that pick wild ramps in the Nantahala National Forest for use in spring festivals will have to abide by new Forest Service rules that dictate where and how to pick the plants as well as levy a 50-cent-a-pound fee. The forest is in far southwestern North Carolina.

The reason for the change: The government worries that big digs of ramps are straining natural populations. A Forest Service researcher eager to help preserve the festivals is accompanying the civic groups on this year's digs to get a better handle on the true toll from their hauls. "If we don't figure out a way to manage them, they'll be gone," researcher Jim Chamberlain said. "If there are no more ramps, there will be no more ramp festivals."

People in North Carolina still hike miles to pick enough ramps – which taste like a mix of garlic and scallions – for special suppers during the four weeks or so that the plants show themselves each spring.

In addition to other rules, the Forest Service says groups digging for festivals will not be allowed to take more than half of the plants they find in every square foot of a ramp patch.

Volunteer firehouses, rescue squads and civic groups have long staged annual ramp festivals to raise money for community causes. Organizers of the biggest festivals collectively pick more than 3,000 pounds of ramps each year, Chamberlain estimates. It takes 40 to 80 plants to make a pound.

Ramps range naturally from Canada to North Georgia and west to Missouri and Minnesota. In Southern Appalachia, ramps are found in rich moist cove hardwood forests, and prefer elevations above 3,500 feet.

But demand for ramps is expanding far from the mountains, fueled by a desire for fresh, interesting ingredients.

In 2002, ramps became so popular that the National Park Service banned ramp collecting in the Great Smoky Mountains for fear they would be harvested out of existence.

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16. Seabuckthorn: Harvesting seabuckthorn in Nepal

Source: SEED Initiative

Supporting Entrepreneurs for Environment and Development (SEED) announced the five winners of its 2005 SEED awards. One of the winning projects was a sustainable programme to harvest Seabuckthorn and create products for local and international markets to improve livelihoods and safeguard traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and the biodiversity of Nepal.

Seabuckthorn is a highly nutritious and versatile berry, containing Vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and flavonoids along with omega-3 fatty acids.

An international foundation, local cooperatives and traditional health workers are collaborating to safeguard medicinal plants and biodiversity, by developing a sustainable programme for Seabuckthorn products for the local and international market.

Three Seabuckthorn nurseries were established in 2003, in cooperation with two community-based cooperatives and a local Amchi family (practitioners of traditional Tibetan medicine). The project aims to establish additional nurseries and Seabuckthorn forests in different communities of Upper and Southern Mustang in Nepal. This approach to the cultivation and sale of Seabuckthorn products will generate an income source for the local population, and also serve as a model that can be replicated in other areas of Nepal, with other medicinal herbs that could be cultivated.

As well as training locals in the extraction and preparation of juice from the Seabuckthorn berries, this partnership will develop a market in Nepal for all Seabuckthorn products, with the local cooperatives eventually establishing small and medium sized enterprises.

Ultimately, production by local cooperatives will develop a national market in which the highly nutritious berry juice can be sold to foreign trekkers and the local population; the leaves can be used for tea; and special traditional Tibetan remedies can be prepared in combination with other local medicinal herbs.

Seabuckthorn pulp and seed oil left over from the juice preparation can be used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. In addition, international companies have shown interest in buying other products from the local cooperatives, and the initiative will help broker fair business relationships between such companies and local communities and the enterprises they establish.

For full story, please see:


17. Vegetable ivory: Could plant ivory save elephants?

Source: CNN-com, 26 April 2005

Every few months, a special courier service delivers several large brown boxes to a small, discreet redbrick flat west of London. Carefully concealed amidst the safety of bubble wrap and packing tape rest 20,000 chips of imported ivory. Antonio DeMendoza and his wife, Maria Elena Cabrera, eagerly await the ivory's arrival in their workshop. After unpacking the pieces, Maria Elena and her sister, Maria Carolina, craft the material into elegant necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Sometimes the sisters combine the ivory with gold and silver. Occasionally, they mix it with sapphires, rubies or other precious stones.

Antonio then takes the pieces to various markets around London hoping to sell, anticipating interest, and expecting to educate someone about a product that might help to save elephants and rain forests.

Three years ago Antonio and Maria lived in Colombia. Antonio served as president of a multinational technology firm, and Maria worked as general manager of an e-commerce company. In 2004, Antonio and Maria founded DeMEC Limited, a jewellery company specializing in vegetable ivory, an organic material found in South American rainforests. Maria designs, Antonio manages, and together the couple believe their efforts will protect elephants, preserve rainforests, and aid local economies of indigenous South Americans.

"This is a way to support people in Colombia as well as a lot of other people working with vegetable ivory while hopefully saving elephants," said Antonio. "Our philosophy is to give back to nature what she has been giving to us."

According to Anders Barfod, an associate professor and palm expert at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, vegetable ivory, also known as tagua, is the seed endosperm of the ivory nut palm commonly found in coastal rainforests of Ecuador and Peru. "The endosperm is like in a coconut," he said. "It is first liquid and when it matures it gets hard." When the endosperm hardens, it obtains characteristics reminiscent of animal ivory. "It looks like ebony or plastic but it is nicer than plastic," Barfod explained, "This is why it is called vegetable ivory. It has rings like growth rings so it looks a little bit like real ivory."

Historically, Barfod said, German traders first discovered vegetable ivory in South America at the end of the 19th century. The traders introduced the material to the European market where it was mainly used to produce buttons. "By the 1920s and 30s it really boomed," Barfod said. "Trade statistics tell us about 20 percent of all buttons at one point were made from vegetable ivory so it was a major commodity." Then came the advent of plastic. "The ivory was replaced by plastics because they are produced much cheaper," Barfod explained. "It was forgotten for a while and only produced as little souvenirs and things."

Now the vegetable ivory might be slowly making a comeback. According to Sir Ghillean Prance, former director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, conservationist organizations are encouraging the use of the plant ivory to save both rainforests and elephants. "It can be sustainably harvested from rainforests and what we are looking for is trying to conserve rainforests," Prance said. "And it can be used for most things that ivory is used for."

One organization promoting the ivory's use is Rainforest Concern in London. "We have been encouraging local people to harvest the nuts," Peter Bennett, director of the organization, said. "It has helped communities to preserve rainforests because it only grows in dense forests and is a strong argument for people to keep their forests."

Regardless of vegetable ivory's similarities to animal ivory, Antonio insists he and his wife Maria are selling the product for a different reason. "We grew up with this material, and we consider it absolutely amazing," Antonio said.

