No. 02/08

Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en.

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PRODUCTS

1. Acai berries make jump from food into skin care

Source: CosmeticsDesign.com, France, 5 February 2008

 They've already created a big buzz in the food world over their rich anti-oxidant properties, now a US aesthetician is launching a skin care treatment featuring Açai berries.

            Karen's Specialty Skincare has grown into a business with a worldwide reputation over the past ten years and is now launching a skin care line featuring the much-heralded superfood. Company founder Karen Dunlap said she was able to 'connect the dots' between science and nature, allowing her to develop the Açai berry Anti-Aging Facial at her skin care clinic in California.

            She claims that thanks to the antioxidant rich properties of the Açai berry extract incorporated into the formulation, the product is able to combat premature aging, as well as nourishing the skin and improving the tone.

            Otherwise known as the Amazonian palm berry, Açai was shown to top the antioxidant rankings in a study conducted by AIBMR Life Sciences back in 2006 that showed it had the highest ORAC antioxidant value of any food.

            The product also taps into the major trend towards cosmetic products incorporating food ingredients into formulations as a means of providing naturally derived active properties.

            It also touches on the nutricosmetics trend, a fast evolving category that has developed around the launch of food and drink products that are marketed on the strength of their beautifying properties.

            Dunlap says that as well as being enriched with antioxidants, the inclusion of Açai berry in the treatment also means that it contains phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals to help promote skin cell health.

            The berry extract is also enriched with flavanoids, which fight inflammation, together with essential amino and fatty acids to help regenerate skin cell growth and phytosterols to preserve collagen.

For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/news/ng.asp?n=83049-karen-s-specialy-skin-care-aai-berry-anti-oxidants-anti-aging

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2. Acorns: The acorn is a big part of nature’s plan

Source: Providence Journal, RI, USA, 27 January 2009

The acorn may be small in stature but it’s as mighty as the oak tree it fell from when you look back into its place in history and legend. As for its culture, acorns are nature’s way of teaching us patience.

            Unlike other fruits (yes, the acorn is considered the fruit of the oak) and nuts (just to confuse us more, it is also known as a nut), acorns appear only on mature trees which in an oak’s life cycle can be anywhere from 25 to 50 years of age, hence its lesson to all of us regarding patience. By 100 years of age, one tree can produce thousands of acorns.

            An acorn’s life begins in the spring, when the tree inconspicuously blossoms producing upward of several thousand flowers called catkins. If all goes well with spring essentials such as temperature, humidity, rainfall, pollination and the absence of any late spring frosts, tiny versions of what we know to be acorns will be borne by midsummer, at this point in their life acorns are called nubbins.

            Depending on the species of oak, these nubbins will mature and ripen either that fall or the following fall into full-fledged acorns.

            If you are an avid outdoorsman or woman, chances are you have noticed that some years there seem to be more acorns than others.

            As the tree grows larger, its ability to produce more acorns grows with it. Makes sense right? But it takes a tremendous amount of food and energy to produce a crop of acorns.

            High levels of acorn production year after year simply drain the tree, so nature lowers acorn production some years by increasing insect and disease attacks or by allowing a late spring frost that will kill off a majority of the flowers.

            So for all of you who think you see a change in acorn production, your eyes do not deceive you. About every five to 10 years a tremendous acorn crop is produced; the years in between simply waver from fair to good.

            But even a mediocre year produces quite a few acorns. The reason we’re not inundated with oaks is the chances of an acorn germinating and becoming a tree is estimated at 1 in 10,000.

            Many acorns become food for rodents, squirrels, woodpeckers, blue jays, deer, bears and the wild turkey. Others are attacked by insects (certain weevils love to lay their eggs inside the acorn), disease or harvested for use as a source of tannin, oil, pig feed or processed into flour, coffee or other food uses.

            Interestingly, this is all part of nature’s seed dispersal plan.

            The acorn is too heavy to float through the air on a wind current, so when the animals that hide them forget their acorn’s location, they actually do nature’s gardening. Come spring, some acorns germinate, often a distance from the parent tree, and 25 years later, become a food source themselves.

For full story, please see: http://www.projo.com/garden/content/lh_acorns_01-27-08_PO7ULDA_v4.1c79307.html

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3. Bamboo: Panasonic showcases green products in Abu Dhabi

Source:  ArabianBusiness.com, United Arab Emirates, 22 January 2008

Panasonic has showcased a number of its environmentally friendly products at the First World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi this week.

            The consumer electronics manufacturer presented lead free plasma TV and bamboo speakers, along with Induction Heating (IH) cooking heater and air conditioners featuring e-ion Air Purification systems.

            Many hardware manufacturers are looking to reduce the levels of potentially harmful substances that are used in their products, and to make them more energy efficient, in response to environmental concerns. Panasonic is the world's first company to offer lead-free plasma display panels, and the company is also looking to eliminate the use of lead oxide glass which is commonly used in televisions.

            The company also showed its new range of speakers that use bamboo fibres in the speaker cones. Bamboo not only gives a better sound quality than traditional speaker cone materials, but it is also much more durable, extending the life of the speaker.

For full story, please see: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/508769-panasonic-showcases-green-products-in-abu-dhabi

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4. Bamboo: Greener gear for skiers and boarders

Source: Ski Rebel Magazine, Ontario, Canada, 30 January 2008

Bamboo appears to be the natural material of choice for the manufacturer of both snowboards and skiwear. The organisers of the upcoming Slide trade show for the UK ski industry has identified eco trends in new product manufacturing.

            Salomon snowboards have launched a brand new freestyle eco board called the Sick Stick. Made entirely from bamboo with the edges of the snowboard being constructed from rubber and bamboo, while the layers that make up the base of the board are made of bamboo light glass. The structure of the board offers super easy transition to switch even in deep powder.

            Thaw, a brand that designs thermal base layers to suit all outdoor pursuits, are launching a new line of bamboo thermal underwear to move towards more eco friendly material that still fits the technical criteria of the brand.

            Bamboo thermal underwear wicks moisture away from your skin – keeping you naturally drier and keeps you comfortable in all temperatures. Worn as a base layer it traps warm air next to the skin but is highly breathable in hot weather. It is also naturally antibacterial – staying fresher and odour free for longer.

            Most importantly, bamboo is just as good as or even better than any of the other alternatives but it is also extremely good for the environment.

For full story, please see: http://www.skirebel.com/magazine/archives/1317

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5. Bamboo in Bangladesh: Rats destroy crops in Bangladesh

Source: BBC News, UK, 8 February 2008

A plague of rats has destroyed the crops of tens of thousands of people living in Bangladesh's remote Chittagong Hill Tracts. Aid workers have warned that the destruction of crop has left the people in a "near-famine situation".

            The rat population has soared in recent weeks as they feed off the region's bamboo forests, which are blossoming for the first time in decades. Neighbouring states in India have suffered from the same problem.

            According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) about 150,000 people living in the hills along the country's south-eastern border with India have been affected. Prasenjit Chakma of the UNDP, who has visited the area, told the BBC that people there had been reduced to eating roots to survive, but even these are now running out.

            The rodents have multiplied at an alarming rate - the bamboo blossom is such a good food source for them that when they eat it they can breed up to eight times a year - four times more often than normal.

            According to local folklore, the flowering of the bamboo, and the subsequent surge in rat numbers, occurs every 50 years. They say the last time it happened was 1958.

            People across the border in India share this same belief - and the same problem. In Mizoram state, the bamboo began to blossom last year. The government there declared it a disaster zone after the rats went on to eat people's food stocks.

            Here, the authorities and relief agencies have begun to get some aid to the hungry, but they admit it is not yet enough, and that the problem is spreading, as more forests start flowering.

            Mr Chakma said the region will face problems for the next three to four years, until the rat population declines. He said there are so many of them, it is difficult for the farmers to kill enough to make a difference. "The situation is very serious. The people living in that region are very poor anyway. It is now a near famine situation," he said.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7234213.stm

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6. Bamboo in India: Big plans for bamboo industry

Source: Calcutta Telegraph, India, 22 January 2008

The curse of militancy may have prevented Karbi Anglong from making the best use of its blessing, but all is not lost yet. If things go according to plan, bamboo-based industries in this hilly district will get a new lease of life soon.

            The district administration, in collaboration with the Guwahati-based Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC), will establish “bamboo cluster villages” where residents will cultivate and conserve cane and bamboo in groups and make items for the global market. “Initially, three villages of Manja were selected. Fifty villagers from 25 groups were selected for training,” a source said.

            “Bamboo signifies passing on the inheritance of an environmentally cleaner and a healthy greener world to our future generations. The tall wonder grass keeps on generating solutions to our ever-increasing needs and problems in a seemingly everlasting way,” deputy commissioner M. Angamuthu said. He added that the bamboo sector is expected to usher in change for the better

            The deputy commissioner assured the groups of financial and technical support for infrastructure development which, he said, would ultimately create a “sense of business” among villagers.

            The hill district’s bamboo mats have a market across India. The mats have great demand at boiler firms in Andhra Pradesh, plyboard factories at Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh and Tinsukia in Assam.

            “As many as three truckloads of bamboo mats set off from different areas of Karbi Anglong every week. A farmer sells a mat at anything between Rs 18 to 20 to a middleman and the price doubles once the consignment crosses the district’s boundary. Finally, a ply factory purchases mats for Rs 42 a piece,” a trader said.

            An official of the district administration said that bamboo mat is just one among thousand items that they intend to manufacture in the bamboo cluster villages. “We aim to set up plyboard industries in the district’s bamboo villages. Individuals can set up units, too,” the official said.

            As many as 15 varieties of bamboo and five varieties of cane grow in the forests of Karbi Anglong.

For full story, please see: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080123/jsp/northeast/story_8810457.jsp

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7. Bamboo in the Philippines: Bamboo as carbon sequester, income booster

Source: Philippine Information Agency, Philippines, 25 January 2008

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Bamboo production may yet be an alternative for environmental protection and as a source of livelihood should it prosper as intensive production is being encouraged in the Cordillera Region.

            During the launching of the 3rd Cordillera Organic Agriculture Congress, in line with the celebration of the Benguet State University's 22nd Charter Day, a Memorandum of Understanding was forged among the Rotary Club Makati Central, Center of Excellence for Regional Cooperation (CERC) and the Cordillera Bamboo Development (CORBAMDEV) to implement the Bamboo for Life Project, in undertaking advocacy, propagation and likewise for commercialization purposes.

            Other signatories to the MOU were the provincial government, Baguio Diocese, Indigenous Peoples' Organization.

