No. 01/08

Welcome to the first issue of 2008 of 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:

You can take part in contributing to the continued success of this newsletter by sharing with the NWFP community any news that you may have regarding research, events, publications and projects. Kindly send such information to We also appreciate any comments or feedback.

A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information.







  1. Bamboo in India: Bamboo scarcity strikes paper mill
  2. Bamboo in the Philippines: Bamboo propagation, promotion program launched
  3. Ginseng aids vaccination response in horses
  4. Honey - nature's infection-fighter making a medical comeback
  5. Honey fails ulcer test
  6. Honey: A tree full of honey
  7. Maple syrup in Canada: Winter boding well for New Brunswick's syrup producers
  8. Medicinal insects: Scientists discuss medicinal insects
  9. Medicinal plants in Bangladesh: Rearing the rare plants
  10. Medicinal plants in Myanmar: Herbal park set up to promote traditional medicines
  11. Medicinal plants in South Africa: Traditional medicine supplies falling as demand rises
  12. Moringa: Multi-purpose moringa tree to grow on Molokai, Hawaii
  13. Pine straw big business in state forests (USA)
  14. Shea butter: butter yourself up
  15. Silk in India: Extension of anti dumping duty on raw silk
  16. Silk in Rwanda: Country to produce silk worm eggs
  17. Soapnut: The latest laundry soaps
  18. Stevia: GLG ramps up stevia production for Rebiana supply
  19. Tanning leather: Need to explore niche markets for EI leather


  1. Australia: Europe a weak link in the native food chain
  2. Chile approves native forest law after 15 years
  3. Ghana: Nature provides honey to compensate flood victims
  4. India: Project to protect sandalwood trees
  5. India: Dogs to be trained to go after smugglers, poachers
  6. Indonesia: Illegal logging and road building threatens tigers and tribes of the Heart of Sumatra
  7. Philippines: Non-timber forest products and upland poverty
  8. Turkey is second in honey production
  9. UK: Campaign to turn cards into trees
  10. USA: Forest Watch joins Center for Biological Diversity to Advocate for Northeast Lands and Species
  11. Vietnam: Government approves French-funded ecotourism in Lao Cai
  12. Vietnam: Local scientists extract cancer drug from native plant


  1. Bioprospecting: On a remote path to cures
  2. Participants at NTFP training in Russia are welcome!
  3. PNG to benefit from Norway's donation for rainforest nations
  4. Prince Charles to work with Norway to save forests
  5. UN strikes new forest accord


  1. Forest Classification: A Definitional Quagmire or What is a tree? Where is the forest?
  2. International Seminar on Medicinal Plants & Herbal Products & International Herbo Expo - 2008
  3. International Conference on Forests, Bioenergy and Climate Change.
  4. Conference 'Forest Recreation and Tourism serving Urbanized Societies' (also the 11th European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF))
  5. 2nd International Beekeeping Congress
  6. Conference 'Landscape Ecology and Forest Management: Challenges and Solutions'


  1. NTFP Proceedings now available
  2. Other publications of interest


  1. Brazil: Inpe will map post-harvest forests in Amazonia
  2. Elephants keep ants in harmony with tree hosts
  3. 'No clear trend' in forest loss


New FAO strategy for forestry

In March 2007, the Committee on Forestry (COFO) requested that a new FAO strategy for forestry be developed in consultation with FAO Members and other partners. The consultative process has begun. The goal is to propose a new strategy to COFO at its next meeting in March 2009. The Regional Forestry Commissions will discuss the elements for the new strategy in their 2008 sessions.

In the first stage of the consultation, comments are requested on a Discussion paper on elements of a possible strategy.

Based on feedback received during the first part of 2008, a draft strategy will be developed and circulated for comments during a second phase of the consultation in mid-2008.

To access the discussion paper and for more information on the consultation process please visit:


Nouvelle stratégie forestière de la FAO

En mars 2007, le Comité des forêts (COFO) a demandé qu'une nouvelle stratégie forestière de la FAO soit développée en consultation avec les pays membres et autres partenaires. Le processus de consultation a débuté. L'objectif est de proposer une nouvelle stratégie au COFO lors de la prochaine réunion en mars 2009. Les Commissions régionales des forêts discuteront des éléments de la nouvelle stratégie lors de leurs sessions en 2008.

Comme première étape de la consultation, des commentaires sont sollicités sur le Document de travail sur les éléments d'une éventuelle stratégie.

Sur la base des commentaires reçus durant la première moitié de 2008, une stratégie provisoire sera formulée et circulée pour commentaires au cours de la deuxième phase de la consultation lors du deuxième semestre de 2008.

Pour plus d'information et pour télécharger le "Document de travail sur les éléments d'une éventuelle stratégie" cliquer ici


Nueva estrategia forestal de la FAO

En marzo de 2007, el Comité Forestal (COFO) solicitó que se preparara una nueva estrategia de la FAO para el sector forestal en consultación con los países miembros de la FAO y otros asociados. Las consultaciones acaban de iniciar. El objetivo es presentar una nueva estrategia al Comité Forestal (COFO) que se reunirá en marzo de 2009. Las comisiones forestales regionales discutirán los elementos de la nueva estrategia durante las reuniones que tendrán lugar en 2008.

En el primer paso de la consultación se solicitan comentarios sobre el documento: Documento de debate sobre los elementos de una posible estrategia.

Sobre la base de los comentarios recibidos durante el primer semestre del 2008, será formulada una estrategia provisoria que será circulada para obtener comentarios durante la segunda fase de la consultación, en el segundo semestre del 2008.

Para más información y para descargar el "Documento de debate sobre los elementos de una posible estrategia", clicar aquí



1. Bamboo in India: Bamboo scarcity strikes paper mill

Source: Calcutta Telegraph, India, 28 December 2007

Just when it seems to have discovered business practices that will sustain profit-making, Hindustan Paper Corporation’s Panchgram plant has been pegged back by a shortage of raw material.

Cachar Paper Mill achieved its annual targeted output of 1 lakh tonne of paper for the first time in the last fiscal. Set up with an investment of Rs 357 crore, it also made a profit of Rs 30 crore, the first time since it began production in April 1988.

The shortage of bamboo is, however, threatening to spoil the saga of resurgence. The jittery mill management is scouting for wood in the nearby areas to compensate for the scarcity of the muli variety of bamboo, ideal for the manufacture of paper.

The mill requires around 4 lakh tonnes of raw bamboo annually to produce 1 lakh tonne of paper. Last year, it had a continuous supply of bamboo from various sources. The story has been different this year.

The mill management has found it difficult to mobilise the bamboo it had expected from across south Assam and Mizoram. “As the mill is facing a scarcity of bamboo, we are left with no other option but look for wood to use as feedstock at the plant and produce paper,” R. Singha, the deputy general manager of forestry at the Panchgram plant, said.

The mill will initially have to make do with 0.2 tonnes of felled timber from the dense forest near Doloo tea estate in Cachar district. A part of the forest is being cleared for the four-lane eastern-western expressway between Silchar and Porbander in Gujarat.

Since the Supreme Court ban on felling is still in force, the mill management knows it will have to be cautious about substituting bamboo with timber. The species of trees that the mill requires include eucalyptus, simul and nahar.