"We are using the tagua to create pieces no one else has imagined before while also not damaging the Amazon or nature in any way. Some people spend years and millions of pounds trying to discover a product they can use widely and we already have one."

For full story, please see:



18. Azerbaijan: Hirkan preserve to be added to UNESCO's Natural Heritage list?

Source: AssA-Irada”, April 1, 2005 (in 79 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin)

The Azerbaijani government will present UNESCO with a proposal to include the Hirkan state preserve in its list of the world's natural heritage sites in 2004. Ramiz Abutalibov, head of UNESCO's Baku office, told AssA-Irada that the issue would be discussed during a UNESCO meeting next year. The preserve was founded in 1936 for protection and research of Hirkan-type plants, including rare species such as iron trees, oak trees with chestnut leaves, and box trees.


19. Bangladesh: Forests for sustainable growth

Source: Financial Express, 21 April 2005 in Community Forestry E-news 2005.04

The average annual destruction of forest land in Bangladesh was 8 000 ha in 1980 and 38 000 ha in 1981-90, according to a 1993 estimate. But the rate of destruction of forest may be more severe than that. Officially, forest accounts for 18-19 percent of the total land area.

The forest department started a massive afforestation programme since 1965 and, up to June 1985, 37 000 ha coastal land had been planted. Currently, the total area of coastal plantation may be about 89 000 ha. The available area for future plantation in the coastal region in Bangladesh may be about 100 000 ha.

A forest management strategy is necessary to assess the country's need for forest products so that over-exploitation of resources can be prevented. Creation of forest resources would help reduce pressure on natural forests and reverse the negative impact of deforestation. Environmentalists believe that there are a lot of scopes for forestry in Bangladesh. A comprehensive planning is required to utilise the unclassed state forest land, marginal and waste land, homesteads, roadside lands and railway side, embankments, pond banks, canals and river banks and institutional premises.

For the full text, see§ion_id=4&newsid=19332&spcl=no


20. Brazil gets new drug based on local knowledge

Source: Revista da Fapesp, 10 May 2005,

A native plant known as maria-milagrosa ('Mary-miracle') is the base of a new anti-inflammatory which has just received the approval of the Brazilian agency of health vigilance. The drug is expected to be for sale in drugstores within six months.

It will be launched as a cream and under the tradename Acheflan. According to José Roberto Lazzarini, director of research and development at Aché, the company that developed it, Acheflan will be the first topical anti-inflammatory prepared from maria-milagrosa, whose Latin name is Cordia verbenacea.

According to Lazzarini, there are other plant based anti-inflammatory drugs on the market, but these are prepared with plants from abroad, for example from African countries.

Reynaldo Jesus-Garcia Filho, a researcher at the Federal University of São Paulo, says that clinical trials demonstrated that Acheflan is as effective and safe as the current drug, when used treat chronic tendonitis and persistent muscular pains. Studies showed that Acheflan causes fewer side-effects.

The herb has traditionally used been used by Brazilians to make medicinal infusions, often sold in fairs.

For full story, please see:


21. Brazil: Amazon tribe faces 'annihilation

Source: BBC, 17 May 2005 in Amazon News, 19 May 2005

A remote tribe living amid the depths of the Amazon rainforest is facing extinction at the hands of loggers, campaigners warn. Armed loggers working in Brazil's vast forests have driven the tribe from several villages, according to Indian rights group Survival International.

Survival urged Brazil's government to act quickly to protect the tribe. The group is angry that a judge lifted a ban and allowed loggers back into in tribal forest.

Government experts on indigenous Brazilians have discovered abandoned villages as well as vital hunting implements and supplies of fruit and nuts. The finds indicate that the Indians were forced to flee their homes in the Rio Pardo region at short notice, Survival International says.

"These loggers are very well armed and they are intent on getting a quick fix out of the forest," Fiona Watson of Survival International told the BBC. Sydney Possuelo, head of the isolated Indian department of Brazil's federal Indian bureau (Funai), said the tribe would be "annihilated" if nothing is done to protect them.

The Rio Pardo Indians are so isolated that their very existence has been hard to confirm. For years neighbouring tribes have reported hearing the sounds of humans mimicking animal noises deep within the forest.

Under a Funai protection order issued in 2001, loggers were banned from a 166 000 ha (410 000-acre) area of rainforest.

But a logging company succeeded in reversing that order earlier this year, convincing a senior judge that the order would endanger its business. The judge opened the area to loggers and banned Funai from the area.

Survival International has run a number of high profile campaigns to aid other Indian tribes, winning officials recognition of their lands from Brazil's authorities. About 700 000 Indians live in Brazil, more than half of them on designated reservations.

For full story, please see:


22. Greece: Beekeepers’ insects killing pines

Source: Kathimerini - Athens, Greece, 9 May 2005-05-13

Thousands of Greek pine trees are withering away every day because of infestation from huge numbers of insects that past governments encouraged beekeepers to import, experts told Sunday's Kathimerini.

The Marchalina hellenica, an insect found in the eastern Mediterranean, survives by sucking the sap from pine trees, secreting a white cotton-like wax in the process. The honeydew produced by the insect is a significant source of food for bees, and keepers believe it helps provide them with up to 8 000 tons of pine honey each year. Overall, the insect is thought to account for some 60 percent of Greece's honey.

Since 1996, Greek beekeepers have been engaged in a large-scale artificial infestation of pine forests, but the trees have been burdened by the insect and are gradually dying out. The project received some 2.1 million euros in EU funds, which were used to infest over 15 000 ha of pine forest.

Experts say that the country's pines are now under threat because of the initiative. “There is a serious problem, as the existence of a parasite such as Marchalina hellenica maximizes the risks to the forest, as it sucks the sap from the tree in order to survive, thereby weakening the tree”, said the Forestry Director of the Hania Prefecture, Vassilis Kasiotakis.

Under a law passed in 1981, local authorities are only allowed to clean the trees of the honeydew secretions by using water at high pressure. However, forestry experts are now advising against this method because it damages the trees and does little to kill off the insects. They have suggested the trees instead be sprayed with a concoction of natural oils, containing extracts of thyme and lentisk, which forces the insects to leave the trees.

For full story, please see:


23. India: UP to spread honey 'sweetness' in global market

Source: Hindu Business Line – India, 3 May 2005

Uttar Pradesh is going to spread its sweetness across the world by making its honey available on the international market.

UP, being the premier producer of honey in the country, is already exploiting its potential by exporting honey to many European countries.