            BSU President Rogelio Colting said the project will be piloted initially in Benguet. BSU's role is to propagate seedlings for distribution, provide demonstration farm, conduct research and development for new bamboo varieties, conduct training, and host the Project Management Office.

            A bamboo advocate, Undersecretary Edgar Manda, President of the Rotary Club of Makati Central said their group will procure seedlings from China which will be available by February for BSU to propagate.

            According to Manda, bamboo which is a substitute for timber by scientific community is important to socio-economic development and the ecology which is seemingly being neglected and ignored. Bamboos reduce carbon sink. It is otherwise known as a "carbon sequester" as a hectare of bamboo plantation sequesters 12 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

            As a watershed protection, Manda said a bamboo plant typically binds six cubic meter of soil. It yields six times more cellulose than the fast growing pine tree.

            Bamboo has a wide range of uses from shoots to its rhizomes. Shoots are used as food source. China's international trade in bamboo shoots is worth more than $ 150 million a year according to Manda.

            The array of items that can be made out of the different parts of the bamboo are: bags, lampshade, carvings, charcoal and charcoal production, cosmetics, industrial vinegar; furniture, flooring; curtains, mats, carpets, woven articles, handicrafts, chopsticks, bamboo pole, clothing, brooms, medicines, juice among others.

            The waste materials can also be used to produce bamboo powder, dust for fuel, charcoal, brick, fiber board, paper, lumber and clothing.

            Bamboo, the so called "grass of hope," has features that should be taken into account according to Manda such that it grows more rapidly than trees as much as 400 millimeters or 15 inches per day. With a maturity of four to five years, multiple harvests is expected every second year up to 120 years.

            It can also easily be intercropped with vegetables. Establishment of bamboo plantation requires a minimal capital investment, Manda said.

            Based on reports, China's bamboo industry production was valued at $0.6B in 1990 with an annual increasing trend that reached $ 6.3 B in 2005. China's bamboo product export amounted to $170 million in 1990 to $ 950 million in 2005.

            Locally, bamboo is widely used for shelter and furniture purposes while a new innovation is the production of surfboard out of bamboo.

For full story, please see: http://www.pia.gov.ph/default.asp?m=12&r=&y=&mo=&fi=p080125.htm&no=73

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8. Bark cuts methane emission from cows

Source: All about feed, Netherlands, 19 February 2008

The Australian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) staff jointly with University of Melbourne scientists have made a breakthrough in reducing bovine emissions by feeding an extract from the bark of black wattle (Acacia mollisima).

            The scientists found that feeding the crystallised powder not only reduced methane but also nitrogen emissions, and increased milk production.

            DPI "Greenhouse in Agriculture" team leader Dr Richard Eckard said in an interview "A tannin in the bark combined with nitrogen in the rumen making it easier to digest and giving more benefit to the animal. The nitrogen goes out in the dung and then released slowly into the environment. The tannin stopped the nitrogen going into the bloodstream, where the animal had to work hard to process it.

Easy way to feed

The cattle might spend the energy equivalent of one litre to 1½ litres of milk to excrete the nitrogen in their urine. There is evidence that tannins reduced methane and it was now necessary to develop a method easily to feed the supplement to the cattle. “We were giving it to them in two big doses a day, but that was affecting milk production.”

            “A problem that there were no commercial suppliers of the supplement in Australia and we are importing it from Brazil or South Africa where it is used to tan leather." Dr Eckard added that feeding Australian animals cysteine, an amino acid, and nitrate would not have the same success here as in Japan, where researchers at Obihiro University in Hokkaido found that dairy cattle consuming large amounts of nitrate released only trace amounts of methane when they belched.

            The researchers found that adding cysteine in addition to the nitrate cut methane emissions and prevented nitrate poisoning. Dr Eckard said however, there was generally too much nitrate in Australian pastures. The team also had some success in reducing methane by feeding oil supplements to the cattle.

For full story, please see: http://www.allaboutfeed.net/news/id102-39804/bark_cuts_methane_emission_from_cows.html

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9. Brazil nuts: The green gold of the Amazon

Source:  ANBA, Brazil, 8 February 2008

São Paulo – With the certainty that green may generate profit without being destroyed, Ouro Verde Amazônia (Green Gold Amazon) makes organic products derived from Brazil nuts. After three and a half years of research, the company developed three products: extra virgin olive oil, low fat ground nuts and cream, which is a kind of royal jelly made from nuts. With the organic certification by Ecocert, around a year and a half ago, the company started contacts abroad. The first shipments should be to France, Australia and Malaysia.

            "The global demand for sustainable products is enormous. Rich in anti-oxidizing minerals, omega 6 and omega 9, the products are recommended to prevent diseases and to improve the working of the human body's metabolism," explained Ana Luisa da Riva, partnering director at Ouro Verde Amazônia. "We are also developing business with Germany, China and are open to opportunities anywhere in the world," she said.

            According to Ana Luisa, on making the sustainability project real, the company helps appreciate one of the main treasures of the country: the Amazon.

            "We try to add value to the fruit, integrating and training Amazon communities, which live close to the Brazil nut harvest areas, as well as practicing sustainable development and contributing to the preservation of the forest, adding effective value to biodiversity," she pointed out.

            The good practices of the work have already generated several awards to the company. In 2007, Ouro Verde won the Finep Award for Technological Innovation in the Midwest and the Chico Mendes Award, the most important national award, granted by the Ministry of Environment, in the Sustainable Business category. The company was also the winner of the New Ventures 2006 award, by Getúlio Vargas Foundation, in partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI).

            Recently, Ouro Verde signed a cooperation agreement with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with the Environment Secretariat of the state of Mato Grosso for the promotion of the Project for Conservation of Biodiversity and Sustainable Use of Forests of Mato Grosso, through which the company articulates a fair trade network with three indigenous ethnic groups, as well as Extraction Magazine and a Settlement Project.

            "We already practice fair trade, but do not yet have the seal. In 2007 the price paid by Ouro Verde was double the market average. Apart from that, we have eliminated intermediaries by paying producers directly," explained Ana Luisa. "One of our next targets is to get a fair trade seal," she finished off.

            Ouro Verde has two industrial units. The main processing unit is in Nova Floresta, in the state of Mato Grosso, and it employs eight people, but generates up to 40 temporary work posts some months of the year. The second unit, where three people work, is in Piracicaba, in the interior of the state of São Paulo, at the Sebrae company incubator.

            The factory's industrial capacity is 25 tonnes a month but it is not yet totally used. In 2007 Ouro Verde had revenues of 500,000 Brazilian reals (US$ 284,000 at current exchange rates). The forecast for 2008 is to have revenues of 1 million reals (US$ 568,000), and exports alone should guarantee the same volume of revenues as the company had for the whole of its production last year. Soon, the company should place on the market a greater scope of organic and sustainable products.

Ouro Verde Amazônia: www.ouroverdeagro.com.br

For full story, please see: http://www.anba.com.br/ingles/pequena.php?id=150

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10. Bushmeat: The high price of wild meat

Source: Our Planet Weekly, 30 January 2007

A new report from the wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic finds that hunting by hungry East African refugees is decimating populations of chimpanzees, buffaloes and zebra in Tanzania. More than half a million refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken up residence in camps across Tanzania in recent years, pushing that nation’s ability to protect its wildlife to the limit.

            In a 60-page report, Traffic reports that refugees are resorting to hunting wildlife because agencies supplying food are not providing meat. “The scale of wild meat consumption in East African refugee camps has helped conceal the failure of the international community to meet basic refugee needs,” said Dr George Jambiya, the report's principal author. “Relief agencies are turning a blind eye to the real cause of poaching and illegal trade--a lack of meat protein in refugees' rations.”

            Traffic, a joint operation of two leading international non-profits, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and WWF, recommends that relief agencies and the Tanzanian government increase the supply of meat protein to refugees there to help reduce overhunting of already strained wildlife populations. But with even canned meat costing far more than the beans most agencies now provide as a protein source, wildlife advocates are not optimistic

For full story, please see: http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4059

Related story: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/29736

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11. Bushmeat: 750-pound restaurant shipment of headless rats seized in London

Source:  ShortNews.com, Germany, 31 January 2008

Hundreds of smoked rats with no heads were seized by customs officials at London's Tilbury Docks. A routine inspection produced the grisly 750lb. cache within a synthetic hair shipment. They were destined for African eateries - considered a delicacy.

            The bushmeat shipment came from Ghana, and consisted of giant cane rats. Officials fear that cholera, Ebola, anthrax, TB and foot-and-mouth disease could be transported via unrefrigerated meat. A West African woman of 42 in London has been arrested.

            "This discovery of bushmeat has stopped an illegal and un-regulated product with health implications from reaching our streets," said Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations at Ipswich John Kaye.

For full story, please see: http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=68115

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12. Edible insects: Beastly bugs or edible delicacies

Source: FAO Newsroom, 19 February 2008

Chiang Mai, Thailand - With over 1 400 insect species eaten by humans worldwide, the insect world offers promising possibilities both commercially and nutritionally, FAO said today. A workshop organized by FAO this week will discuss the potential for developing insects in the Asia and Pacific region.

            While the idea of eating insects may seem unusual or even unappetizing to some, human consumption of insects is actually very common in most parts of the world. At least 527 different insects are eaten across 36 countries in Africa, while insects are also eaten in 29 countries in Asia and 23 in the Americas.

Source of protein, vitamins and minerals

Of the hundreds of insect species reportedly eaten as human food, the most common come from four main insect groups: beetles; ants, bees and wasps; grasshoppers and crickets; and moths and butterflies. As a food source, insects are highly nutritious. Some insects have as much protein as meat and fish. In dried form, insects have often twice the protein of fresh raw meat and fish, but usually not more than dried or grilled meat and fish. Some insects, especially in the larval stage, are also rich in fat and contain important vitamins and minerals.

            Most edible insects are harvested from natural forests. But, while insects account for the greatest amount of biodiversity in forests, they are the least studied of all fauna. “Surprisingly little is known about the life cycles, population dynamics, commercial and management potential of most edible forest insects,” said Patrick Durst, senior FAO forestry officer.

            “Among forest managers, there is very little knowledge or appreciation of the potential for managing and harvesting insects sustainably,” noted Durst. “On the other hand, traditional forest dwellers and forest-dependent people often possess remarkable knowledge of the insects and their management.”

            In some areas, insects are only occasionally eaten as “emergency food” to stave off starvation. But in most regions where insects are consumed for food, they are a regular part of the diet and are often considered delicacies. In Thailand, site of this week’s consultation, nearly 200 different insect species are eaten, many of which are highly sought-after as snacks and treats. Vendors selling insects are a common sight throughout the country, and in the capital, Bangkok.