The plant will use a mix of bamboo and wood for the first time to maintain its output of paper, which is in demand within the country as well as Egypt and Bangladesh

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo in the Philippines: Bamboo propagation, promotion program launched

Source: Sun.Star, Philippines, 10 January 2008

Magalang -- The Pampanga Agriculture College (PAC), provincial leaders and representatives of the private sector on Wednesday created here the first Pampanga Bamboo Development Council (PBDC) in their bid to address the need to propagate, promote and develop the national bamboo program.

The primary objective of PBDC is to advocate for sustainable environment and livelihood in Pampanga through the development and propagation of bamboo as a source of food, commercial products and as natural protection against global warming and soil erosion.

The national bamboo program is spearheaded by the Center of Excellence for Regional Cooperation (CERC) led by Undersecretary Ed Manda.

In October 2007, the Advocacy for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL) and the CERC presented the bamboo program to the Provincial Board (PB), which initially committed support to the program and vowed to allot P3 million for the initial implementation of the bamboo program in the six pilot municipalities of Pampanga.

The multi-sectoral bamboo council is headed by PAC president Honorio Soriano Jr., as the chairman, and co-chaired by Renato Tayag Jr., president of the ADCL. It has three main components; the public sector group, the centers of excellence (COEs), and the private sector group.

The public sector group determines potential land area for commercial bamboo plantation; identifies participating farmers cooperators of the province's bamboo development program; assists in the direct planning implementation and evaluation of program/project relevant to local, regional and national level; and helps the private sector group in community organizing.

The COEs were responsible for the bamboo plantation development and management center; bamboo technology and livelihood development center; bamboo trading and distribution center; bamboo development fund; and promotional information system and documentation center.

Meantime, the private sector group's functions are to spearhead fund raising activities to generate financing for the bamboo development program and projects; lead the public sector in organizing the village people; spearhead advocacies for promotion on the peoples awareness and participation; help in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation on the performance of the program; and help develop and maintain management information system for an effective information dissemination system to target beneficiaries.

In an interview, Tayag said bamboo serves as the catalyst for global warming also its vegetation help absorb carbon dioxide. He said bamboo project in the province will provide livelihood to Kapampangans like the production of furniture, crops and paper. He added that bamboo, known as the tropical plant or giant grass, helps the environment against deforestation, erosion and flooding.

For full story, please see:


3. Ginseng aids vaccination response in horses

Source: Horsetalk, Canterbury, New Zealand, 1 January 2008

Ginseng, revered as a human tonic for centuries, has been found to have beneficial properties in horses. Work undertaken at the Equine Research Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada has shown that low doses of ginseng in the lead-up to an inoculation improves a horse's antibody response when they receive a vaccination for equine herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1). The American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) made the vaccination more effective.

Researchers Wendy Pearson (Geulph), Semir Omar (University of Ottawa), and Andrew Clarke (University of Melbourne) undertook the research to determine if ginseng fed at low levels enhanced a horse's antibody response to the vaccine.

For full story, please see:


4. Honey - nature's infection-fighter - making a medical comeback

Source: The Canadian Press, 26 December 2007

Trenton, N.J. - Amid growing concern over drug-resistant superbugs and nonhealing wounds that endanger diabetes patients, nature's original antibiotic – honey – is making a comeback.

More than 4,000 years after Egyptians began applying honey to wounds, Derma Sciences Inc., a New Jersey company that makes medicated and other advanced wound-care products, began selling the first honey-based dressing this fall after it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Called Medihoney, it is made from a highly absorbent seaweed-based material, saturated with manuka honey, a particularly potent type that experts say kills germs and speeds healing. Also called Leptospermum honey, manuka honey comes from hives of bees that collect nectar from manuka and jelly bushes in Australia and New Zealand.

Derma Sciences now sells two Medihoney dressings to hospitals, clinics and doctors in North and South America under a deal with supplier Comvita LP of New Zealand. Derma Sciences hopes to have its dressings in U.S. drug stores in the next six months, followed by adhesive strips.

Comvita, which controls about 75 per cent of the world's manuka honey supply, sells similar products under its own name in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, where such products have been popular for over a decade.

"The reason that Medihoney is so exciting is that antibiotics are becoming ineffective at fighting pathogens," said Derma Sciences CEO Ed Quilty. Another big advantage, he said, is that the dressings' germ-fighting and fluid-absorbing effects last up to a week, making them convenient for patients being cared for at outpatient clinics or by visiting nurses. They also reduce inflammation and can eliminate the foul odours of infected wounds.

Since receiving FDA approval, Medihoney has brought in sales of $150,000 in 10 weeks and Quilty plans to nearly double his 15-person sales force in 2008 thanks to the two new Medihoney products.

Honey dressings and gels, as well as tubes of manuka honey, have been gaining in popularity overseas, fuelled by scientific reports on their medical benefits and occasional news accounts of the dramatic recovery of a patient with a longtime wound that suddenly healed.

Regular honey can have mild medicinal benefits. A study published Dec. 3 showed it helps to calm children's coughs so they can sleep. But manuka honey is far more potent, research shows.

Dr. Robert Frykberg, chief of podiatry at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Phoenix, said the Medihoney product has worked on about half the patients with diabetic foot ulcers who have used it. He said the Medihoney dressing can also prevent the dangerous drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA from infecting open wounds.

"It's been used on wounds where nothing else will work," said biochemist Peter Molan, a professor at the University of Waikato in New Zealand who has researched honey and other natural antibiotics for 25 years. He's found manuka honey can kill the toughest bacteria even when diluted 10 times and recommends it especially for people with weak immune systems.

For full story, please see:


5. Honey fails ulcer test

Source:, UK, 10 January 2008

Some recent studies have found healing properties in honey - but a new study suggests it should not be used to treat leg ulcers.

Researchers from New Zealand found it did not improve the rate of healing and also led to an increase in complications.

The study compared conventional dressings with dressings impregnated with honey.

The findings, which involved some 386 patients, have been published in the British Journal of Surgery.

Researchers said there was no difference in the rate of healing between patients - but the honey treatment was more expensive. Researcher Dr Andrew Jull, of the University of Auckland, said: "In our trial the honey dressing did not significantly improve healing, time to healing, change in ulcer area, incidence of infection or quality of life.”The current focus of venous ulcer management should remain on compression and other treatments that have demonstrated that they improve compression’s ability to work or prevent ulcer recurrence."

For full story, please see:


6. Honey: A tree full of honey

Source: Hindu, India, 4 January 2008

Bangalore: The banyan tree near Nandagudi in Hoskote taluk of Bangalore Rural district that has the ‘world’s largest number of beehives’. This unique tree has as many as 600 beehives and is being pegged for an International Heritage Site tag.

The Institute for Natural Resources Conservation, Education, Research and Training (INCERT) is making efforts to get this matchless tree get recognised as an International Heritage Site so as to create awareness about the importance of this bee colony.

Speaking to The Hindu, M.S. Reddy, Reader, Department of Zoology, Bangalore University, said that the banyan tree was being monitored by apiculturists for more than a decade, and their records show that there were approximately 625 bee colonies around November 2005.

A survey conducted in October 2007 revealed the number of hives in the tree to be around 575. Dr. Reddy said: “The effort to recognise this tree as an International Heritage Site will not only help horticulture prosperity, but also play a vital role in protection of the environment and maintaining the ecological balance as bees, through pollination, help increase the biodiversity.”