The 'Nawab' brand of honey would be officially launched on May 5, the State Food Processing Secretary, Mr Anil Swarup said. 'Nawab' is the brand that has been registered by the State government for its various products in the domestic and global market.

The state has the largest share of honey cultivators and beehives in the country.

For full story, please see:


24. India: Sandalwood Protection Squad

Source: Kerala Online - Kerala, India, 23 April 2005

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said a separate forest division would be formed in Marayoor in Idukki district to protect its invaluable sandalwood wealth.

Inaugurating a meeting of the Sandalwood Protection Squad at Marayoor on the occasion of Earth Day, he said sandalwood protection measures would be undertaken by the government with public participation.

State Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who was also present, said the people would be enlightened on the need to preserve and protect sandalwood in the Marayoor forest area in the state.

For full story, please see:


25. India: Freedom of the forest

Source: Sunday Express, 8 May 2005 (in Community Forestry E-news 2005.05)

No one, not even the drafting committee, is happy with the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights).

With the aim of righting a “historical injustice” done to tribals, the ST (Forest Rights) draft delineates 13 different ST rights over a variety of subjects, ranging from minor forest produce to intellectual property rights on traditional knowledge. The most contentious clause relates to land. The draft Bill proposes giving 2.5 ha to each tribal family occupying forest land since before October 25, 1980; the land, the Bill states clearly, is for livelihood purposes only, not for commercial cultivation. The right to allot this land – to be registered jointly in the name of a male member of the family and his spouse – rests with the gram sabha of the village concerned, which is also empowered to punish wildlife crimes and any action that leads to the destruction of the forest.

So far, so good. Some number-crunching, however, indicates the breadth of the potential minefield: India has 68 million hectares of forest land – around 20 percent of its land – and 8 percent of its population is tribal. If each family ends up claiming 2.5 ha, it adds up to 50 million hectares. While 2.5 ha is the outside limit and not all tribals are eligible for land-grants, critics of the draft Bill say the clause basically hands out India’s forest wealth to a minority population.

Others cautioned that the Bill could result in fresh encroachments on forest land, leading to massive destruction of forests and fragmentation of wildlife, and taking it further away from the goal of 33 percent forest cover by 2012. Wildlife activists contend that the tribals and forests will fall prey to the powerful land/timber mafia.

For the full text, see,


26. India: Plea for including forest-dwellers in ST Bill

Source: The Hindu, 4 May 2005 (in Community Forestry E-news 2005.05)

The Campaign for Survival and Dignity, a federation of forest community organisations from 10 states, has asked the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry to ensure that all forest-dwellers, including the Scheduled Castes, were included in the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Rights) Bill, 2005. The Scheduled Castes and other forest-dwelling communities were dropped in the final draft on the ground that the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry was not empowered enough to lay down rules for other communities.

For full story, please see:


27. Italy: Honey producers protest because "wood honey” is not lega

Source: Agenzia Giornalistica Italia – Italy, 2 May 2005

Honey producers are protesting against the EU legislation on honey labeling. The news was reported by Coldiretti (farmer's association) of Cuneo, that said that some denominations like "Millefiori", "forest honey" and "high mountain honey" were excluded from labeling. The measure was due to a not precise interpretation of the phrase “sources nectariphaires", i.e. nectar-supplying sources, that was translated with the word "plants". This permits only those sources that are identified with specific plants.

This has now been corrected for "millefiori", but the problem remains for the terms "forest honey" and "high mountain honey". These products are being sold in Germany and France labeled as "miel de bois", "wald Honig" or "forest honey". Honey producers of the UNAAPI association wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture criticizing the EU legislation and complaining that here had been no consultation. They asked that the situation be corrected because it is damaging Italian honey production.

For full story, please see:


28. Malaysia: Perak to protect tualang trees due to role in honey production

Source: The Star Online, 19 May 2005

The Mentri Besar of Perak has confirmed the report in The Star that the felling of four grand old trees in Tasik Temenggor was illegal. Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said three merbau trees and a tualang tree in the forest were felled without permission.

The findings also prompted the state government to ban the felling of tualang trees in Perak because they are important in the production of honey. Tajol Rosli said the tualang trees were not valued for their logs but for being host trees for bees to build hives in and produce honey, which was a source of income for the orang asli.

“The move is to ensure that the livelihood of the orang asli community is not jeopardised,” he told reporters after the state executive council meeting yesterday.

In Petaling Jaya, Forestry Department deputy director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Mohamad Ismail said the move to ban the felling of tualang trees in Perak would pave the way for the species to be totally protected in the country.

“It is important for us to protect the tree for the honey,” he said. Bees love to make their hives on these trees and it remains a mystery why they prefer the tualang over other types of trees.

Shaharuddin said the tualang could grow to a height of 60m and it had been recorded as the third-tallest tree in the world.

“The tualang is currently not protected, but we are studying the possibility of including it in the protected list under the ongoing National Forest Inventory. The inventory, which is done every 10 years, is expected to be completed by the end of this year,” he said.

According to the Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula by Burkill (1966), the tualang is found as far north as Kedah and Kelantan. It has not been found in Negri Sembilan, nor south of the state. It is most often found in stream valleys, or on the lower slopes of ridges, or foothills, not as a very abundant tree.

For full story, please see:


29. Russia: Tomsk Region and its forests

Source: Kommersant - Moscow, Russia

Tomsk Region is located in the southeastern part of the West Siberian Plain and borders on Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, and Kemerovo regions and Krasnoyarsk Territory. It was formed as an administrative and territorial unit on August 13, 1944, and has an area of 314 400 km2. The region stretches about 600 km from north to south and 780 km from west to east.

A large part of the region (57%) is covered with forests with well-defined central taiga, southern taiga, and forest steppe zones.

Forest land covers a total area of 19.5 million hectares. A large part of this area consists of commercial forests in which coniferous species such as pine, cedar, spruce, and fir predominate. Reserves of mature and over mature growth are estimated at 1.8 billion m3. The most prospective raw material sources are located in the basins of the Ket and Chulym rivers and in Aleksandrovsky District. Substantial available reserves have led to the formation of a large, regionally important woodworking, pulp and paper, wood chemical, and furniture industry.

The main kinds of plant products harvested or prepared in Tomsk Region consist of pine nuts, mushrooms, nut oil, turpentine, and wild herbs such as birch buds, nettle leaves, lingon berries, coltsfoot, mountain ash berries, bird cherries, rose hips, and milfoil.

According to specialists, these resources are decreasing year by year.

The protected areas of Tomsk Region play an important role in animal and plant conservation and reproduction. These areas include 16 reserves; 144 regionally important natural sites; and the unique plant collection of the Siberian Botanical Gardens, the oldest botanical gardens east of the Urals.