            Traditionally, humans have benefited from insects largely for the production of honey, wax and silk, as a source of dye, and in some cultures as foods and medicines.

            Wherever forest insects have been part of the human diet, the insects are usually collected from the wild, with most collectors focusing on larvae and pupae – the insect forms most commonly eaten. Simple processing and cooking are the norm and only minimal forest management is needed to exploit the resource.

            A few insects such as silkworms and bees were domesticated centuries ago, but it is only recently that interest has grown for rearing other insect species for food. It is now common to find farmers in northern Thailand, for example, raising bamboo worms or crickets for sale to local buyers.

Commercial potential

Aside from their nutritional value, many experts see considerable potential for edible insects to provide income and jobs for rural people who capture, rear, process, transport and market the insects. These prospects can be enhanced through promotion and adoption of modern food technology standards for food insects that are sold live, dried, smoked, roasted or in some other form. Care must however be taken to ensure that the insects are hygienically safe for human consumption and do not contain excessive amounts of chemical residues such as insecticides.

            “Opportunities also exist for improved packaging and marketing to make edible insects more enticing to traditional buyers and to expand the market to new consumers, especially in urban areas,” according to Durst.

            Organized by FAO and Chiang Mai University in Thailand, specialists attending the three-day workshop will focus on edible forest insects and their management, collection, harvest, processing, marketing, and consumption.

            The gathering hopes to raise awareness of the potential of edible forest insects as a food source, document the contribution of edible insects to rural livelihoods and assess linkages to sustainable forest management and conservation.

For full story, please see: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000791/index.html

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13. Ginseng: Canada’s UWO gets $11 million for health research

Source: London Free Press, Canada, 29 January 2008

The Ontario government has announced $11 million for health care research at the University of Western Ontario, with most of the money going to improve the therapeutic properties of ginseng produced in the province.

            About $6 million is going to help researchers at Western improve the therapeutic properties of Ontario-grown ginseng, the province’s fifth largest cash crop.

            In announcing the money this morning, Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson said Ontario is now the largest producer of ginseng in North America.

            Most of the crop is exported and processed elsewhere, so that much of what arrives in Canada as finished product originated here.

            Ginseng is believed to enhance mental, physical and sexual performance.

            More than $4 million is going to researchers at Robarts Research Institute to develop new techniques to diagnose neurological diseases such as brain cancer, epilepsy, stroke and Alzheimer disease.

For full story, please see: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/2008/01/29/4799718.html

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14. Honey: German scientist identifies special properties in manuka honey

Source: TV3 News, New Zealand, 23 January 2008

Manuka Health New Zealand said today it had launched the first manuka honey products certified to contain specified levels of the special antibacterial ingredient.

            This follows publication by a German technical university scientist of a paper that identifies the natural compound, methylglyoxal, which is responsible for manuka honey's unique properties. Manuka Health chief executive Kerry Paul said the scientific paper was significant for the honey industry and for consumers.

            Food Chemistry Institute head professor Thomas Henle, at the Dresden Technical University, found methylglyoxal was the dominant antibacterial constituent in manuka honey. Prof Henle wrote in the paper that high amounts of methylglyoxal found in manuka honey have not been found in any other food.

            His research analysed 40 samples of honey from various sources around the world, including six New Zealand manuka honeys. They found methylglyoxal levels in the manuka honeys were up to 1000-fold higher than in the non-manuka products.

            Their tests found a median methylglyoxal level in non-manuka honeys of 3.1 mg/kg. Concentrations of the compound in manuka honey ranged from 38 to 761 mg/kg. A minimum of 100 mg/kg is required for effective antibacterial activity.

For full story, please see: http://www.tv3.co.nz

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15. Honey: Cosmetics based on honey will be manufactured in Bashkiria, Russia

Source: Cosmetics in Russia, Russia, 24 January 2008

In December 2007, Apitherapy and beekeeping center from Bashkiria launched a production site to manufacture cosmetics based on honey and api-products. Over 20 skus of shampoos, shower gels, facial and body creams, aftershave products and even home care products under the Volshebnaya Pchela (Fairy Beer) trademark are manufactured at the plant. Amir Ishemgulov, general director of Apitherapy and beekeeping center, commented: "We use only purely natural ingredients. Our products are as effective as professional cosmetics, but we strongly intend to keep affordable price level. At beauty exhibitions in Moscow and Saint Petersburg we got a lot of favourable comments on our work".

            The manufacturer claims Bashkir honey, propolis and royal jelly are especially good for skin recondition. In Russia Volshebnaya Pchela cosmetics will be distributed in 35 regions. Besides that, the first batch of the products is to be supplied in Germany in the middle of 2008.

            It is the company's first step on cosmetics market. Since 2001 it has been supplying Bashkir honey to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Siberia and USA

For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsinrussia.com/view.phtm?reg=list&type=n&num=1904

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16. Medicinal plants: Cancer drug to be produced in UAE

Source: Emirates Business 24/7, United Arab Emirates, 6 February 2008

A Ukrainian scientist who invented a revolutionary cancer treatment medicine plans to manufacture the drug in Dubai. Dr Wassil Nowicky – who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2005 – said he was setting up a factory to produce Ukrain, a half-synthetic plant-based medicine.

            And he intends to open special hospitals and clinics in the UAE to treat cancer patients from around the world. The anti-cancer drug market is estimated to be worth several billion dollars a year and Dr Norwicky believes he can capture a large share once production starts in 2010.

            His company, Nowicky Pharma, is forming a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Health Care, the Middle East distributor of the patented drug, to set up the factory.

            “Big multinational companies have offered me up to $300 million (Dh1.1 billion) for the right to use the patent globally for 20 years,” Dr Nowicky told Emirates Business. “However, I did not sell the patent.

            “Currently the product is made in Austria through a licensing arrangement and it is approved in 23 countries including the UAE. This is a new product in the region and we are studying the potential for it.”

            Emirates Health Care Chairman Mutasim Al Midfa said: “The raw material is Chelidonium majus, a medicinal plant that grows in Southern Europe. We will grow the plant commercially in Europe and bring its essence to Dubai to produce the drug.”

            The factory will have a capacity of 500,000 ampules per year – last year 100,000 ampules were produced. Each ampule is sold for Dh950 and a patient requires 20 each month. The drug is used to treat a variety of forms of cancer. Dr Nowicky, who lives in Austria and is in his eighties, said Ukrain selectively destroyed cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.

            It has been recognised as the first and only drug to do this by the US National Cancer Institute, an internationally recognised research institute. It is free of side-effects such as hair loss or extreme nausea, so no additional drugs are needed.

            The Pharmacological Institute of the University of Vienna established that Ukrain is non-toxic and this has been confirmed by researchers and doctors around the world. The effectiveness of the treatment has been proved in 56 universities and research institutes by 192 scientists from 21 countries.

            The results have been presented at more than 150 international medical congresses and published in around 100 scientific articles.

For full story, please see: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=1864

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17. Medicinal plants: German herbal cure market under strain

Source: This is Money, UK, 11 February 2008

Germany has become the £1.6bn-a-year global leader in herbal medicines, but the green lobby may be pruning back future profits.

            Some 45,000 tons of plants, roots, shoots and leaves are harvested every year, more than in any other industrialised country. About 75% of customers in German pharmacies choose a natural product when buying non-prescription medications, and Germany is the world's third-biggest exporter of them.

            But conservationist Uwe Schippmann warns that excessive harvesting and unregulated trade pose a threat to the existence of 4,000 medicinal plants worldwide, about 150 of them in Europe.

            For about a decade, Schippmann's conservation group BfN has been working with the World Wildlife Fund on a comprehensive protection plan for medicinal and aromatic plants.

            Growing them industrially is not an option - it is either impossible or requires too much effort to domesticate the plants. So unless ways can be found to replicate Mother Nature, natural medicines could become scarcer.

For full story, please see: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/investing-and-markets/article.html?in_article_id=430191&in_page_id=3&position=moretopstories

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18. Medicinal plants: New Yardstick for medicinal plant harvests

From: David Taylor dataylor@igc.org

Every year more than 400,000 tons of medicinal and aromatic plants from approximately 3,000 species are traded internationally, according to TRAFFIC, a nonprofit watchdog group that monitors commerce in natural products. (Up to 70,000 species are used medicinally worldwide, most of them locally.) Such a growth in demand for these plants threatens natural resources, since about 80% of commercially traded species are gathered from the wild, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In February 2007, several groups concerned about potential adverse effects of this rise on plant habitats announced an international standard designed to preserve nature's medicine chest for future generations. A year later, the standard appears to be bearing fruit.

            The IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, IUCN Canada, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, WWF Germany, and TRAFFIC proposed the standard and coordinated several rounds of international vetting in 2005 and 2006. The new International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) is intended to balance the needs of people whose traditions and livelihood depend on these species with the plants’ long-term survival in their native habitats.

            The new standard is based on six principles related to maintaining wild resources, preventing negative environmental impacts, respecting customary rights (for example, of indigenous populations), and exercising responsible management and business practices. Plant scientists also drew on earlier guidelines both for the conservation of medicinal plants and for good agricultural and collection practices. "We did not want to reinvent the wheel," says Susanne Honnef, TRAFFIC medicinal plant officer with WWF Germany, "so the standard builds on existing frameworks."

            The new standard involves all actors along the supply chain—from wild plant harvesters to sellers—in a process for determining how to sustainably conduct harvests and trade, says Honnef. The standard also outlines practices for monitoring the impact of harvests over time.

            Honnef says the standard will protect important natural resources. As the benefits of sustainable use become more broadly recognized, harvesters will be encouraged to protect the ecosystems that support their livelihoods. And government agencies will have tools for defining benchmarks in a trade that is often informal and that falls through the cracks between groups that manage agriculture and forestry.

            The standard was tested in preliminary trials undertaken in six countries. Over 6 months in 2007, for example, 2 Indian communities used the standard to gauge population health of 6 commercially traded species, says Giridhar Kinhal, special projects coordinator for Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions, a nonprofit scientific and research organization in Bangalore. Based on that trial, says Kinhal, the communities saw improved regeneration of the studied plant populations, but also reported the need for further guidance in assimilating these outcomes into resource management. Next comes a 2-year implementation phase at sites in Asia, Africa, southeast Europe, and South America.

Danna Leaman, chair of the IUCN Medicinal Plant Specialist Group and a member of the advisory group that guided the development of ISSC-MAP, says, "A concrete activity like this is a real step forward" for the IUCN, which has worked for years to engage industry in biodiversity protection. Indeed, ISSC-MAP goes even further than current guidance such as Fair Trade and Organic certification.