The banyan tree is largely surrounded by eucalyptus trees whose flowers are a major source of nectar to the bees. During the monsoon, the size of the colony reduces as the rock bees migrate due to lack of flowering in the eucalyptus trees. Dr. Reddy said: “To prevent this migration, the villagers in the vicinity are being encouraged into agricultural activities like coconut plantations and floriculture which may help create sustenance to the bee colony. This is so that the bees may thrive on them round the year and do not have to migrate in the monsoon season.”

Even the villagers have stopped extracting honey for the past three years after they were informed that their unskilled methods of extraction led to the decline in the number of beehives, he added.

For full story, please see:


7. Maple syrup in Canada: Winter boding well for New Brunswick's syrup producers

Source: CBC New Brunswick, Canada, 7 January 2008

New Brunswick maple syrup producers are hopeful that the snowy start to the winter will provide a much needed boost for the struggling industry. Last year, the province's $12-million industry produced at about 40 per cent of its normal levels in the wake of a warm winter. But this year is already looking better, said Yvon Poitras, general manager of the Maple Syrup Association of New Brunswick.

New Brunswick is the world's third-largest producer of maple syrup and produces approximately 1.8 million kilograms of the product annually.

The favourable winter weather and pending trade meetings in France, Switzerland and the United States should bode well for the province's producers, Poitras said. The producers are hoping to move their products into new markets as part of a strategy to reverse a decline in sales.

The goal is to add more value to the industry by marketing a range of products from maple candies to barbecue sauce, he said.

The association, along with several businesses, will be taking part in the Winter Fancy Food Show in California in January.

If a few companies show an interest in in New Brunswick's maple products, the trade mission will be considered a success, Poitras said.

For full story, please see:


8. Medicinal insects: Scientists discuss medicinal insects

Source: VietNamNet Bridge, Vietnam, 7 January 2008

Over 200 scientists and doctors gathered in Hanoi at a conference about using insects in medicines last week. They are planning a five-year project researching medicinal insects. The conference attracted scientists and doctors from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment as well as hospitals and universities.

This is the first time scientists and doctors have convened at a seminar to discuss using insects medicinally.

At the seminar, Dr. Le Xuan Hue from the Institute for Ecology and Fauna Resources announced his research of scorpions. Vietnamese people often soak scorpions in alcohol to make a drink they believe strengthens their health or to use in massage. Scorpions are also mixed with some kinds of herbs to cure headaches and other diseases.

Doctor Tran Thi Hong Thuy from the Military Traditional Medicine Hospital released her research on earthworms (Pheretima asiatica Michaelsen). Accordingly, earthworms can be used to cure high blood pressure.

Dr. Dai Huy Ban and his co-workers from the Science and Technology Institute of Vietnam announced their research about Dong Trung Ha Thao (Asaria sp cordyceps roberti), an organism believed to shift between insect and plant. Dong Trung Ha Thao is a tonic comparable to Ginseng. In the past, only royal families used this medicine. Research shows that Dong Trung Ha Thao is good for health and can be used to cure pulmonary tuberculosis and bronchitis, to stabilize blood pressure and strengthen sexual ability.

Scientists also presented their research about other species of insects, such as ants, worms, belostomatids, termites, etc.

According to Dinh Thanh Ha, from the Military Traditional Medicine Hospital - a member of the organizing board - a State-level research project, namely “preserving, exploiting and using insects in traditional medicines,” will be carried out from 2008 to 2013. To serve this project, an insect center will be established in Ba Vi, Son Tay province this year.

For full story, please see:


9. Medicinal plants in Bangladesh: Rearing the rare plants

Source: The Daily Star, Bangladesh, 9 January 2008

The garden in front of the pharmacy department at Dhaka University may appear as an ordinary garden. But it is more than what a visitor sees. The 'Medicinal Plant Garden', the only herbal plant garden in the city, has an assortment of some rare and useful, yet very overlooked, medicinal plants of the country.

“This garden has a rich collection of most of the medicinal plants found in the country. But the world of botany is like a vast ocean and this is just a small part of that ocean,” said Fekulal Saha, an official from the Arboryculture Department of Dhaka University.

The garden was set up two years ago at the recommendation of the Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy. The scheme was implemented by the Auboryculture Department that is responsible for all the flora and fauna on the Dhaka University campus.

A plot lying unutilized in front of the Faculty of Pharmacy was used for this purpose. Currently there are more than 100 medicinal plants and several nutritional plants in the garden. The herbs, most of them fully grown, are used for research and studies.

The garden has several plant blocks where a variety of medicinal plants have been grown after collecting from different regions of the country. The Faculty of Pharmacy has made a comprehensive list of plant species with medicinal values.

Some of the species planted at the medicinal plant garden include Kumarilata (Smilax zeylanica), Surjamukhi (Helianthus annus), Castor Oil plant (Ricinus communis), Basak (Andhtada vasica), Swetachandan (Santalum album), Muktojhuri (Aclypta indica), Apang (Chyranthes aspera), Labanga (Syzygium aromatioum), Sonapata (Cassia angusufolia), Holdey Korobi (Thevetia peruviana) and Olotkomol (Abroma augusta).

Prof. Dr Md. Abdur Rashid, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Dhaka University, said the main objective is to foster protection and conservation of the fast-disappearing species of medicinal value. “The garden could be turned into a large reserve of vital medicinal plant species. The collection of such medicinal plant species is a continuous process,” he said.

For full story, please see:


10. Medicinal plants in Myanmar: Herbal park set up to promote traditional medicines

Source: Indian Muslims, CA, USA, 6 January 2008

Yangon: Myanmar has set up the first national herbal park in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw to grow herbal and medicinal plants, the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday. The herbal park is part of the government's efforts to protect and preserve the time-tested herbs from depletion and extinction and to keep alive the country's traditional system of medicines.

Over 20,000 herbal and medicinal plants of over 700 species from some 10 states and divisions for producing medicines used in treating diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hypertension, diabetes, malaria and tuberculosis are being grown in the 81-hectare park, the report said.

The government has urged the practitioners of traditional medicines to strive for the promotion of the standard of the country's traditional medicine.

According to the health authorities, Myanmar has made arrangements for the development of traditional medicine in line with the set standards, opening diploma courses and practitioner courses to train skilled physicians in the field.

The government in January 2002 established the Myanmar Traditional University in Mandalay, the country's second largest city.

For full story, please see:


11. Medicinal plants in South Africa: Traditional medicine supplies falling as demand rises

Source: SciDev.Net, 27 December 2007

A dwindling supply of wild medicinal plants is threatening South Africa's traditional medicine industry, according to new research.

In a paper published by the non-governmental organisation Health Systems Trust this month (4 December), researchers found that the demand for traditional medicine is higher than ever — stimulated by HIV/AIDS, unemployment and rapid urbanisation.

"Many customers report that they choose to use traditional healers as they feel the treatment is more holistic than western medicine," the authors write. They go on to explain that it is this dual "spiritual and physiological treatment" that customers appreciate.

South Africa's traditional medicine industry is estimated to be worth 2.9 billion rand (around US$415 million) — 5.6 per cent of the country's health budget.

The researchers say that at least 133,000 households are dependent on the trade in medicinal plants. The majority of those harvesting the plants are rural women who depend on money they make from selling the plants to feed their families.

At risk are 550 plant species. At least 86 per cent of the plant species harvested will result in the death of the entire plant. African Wild Ginger, for example, is now reportedly extinct in the wild.