For full article, please see:



30. Biodiversity: Protecting biodiversity 'may clash with pursuit of MDGs'

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 16 - 22 May 2005

Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets aimed at halving global poverty by 2015, could come into conflict with parallel efforts to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, according to a new report from some of world's leading environmental scientists and policymakers. The report Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A biodiversity synthesis, which was launched 19 May, was produced by the biodiversity working group of the five-year-long Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.

It warns that the loss of the world's biodiversity is a major threat to humankind, and says that unless current patterns are checked, key 'ecological services' — such as providing medicines and purifying water — could be lost.

The report highlights the economic value of protecting natural ecosystems and the importance of biodiversity to poor people in developing countries. It adds that unless the various values of biodiversity are acknowledged, efforts to halve global poverty will be in vain.

But the report also says that "trade-offs and synergies" will be needed between poverty and conservation targets if internationally agreed goals are to be met. Even then, says the working group, both the MDG goals of halving poverty, and the separate goal of reversing biodiversity loss, are likely to be only "partially achievable".

Suggestions about the need for trade-offs, however, have upset some of those charged with advising UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. Jeffrey Sachs, for example, director of the UN Millennium Project, a UN-backed initiative that gives governments practical advice on achieving the goals, told SciDev.Net that he regrets the language used in the report. He claims that it seems to be rekindling historical debates between environmental scientists and those working in development.

"This is a mistake," he says. "All of us now agree that poor people depend on the health of ecosystems to survive. The idea of a 'trade-off' is naïve; if anything this is a non-debate. I don't want to see a debate because environmental sustainability is as much a part of the Millennium Development Goals as are the other goals."

In January, Sachs's initiative released its own report on how to end world poverty (see Ending poverty 'needs massive science funding boost'). In it, Sachs advised that a significant increase in development aid and infrastructure spending was needed in developing countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals. But this recommendation alarmed some of those in the environmental community. To them it implies that conservation should come lower than economic development as a priority for poor countries.

Anantha Duraiappa, director of economic policy at the International Institute for Sustainable Development in Winnipeg, Canada, and one of the co-chairs of the biodiversity report, says that Sachs's recommendation to boost infrastructure, if implemented in its current form, "could have a devastating impact on biodiversity".

Hamdallah Zedan, executive director of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, is also critical of some of the recommendations of the Millennium Project report. He says, for example, that its recommendations on the need to increase agricultural productivity meant that biodiversity was being given little chance to recover from its present decline — caused largely by current agricultural practices.

"What they are forgetting is that biological diversity is the source for our current and future food supplies," says Zedan. "We will destroy this if we expand our current agricultural system."

The biodiversity report could generate further controversy in another area. Scientists working on the report who assessed the speed at which ecosystems are being degraded around the world found that on a global scale, the rate of decline is beginning to slow, and that in some places the goal of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss before 2010 is likely to be met.

But these findings do not appear in the report's 11 "key messages" and have not been flagged prominently in the rest of the document. The report's 'Summary for Decision Makers' says that "overall, the rate of habitat loss ... is now slowing in certain regions". But it qualifies this statement by pointing out that slowing down habitat loss does not necessarily translate into lower rates of species loss, as species are not evenly distributed across all habitats.

Cristian Samper, director of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and a member of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment steering group, says that he would have preferred it if greater prominence had been given in the report to slowing down of habitat loss.

Zedan agrees, "I wish we had made more of this," he says. "When we hear good news, we should not be afraid to talk about it."

For full story, please see:


31. Biodiversity: World map of plant biodiversity

Source: - Evergreen, VA, USA, 12 May 2005

For years, experts have been calling for an improved database that would enable them to develop more effective global nature conservation strategies. Botanists at the University of Bonn have now taken a major step in this direction with the publication, in the Journal of Biogeography, of a world map of plant biodiversity.

The atlas is arranged in 867 zones, known as ecoregions. "This makes the data on the world's plant diversity accessible in accordance with a common geographical standard," explains Gerold Kier, head of the project at Bonn University's Nees Institute for Plant Biodiversity. This work, says Kier, represents a significant advance because the results are needed both for nature conservation planners and those engaged in basic research.

A central innovation here is the breakdown of data by vegetation zone. Tropical rainforests are, unsurprisingly, shown to be among the most species-rich areas on earth. Indeed, Borneo's lowland rainforest is the most diverse of all, with around 10 000 plant species. By comparison, the whole of the Federal Republic of Germany contains some 2 700 different native plants.

"However, we have found out for the first time where, within each of the different vegetation zones, plant biodiversity is highest," says Professor Wilhelm Barthlott, founder of the working group and Director of the Nees Institute. It has emerged, for example, that the Sundarbans region (which spreads across Bangladesh and India), the world's most species-rich mangrove area, has not so far been included on many nature conservation priority lists.

An important "spin-off" from the project is a map showing how thoroughly the plant world has been studied in different regions. Among the "white patches" on the map, showing areas for which floristic knowledge is very poor, we find the southern Amazon basin and North Colombia, which are two of the world's most biodiverse areas. "There is also little known about the biodiversity that exists in large parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the north of China and, surprisingly, even Japan," adds Kier. Of all the different types of vegetation zone, the flooded savannas and grasslands are the least explored by botanists. Greater efforts are needed in future to discover more about the plant life they contain.

The project was conducted as a component of the large-scale BIOLOG-BIOTA programme, funded by German's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and run with the cooperation of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
For full story, please see:


32. Equator Ventures: UNDP offers up to $500,000 to those who promote conservation

Source: UNDP, 19 April 2005 (in enviro-vlc list, 4 May 2005)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today launches a loan and grant programme to help small- and medium-sized businesses conserve biodiversity at the same time as they reduce poverty. Over the next 18 months, the initiative, called Equator Ventures, will disburse 'loan investments' of $30 000 to $500 000 in a pilot programme and will provide expertise in building enterprises.

Equator Ventures will disburse funds provided by UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) of development banks and UN agricultural and industrializing agencies, the World Bank, the Government of Japan, the Dutch DOEN Foundation, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, UNDP said.

"Equator Ventures is dedicated to showing that small entrepreneurs are a key link in the chain towards achieving sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Grassroots entrepreneurship, through its ability to bring great environmental benefits while also raising incomes, has the potential to transform the way we think about development," said Jeffrey Sachs, head of the poverty-reducing UN Millennium Project.