            For example, it has been up to individual inspectors to determine whether a wild collection operation meets the requirements for Organic certification. Josef Brinckmann, vice president for research with manufacturer Traditional Medicinals, says that although the wild botanicals they use qualify for Organic certification, some sites will need further work to conform with all 6 principles of the ISSC-MAP. "Many of these certified Organic wild collection sites would need a few years to make the necessary changes for conformance with the ISSC-MAP standard," he says. Yet, Brinckmann adds, the extra work will be worthwhile if compliance with the standard can help a company demonstrate unequivocally that its operations help maintain the botanical resource.

            Brinckmann points to Asia and Europe as places where the standard may first have a significant impact in alleviating intense harvest pressures. "China and India are the two largest producers and exporters of medicinal plants in the world," he notes. Southeastern European countries and Russia are also important in the world market.

For full story, please see: http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2008/116-1/forum.html#newy

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19. Medicinal plants – Plants for Life: Medicinal plants under threat

From: Belinda Hawkins, belinda.hawkins@bgci.org

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has published the findings of a year-long investigation into the state of medicinal plants around the world.

•                     Download the report: " Plants for Life: Medicinal plant conservation and botanic gardens.(PDF 2.6MB)"

•                     Request a print copy

•                     View media kit

BGCI would like to thank everyone who gave us their valuable input.

            This information will help to define priorities for both in situ and ex situ conservation programmes and to facilitate best practice and priority activities for implementation. We are already using the findings to put together some exciting plans to conserve the most threatened medicinal plants around the world.

Report Summary

As well as outlining the key trade, livelihood and conservation issues surrounding medicinal plants, the report illustrates the many ways in which botanic gardens can and do contribute to protecting the plants that heal us. What came across very clearly was the expansion of the role of botanic gardens; from traditional ex situ conservation to more and more involvement with community work and partnering with other bodies to contribute towards really successful in situ medicinal plant conservation work.

            Today, the relevance of botanic gardens to medicinal plant conservation is as strong as it was hundreds of years ago, when the very first botanic gardens were developed specifically for medicinal plant cultivation and research. From visionary education initiatives to cutting-edge genetic technology research; the report draws together the inspirational myriad involvement of botanic gardens in medicinal plant conservation and recommends focus areas for future work.

For more information, please contact:

Belinda Hawkins
BGCI
Descanso House
199 Kew Road
TW9 3AB
UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 8332 5953
Fax: +44 (0)20 8332 5956
e-mail: belinda.hawkins@bgci.org

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20.       Medicinal plants 'facing threat'

Source: BBC News, UK, 19 January 2008

Hundreds of medicinal plants are at risk of extinction, threatening the discovery of future cures for disease, according to experts.

            Over 50% of prescription drugs are derived from chemicals first identified in plants. But the Botanic Gardens Conservation International said many were at risk from over-collection and deforestation. Researchers warned the cures for things such as cancer and HIV may become "extinct before they are ever found".

            The group, which represents botanic gardens across 120 countries, surveyed over 600 of its members as well as leading university experts. They identified 400 plants that were at risk of extinction.

            These included yew trees, the bark of which forms the basis for one of the world's most widely used cancer drugs, paclitaxel.

            Hoodia, which originally comes from Namibia and is attracting interest from drug firms looking into developing weight loss drugs, is on the verge of extinction, the report said.

            And half of the world's species of magnolias are also under threat.

            The plant contains the chemical honokiol, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cancers and slow down the onset of heart disease.

            The report also said autumn crocus, which is a natural treatment for gout and has been linked to helping fight leukaemia, is at risk of over-harvest as it is popular with the horticultural trade because of its stunning petals.

            Many of the chemicals from the at-risk plants are now created in the lab.

            But the report said as well as future breakthroughs being put at risk, the situation was likely to have a consequence in the developing world. It said five billion people still rely on traditional plant-based medicine as their primary form of health care.

            Report author Belinda Hawkins said: "The loss of the world's medicinal plants may not always be at the forefront of the public consciousness.”However, it is not an overstatement to say that if the precipitous decline of these species is not halted, it could destabilise the future of global healthcare."

            And Richard Ley, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, added: "Nature has provided us with many of our medicines.”Scientists are always interested in what they can provide and so it is a worry that such plants may be at risk."
For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7196702.stm

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21. Moringa: Buy a Miracle Tree campaign

Source: Nenagh Guardian, Ireland, 1 February 2008

The Irish charity Vita has launched the 'Buy a Miracle Tree' campaign 2008. This campaign focuses on the vital importance of trees, in particular the Moringa tree, to the sustainable livelihoods for the people of Africa. This campaign will take place in schools throughout Ireland this spring, with each participating school receiving a fun and educational special 'Buy a Miracle Tree' School Pack, from now until National Tree Week which runs from the 2nd to the 8th of March. The trees bought will then be planted in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

            Vita representatives will be contacting schools throughout the country and actively encouraging students to become involved in the campaign. Schools can sign up by registering on www.vita.ie  or emailing Vita at info@vita.ie.

For full story, please see: http://www.nenaghguardian.ie/news/buy-a-miracle-tree-campaign-1279232.html

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22. Sandalwood: Fragrance house sources sustainable ingredients

Source: CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com, France, 07-Feb-2008

Givaudan has entered into ethical sustainability partnerships with Australian and Venezuelan producers as part of a move towards sustainable ingredients sourcing.

            The Swiss fragrance house has embarked on its Innovative Naturals programme which it hopes will secure the supply of natural resources for the fragrances of the future.

            The two ingredients involved in the programme so far are sandalwood sourced from the southern part of Western Australia and the tonka bean found in the Caura basin of Venezuela.

Australian sandalwood

The first of Givaudan's partnerships is with sandalwood producer Mount Romance.

            The sandalwood is harvested by people from the Aboriginal communities in the southern part of Western Australia, and Givaudan claim to be the first fragrance house to use the aboriginal source of the wood.

            The company will pay a premium for the supply that will be passed to the harvesters; a transaction that will be inspected by independent indigenous certification body the Songman Circle of Wisdom.

            In addition, a fund to finance harvesting equipment has been set up by Givaudan and Mount Romance bringing benefits to both the company and the harvesting communities.

Venezuelan tonka beans

The second of the agreements is with the Criollo people of Venezuela's Caura basin in partnership with non-profit organisation Conservation International to ensure the sustainable sourcing of tonka beans.

            Through the agreement local communities will receive technical and productivity assistance in exchange for their efforts in forest and wildlife conservation.

            Like the sandalwood partnership, the agreement is to benefit both Givaudan by improving the quality and harvesting of the beans, and the local communities who will be supported in the pursuit of sustainable economic activities.

Securing resources for the future

Givaudan's fragrance division has a portfolio of more than 190 natural raw materials and the Innovative Naturals programme is a way for the company to enlarge this range.

            Company CEO Gilles Andrier highlighted the importance of securing future resources for companies with such a large range of natural ingredients.

            "We have a responsibility in making sure that the natural resources currently used will not vanish in the future and that they are sustainable. It is in our vital interest to secure resources going forward to be able to also create the unique fragrances in the future," said Givaudan CEO Gilles Andrier.

For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/news/ng.asp?n=83107-givaudan-fragrance-natural-ehtical

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23. Shea butter: An essential luxury

Source: Economic Times, India, 20 January 2008

Shea butter is one of those wonderful things that too few people know about but actually end up paying quite a bit for when it makes a guest appearance in their favourite moisturisers and conditioners. Consider this: a 300 gm of ‘pure’ shea butter from a premium brand like say L’Occitane costs around $40. You may well get the same amount of shea butter for a fraction of the price, however, at an organic or health store!

            What makes shea butter an essential luxury is that it’s so necessary if soft, supple skin is your aim, but it’s so little known that it's very hard to find in a place like India! For many people across sub-Saharan Africa it’s as common as, say, coconut oil; increasingly westerners have also woken up to its wonders and now look for it if not in its pure form, then at least as an ingredient in their winter creams and lip balms. Even then, it is still not that well known for it to become commonplace. And the very nature of the way it is made means that it can never become really cheap for the rest of the world.

            Everything about shea is amazing. The thick, waxy trunk of the karite (or shea) tree is flame resistant and very resilient even in poor soil so it grows defiantly across some of the most inhospitable parts of Africa. The first fruits come when only when the tree is 20 years old (hence large scale commercial production has been unviable) but the tree is productive for the next 200 years! The incredibly tasty fruit is greenish yellow and looks rather like a cross between a litchi and an ‘amla’. The all-important butter comes from the kernel, so people simply eat the flesh and save up the pits for this byproduct.

            The kernels then go through a complicated 9-stage metamorphosis from sun drying and cracking to crushing, roasting and curing till it attains its creamy dalda-like shea butter avatar, in shades of creme through palest green. The key element that sets shea butter apart from other ‘butters’ sourced from seed oils (and there’s everything from apricot kernel butter to coconut butter!) is the large healing content of the oil, which has Vitamins A and E and other crucial phytonutrients. The higher the healing content of shea butter, the better the quality. If the product is two years old or more, it may not be as effective: while the moisturising effect will be there, the healing quotient may have depleted.

            Luckily, shea butter is one of those essential luxuries that aren’t heavy on the pocket, only on your perseverance in finding an honest supplier!

For full story, please see: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

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24. Shea butter: Fair Trade certification spreads to cosmetics

Source:  CosmeticsDesign.com, France, 31 January 2008

Shea butter has become the first cosmetic ingredient to be certified as Fair Trade in Canada but others are likely to follow as ethical consumerism catches on.

            Fair Trade certification has long been available to food manufacturers and importers keen to redress the power imbalances in international trade and protect the rights of disadvantaged workers.

            Now the certification system has spread to personal care with shea butter being the first Fair Trade certified cosmetic ingredient to hit the Canadian market.

            Imported by Quebec-based Societé d'Agri-Gestion Delapointe and produced by a female farming collective in Burkina Faso, Africa,  the Fair Trade shea butter is suitable for use in lip balms, body milks and massage balms.

The ethical trend

A recent Organic Monitor report predicted a sharp rise in the number of fair-trade personal care products on the market over the coming years.

            Beauty consumers have become increasingly interested and concerned about the ethical and environmental impact of their purchases.

            Manufacturers have therefore begun to respond to their demands by seeking Fair Trade certification, which guarantees a minimum price to producers and demand in return that producers pursue projects to further sustainable development.