The authors make practical suggestions on how a crisis can be averted. Most obvious is developing communication between all players, followed by the development of a strategic vision for the industry. They also suggest incentives that promote the development of technology in harvesting, farming, storage, packaging, dosage and treatment.

Sazi Mhlongo, chairman of the National Professional Association of Traditional Healers in South Africa, told SciDev.Net, that traditional healers understood the issues surrounding the sustainability of medicinal plants and were planting what they needed. "We are holding meetings with role players to discuss the building of warehouses in Johannesburg and Durban where herbs can be packaged and sold on to traditional healers," says Mhlongo. This way, he says, plant gatherers could also be told when a certain herb was not needed to avoid waste. "There are also plans to register traditional healers and plant gatherers to ensure better control," he adds.

For full story, please see:


12. Moringa: Multi-purpose moringa tree to grow on Molokai, Hawaii

Source: Molokai Times, Kaunakakai, HI, SA, 8 January 2008

Moringa plants may soon cover 1,000 acres of Molokai's land, according to a goal discussed at a recent meeting. Jim Schelinski, who spearheads the operation, noted that the target might be met within the next eight months, as those involved begin to plant the supplied seeds. “We'd like everybody that's involved planting one acre … that one acre will get everyone enough seeds to plant everything else,” Schelinski explained.

As Schelinski further added, the tree would provide a variety of opportunities and advantages, including 40-50 jobs.

The multi-purpose moringa does not, however, stop with its economic advantages. According to some sources, the leaves of the tree may prevent up to 300 diseases.

Furthermore, the fertilizer derived from the plant may be used by local farmers; the oil can be shipped to mainland, while the powder can be made into products.

“We're just trying to put something together for the Hawaiians that will work for them,” Schelinski added.

Schelinski's wife, Sue, who currently helps to take care of the approximately 100 pots of moringa in the Schelinski's backyard, is equally enthused about the project. “My biggest interest would be emergency food supply in Molokai,” she said, noting that the plants would also provide even more greenery to the island.

Another meeting will be held in January to form a homesteaders' association, headed by Kirk Kiaha, which will be responsible for carrying out the set goals and plans. Future goals may also include the formation of a cooperative for the local farmers.

For full story, please see:


13. Pine straw big business in state forests (USA)

Source: Charlotte Observer, NC, USA, 29 December 2007

The Associated Press, A state forest in the Pee Dee is raking in money thanks to a decision to replace the pine trees it plants. The Sand Hill State Forest in Darlington and Chesterfield counties made $734,856 in 2006 selling leasing rights to rake pine straw. Just seven years ago, those rights barely brought in $50,000.

The windfall came inadvertently, after the state started replacing slash pines, which grow fast and are ideal for timber sales, with longleaf pines in part to prevent the loss of the specialized longleaf ecosystem, said Brian Davis, who coordinates the pine straw program at Sand Hills.

Now the demand for longleaf pine straw to use as garden mulch makes the pine needles of the tree more valuable than the wood. For the past three years, Sand Hill State Forest has made more money selling pine straw than timber.

The state sells both short- and long-term leases. The shorter leases are rotated so pine straw can stay on the ground in some areas to help wildlife, which need the straw as part of their habitat, Davis said. About 25,000 acres of the 46,000-acre Sand Hill State Forest is in the program, Davis said. The revenue made from the program pays for state forest operations, and 25 percent of all money made by state forests is given to local school districts.

Pine trees usually drop needles twice a year, in early summer and late fall, and the pine straw business has just started to operate year-round, Davis said. "A few years ago, pine straw sales were very seasonal," Davis said. "People did most of their yard work in the spring." But a rise in professional landscapers has led to demand throughout the year.

Home gardeners and landscapers like pine straw because it's easy to handle, said Mike Wilson of Jim Ken Nursery and Landscape in Gilbert. Wilson's company sells more hardwood mulch than pine straw, but he said some people like pine straw better because it is cheaper.

Rising demand also means more people trying to steal pine straw. Davis said forest managers arrest someone about once a month, but see evidence of theft almost daily.

For full story, please see:


14. Shea butter: butter yourself up

Source: Black PR Wire (press release), FL, USA

Everyone loves smooth looking and beautiful skin. That’s exactly why many African American households have a jar of Shea Butter stored somewhere in the medicine cabinet.

What exactly is Shea Butter? Shea butter is derived from the nut of the Karite tree, which grows throughout West Africa. African Shea butter has been utilized for centuries for its amazing ability to renew, repair and protect the skin. The name Karite means the Tree of Life, due to the many important uses that Shea butter provides for the people of that region.

Shea butter is unique because of its high content of non-saponifiable fats which act as a natural skin moisturizer. Shea butter moisturizes skin with all the essential elements it needs for balance, elasticity and tone.

Enriched with vitamins A, E and F, shea butter is very popular. Africans have used shea butter for years to protect and rejuvenate their skin. To date, Shea Butter has been effective at treating: dark scars, eczema, burns, rashes, acne, severely dry skin, chapped lips, skin discolorations, stretch marks, wrinkles, psoriasis, razor irritation and dry, damaged hair. It even offers protection from UV sun rays.

As you use this multi-purpose cream, you are likely to discover additional uses. The amount of time required for optimum results may vary with each condition. Consumers are encouraged to look for the Seal of the American Shea Butter Institute on the container before they buy the product. The Institute’s Seal will assure you are buying High Quality Premium Shea Butter. So, are you ready to butter yourself up?

For full story, please see:


15. Silk in India: Extension of anti dumping duty on raw silk

Source:, Gujarat, India, 7 January 2008

The Central Government had imposed an anti dumping duty on mulberry raw silk imports from China, on July 10, 2003 for a period of 5 years. This has come up for a review, and is now extended till the end of this year.

The Centre had fixed a basic price of US $27.98 a kilogram for importing of mulberry raw silk. Anti dumping duty was supposed to be imposed on the difference in the import value and the base price. The Central silk board and other states which have substantial silk farming like Karnataka, Tamilnadu and West Bengal, have urged the Government to reimpose the anti dumping duty by another 5 years in the interests of the silk farmers of the country.

Regardless of the anti dumping duty, imports have surged ahead. It was more than double in the first quarter of this financial year though they fell in the last year. In arriving at the decision taken by the Centre in 2003, it was found that imports were higher than the consumption in India and import prices were also much lower than quoted in the Indian market. This led to a closure of a lot of silk units as they could not match the import prices.

China has been urging the Indian Government to lift the anti dumping duty since a long time as India is the biggest market for silk for the country accounting for nearly 30 percent of its silk exports

For full story, please see:


16. Silk in Rwanda: Country to produce silk worm eggs

Source: The New Times (Kigali), 4 January 2008

Rwanda targets to produce about 700 million silkworm eggs by the end of this year. This stock is sufficient to supply all cooperatives in the industry countrywide.

The silkworm egg production is to cover 25 hectares at Nyandungu site in Kigali where 300,000 mulberry cuttings imported from Uganda have been planted. In a long term plan, government targets to have 600,000 hectares of mulberry planted in the next three years to benefit 60,000 poor families. Peter Muvara, chairman of sericulture project said that imports of eggs for silk production are costly and at times lose viability in transit. Rwanda has been importing eggs from South Korea and India; so making them locally is the priority now.