The MDGs, agreed on at a UN summit in September 2000, are designed to reduce socio-economic ills significantly by 2015. The new loan and grant programme, to be administered by the UNDP-led Equator Initiative, aims to carry out the recommendations of a recent report sponsored by the agency called 'Unleashing Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor.'

"The Equator Ventures partnership fills a critical niche by addressing a major gap in sustainable development finance that goes beyond microfinance, on the one hand, and project finance on the other," said Olav Kjorven, Director of UNDP Energy and Environment Group.

For full story, please see:


33. Nobel Peace Laureate urges Congo Basin Forest Conservation

Source: ENS, 18 May 2005

Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai Tuesday appealed to the United Nations Forum on Forests to help the people and governments of Central Africa to safeguard the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin, the world's second-largest river basin after the Amazon. Maathai was addressing forest ministers from around the world gathered at UN headquarters to determine the future direction of global forest conservation.

Managing the Basin's resources sustainably and equitably for the long term would help to stabilize the planet's atmosphere and ecology, and would foster peace in an area where many wars have been fought over resources, said Dr. Maathai, who is the Goodwill Ambassador for the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystems and also Kenya's Deputy Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources.

The Congo Basin spreads over "200 million hectares – 18 percent of the world's tropical forests – and carries 400 mammal species and more than 10 000 plant species. It is home to thousands of indigenous people, who depend on the ecosystem to sustain their livelihoods," she told the Forum's fifth session.

For full story, please see:


34. Fellowships: Hosei University (Japan)

Source: CENN - MAY 4, 2005 DAILY DIGEST

Hosei University (Japan) invites applications for foreign scholars fellowship

Invitations are extended to young scholars of any nationality/citizenship holding a master's degree or doctorate degree to apply to the Hosei International Fund (HIF) Foreign Scholars Fellowship program to carry out non-degree research programs at Hosei University under the direction of, or in cooperation with, Hosei faculty and researchers. Research areas include those studies in the humanities, social or natural sciences, or engineering as deemed acceptable by Hosei. The fellowship period is for 6 to 12 months. The academic year begins in April and ends in March; however, foreign scholars can begin their research either in April or October of 2006. An HIF fellow can receive 300,000 yen each month. An HIF fellow can receive all or part of transportation expenses for travel to and from Japan.

The deadline for applications is 10 June 2005.

Further details, including application procedure are available at:



35. Tropical forest conservation volunteers and staff required

Source: Forest Information Update, FIU 25 APR 05

Coral Cay Conservation (CCC) is seeking volunteers and experienced field science staff for tropical forest conservation projects in the Philippines and Malaysia.

CCC is currently looking to fill the following positions from mid 2005.

Project Scientist - Co-ordinates field surveys, trains volunteers and liaises with local counterparts. Requirements: post-graduate degree in ecology/conservation (or related subject), tropical rainforest research experience, GIS experience and proven experience of biodiversity survey techniques. Preference will be given to candidates with teaching experience, and good organisational and liaison skills. (6 months contract minimum).

Science Officer - Assists the project scientist, predominantly co-ordinating surveys and training volunteers. Requirements: Degree in biology/conservation (or related subject), proven experience of biodiversity survey techniques. Preference will be given to candidates with tropical rainforest research experience and teaching experience. (4 months contract minimum).

To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter to: Dr. Craig Turner, Director of Science, Coral Cay Conservation, The Tower, 125 High Street, Colliers Wood, London, SW19 2JG, UK. T +44-(0)20-8545-7722. F: +44 (0)870-750-0667. E:

All positions are voluntary.

Please see website for further details


36. World Bank: Young Professionals Program

Source: Community Forestry E-news 2005.05 (31st May 2005)

Location: Washington DC, USA
Closing date
: 31 August 2005

The Young Professionals Program (YPP) is designed for highly qualified and motivated young people who demonstrate a commitment to development, supported by academic success, professional achievement, and potential for leadership.

The following are minimum requirements to be eligible for the YPP:

• Be 32 years of age or younger (born on or after January 1, 1974)

• Have at least a masters degree (or equivalent)

• Specialize in a field relevant to World Bank's operations such as: economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, and natural resource management

• Have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience, or continued academic study at the doctoral level

• Be fluent in English

In order for you to be competitive for the limited number of positions, a combination of the following credentials is highly desirable:

• Display a commitment and passion for international development

• Possess outstanding academic credentials

• Exhibit excellent client engagement and team leadership skills

• Have international development country experience

• Have working knowledge of additional languages relevant to the World Bank's work (i.e. Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, or Portuguese)

We value diversity in our work place. We encourage qualified women and men, including those with disabilities, richly varied professional, academic, and cultural backgrounds, to apply.

For more information, go to



International Symposium on Herbal Medicine, Phytopharmaceuticals and Other Natural Products: Trends and Advances

15-17 June 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka

The symposium will address the current trends and advances in herbal medicine, phytopharmaceuticals and other natural products, in academia as well as in industry, with particular emphasis on technological innovations in the spice and herbal industry.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Arun P. Kulshreshtha,


Centre for Science & Technology of the Non-Aligned and

Other Developing Countries (NAM S&T Centre),

Core-6A, 2nd Floor, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road,

New Delhi - 110003 (INDIA)

Tel: (O) +91-11-24645134, 24644974

Fax: (O) +91-11-24644973

E-mail:, or


African healing wisdom: from tradition to current application and research

6 - 9 July 2005

Washington DC, USA

As the world faces an unprecedented crisis of new and re-emerging diseases which threaten to cripple entire communities, it is reasonable that the biomedical community access as many resources and partners as possible to tackle these challenges.

One of the resources that may be overlooked or at least underestimated is the contribution that traditional medicine and healers may offer at many levels of health care delivery. Through a comprehensive presentation of national and international case-studies and examples, this conference will focus on two key questions to evaluate African traditional healing practices in the context of delivering affordable, sustainable and culturally-sensitive care:

• What can African traditional medicines contribute to the prevention and control of infectious and chronic diseases and how can such contributions be validated and enhanced?

• What roles can traditional African health knowledge play in addressing issues of health disparities and equity, both at home and abroad, and how can these roles be enhanced?

For more information, please contact:

The George Washington University Medical Center
Office of Continuing Education in the Health Professions
2300 Eye Street, NW
Suite 313-D
Washington, DC 20037, USA
Tel: +1-202-994-4285 or 800-314-1423
Fax: +1-202-994-1791



ITTO regional workshop on sustainable development of rattan sector in Asia

24-30 July 2005

Beijing, China

This workshop is organised under the auspices of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)-funded project, Capacity building for the development of a sustainable rattan sector in China based on plantation sources (PD 100/01 Rev. 3(I)) with technical support from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR).