            "Access to the international market via Fair Trade is very promising for the women shea butter producers because it guarantees a price per kilo that is two to three times greater than what companies from the conventional market usually offer," said Adama Ouedraogo, director of CECO, an poverty fighting NGO that has supported the producers of the shea butter in Burkina Faso.

For full story, please see: http://www.cosmeticsdesign.com/news/ng.asp?n=82950-fair-trade-shea-butter-ethical

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25. Tea tree oil: Cropwatch Statement

Source: Cropwatch Team, 17 January 2008

1. Cropwatch has been collecting information on any end-user adverse effects from TTO oil usage, via the public returns of an extensive questionnaire on its website www.cropwatch.org. However at a meeting between Cropwatch, the Perfume Foundation & members of the Cosmetics Commission in Brussels in 2007, Cropwatch were told that end-user data on ingredients was not admissible as evidence for safety assessments. As we consider this position to be both nonsensical & legally challengeable, Cropwatch has continued to keep the TTO questionnaire running on its website, since completed questionnaires continue to be received from TTO users. We will be closing the project shortly, and the data will be independently scientifically assessed.

2. Cropwatch has no confidence in the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) to be able to properly assess the risks presented by the use of TTO, because, amongst other things, estimations of any actual adverse effects from end-users are ignored. It was admitted during the Cropwatch-Perfume Foundation-Cosmetics Commission meeting mentioned above that, up to that point, comprehensive data-searching of the published literature on specific topics was unavailable to Brussels staff. Evidently then it cannot be ruled out that the SCCP Opinion SCCP/0834/04 was merely based on a trawl of selective evidence, & its conclusions have to be regarded as unsafe. Further, Cropwatch considers that a negative safety opinion on tea tree oil as a cosmetic ingredient would rebound on the more widespread use of tea tree oil as a biocide (e.g. to help combat hospital-acquired MRSA or Clostridium difficile infections). Because risk-benefit considerations for individual ingredients are not taken into consideration by the Cosmetics Commission (stated Cosmetics Commission policy to Cropwatch, 2007) the SCCP may in this instance be in danger of generating an Opinion, which either indirectly or directly, could affect public safety.

3. From information already disclosed by ATTIA regarding their full findings, and from Cropwatch's so far unpublished questionnaire returns, it would seem that predictions of adverse health effects from TTO oil usage by career toxicologists and others involved in advising the EU regulator, were considerably exaggerated. As this is a further example of safety assessment imbalance at Brussels, Cropwatch calls for a review of the way that cosmetic ingredient safety is assessed by the regulator, since the existing (over-) precautionary principled approach is clearly failing the public.

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26. Tree resin: Insulation retrofitters push 'green' alternative

Source: Indianapolis Star, United States, 14 January 2008

 Many companies are jumping on the "green" bandwagon. Not only is it in vogue, but more and more clients are demanding environmentally friendly products. Where there's increased demand, can increased profits be far behind?

            A Fishers-based business, FoamXperts, is trying to introduce what it says is a more energy- efficient and earth-friendly product: tripolymer foam insulation.

            According to Bryan Kuhn, the company's vice president, the product is water-based, with a high resin content derived from tree sap. It also is mould- and fire-resistant, he said, and provides a higher level of insulating properties because it expands before hardening to conform to the shape of any space.

            And, perhaps more importantly, Kuhn said, it is nontoxic: It isn't harmful if breathed and doesn't contain petroleum or formaldehyde. And it is installed with a foaming agent that doesn't require the use of chlorofluorocarbons or hydrochlorofluorocarbons that can harm the earth's ozone layer.

            The product, made by C.P. Chemical Co. of White Plains, N.Y., was developed about 50 years ago for military use and refined in the late 1970s and early '80s for commercial and residential use.

For full story, please see: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080114/BUSINESS/801140328/-1/LOCAL17

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27. Vegetable ivory: Stylishly sustainable jewellery

Source: Easier (press release), UK, 21 February 2008

Sustainable jewellery label, LeJu’s collections are exploding with colour. Muted lilac, citrus lime, dark red and deep aqua are contrasted with the natural earth-toned colours of the Vegetable Ivory and other tropical seeds making up the range of stylish, vibrant jewellery.

            LeJu combines the best in contemporary design with naturally sustainable, plant-based materials. South American manufacturing techniques fuse with European fashion, resulting in a kaleidoscope of unique, eco-friendly jewellery that is already gaining momentum with the fashion crowd.

            LeJu specialises in the use of a very special seed known as Vegetable Ivory. The seed is harvested from palm tree species (Hyphaene sp., Phytelephas sp.), found in the Amazonian rain forest. Vegetable Ivory resembles elephant ivory in both colour and hardness and is the only 100% sustainable alternative.

            Tagua is another name for the seed or nut, and the rich colours are created by staining and dying it with natural plant extracts and oils. Use of Vegetable Ivory provides an alternative to cutting down rain forests for farming, and prevents elephants from being killed for their tusks.

For full story, please see: http://www.easier.com/view/Lifestyle/Fashion/Accessories/article-163559.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

28. Bhutan: Wild ginseng grows endangered

Source: Kuensel, Bhutan, 14 February 2008

It has been used in traditional Bhutanese medicine and in many Asian cultures as a nourishing stimulant to increase mental and physical efficiency, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels and also to address sexual dysfunction in men.

            Tried and tested, products of ginseng, a slow-growing perennial plant, are today sold the world over in “health stores” for their unique properties substantially benefit growers.

In Bhutan, wild ginseng (Panax pseudo) of the Hara (himalaicus) species grows sparsely in very specific locations at elevations ranging from 2300~3000 m above sea level.

            But the wild plant has become highly endangered because of growing illegal collection, according to researchers with the Renewable Natural Resource Research Centre in Jakar, Bumthang. “A small area in Dochola, once filled with the plant, has none left today because of indiscriminate collections and destruction of its natural habitat,” said the Jakar’s principal researcher, Dorji Wangchuk.

            He said that ginseng plants in the forest were scattered and thinly populated, with ages between one and four years. “The oldest plant found was of six years, indicating its life span in Bhutan’s forests,” said Dorji Wangchuk.

            The researcher said that it had become imperative to try and domesticate the species and introduce commercial varieties for export to protect the plant in the forest and also provide a lucrative option to farmers.

            As a personal initiative, Dorji Wangchuk has already begun trials to cultivate the plant in his garden at Kuje. The trials started in November 2004 with nodular rhizomes collected from Pelela, which were planted in a mixed humus and sandy soil under artificial shade. The plant in the mixed humus showed healthy growth.

            “It started sprouting from April 2005 with a single stem. In the second year, there were two stems and three stems the year after,” according to Dorji Wangchuk. “In another two years, it will mature and can be harvested.”

            Dorji Wangchuk said American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium L.) was tried with a few seeds in 1984, but the plants withered from too much sunshine, as he had no knowledge regarding ginseng cultivation.

            Dorji Wangchuk learnt a bit more on ginseng cultivation after a 16-day trip to Shimane, Japan, in 1986. But importing its seeds had been a major problem, although it was commercially cultivated in Korea, Japan, China and the USA.

            He said that the ginseng plant needed shade and a lot of leave mulch and manure and that the age of the plant can be read by the number of stems.

            Ginseng is commercially grown from seeds and seedlings but its propagation from rhizomes is not known. The trials will show whether its propagation will be possible from nodular rhizomes, said the researcher.

            It is usually the dried roots of the plant which are consumed for its properties. Recent studies have shown that some ginseng contains the biologically active saponin.

For full story, please see: http://www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=9845

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29. Burkina Faso: Organic shea butter and cotton

Source: Organic-Market.Info, Germany, 8 February 2008

The rising demand for organic cotton and shea butter helps one of the poorest countries in the world. Mostly village women in Burkina Faso are getting ahead thanks to the rising demand in the developed world. More than half of the producers of organic cotton in Burkina Faso are women.

            Victoria’s Secret, the women’s wear chain based in the USA, ordered 600 tonnes of organic cotton and the first shipment has just recently been sent out. In Burkina Faso, 350 tonnes of organic cotton were produced in 2006. This number rose to 1,000 tonnes in 2007 and is estimated at 2,000 to 4,000 tonnes this year. The total conventionally produced cotton output is 500,000 tonnes, so the organic production is still a small fraction.

            Shea butter is also getting more and more popular in the Western world, mostly used for skin moisturizers and as a healing product. From 2004 to 2007, the shea butter output in Burkina Faso doubled and reached 20 tonnes a year - all of it produced by women.

For full story, please see: http://www.organic-market.info/bio-markt/en_inhalte/inh_index.htm?link=Meldungen&catID=0&docID=590

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30. Cambodian conservation work — not just a man’s world

Source: ENN News, 30 January 2008

 Women are working as hard and sweating as much as the men in WWF conservation programs in remote areas of Kampuchea. In WWF-Cambodia’s Srepok Wilderness Area Project (SWAP), in the country’s eastern plains, Khmer, foreign and local indigenous Phnong women play a vital role in preserving the Mondulkiri Protected Forest (MPF).

            Hy Somaly, a Phnong indigenous woman, joined SWAP’s Community Extension Team to inform and educate the indigenous community on the importance of wildlife conservation. “I have to go to different communities to inform and educate them on how to improve their livelihoods with sustainable natural resources use”, she explains.

            It is testament to Somaly’s skills and talents that she can work across three cultures — her own, Khmer and that of her foreign colleagues.

            Her Khmer colleague, Att Sreynak, notes that though Khmer and Phnong people have different traditions, they can work together very effectively to reach the projects goals.

            Sreynak is no stranger to hard work on the project. While collecting data, she often has to walk long distances into the forest. She acknowledges it is quite demanding, but would never let the mainly male ranger team that accompanies her know.

            As SWAP has planned to develop its site for ecotourism, Olga van den Pol has been a recent new female addition to team, joining as ecotourism team leader. Originally from Holland and fluent in many languages, she is still struggling with the Khmer language.

            “We recently had a reward from our conservation efforts with the “capture” by a camera trap of one tiger we knew was in the forest, but which we had not seen for two years. It was good to know it was still thriving in the forest area we are protecting and developing”, she explains.

            She hoped, as a result of WWF-Cambodia’s work in this area, that wildlife populations would increase and alternative livelihoods could be developed to reduce the local communities’ dependence on natural resource use.

For more information, please contact: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/30283

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31. Cameroon: Carbon traders, not conservationists, could save Cameroon rainforest

Source: Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 15 February 2008

The government of Cameroon is looking to lease 830,000 hectares of biodiverse tropical forest to conservationists for an annual sum of $1.6 million. The problem? No conservation groups are interested. Apparently the asking price is too high, according to The Economist.