"The challenge that constrains the project is the marketing aspect where the private sector is still conscious and moving at a slow pace compared to production," he said. Another challenge to the project was the cost of eggs, where each box would cost $15 to $20; so having silk worm egg processing locally would save about Frw383.6m from 35,000 boxes. Rwanda Investment Group (RIG) as a service provider in the industry has also pioneered as private investors in the industry with 20 hectares in Rusizi, Western Province, and a local textile company UTEXRWA is in position to produce silk products.

The government has allocated about Frw154m particularly for training about 60 people to handle production, training in various sericulture activities including mulberry farming activities, silkworm rearing, weaving to ensure that they produce quality silk products. Jointly with Rural Sector Support (RSSP), Silk Culture has established Gasabo Silk Culture Cooperative to handle production and marketing.

Farmers are supplied with mulberry cuttings for free because the project is still a pilot study, but the facilities will put in place sale targets to recover egg costs.

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17. Soapnut: The latest laundry soaps

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, MN, USA, 31 December 2008

Soap nuts aren't exactly new. In fact, the hard, nut-like fruit of the Sapindus mukorossi (or soapnut tree) has been used as a natural detergent for hundreds of years -- just not in this country. Now, however, they're becoming an alternative to manufactured soap among green-leaning Americans.

All you do is take a couple of soap nuts, place them in the small cotton sack that comes with the nuts and throw the whole thing in the wash. Soap nuts don't foam, but they seem to clean well enough for me. (Some online discussions suggested they do best in hot water.) They have a light scent and can be tossed in the composter after they've been used.

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18. Stevia: GLG ramps up stevia production for Rebiana supply

Source: FoodNavigator-USA, Montpellier, France. 7 January 2008

Ingredient firm GLG Life Tech Corporation will construct two new stevia processing plants in China, in a bid to meet the supply demands of Coca-Cola and Cargill. The Canadian firm has raised CA$34.5m through the issue of additional company shares, in order to finance the expansion project.

The two new plants, to be located in the south of China, will start off with a capacity of 1,000 and 500 metric tons of processed stevia. GLG's original facility, which last year expanded its capacity from 100 to 300 tons, will ramp up production to 500 tons, placing the firm's overall output at around 2,000 tons per year. GLG told the expansion is designed to meet the supply needs of a "major multinational food and agricultural company", with which it has a five year renewable supplier agreement.

Cargill confirmed it is the partner in this agreement. Together with Coca-Cola, the company has developed a proprietary stevia product called Rebiana, which it plans to market both in food and beverage products and as an ingredient. The ingredient is in its final stages of development, and the two companies soon expect to start marketing it initially in countries where stevia is approved as a food additive. They are also expected to petition for approval in other global markets, including the US and Europe.

In order to meet their supply needs, the two companies have set up a global supply chain. GLG is one of their suppliers.

GLG operates as fully integrated a supply chain as is possible in China - as they cannot buy the stevia farms, but they will be supplying the high-quality seedlings to farmers and buying back the leaf under contract. "We'll probably be doubling, maybe tripling the stevia growing areas over the next few years," said GLG chief operating officer David Bishop.

The company claims to control over 80 percent of the stevia production in China. It also plans to develop its own line of table-top products for sale in the US as dietary supplements (for which stevia has regulatory approval).

The company is confident that stevia will be approved in the US within the next one to two years and in Europe within three to six years - no doubt on the back of petitioning from Coca-Cola and Cargill.

Currently, the largest markets for stevia are Japan and Korea. In Japan the ingredient has been used to sweeten diet sodas for around 20 years. Other markets where it is approved include China and Brazil. According to GLG, industry members in other countries such as the Philippines and Chile are confident regulatory approval will follow after FDA approves the ingredient in the US.

Stevia, derived from the South American plant Stevia rebaudiana, is said to have up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. As a sweetener, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or liquorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.

However, Cargill and Coca-Cola claim they have achieved the "right sweet" with their product.

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19. Tanning leather: Need to explore niche markets for EI leather

Source: Financial Express, India, 14 January 2008

Chennai. Changing fashion trends and environmental awareness of consumers in developed countries have created niche markets for eco-friendly products like vegetable-tanned EI leather. Concentrated in the Trichy, Dindugal regions of Tamil Nadu, this leather produced in the small and cottage sectors could be developed into a branded product with geographical indication, tanners say

According to the secretary of the Tanners Association of Trichy, VRSM Mohideen, joint ventures for production and buy back arrangement for fashion and designer products from eco-friendly and vegetable tanned leather, could be identified to boost India’s leather and leather products exports. “It is also in tune with the international fashion trend, which is switching over to fully vegetable tanned and environment-friendly leathers,” he said.

The unique technology and craftsmanship to make vegetable tanned EI leather (East India leather, denoting its colonial legacy) is vested with the small-scale tanners and craftsmen in Trichy and Dindugal areas in Tamil Nadu. He said EI leather is being considered for registration as a ‘Geographical Indication’ product. “We have already submitted the application to the registry in Chennai, which is under process. India is the only source available to the world for EI leather supply,” Mohiden told FE.

EI leathers dominated Indian leather exports till 1970. After the introduction of chrome-processed finished leather and focus on export of value-added consumer products, it was driven to the background. Now, it accounts for only less than 5% of the finished leather exports. The EI tanners, now facing an uncertain future because of fiscal and policy constraints, believe that world fashion makers will create new value-added products using EI Leather, if we supply them and ensure continuous supplies at a competitive price.

Poor patronage by the Indian mainstream leather industry, 15% duty on exports of EI leather, high cost of environment protection, and pollution control technologies, and import duty on essential ingredients like wattle extracts, have led to the closure of a large number of EI leather tanneries, Mohideen said.

Removal of export duty, liberal imports of essential ingredients for tanning, and government policy support for the promotion of EI leather for world markets would give a new lease of life for this traditional rural-based industry, Mohideen said.

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20. Australia: Europe a weak link in the native food chain

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 27 December 2007

INDIGENOUS Australians have eaten them for tens of thousands of years and scientists are now telling us they are among the world's best sources of vitamins and anti-oxidants.

But sales of Australian native foods are being hindered by stringent international laws that treat them as "novel foods" alongside genetically modified crops and food engineered by state-of-the-art nanotechnology.

It is one of the reasons, say industry experts, that a dozen Australian "superfruits" are still a novelty on menus from Paris to London and Montreal.

Sibylla Hess-Buschmann, a native foods grower and researcher, has spent the past 18 months collecting documentation to prove that ancient Australian foods such as lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum are not novel exports to the European Union.

Since the establishment of the EU and the mad cow disease scare, stringent food safety regulations have required importers to prove products are not new, or face shipments being impounded. South American countries have called the EU's policies protectionist and appealed to the World Trade Organisation for fairer access to EU markets for traditional foods.

The rarity of native food exports has created uncertainty for sellers and buyers and hobbled the export trade, Ms Hess-Buschmann said. But she hopes her research, combined with regulations expected soon, will open up the gate. "I would imagine that the new regulations will make it easier to export traditional exotic fruits, and that will create huge opportunity for Australia and other countries. But we haven't seen anything on paper yet so we have to wait and see."

Not all barriers to the rise of native foods have been international. Australians have also been guilty of what some call a culinary cringe when it comes to our indigenous produce.

The CSIRO has estimated the industry's value "at the farm gate" at $14 million a year, not including the macadamia industry. But an industry spokeswoman, Martha Shepherd, said this figure was growing. An industry group, Australian Native Food Industry Limited, began life only last year. It is now focused on getting about a dozen of the most commonly available native foods registered with the EU - a list that includes lemon myrtle, the quandong, the bush tomato, wattle seed and the desert lime.