Rattan comprises about 600 species in 13 genera. It is widely distributed in tropical Asia and the Pacific, as well as in Africa. INBAR estimates the global trade of rattan products to be in the range of US$4 billion and the domestic trade to be US$2.5 billion. These figures show the importance of the rattan economy, which has become, in terms of export value, almost 40% of the US$10 billion trade of primary tropical timber products covered by ITTO. This is equivalent to 80% of the value of the banana trade, which is around US$5 billion. This huge economic importance of the rattan sector is due to the fact that rattan cane has long been used as one of the most popular materials for furniture.

The business of rattan production and trade is well established in Asia, and many workshops and international seminars have been held in the region during the past three decades. The most recently organized international event on rattan, the Regional Conference on Sustainable Development of Rattan in Asia under the ITTO funded Pre-Project (PPD 51/02 Rev. 1 (I)), showed that Asia is still leading production and trade in the world’s rattan industry. However, there still exist a number of knowledge gaps, including a lack of understanding of resource bases and utilization and marketing, as well as a lack of strategies and policies for rattan sector development in Asia.

Purposes of the workshop

• Discuss R&D issues in the rattan sector as well as directions and strategies

• Discover business and investment opportunities in the rattan sector in Asia

• Explore, exchange and update scientific and technological findings and information

• Provide a forum for researchers to present their projects and methodologies, state-of-the-art technologies, products and services

• Identify new directions and strategies in R&D of rattan

• Provide a platform for key players in the rattan industry and government officials to interact, network and build strategic partnerships

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 1622


Forests in the balance: Linking tradition and technology. XXII IUFRO World Congress

8-13 August 2005

Brisbane, Australia

For more information, please contact:

Russell J. Haines, Queensland Forestry Research Institute:

Fax: 61-7-389-69714;




41. Small-medium forestry, enterprises for poverty, reduction and sustainability

Source: New Publications from IIED - May 2005

IIED’s partners have recognized that most international attention in forestry has been given to improving the conditions for large-scale, or micro-scale forestry, and much less to the ‘messy middle’ – where a large number of forest goods are produced involving many people. For example, in the Brazilian Amazon, 92% of the total production volume is accounted for by small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

Six country studies have now been produced from South Africa, India, China, Brazil, Uganda and Guyana. They map current structures and relationships in the forestry SME sector; analyse policy impact; recognize institutions and market signals on enterprises; discuss internal processes and systems in SMEs; provide an analysis of initial stakeholder, institutional, environmental and economics in the sector; and identify key issues and potential leverage points related to finance, governance frameworks, alliances and labour for SMEs.

Six Country Studies, Various authors

South Africa, ISBN: 1 84369 551 0

India, ISBN: 1 84369 552 9

China, ISBN: 1 84369 553 7

Brazil, ISBN: 1 84369 554 5

Uganda, ISBN: 1 84369 555 3

Guyana, ISBN: 1 84369 556 1

(The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute working in the field of sustainable development.)

For more information, please visit:

or to download visit,


42. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Campbell, M.O. 2004. Traditional forest protection and woodlots in the coastal savannah of Ghana. Environ. Conserv. 31(3):225-232.

Cowlishaw, G., Mendelson, S., and Rowcliffe, J.M. 2005. Structure and operation of a bushmeat commodity chain in southwestern Ghana. Conserv. Biol. 19(1):139-149.

FAO. 2005. Committee on Forestry, seventeenth session – Report. Rome, Italy, 15-19 March 2005. Rome. Available at:

FAO. 2005. Proceedings Third Expert Meeting on Harmonizing Forest-Related Definitions for Use by Various Stakeholders. Rome 17-19 January 2005. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 137 p

FAO. 2005. State of the World's Forests: CD-ROM collection 1995-2005. Rome, Italy.

FAO has published State of the World’s Forests – the Organization’s flagship publication presenting the latest information on major policy and institutional developments and key issues concerning the forest sector – every other year since 1995. In coordination with the publication of State of the World’s Forests 2005, FAO has released a CD-ROM containing the entire collection of the report since its first edition. It contains all six issues of the publication in Arabic, Chinese, English, French and Spanish. This unique resource provides a ready overview of the situation and development of forest resources over the past decade.

For more information, see

FAO. 2005. FAO participatory forestry publications on CD-ROM. Rome, Italy.

This CD-ROM contains 15 years of publications produced by FAO and its partners, mainly under the Forests, Trees and People Programme (FTPP). FTPP, which started in 1987 and ended in 2002, was an international community forestry programme designed to increase social and economic equity and improve well-being, especially of the poor, through collaborative and sustainable management of trees, forests and other natural resources. The CD-ROM includes more than 70 publications on participatory forestry and related subjects, organized according to series, theme and alphabetical order. It is hoped that these publications will contribute to strengthening human and institutional capacities that are necessary for the support of locally based sustainable management of forest resources.

Available from: or

Forup, M.L., and Memmott, J. 2005. The relationship between the abundances of bumblebees and honeybees in a native habitat. Ecol. Entomol. 30(1):47-57.

Gillespie, T.W. 2005. Predicting woody-plant species richness in tropical dry forests: a case study from south Florida, USA. Ecol. Appl. 15(1):27-37.

Hiremath, A.J. 2004. The ecological consequences of managing forests for non-timber products. Conserv. Soc. [Online] 2(2):211-216.

Hollingsworth, P.M., Dawson, I.K., Goodall-Copestake, W.P., Richardson, J.E., Weber, J.C., Montes, C.S., and Pennington, R.T. 2005. Do farmers reduce genetic diversity when they domesticate tropical trees? A case study from Amazonia. Mol. Ecol. 14(2):497-501.

Kathriarachchi, H.S., Tennakoon, K.U., Gunatilleke, C.V.S., Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N., and Ashton, P.M.S. 2004. Ecology of two selected liana species of utility value in a lowland rain forest of Sri Lanka: implications for management. Conserv. Soc. [Online] 2(2):273-288.

Keen, Meg; Brown, Valerie A & Dyball, Rob (eds.). 2005. Social learning in environmental management. Towards a Sustainable Future. Earthscan. 1-84407-183-9.

Konijnendijk, C.C. et al. (Eds.). 2005. Urban Forests and Trees. Springer. 168 p.

ISBN: 3-540-25126-X

Lawrence, A., Phillips, O.L., Ismodes, A.R., Lopez, M., Rose, S., Wood, D., and Farfan, A.J. 2005. Local values for harvested forest plants in Madre de Dios, Peru: towards a more contextualised interpretation of quantitative ethnobotanical data. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(1):45-79.