            Ngoyla-Mintom forest, as the concession is known, borders the Republic of Congo and serves as a corridor of habitat between three national parks in Cameroon, Gabon and Republic of Congo. Ngoyla-Mintom is home to forest creatures including elephants and gorillas.

Without offers to meet its asking price, Cameroonian minister of forestry Joseph Matta says that he has little choice but to auction to the land to loggers.

            As The Economist puts it, "Ngoyla-Mintom is thus turning into an interesting test of what the conservation market will bear."

            One possibility is that carbon traders will look at the value of carbon stored in the vegetation of Ngoyla-Mintom and conclude that it is worth protecting for the stream of offsets if could generate under Reducing Deforestation and Degradation (REDD), a nascent mechanism for fighting climate change by protecting tropical forests. While REDD is only in its earliest incarnation, there are signs that it is progressing. Last week Aceh province in Indonesia signed the first official REDD deal and the World Bank has committed US$300 million to its newly created Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, a scheme that will offer tropical countries carbon offset credits to preserve forests.

            A conservative look at Ngoyla-Mintom shows that its 830,000 hectares of forest store upwards of 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (assuming 250 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare — actual values may exceed 700). Should Ngoyla-Mintom qualify for REDD, the forest protection scheme would seem likely to offer competitive returns relative to logging concessions.

The REDD calculations

Between 2000 and 2005 Cameroon lost an average of 1 percent of its forest cover each year. For calculating the potential revenue generated from REDD, this figure is applied to the 830,000 ha of Ngoyla-Mintom forest cover, amounting to a forecast annual loss of 8,300 ha.

            Assuming emissions of 160 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare from logging, at $3 per ton of CO2, REDD would generate credits worth $64 million (net present value over 30 years using a 5 percent discount rate), well in excess of the $26 million in concession fees (NPV over 30 years at a 5 percent discount rate). The $38 million difference seems likely to more than make up the opportunity costs of forgoing the jobs and local development from timber harvesting.

            These calculations err on the side of caution. Carbon emissions from the logging or deforestation of Ngoyla-Mintom would likely be considerably higher than the figures used, especially if the land was later converted for agriculture. Further, REDD credits are presently higher than $3 and European ETS credits currently trade for more than $90 per ton. Even so, the current model suggests that at a price point of $1.21, REDD credits would break-even with revenue from logging concessions.

            Carbon traders, not conservationists, could become the saviours of Ngoyla-Mintom forest.

Source: The price of conservation: The unkindest cut. Feb 14th 2008. From The Economist print edition

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0215-cameroon.html

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32. Canada: Funding Aboriginal startups

Source: Country Guide, Manitoba, Canada, 20 February 2008

Manitoba's provincial agriculture department plans to help cover some costs of business startups for young Aboriginal people in rural and northern communities.

            Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) announced the Young Rural Aboriginal Entrepreneur Initiative on Tuesday at the first general meeting of the Indian Agriculture Council of Manitoba at Long Plain.

            The new initiative is meant to complement Aboriginal business startup programs available through other agencies, by supporting program participants once they've completed the training provided, the province said.

            "Many young Aboriginal people in rural and northern communities would like to start their own business. They have the creativity and initiative to develop a business opportunity but need the planning and business-management skills necessary to launch an enterprise," Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuk said in a release.

            Potential participants have "ideas and experience in a variety of activities that could translate into business opportunities such as providing services for tourists, producing non-timber forest products like medicinal herbs and unique naturally-occurring food products, and manufacturing products from local raw materials," she said.

            The province's program is expected to also help community organizations cover the costs of educational activities and resource materials aimed at young, rural and northern Aboriginal people.

            It's expected that about 300 people will participate in the program over the next three years, the province said. Information and application forms are available at MAFRI's GO offices throughout the province.

For full story, please see: http://www.country-guide.ca/West/issues/ISArticle.asp?id=80350&PC=FBC&issue=02202008

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33. Fiji: Sandalwood rip-off

Source: Fiji Times, Fiji, 17 February 2008

SANDALWOOD traders in the North have called on the interim regime to secure a market for them because they were being ripped off by local buyers. The comment comes after buyers at Labasa dropped their purchase price from $1 to 50c a kilo.

            The disgruntled traders, who are members of mataqali Nakorovatu of Nabavatu Village in Dreketi, want the Ministry of Forestry to look into their concern. Clan spokesman Alifereti Esala said the price of 50c a kilo was a rip-off. "It is not a good price especially when we cut the wood and bring it to town. To hire a carrier for our sandalwood from nabavatu to Labasa costs $200."

            Mr Esala said the sandalwood trade was an expensive exercise especially for villagers who depended on money from sales for their income. Divisional Forestry Officer Northern Noa Vakacegu said the ministry did not control the price of sandalwood sale and for licensed harvesters, there were markets in the North they dealt with. "For yasi, the market price is $20 to $25 a kilo but we don't control the market price. There are only a few who have a licence to harvest and sell sandalwood."

For full story, please see: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=81531

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34. Russia: Forest Plan of Republic of Karelia

Source: News of the Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk, Republic of Karelia, Russia, 11 February 2008

The development of the principal forestry document of the Republic – Forest Plan - is to be completed by 31 May 2008, according to the Minister of Forestry of the Karelia Vladimir Yuriev.

            According to the Minister, by 31 March development of forestry regulations will be complete. "Last year in the republic there has been developed 13 norms and regulations necessary to introduce the Forestry Code," - the Minister noted. "Laws of the Republic have been passed on the order and regulations of harvesting of wood by citizens for their own needs, on the order of procurement of food forestry products by citizens and gathering herbs for their own needs, and also the law on the order of procurement of non-wood forestry products by citizens for their own needs," - head of timber industry of Karelia said.

For full story, please see: http://gov.karelia.ru/gov/News/2008/02/0212_03_e.html

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35. Uganda: Development should not affect forests

Source: New Vision, Uganda, 14 January 2008

THE debate on whether to conserve natural forests or clear them for investment and development projects is intensifying. At the recent international conference on climate change in Bali, Indonesia, there were proposals to look beyond development and commit more resources towards environment and forest conservation.

            Land, a key factor of production, is in fixed supply but there is increasing demand for it for settlement and investment projects. This has often caused friction between development planners and environmentalists. The latter have described planners as inhuman capitalists destroying the environment, while development planners feel environmentalists are enemies of development.

            How do developing countries like Uganda industrialise and transform their economies in the wake of increasing calls for conservation of forests to mitigate global warming?

            Sustainable development, a development paradigm that makes the case for maximising the benefits of investment while minimising environmental degradation, is the way to go.

            Credible development projects should have comprehensive guidelines on environmental conservation. Projects should be subjected to Environmental Impact Assessments to mitigate degradation. There are conservation eco-systems that must remain intact because of their role in life-supporting systems. Substantial forest cover is a proven ingredient in stabilising temperatures and climate.

            Trees suck-up large quantities of carbon-dioxide, a main contributor to global warming and hazard to numerous eco-systems.

            Uganda’s forest reserves were gazetted around strategic locations like mountains, water bodies and areas with unique vegetation and wildlife species.

            Forests cannot be transferred because they are associated with these permanent features that cannot be replicated. Forests must cover a significant portion of the country to be effective in their natural safe-guard duty. Uganda’s declining current forest-cover now about 22% of the land area compares poorly with other developing countries like Cameroon (47%) and Tanzania (45%).

            Development projects should, therefore, not cause a serious threat to the declining forest cover in Uganda. There are non-destructive investments that can be undertaken within and around forests like tree-planting, eco-tourism, research and bee-keeping. Such ventures have potentially lucrative returns but are friendly to conservation of the environment and forests.

            Climate-related negative effects of deforestation unfolding in Uganda have already had a retrogressive impact on production.

            In parts of Teso, citizens are still grappling with food shortage and the after-affects of the floods that ravaged the area recently. Shortage of water and pasture in the cattle-keeping Karamoja sub-region has often precipitated a warrior exodus into neighbouring districts, triggering vicious cattle raids, murder and mass displacement of people.

            In a country largely agro-based, such disruptions paralyse crop and animal supplies that are important raw materials for various industries. With the persistent encroachment on central forest reserves and rapid depletion of trees on private land, erratic weather is likely to get worse and could be replicated in other parts of Uganda.

            Mitigating and reversing this climate trend requires improving planning to maximise investment while conserving forests and the environment.

            On December 3, 2007, the Government launched a $653m Natural Resources Sector Investment Plan. It seeks to increase forest cover to 30% of the land area by 2012. The plan is ambitious but if implemented, it will buttress efforts towards stabilising temperature and climate. This will in turn be a vital ingredient for sustainable agricultural and industrial production and for posterity.

For full story, please see: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/606703

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NEWS

36. “Biodiversity is vital for human survival and livelihoods,” FAO Deputy Director-General says

Source FAO Newsroom, 18 February 2008

“Biodiversity is vital for human survival and livelihoods; we need to conserve it for future generations. At the same time, the unacceptable scale of hunger and rural poverty in our small planet calls for urgent remedial action,” FAO Deputy Director-General James G. Butler said today. He was addressing the opening session of the thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity (18-22 February 2008).

            Ultimately, at the global level, this event – which involves FAO, the Convention on Biological Diversity and their partners – is aimed at meeting the challenges of sustainable agricultural production to ensure food security for all peoples, “especially the rural poor – often the managers and custodians of our biodiversity,” as Mr. Butler put it.

            The Rome meeting focuses on the implementation of the programmes of work on agricultural biodiversity and forest biodiversity; the application of sustainable use principles and guidelines to agricultural biodiversity; the linkages between agricultural biodiversity and climate change; marine, coastal and inland water ecosystems biodiversity; invasive alien species; and other scientific and technical issues.

            “Mainstreaming biodiversity into the food and agriculture, livestock fisheries and forestry sectors will be critical to provide humankind with opportunities for increasing food availability and stability while maintaining a healthy natural capital for future generations,” Mr. Butler said.

            More than 40 percent of the land's surface is used for agriculture, placing a large responsibility on farmers to protect biodiversity. “Well managed production systems will supply a better balance of ecosystem services from agriculture; meeting society’s demands for improving livelihoods as well as the environment,” according to FAO’s Deputy Director-General.

            Mr. Butler also said that “understanding the positive linkages – often forgotten or underestimated – between the production sectors and biodiversity is essential towards achieving universal right to food and sustainable development.”

            “The conservation and sustainable management of our natural capital are critical elements towards the attainment of international development and environmental objectives such as Target 2010 and the Millennium Development Goals,” he added.