Some of these "priority foods", such as the Tasmanian pepperberry and the Kakadu and Illawarra plums, are among a list identified by Food Science Australia as having vitamin and anti-oxidant contents up to five times that of the blueberry.

The native foods advocate Vic Cherikoff says 20 years is not a long time for an industry to perfect its farming, marketing and preparation methods.

The chef Mathew Cribb says the industry is a victim of its infancy, which means the prices of emu and crocodile can run to $70 a kilogram. "Some of the ingredients are so expensive to buy that no one wants to take the risk."

Once that cycle is broken, they are confident that the times will suit Australian native foods - here and abroad.

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21. Chile approves native forest law after 15 years

Source: SciDev.Net, 31 December 2007

SANTIAGO. The Chilean parliament has unanimously approved a law to preserve the country's forests, promote their sustainable use and foster related scientific research.

The Native Forest Law has been in negotiation for 15 years — the longest any law has taken to pass in Chile — and members of the scientific community, environmental organisations and government authorities have expressed great satisfaction with its approval this month (19 December).

"This law introduces an ecosystemic vision that does not consider the forest just as a wood source, but as a benefit for the community, since it sets funds for forest recovery and for its non-lumber management," says Antonio Lara, dean of the forestry science faculty at the Austral University in Valdivia, Chile, and involved in the negotiations since 1992.

A key aspect of the law is the creation of an initial fund of US$8 million a year for forest conservation, recovery and sustainable management projects.

The text of the legislation mentions the establishment of an additional annual fund to "boost scientific and technological research related to the native forest and the protection of its biodiversity, soil, water sources, flora, fauna and the associated ecosystems".

The law will also protect water sources by banning the felling of native forests located near springs, rivers, glaciers, wetlands, and lands with steep slopes.

An advisory council will be set up — involving government authorities, forestry and biology academics, nongovernmental organisations and native forest owners — to advise on the law's application and propose modifications.

Lara says the contents of the law reflect "a country that during 14 years had a fearful and hesitant attitude towards the use of the native forest and today is convinced of its relevance for climatic regulation, water production and wellbeing of rural communities".

Chile has more than 15 million hectares of forest, 13.4 million of which are native. According to a press release from the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, the law is likely to allow 500,000 hectares of native forest to be preserved over the next 15 years, the recovery of 600,000 hectares for productive use and create 38,000 new jobs in and around the forestry sector.

The ministry also suggested that biomass from forest waste could also provide a potential source material for biofuel.

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22. Ghana: Nature provides honey to compensate flood victims

Source: Joy Online, Ghana, 27 December 2007

Large quantities of honey believed to be an experience in many years is being harvested in the Mamprusi West District this year.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Walewale and Wungu, some farmers attributed the bumper harvest of honey to the heavy rains of last August and September which resulted in many pools of water that the bees needed to make honey.

Others said it was nature’s way of providing for the people who lost their food and property during the floods.

Mr. Ayamdo Apaya, a farmer who also keeps bees and uses solar energy to process honey said those who harvest honey from the wild were getting three or four times as much honey as they usually harvested in the past years.

“One farmer can harvest between 25 and 30 gallons of honey this year unlike previous years when one person could not make more than 10 gallons and this is only the beginning, we have another harvest season that begins in March and that too might come in large quantities”, he said.

Mr. Apaya expressed concern that there might not be good market to consume the honey, explaining that many people did not know the nutritional value of honey and still preferred sugar.

He however, said that pure honey could be stored for more than three years and still be in good condition for eating, adding that some people believed that the longer honey stayed the more potent it became, especially for medicinal purposes.

He said a gallon of honey in Walewale and Bolgataga cost 16 Ghana Cedis, while a bottle of 700ml sold at 2.5 Ghana Cedis.

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23. India: Project to protect sandalwood trees

Source: Hindu, Chennai, India, 4 January 2008

Bangalore: Project Sandalwood, a plan to safeguard the State’s most iconic tree, will be launched where saplings will be planted in protected areas and later in a few villages where the residents will take care of the trees for a price.

Announcing this at the inauguration of the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation (KSHDC) exhibition in Jayanagar here on Wednesday, Additional Chief Secretary Neeraja Rajkumar said the plan was taking shape in view of the depleting supply of sandalwood.

The aroma of sandalwood and the dark elegance of rosewood will soon pervade Mumbai when KSHDC opens its outlet, Cauvery, in that metropolis.

The corporation is looking at Pondicherry, Tirupati and Puttaparthi also to set up its Cauvery emporiums. At present, there are 12 Cauvery outlets.

KSHDC, which has been posting a profit for the last three years, had a sales turnover of Rs. 36.81 crore during 2006-07, netting a profit of Rs. 3.2 crore.

Ms. Rajkumar said sandalwood artisans, experts in carving deities, could also incorporate modernity in their work in view of the changing market needs. Either way, the artefacts command a premium considering they are handmade.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Union Ministry of Textiles. It is being organised for the uplift of backward tribes under the scheme, “Kaigarika Vikasa”.

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24. India: Dogs to be trained to go after smugglers, poachers

Source: Hindu, Chennai, India, 28 December 2007

Bangalore: With crimes by poachers and smugglers increasing in the forests bordering neighbouring States, the Forest Department is planning to have its own squad of trained sniffer dogs to tackle the problem.

Speaking to The Hindu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests A.K.Varma said he had written to the Secretary, Department of Forests, seeking permission to set up a dog squad. When launched, Karnataka would be the first in the country to have such a squad exclusively for the department.

Mr. Varma said crimes such as illegal mining, quarrying, poaching of animals and smuggling of sandalwood in the forest areas were on the rise.

The squad would be set up in Hubli, Mysore and Shimoga to curb smuggling of sandalwood, medicinal plants and for protecting wildlife.

Mr. Varma said the government had been requested to sanction Rs. 20 lakh for setting up one squad and added that he was sure the plan would be sanctioned, particularly in view of the seriousness of the issue. In the past 41 years, 33 personnel, including an officer of the Indian Forest Service, have been killed in the operations against poachers and in ambushes.

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25. Indonesia: Illegal logging and road building threatens tigers and tribes of the Heart of Sumatra

Source: ENN News, 8 January 2008

Field investigations in central Sumatra have found that the home of two tribes of indigenous people and endangered elephants, tigers and orang-utans faces “being split in half” by the construction of “a legally questionable highway” for logging trucks servicing one of the world’s largest paper companies.

The investigation, by WWF Indonesia and other scientific and conservation groups, also found the crucial Bukit Tigapuluh Forest Landscape threatened by illegal logging, clearing for plantations and other road building — much of it linked to operations of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and its partners.

The forest is one of the last large forests in Sumatra, boasts some of the richest biodiversity on earth and is one of Indonesia’s most important habitats for numerous species. It is the location of a successful conservation project to reintroduce orangutans, which now reside in a part of the landscape that is proposed for protected status but is already being cleared by APP-affiliated companies, the report found.

Clearing for the highway, which allows logging trucks easier access to APP’s pulp mills in Jambi Province, appears to have taken place after APP’s forestry operations in neighbouring Riau Province were halted due to a police investigation of illegal logging. APP partners have cleared an estimated 20,000 hectares of natural forest in the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape, with some clearing appearing to be in violation of Indonesian law.