Merlo, M. & Croitoru, L. eds. 2005. Valuing Mediterranean Forests: Towards Total Economic Value. CABI Publishing. HB ISBN 0 85199 997 2

This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the economic value of Mediterranean forests, including not only the more obvious benefits (e.g. timber), but also the less commonly-measured public goods (e.g. tourism and conservation) that these forests provide. It brings together forest valuations at the national level from eighteen Mediterranean countries, based on extensive local data collection, and thus allows comprehensive analyses within countries as well as comparative analyses across countries. The book describes the valuation techniques used and examines ways to overcome the problems encountered. It explores the research findings in the context of the institutions and policies that affect Mediterranean forests and proposes new policy approaches for improving forest policies and management at the national, regional and local levels. It is also shown how the methodologies used can be applied to other regions.


Nic Lughadha, E. 2004. Towards a working list of all known plant species. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London. [Biol.] 359(1444): 681-687.

Pierce Colfer, Carol J. and Capistrano. Doris (eds). 2005. The politics of decentralization: Forests, Power and People. CIFOR, Indonesia. Earthscan, ISBN: 1844072053

Examines the huge, global and local impacts of decentralization on forests, biodiversity, conservation and the livelihoods of people. Contains in-depth case studies covering Europe/UK, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Sayer, J., et al. 2004. The restoration of forest biodiversity and ecological values. Forest Ecol. Manag. 201(1): 3-11.

Schnitzler, A., Hale, B.W., and Alsum, E. 2005. Biodiversity of floodplain forests in Europe and eastern North America: a comparative study of the Rhine and Mississippi Valleys. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(1):97-117.

Shaanker, R.U., Ganeshaiah, K.N., Krishnan, S., Ramya, R., Meera, C., Aravind, N.A., Kumar, A., Rao, D., Vanaraj, G., Ramachandra, J., Gauthier, R., Ghazoul, J., Poole, N., and Reddy, B.V.C. 2004. Livelihood gains and ecological costs of non-timber forest product dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India. Environ. Conserv. 31(3):242-253.

Tindall, J.R., Gerrath, J.A., Melzer, M., McKendry, K., Husband, B.C., and Boland, G.J. 2004. Ecological status of American chestnut (Castanea dentata) in its native range in Canada. Can. J. Forest Res. 34(12):2554-2563.

Wilkie, D.S., Starkey, M., Abernethy, K., Effa, E.N., Telfer, P., and Godoy, R. 2005. Role of prices and wealth in consumer demand for bushmeat in Gabon, Central Africa. Conserv. Biol. 19(1):268-274.

Williams-Linera, G., Palacios-Rios, M., and Hernández-Gómez, R. 2005. Fern richness, tree species surrogacy, and fragment complementarity in a Mexican tropical montane cloud forest. Biodivers. Conserv. 14(1):119-133.


43. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme


A new search engine.

CERPA (Centre for Research, Planning and Action)

Information on medicinal plants and herbs.

Chestnut Links

Contains many links to various aspects of chestnuts.

FAO Forestry Photos database

The FAO Forestry Photos database contains more than 1 000 forestry-related images searchable by such fields as country, region, keyword, caption, human and forestry content and photographer. A simple free-text search is also available, which searches all text in the record. A useful thumbnail feature enables users to browse the contents rapidly. Photos can be easily downloaded in high resolution for print and in lower resolution for use on the Web.

Forestry Images website

A source for forest health, natural resources, and silviculture images. A joint project of the University of Georgia and the USDA Forest Service. Image categories include: Forest Pests (Insects, Disease, Other Damage Agents); Trees, Plants and Stand Types (Trees, Understory and Rangeland Plants), Silvicultural Practices; Wildlife; and People, Places and Scenes.

International Alliance Against Hunger

Participatory Natural Resource Management Resource (PNRM)

Power Tools Website

An innovative website providing a compendium of guidance materials on approaches and tactics for policy influence by natural resource managers. Documents on the website are available in English, French, Portuguese & Spanish.

The Human Footprint Dataset

The "Man of the Trees."

This site is dedicated to the work of Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982).



44. Request for information: baobab fruit juice

From: G Wickens,

I am a retired botanist revising my earlier work on the baobab (Kew Bull. 1982). In recent years there has been increased commercial interest by African countries in baobab fruit juices for local consumption, and a revival of interest in baobab pharmaceutical and toiletry products for the health food shops of Europe and America. The Italian-based Baobab Fruit Company, for example, organizes its own fruit imports from Senegal. The Sudan also exports baobab fruit but where and for what purpose I do not know.

Does anyone have any information on size of the export and of the use made by the importing countries? Any information you may be able to give would be very much appreciated.


45. Request for information: Cardamom in Vietnam

From: Zoya Vassilieva,

I am a consultant working on the Cardamom Project in Nepal. We have two questions, which we hope you will be able to help us with:

1) How much cardamom is in production in Vietnam?

2) What are the production costs for the average farmer?
The major cost components we identified in Nepal and Sikkim were as follows:

Insecticide/Plant Protection
Irrigation Cost

• Labour cost for transplantation

• Labour cost for intercultural operation

Harvesting cost

• Plucking cost

• Drying cost

Looking forward to hearing from you.



46. Ice Age forest due for spruce up

Source: BBC News, 20 May 2005

A £2.2m project to restore a forest that was left behind after the last Ice Age is due to be launched.

The 58 woodlands of Atlantic oak in Meirionnydd (Wales) are home to more than 1,000 native species of flora. They were once part of the forest on the Atlantic coasts stretching from northern Scotland to Portugal.

More than 4 000 acres of the woodlands will be looked after in a project aimed at restoring some of the character first created 14 000 years ago. The woodlands are considered to be some of the best areas of Atlantic oak woodland in Europe and have been designated as candidate Special Areas of Conservation because they are endangered or vulnerable.

Lea Hughes, Education Ranger for The Meirionnydd Oakwoods Habitat Management Project, said: "If you just take a minute and look around, you'll just see that there are hundreds and hundreds of different species.”There are prehistoric plants here. All these mosses and lichens are basically prototype plants and the first plants to develop after the last ice age. "We're really lucky that we have them here to look at today."

Half the money for the four-year habitat scheme is from European Objective One funding schemes. The rest of the money has been raised by the woodlands' public and private landowners and the bodies supporting the scheme.

The work, to promote the importance of the woodlands to the local community, their visitors, the economy and the environment, should support the equivalent of 72 full-time jobs.