Climate change

Mr. Butler stressed the need to foster international cooperation with regard to emerging new complex challenges for food and agriculture, such as climate change. In this respect, FAO looks forward for the participation of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the High Level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, to be held at the UN agency's Rome headquarters from 3-5 June 2008.

            A series of initiatives have been launched by FAO in preparation for the June conference with a special effort to assist countries vulnerable to climate change to enhance their capacities to confront the negative impacts of climate variability and change on agriculture. This is done in consultation with members of the secretariat and subsidiary bodies of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and other organizations.

            A number of side events on biodiversity and climate change are scheduled during the thirteenth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

            The recommendations of the Rome gathering will be presented to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity which meets in Bonn, Germany, from 19 to 30 May 2008.

For full story, please see: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000788/index.html

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37. Collectors claim trade treaty is obstructive

Source: Nature news, 13 February 2008 | Nature 451, 759 (2008)

The 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) restricts trade in endangered organisms, and the word among scientific collectors is that it restricts their research as well. A paper now illustrates this 'CITES effect' in hard numbers (D. L. Roberts and A. R. Solow Proc. R. Soc. B doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.1683 ; 2008).

            David Roberts of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, and Andrew Solow of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, compared the rate at which two botanical gardens in the United States collected two kinds of plant: orchids, many of which are covered by CITES, and bromeliads, of which very few are. They found that before the convention was ratified, the institutions were collecting three orchids for every bromeliad, but after this time the ratio fell to just 1:1.

For full story, please see: http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080213/full/451759b.html

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38.       Plants to raise biological activity in space

Source: Russia-InfoCenter, Moscow, Russia, 4 February 2008

Tomorrow Russian carrier vehicle “Progress M63” will deliver cells of two plants – red-rooted gromwell (Lithospermum erythrorhizon) and ginseng (Panax ginseng) – to the orbit.

            The new scientific experiment is aimed at studying peculiar features of plant cell cultures development under zero gravity conditions for potential raise of their biological activity.

            The box will stay aboard International space station till the middle of April under natural radiation conditions, charged particle flows and magnetic fields. Cell cultures are usually time restricted – culture lawn dries out in 60 days. However, this experiment provides airproof container allowing longer life of both cell and bacterial cultures.

            Plants, chosen for the experiment, are special. Ginseng biomass is a perfect material for making various medical agents, as well as for cosmetology and food industry. Ginseng is a source of biologically active substances called ginsenosides, showing various therapeutic effects.

            As for red-rooted gromwell, this plant contains quite valuable biologically active substance shikonin, possessing bactericide and fungicide properties, as well as showing a burn-treating effect.

For full story, please see: http://www.russia-ic.com/news/show/5691/

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EVENTS

39. Roundtable on Sustainable Forests National Technical Workshop and Meeting

25-28 February 2008

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

The purposes of the workshop are as follows.

• Learn about and provide input on data collection and reporting on Non‐Wood Forest Products (NWFP);

• Highlight and learn about ongoing sustainable forest efforts in the Southeast Region;

• Learn about and contribute the knowledge base on climate change, and climate change in the context of sustainable forests and other resources; and

• Shape future activities of the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests.

            The results from all of the workshops will be utilized by the USDA Forest Service in their preparation of the 2010 National Reort on Sustainable Forests. Additional details about previous workshops are available on the Roundtable website at http://www.sustainableforests.net/summaries.php.

            The fourth and final workshop is tentatively scheduled for May 12‐14, 2008 in Manhattan, Kansas. 

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Walen
email: skwalen@merid.org
Tel: +1-970‐513‐8340, extension 221.

or

Shawn Walker
Project Coordinator
Meridian Institute
1920 L Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC  20036
USA
Tel:  +1-202-354-6450
Fax:  +1-202-354-6441

www.merid.org

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40. 1er Seminario – Taller  desarrollo de productos no maderables del bosque"

25 y 26 de abril  del 2008

Santo Domingo, República Dominicana

El propósito general, es promover tecnologías y métodos de aprovechamiento múltiple del suelo y de otros recursos naturales en  áreas boscosas para la obtención de productos no maderables, como contribución al desarrollo sostenible de comunidades campesinas y otros sectores de la economía dominicana.

            Otros objetivos del seminario-taller serán: contribuir a diversificar la producción en áreas boscosas, promover un mayor cuidado ambiental, promover   la introducción de tecnologías en el desarrollo de productos no maderables  del bosque, contribuir al rescate de tradiciones productivas y a la identificación de nuevas fuentes sostenibles de recursos económicos en comunidades campesinas, entre otros.

            En el taller, se hará la presentación de  una propuesta recibida ya, sobre  Proyecto de Extensión y Desarrollo del cultivo del Ratán,  para la introducción   en el país de  germoplasma  probado con éxito en áreas del caribe.

            Todo lo anterior, en el marco de una creciente voluntad por la preservación ecológica de estos sistemas, de la promoción de desarrollo rural sostenible, y de la lucha contra la pobreza extrema en áreas rurales.

            Por este motivo, estamos  invitándoles  a participar  en la organización  de este evento, lo cual puede materializarse  en forma del patrocinio del mismo o de alguna de sus actividades,  o a partir de su propuesta de colaboración.

TEMÁTICAS:

Las ponencias enviadas deberán encuadrarse en las grandes temáticas propuestas (los tópicos propuestos para cada temática son meramente indicativos con el fin de encuadrar las presentaciones de los expositores, sin pretender ser restrictivos):

•                     El cultivo del Ratán y posibilidades de su introducción en la República Dominicana.

•                     Aprovechamiento químico de los subproductos forestales: taninos, resinas, aceites esenciales, sustancias activas  farmacologicamente y otros.

•                     Usos y aprovechamiento de la biomasa forestal.

•                     Métodos para el  aprovechamiento múltiple del suelo y  de los recursos naturales locales.

•                     Protección ambiental.

•                     Favorecer el desarrollo de la Agroforesteria y al Agroecología , en nuestras condiciones

•                     Diversificación de la producción en áreas de bosques (producción apícola, lombricultura,  hongos comestibles y otros). 

•                     Participación comunitaria en la búsqueda de soluciones.

•                     Contribución  al desarrollo rural sostenible.

Fecha límite para envío de documentos:  10 de abril de 2007

Para más información, dirigirse a:

Ing. Ezequiel Echevarria Zamorra
Enc. Proyectos y Gestión Ambiental
Fundación Desarrollo Sostenible Comunitario, Inc. (FUNDESCO)
Respaldo Kennedy No. 8, Ensanche Kennedy, P.O. Box: 30108. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana.
Tel.: +1 (809) 760-4018; (809) 616-0463
E-mail: menendez63@yahoo.com; fundesco_rd@yahoo.com
http://groups.msn.com/voluntariosdefundesco

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41. 2008 INBAR Bamboo Study Tour

20-29 April 2008

Zhejiang and Sichuan Province, China

In cooperation with the International Center for Research on Agro-Forestry (ICRAF), INBAR organized a Bamboo Study Tour in Zhejiang province of China during 10th-16th May, 2005. 20 participants form 7 countries (Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, USA, Vietnam and Thailand) joined the study tour and witnessed the achievements of Chinese bamboo development over the last 25 years.

            As request of UNIDO, INBAR organized another bamboo study tour, 15-24 April 2007, in Zhejiang and Sichuang provinces of China. There were 18 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Australia, Malaysia, India and Netherlands, including Mr. Ahmed Nasser, the State Minister of Ethiopian Ministry of Rural Development and Agriculture and Permanent Sectary of Kenya Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource and Dr. Coosje Hoogendoorn, Director General of INBAR. INBAR also organized a bamboo tour from 3-7 November 2007 in Zhejiang province for 4 ministers of INBAR member countries, CFC official and diplomats.

            The bamboo study tours have attracted much attention; hence we are organizing a bamboo study tour from 20-29 April 2008, the best time to see bamboo shooting and enjoy fresh bamboo shoots.

            If you are interest in the tour, please contact Dr. FU Jinhe ( jfu@inbar.int) soon. The cost in China is 1300$/person covering accommodation, food, transportation, domestic flight etc. Participants should cover their international flight.

Click here Download Itinerary of Bamboo Study Tour Zhejiang and Sichuan

Click here to download the application form

2007 bamboo tours report

2006 bamboo tours report

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42.4th World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants–using plants to benefit people

9-14 November 2008

Cape Town, South Africa

In a meeting of the Secretariat of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) in Paris in 1993, nine international organizations decided to establish an international non-governmental body entitled: International Council for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ICMAP) [ www.icmap.org] with the general objective of promoting international understanding and cooperation between national and international organizations on the role of medicinal and aromatic plants in science, medicine and industry, and to improve the exchange of information between them.

            One of the functions of ICMAP is to arrange a world conference on medicinal and aromatic plants [WOCMAP] every five years.  The first was in Europe [Maastricht, Netherlands 1992], the second in South America [Mendoza, Argentina 1997], and the third was held in Asia [Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2003]. Due to the geopolitical situation the participation was remarkably lower than at previous WOCMAP conferences, nevertheless more than 600 attendants were present.  The proceedings of WOCMAP III were published in six volumes of Acta Horticulturae of the International Society for Horticultural Science.

            ICMAP Bureau has invited the Leader of the Phytomedicine Programme at the University of Pretoria to organize WOCMAP IV in South Africa in 2008.  We expect in the order of 1200 delegates for WOCMAP IV.

Themes to be covered:

Theme 1:   Biodiversity prospecting and ethnopharmacology

Theme 2:   Conservation, cultivation and sustainable use

Theme 3:   Perspectives in natural products chemistry.

Theme 4:   Targeted screening approaches for drugs and cosmetics

Theme 5:   Quality, efficacy and safety of phytomedicines and phytocosmetics.

Theme 6:   Developments in industrial processing of MAPs.

Theme 7:   The economics and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants. 

Theme 8:   New developments in laws and regulations for the use of MAPs. Trade and industry perspective.

Theme 9:   Traditional medicine and health systems for new and old diseases.

Theme 10:   Nutraceuticals.

Theme 11:   Veterinary medicine:

Theme 12:   Diverse aspects not accommodated in other themes. 

For more information, please contact:

Kobus Eloff,
Chairman Organizing Committee
Phytomedicine Programme, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, South Africa 0110
Tel +27 (0)12-5298244
e-mail: wocmap@up.ac.za
Website: http://www.up.ac.za/phyto

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REQUESTS

43.       Request for contributions to the next issue of Non-wood News

From: Tina Etherington, FAO’s NWFP Programme

We are seeking contributions on any aspect of NWFP for inclusion in the next issue of Non-wood News. We would be particularly interested in receiving information on:

•                     NWFPs from boreal areas; and

•                     the impact of climate change on NWFPs.