“With its high conservation values, the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape should be protected and thus all natural forest clearance in the area has to be stopped,” said Ian Kosasih, WWF-Indonesia’s Forest Program Director. APP is one of the world’s largest paper companies and we believe its global customers expect it to act like a responsible corporate citizen. The company should commission independent assessments of the conservation values of these areas in a publicly transparent manner before any conversion takes place, and commit to protect and manage conservation values identified in these areas.”

Indonesian law has a set of criteria and requirements to be fulfilled prior to conversion of natural forest. Yet evidence found during the investigation indicates APP-affiliated companies converted hundreds of hectares before fulfilling these requirements, thus violating Indonesian law. Part of the area being cleared is in a proposed Specific Protected Area that serves as habitat for about 90 Sumatran orangutans recently introduced into the area for the first time in more than 150 years.

Unplanned and illegal road building is especially devastating to such areas, opening them up to poaching, illegal settlement and plantation activities and undermining the viability of indigenous communities. One of the tribes threatened by APP-linked activities is wholly dependent on the Bukit Tigapuluh Landscape.

“We urge APP and its partners to stop clearing any more natural forest whose ecological, environmental and cultural conservation values have not been determined and to stop sourcing any of its purchased wood from such forests,” Ian Kosasih said. We also call on the government to ensure an end to all forms of forest clearance found to violate national Indonesian laws and regulations.”

The investigation report was released in Indonesia in January by WWF Indonesia and partners, KKI WARSI, Zoological Society of London, Frankfurt Zoological Society and Yayasan Program Konservasi Harimau Sumatera (PKHS).

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26. Philippines: Non-timber forest products and upland poverty

Source: Manila Times, Philippines, 29 December 2007

ANGELSON and Wudsen present three categories that define the role of non-timber forest products (NTFP) in an upland household. “Specialized category” refers to a high contribution of the forest products into the household income and a high level of product integration to cash economy. “Diversified category” refers to the low contribution of forest products in income but with a high level of market integration. In this case, people are engaged in a variety of forest products, thus having a high market integration; or they are engaged in wage labour, thus making forest products’ share in household income low. Lastly, “coping strategy” refers to low contribution of income from forest products and low market integration because most of these are consumed. Households using NTFPs as a coping strategy are usually subsistence-oriented and commercial forest products do not play a major role. Understanding how the NTFPs are being used enables one to see clearly the link between rural poverty and NTFP dependence.

Forest products are seen to have an important “gap filling” or “safety net” functions. As a safety net, forest products are used since the alternative may either be permanently or temporarily absent. As gap fillings, they provide a “periodical, reasonable predicta­ble contribution to food security and sometimes cash income, serving as a seasonal buffer.” They seldom provide the “staple, bulk items that people eat” (Byron and Arnold, 1999 in Angelson & Wudsen, 2003) but are widely used “to overcome seasonal shortfalls (e.g. before the main harvest) or serve as substitute during an emergency.” Benefits from NTFPs have been observed to accrue unevenly over time. Income from forest products is important on how it fills gaps and complements other income than the absolute amount or share to overall household income.

NTFPs are extremely critical to the rural poor as a livelihood strategy though they rarely provide the means for economic advancement. Angelson and Wudsen conclude that forest products are more important in arresting “worsening poverty than contribute to socio-economic advancement.”

That forest and poverty are closely linked is considered only partly true in the case of the present state or condition of forests. The present state is largely a result of large-scale commercial logging which exploited the natural forests from the 50’s to 90’s. Before its advent, there were already the indigenous peoples (IP) living harmoniously with the forests and they were not considered poor. However, they were considered squatters in their own land and were forcibly evicted from the logging concession areas. But at the same time, there were no upland migrants to speak of, only a lot of workers for the logging companies. When the timber license agreements (TLAs) expired or were terminated, logging companies left behind highly degraded forests that could hardly sustain the IPs’ continued survival. Logging workers were also left behind and survived by tilling the logged-over areas. Following the premise that upland communities who are poor are seen to be the main contributors to forest loss only gives half of the true picture. The large TLA holders’ contribution to forest loss is given less emphasis. Instead, commercial loggers are not held responsible simply because they are legal. Thus, the government’s campaign to stop illegal logging by local communities somehow implies that it is all right to continue legal commercial logging, as if the poor forest would know whether they were cut legally or illegally.

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27. Turkey is second in honey production

Source: Biamag, Turkey, 1 January 2008

Turkish Apiarists Union chair Yilmaz said that the EU imported some 200,000 tons of honey each year and Turkey, which produces 70,000 tons of honey each year, exports only 18,000 to Europe.

At the meeting on "Beekeeping and Honey Production in Turkey," which was organized with contributions of the Van Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Turkish Apiarists' Union and the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture said Turkey was second after China in honey production. However, they said there were serious problems in Turkey about honey exports, advertising and marketing.

Bahri Yilmaz, head of the Turkish Apiarists' Union, complained about the inadequacy of legal regulations. He said the illegal honey commerce was a big problem for the producers in Turkey. This illegal honey is being exported with a 'Turkish honey' label. All the honey is sent back to Turkey when various chemicals are found in it," said Yilmaz.

Yilmaz said there were beekeepers' unions in 62 countries with some 17,000 members. He said some 40,000 people in Turkey were professional beekeepers. Some 180,000 families earn a living from beekeeping, according to him. “If the honey producers are supported, this production can expand to become a source of very important economic income."

Murat Akbay, head of the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture, spoke about organic agriculture in Turkey. He said certificates were needed to export organic products to foreign markets. Akbay said there was a certification problem in Van for the organic products.

The following information was also available at the meeting:

* While there are five beehives in every square kilometer in Turkey, this number in Van is 0.87. There are 6,690 permanent beehives in Van and 27,000 travelling beehives.

* The producers in Van also have difficulty in advertising and promoting their honey. Van honey is above standards in terms of quality and is usually exported to Europe with different titles. (BB/EA/YE)

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28. UK: Campaign to turn cards into trees

Source: BBC News, UK, 3 January 2007

Britons are being urged to recycle 100m Christmas cards to raise money to plant thousands of trees. The Woodland Trust and campaign group Recycle Now want to turn enough used cards into other paper products to fund 24,000 trees.

Saving the cards from landfill will also save 2,600 tonnes of greenhouse gases, equivalent to taking 800 cars off the road, Recycle Now said.

Last year, the campaign collected 93m cards, enough to pay for 22,000 trees.

Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: "The UK is one of the least wooded countries in Europe. Just 12% of the UK is covered by woods compared to the European average of 44%. By recycling your cards, you can help us plant thousands more throughout the UK."

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29. USA: Forest Watch joins Center for Biological Diversity to Advocate for Northeast Lands and Species

Source: ENN News, 3 January 2008

RICHMOND, VT — National nonprofit the Center for Biological Diversity and Forest Watch, a group based in Richmond, Vermont, has announced their union to enhance the protection and restoration of the Northeast's public lands, wildlife habitat, and imperilled species.

Forest Watch, which was founded in 1994 as a watchdog of the Green Mountain National Forest, will henceforth be known as the Northeast office of the Center for Biological Diversity. The Northeast office will focus on federal forest lands and wilderness, and will advocate for greater protection of national wildlife refuges, state lands, and other critical wildlife habitats, as well as stronger conservation measures for the region's declining plant and animal species. Specific priorities include the future management of Vermont's Nulhegan Basin, opposing environmentally damaging off-road motorized recreation public lands, and protecting national forest roadless areas.