The project is launched on Friday by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the Welsh assembly's Presiding Officer.

For full story, please see:


47. Loch's new forest will be step back in time

Source:, 15 May 2005

Scots will have seen nothing like it. A huge forest of native broadleaf trees is to be planted that will take one of the most scenic parts of Scotland back to the Middle Ages. The wood of oak, hazel, rowan, alder, willow, juniper, ash, bird cherry and aspen will take shape on the shores of Loch Katrine over the next 20 years using thousands of acres of land leased to the Forestry Commission.

The site at the heart of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is owned by Scottish Water, which says it no longer needs to manage the land to preserve the safety of the reservoir that supplies most of Glasgow’s water.

Once the forest takes root, it will merge with other nearby woodlands in a forest twice the size of Dundee. The aim is to turn the clock back more than 10 centuries to when most of lowland Scotland was covered in native broadleaf trees.

The handover will be announced tomorrow by the Scottish Executive’s forestry minister Lewis Macdonald, who said: "This is a win-win deal for all concerned, most importantly for the people of Scotland. The Loch Katrine property is the largest single landholding taken into Forestry Commission management for more than 30 years.

"Scotland lost nearly all of its original woodland as our ancestors cleared the land for farming, settlements, industry and development, so that we have only about 1% or 2% of this priceless natural asset left today. It’s wonderful that at Loch Katrine we can make such a significant contribution towards replacing some of that lost heritage. In decades to come it will become one of the jewels in the crown of the national park."

For full story, please see:


48. Malaysia: Resettled orang asli get keys to their new homes

Source: Malaysia Star, 4 May 2005

The orang asli villagers at Kampung Sawah Batu would have gone on living as nomads gathering rattan in the forest if the Government had not offered them housing and a new livelihood as farmers.

Village headman or tok batin Hamid Sepeh, 32, said the orang asli were initially hesitant to move into the new houses at the village located in the Bebar constituency and work as farmers in a commercial replanting scheme at an oil palm estate there. “Some of us agreed to move into the new houses and work as farmers, but the others refused and continued to gather rattan in the forest,” he said.

Hamid said farming paid RM450 a month. “We used to get around RM200 to RM300 a month selling rattan to middlemen. We had to remain in the jungle for weeks just to gather that much rattan.” Hamid said he would hold a meeting with his people to convince them that they could earn more as farmers. “They should be told that they can change their lives for the better if they live here,” Hamid said after attending the launch of the new houses by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday.

A total of 153 orang asli villagers received keys to the two-room houses from Najib.

They were also offered a total of 372ha of land at the oil palm plantation managed by Risda.

In his speech, Najib said the orang asli resettlement programme was part of the nationwide project to reduce the number of hardcore poor among the orang asli community and to improve their standard of living. The resettlement programme will help ensure that the future of the orang asli community and their children is guaranteed,” he added. He advised the orang asli to provide for their children’s education for the sake of their future. For full story, please see:


49. Payout idea to save rainforests

Source: The Guardian, 05/18/2005 (in Amazon News, 19 May 2005)

Developing nations should be paid to preserve tropical rainforests as part of a drive to slow global warming, according to suggestions made at a two-day climate seminar in Bonn yesterday.

Most efforts to rein in climate change have so far focused on curbing carbon dioxide emissions from cars, power plants and heavy industry.

But Robert Aisi, Papua New Guinea's delegate at the 190-nation seminar which aims to widen the UN Kyoto protocol on slowing climate change said: "Forests are our assets and should be valued."

Under the extension plan, farmers in the developing world would get a cash incentive to preserve trees - which soak up greenhouse gases as they grow - rather than sell them to loggers or cut them down to make way for crops.

"The loggers come in and tell villagers we'll give you $10 (£5.44) for your tree - then they cut it down and sell it for $1,000. Who wins? We lose because we get land degradation. The whole world loses," Mr Aisi told Reuters. "The commercial value of cutting down our forests is now far higher than retaining them."

He added that Papua New Guinea's rainforest was third biggest in the world after those in the Amazon and Congo.

A new system would give farmers credits for averting deforestation which could then be traded on the international market, and mirrors a European Union scheme to reduce industrial emissions of greenhouse gases, he said. The details of the credit scheme have yet to be worked out.

But the scientific panel which advises the United Nations has estimated 20-25% of global greenhouse gases in the 1990s stemmed from land-use changes, mainly deforestation, Mr Aisi said.

Carbon constitutes about half the weight of a tree, and wood and roots begin to release carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for warming the planet, as soon as they start to rot.

Mr Aisi said a similar idea had been rejected some years ago on the grounds that it would be impossible to monitor, but that given improvements in satellite measuring systems it would now be possible to keep track of deforestation.

For full story, please see:


50. Study calls Canadian forest a continental bird nursery

Source: Canadian Press, 4 May 2005 (in CFRC Weekly Summary 12/5/05

Scientists are calling it "the nursery." A new scientific study shows that Canada's boreal forest is even more important to birds across North America than previously thought – making it, researchers say, even more important to protect. The study – sponsored by Bird Studies Canada, an independent research group – suggests that roughly one out of every three birds on the continent peeped its first cheep in a nest somewhere in the vast belt of green stretching across the north of virtually all Canadian provinces and the territories. The report, released Monday, is entitled "North America's Bird Nursery."

Boreal forests extend across North America, Europe and Asia.

Although it faces increasing industrial pressure, Canada's section of it is the largest intact stand left on the planet. At about five million square kilometres, it covers almost half the country.

The report finds that 57 per cent of the commonly occurring birds in the U.S. and Canada depend on the boreal forest at some point, either for breeding, migrating, or regular habitat. The breeding statistics, however, may be the most impressive. About 38 per cent of all waterfowl in North America are born in the boreal. For landbirds, the figure is 30 per cent -- a figure that holds for shorebirds as well.

In total, the report estimates somewhere between 1.7 and three billion birds feather their nests in Canada's boreal forest. Birds that migrate as far south as the Caribbean return every year to hatch their chicks.

"The boreal is globally significant," Beck said.

The report underlines the importance of careful management of the boreal, he added.

Energy development in areas such as the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories and increased mineral exploration -- in addition to ongoing logging across the entire forest -- could threaten habitat.

A two-year-old agreement between environmental, aboriginal and industry groups is already starting to show some results in that direction, said Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife Fund.

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, signed in 2003, has helped communities in the N.W.T. identify 20 areas involving 12 million hectares to be set aside from development in the Mackenzie Valley, with another 30 million hectares likely.

For full story, please see:



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