            Articles can be in French, Spanish or English and should be no longer than 500 words. Please send your contributions to non-wood-news@fao.org by 15 April 2008.

            Past issues of Non-wood News are available from the NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/23947/en

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

44.       Microfinance and forest-based small-scale enterprises

From:  Blanca Amado, FAO Forestry Department, blanca.amado@fao.org

Microfinance and forest-based small-scale enterprises (FAO Forestry Paper 146) is now available online in English, French and Spanish from FAO’s Forestry Department website at the following address:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/008/a0226e/a0226e00.htm

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0226f/a0226f00.htm

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0226s/a0226s00.htm

            The Arabic version will shortly be available from the Forestry Department’s website. In the meantime it is available at: ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/a0146a/a0146a00.pdf

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45.       New report: Production and Market of Turpentine in China

Source: Business Wire, 6 February 2008

DUBLIN, Ireland. Research and Markets has announced the addition of Production and Market of Turpentine in China to their offering. This report is an essential resource for top-level data and analysis covering gum turpentine as well as crude sulphate turpentine. It includes detailed data on market size and segmentation, plus textual and graphical analysis of the key trends and competitive landscape, leading companies and import & export data.

Report highlights

China is the largest production country of turpentine in the world. Over 10% of Chinese turpentine is exported to overseas countries per year, and some major derivatives including pine oil, terpeneol, synthetic camphor, synthetic borneol and pinene are mainly exported also.

            In recent years, the Chinese turpentine industry developed stably with an average growth rate of 4.86% from 2002 to 2006, the output reached 93.1kts in 2006. Although the domestic market demand for turpentine keeps increasing fast, the output will decrease in 2007 because supply exceeds the demand and export is unstable.

            In China the number of gum turpentine producers is large and production is disordered. There are about 173 active producers of turpentine in China, most of which are private and small companies. These companies are scattered in Guangxi Autonomous Region, Guangdong Province, Yunnan Province, Fujian Province, etc.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Wood
Senior Manager, Research and Markets
Fax: +353 1 4100 980
e-mail: press@researchandmarkets.com
http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/c81945
For full story, please see: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20080206005761&newsLang=en

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46.       Other publications of interest

From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

Andel, T.R. van, Behari-Ramdas, J., Havinga, R.M and S. Groenendijk. 2007. The Medicinal Plant Trade in Suriname. Ethnobotanical Research and Application 5: 351-373.

Andel, T.R. van. 2007. Paramaribo’s herbal market. Flora of the Guianas newsletter 15: 73-76.

Andel, T.R. van, de Korte, S., Koopmans, D., Behari-Ramdas, J. and S. Ruysschaert. 2008. Dry sex in Suriname. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 116 (1): 84-88.

Andel, T.R. van and C.I.E.A. van ’t Klooster. 2007. Medicinal plant use by Surinamese immigrants in Amsterdam, the Netherlands: results of a pilot market survey. In: A. Pieroni and I. Vandebroek (eds.), Travelling cultures and plants. The Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacy of Human Migrations. Studies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology 7. Berghahn Publishers, New York, pp. 207-237.

Cardon, Dominique. 2008. Natural Dyes: Sources, Tradition, Technology and Science. Bois et Forets des Tropiques, No.295, 2008, page 70

Synopsis

At a time when more and more plants and animals are threatened with extinction by humanity's ever-increasing pressure on the land and oceans of the planet, this book sets out to record sources of colorants discovered and used on all the continents from antiquity until the present day. Some 300 plants and 30 animals (marine molluscs and scale insects) are illustrated and discussed by the author, whose passion for natural dyes, with their colours of unequalled richness and subtlety, has taken her across the globe in search of dye sources and dyers. Botanical/zoological details are given for each source and the chemical structures shown for each dye. Dyes employed by different civilisations, identified by dye analyses, are illustrated and relevant historical recipes and detailed descriptions of dyeing processes by traditional dyers are quoted and explained in the light of modern science. Other current uses of such colorants, e.g. in medicine and for food and cosmetics, are also noted.

            Although natural dyes have been replaced largely by synthetic dyes, increasing worldwide awareness of the harmful consequences of the pollution resulting from the production and use of some synthetic colorants has led to a significant revival and renewed interest in natural colorants. As potential renewable resources, natural dyes are an integral part of the major issue of our time - sustainable development. The aim of this book is to provide a scientific background for this important debate.

Carroll, Nathaniel; Fox, Jessica and Bayon, Ricardo. 2007. Conservation and Biodiversity Banking A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading Systems. Earthscan. ISBN: 9781844074716

Conservation and Biodiversity Banking is the first comprehensive book on species mitigation banking. It provides practical guidance, tools, case studies, analysis, and insights into endangered species banking in the United States and abroad, and serves a handbook for a broad audience including private landowners, complying industries, regulating agencies, policy makers, bank developers, and interested general public.

            Conservation and Biodiversity Banking uses species credit banking in the U.S. (also known as conservation banking) as a model to demonstrate how an active biodiversity market can and might function. The first section of the book provides an introduction to this model. The second section of the book covers the ecological, legal, business, financial, and regulatory aspects of a species credit banking system and provides practical guidance to practitioners in the U.S. or outside the country. And in the final sections: State of the Art, International Influence, and Conclusion, we give readers a peak at where we think conservation banking may be heading in the near, and not-so-near, future.

            This book comes at a time of increasing recognition that traditional approaches to conservation are not sufficient to stem the loss of biodiversity. Creative ways of bringing biodiversity into the financial equations and decisions that underpin local and global economies is a powerful way to scale conservation up to the level of the threats faced. Biodiversity credit banking is one such tool that creates an economic value and demand for what is often considered a financial liability.

MacGregor, James; Palmer, Charles and Barnes, Jonathan. 2007. Forest resources and rural livelihoods in the north-central regions of Namibia. IIED, London, UK

This paper reports on the results from a household survey of forest resources use in the north-central regions of Namibia (NCR), focusing on the four relatively densely settled rural areas, which also include several small rapidly developing urban nodes. The paper aims to address the concern that both poverty and economic development are increasing and driving over-utilisation of forest resources. We examined current levels of utilisation of forest resources at a household level and applied a dynamic modelling approach in order to develop policy pointers that can maximise poverty alleviation and conservation benefits as Namibia develops.

http://www.iied.org/pubs/display.php?o=15506IIED

Sarfo-Mensah, Paul; Oduro, W. 2007. Traditional Natural Resources Management Practices and Biodiversity Conservation in Ghana: A Review of Local Concepts and Issues on Change and Sustainability. Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei Working Papers No. 149. 21 p. http://www.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1151&context=feem

Tewari, D.D. 2007 Managing India's non-timber forest products. an analysis of forest development corporations, their past and future.

In this book, Professor Tewari reviews the management of non-timber forest products of India under the control of Forest Development Corporations during the last 30 years or so. The author suggests a new approach towards managing this economically important resource so as to reform the functioning of ailing corporations in the interest of tribal communities. A cooperative framework, which entrusts the management of non-timber forest products to the tribal communities, along with a support price program and effective coordination of market forces, is recommended for sustainable and socially-rewarding management of non-timber forest products. Thus, a more decentralized management of non-timber forest products and nationally coordinated marketing framework is to be developed.

http://www.ideaindia.com/HTML/productdetails.asp?cid=&pid=147

Uddin, M.B., Mukul, S.A., Khan, M.A.S.A., Chowdhury, M.S.H., Uddin, M.S. and Fujikawa, S. 2006. Indigenous management practices of Hogla (Typha elephantina Roxb.) in local plantations of floodplain areas of Bangladesh. Journal of Subtropical Agricultural Research and Development, 4(3): 114-119.

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47.       Web sites and e-zines

From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

Wildlife focus webcam

http://www.wildlifefocus.org/

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MISCELLANEOUS

48.       Climate focus 'ignores wildlife'

Source: BBC News, UK, 18 February 2008

Many efforts to curb climate change have paid little attention to conservation or helping the world's poor, a think tank has warned.

            A paper by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said bad policy threatened biodiversity and made poor nations more vulnerable. The authors called for projects tackling global problems to work more closely together in the future.

            The report coincides with the start of a UN biodiversity meeting in Rome.

            "Pro-poor, biodiversity friendly ways to adapt and mitigate climate change are clearly the way forward," said co-author Krystyna Swiderska. "But for them to work, local communities must be involved in decisions about how biodiversity is used. Good governance and fair access to land and resources must be at the heart of these efforts."

            She warned that "bad polices" could accelerate biodiversity loss and increase the vulnerability of the world's poorest communities.

Balancing act

Ms Swiderska and co-author Hannah Reid wrote that poor communities heavily depended upon biodiversity for food, medicine and sustaining livelihoods. Protecting diversity would give these communities more options to adapt to a warming world, they added.

            While global agreements - such as the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Millennium Development Goals - acknowledged the impact of climate change on biodiversity and poor nations, the authors said there were no shared or common goals to ensure the strategies did not conflict.

            "Policymakers have focused on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions but biodiversity is also key," observed Ms Swiderska. "For centuries, traditional farmers have used the diversity within both domesticated and wild species to adapt to changing conditions."

            She said that greater recognition of local knowledge could help deliver results on a global scale. "Many communities are already using agricultural -biodiversity and traditional practices, such as seed exchange and field experimentation, to adapt to climate change.”Farmer/researcher collaboration can bring added value that each alone could never realise."

            The publication of the IIED's paper comes as the CBD holds a government-level meeting in Rome, ahead of the organisation's annual high-level gathering in May.

            The CBD, formed in 1992, is the key international policy tool to deliver the commitment of significantly reducing the global rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7247608.stm

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49.       Israel: 20 centuries-old oak trees found chopped down in Galilee

Source: Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Israel, 27 January 2008

Twenty centuries-old oak trees were cut down over the weekend in the Izrael valley in the Galilee. The tree stumps were discovered by Jewish National Fund forest rangers Sunday.

            "The trees were ancient and beautiful," the JNF said. Officials believe that the trees were chopped down for fire wood. A complaint was filed with the police.

            There have been many trees cut down this winter, including many rare and special trees, especially around the Miron Mountain forest preserve. Last week, ironically on Tu Bishvat, one of the biggest oak trees in the Mount Miron area was chopped down.

            The JNF has tried to counter the deforestation by passing out firewood to the poor who can't afford heating due to rising energy costs.

For full story, please see: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/948527.html

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