"As a whole, the northeast United States is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth, and yet we have here one of the best opportunities to figure out how humans can live respectfully and harmoniously alongside nature and thriving wild places," said Mollie Matteson, former deputy director of Forest Watch and now the Center's Northeast public lands advocate. "The story of this region is one of ecological upheaval and loss, followed by the dramatic recovery of much of our forests and native wildlife since the early 20th century. The first half of that story is playing out all over the world today, and we can show that it is possible to turn those losses around - to restore wild nature, not just destroy it.

"However," continued Matteson, "our gains have only been partial. With the ongoing threats of air and water pollution, development and habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and of course the looming spectre of climate change, we are likely to fall far short of realizing this region's potential to return to ecological health. In fact, without dramatic, pro-active efforts, we are going to see our ecosystems unravelling and the increasing loss of species - both those already rare and species we now take for granted."

The Center for Biological Diversity was founded in 1989 by a group of biologists in the American Southwest concerned about the impacts of Forest Service logging on old growth-dependent wildlife. The Center, now with a membership of more than 40,000 nationwide, has gone on to advocate for endangered species and habitats throughout the West, across the country, and even throughout the world.

For more information, please contact:

Mollie Matteson

Center for Biological Diversity

Tel : +1-802-434-2388

E-mail :


Jim Northup

Forest Watch

Tel: +1-802-453-4063


Website: the Center for Biological Diversity

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30. Vietnam: Government approves French-funded ecotourism in Lao Cai

Source: Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam, 3 January 2008

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has given the go ahead to an ecotourism project in the northern mountainous Lao Cai Province. The French-funded project, which will also improve management of the Hoang Lien National Park, has a total investment capital of US$3 million.

The French Agency for Development (AFD) will contribute $2.6 million in non-refundable aid through its Trade Capacity Enhancement Fund ($1.3 million) and French Global Environment Fund ($1.3 million).

Lao Cai Province, which is on the Chinese border, will supply the remaining $395,000 for the project.

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31. Vietnam: Local scientists extract cancer drug from native plant

Source: Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam, 1 January 2008

After almost four years of research, Vietnamese scientists have successfully extracted mimosine, a toxic non-protein amino acid used in cancer treatments, from the plant Mimosa pudica, also known as the Sensitive plant

An independent scientific researcher says Vietnam could save big import dollars by refining expensive cancer drugs, and one area to start with is the country’s abundant Sensitive plant. “Sensitive plant contains many good biological compounds, of which low doses of the alkaloid mimosine is useful as an anti-cancer cell medicine, bactericide or disinfectant,” said professor Dong Thi Anh Dao, head researcher at the Faculty of Food Science, Department of Chemical Engineering at HCMC University of Technology.

The alkaloid mimosine solution has to be purified through several processes and then has to be diluted to reach non-toxic levels. According to Dao, using a large dosage of alkaloid mimosine could lead to the person being poisoned. “Most people in Vietnam do not know how to specify a suitable dosage of alkaloid mimosine to avoid being poisoned,” Dao added. “That’s why our research team, including Phan Thanh Long and Nguyen Thi Xuan Dai, conducted a study on extraction and purification of alkaloid mimosine from Sensitive plant.”

One obstacle the researchers had to overcome was the matter of funding. The university provides the researchers with facilities. However the materials required must be procured through private funds. Despite the benefits of the mimosine extraction, the researchers were unable to secure funding and paid for the materials out of their own pockets.

Dao mentioned that Vietnam currently imports alkaloid mimosine, which is expensive. Therefore, if Vietnamese scientists can mass produce it from the Sensitive plants growing wild in Vietnam, not only will there be medicinal benefits, but there will be financial benefits as well.

Dao also said that the research team successfully produced a medicinal tea using the dried leaves of the Sensitive plant. The tea stimulates the immune system and helps prevent bone diseases like osteomalacia, which is common in women, and reduces the risk of cancer.

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32. Bioprospecting: On a remote path to cures

Source: Business Times, Malaysia, 9 January 2008

NINACACA (Peru): Chris Kilham, an ethnobotanist from Massachusetts who calls himself the Medicine Hunter, has scoured remote jungles and highlands for three decades for plants, oils and extracts that can heal. He has eaten bees and scorpions in China, fired blow guns with Amazonian natives, and learned traditional war dances from Pacific Islanders.

But behind the colourful tales lies the prospect of money, lots of money — for Western pharmaceutical companies, impoverished indigenous tribes and Kilham.

Products that once seemed exotic, like ginseng, ginkgo biloba or aloe vera, now roll off the tongues of Westerners.

All told, natural plant substances generate more than US$75 billion (US$1 = RM3.31) in sales each year for the pharmaceutical industry, US$20 billion in herbal supplement sales, and around US$3 billion in cosmetics sales, according to a study by the European Commission.

Although the efficacy of some of the products the herbal ingredients go into is hotly debated, their popularity is not in doubt.

Thirty-six per cent of adults in the US use some form of what experts call complementary and alternative medicine, CAM for short, according to a 2004 study published by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Kilham believes multinational drug companies underutilize the medicinal properties in plants. They pack pills with artificial compounds and sell them at huge mark-ups, he says. He wants Westerners to use the pure plant medicines that indigenous people have used for thousands of years. “People in the US are more cranked up on pharmaceutical drugs than any other culture in the world today,” Kilham said. “I want people using safer medicine. And that means plant medicine.”

Shortly after leaving Lima on a trip taking French businessmen to the Peruvian Andes, he stopped the van and enthusiastically explained how the tropane alkaloids in a dusty plant he spotted by the side of the road are used by ophthalmologists to dilate pupils for eye examinations. Such properties are often well known by indigenous peoples. So-called bioprospectors can make their fortunes by bringing those advantages to the attention of companies who identify the plant’s active compound and use it as a base ingredient for new products that they patent.

Some 62 percent of all cancer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration come from such discoveries, according to a study by the United Nations University, a scholarly institution affiliated with the United Nations. “Latin American nations, especially Amazonian nations, have extremely rich and diverse flora, so the potential for commercial applications appears great,” said Tony Gross, a Brazil-based researcher at the university. “They say that in one in 10,000 you get something interesting. So it is not a gold mine, but when you do hit on something that does become a market leader you can make enormous amounts of money from it.”

In Peru, Kilham is betting on maca, a small root vegetable that grows here in the central highlands — “a turnip that packs a punch,” he says, adding “it imparts energy, sex drive and stamina like nothing else.” That view is supported by studies carried out at the International Potato Centre, a Lima-based research centre that is internationally financed and staffed. Studies there show maca improves stamina, reduces the risk of prostate cancer and increases the motility, volume and quality of sperm. Some peer reviewed studies published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology backed up those findings.

For centuries, maca has been a revered crop in this austerely beautiful region 155 miles northeast of Lima. Inca warriors ate it before going into battle. Later, Peruvians used it to pay taxes to Spanish conquistadors. Today, locals consume it boiled alongside dried vicuña meat in soups; or diced with carrots, peas and cauliflowers in salads. Maca flour is used to make sponge cake. Flavoured with chocolate, it is made into maca puffs. Villagers offer visitors maca drinks and maca juice; airports sell maca toffees.

Kilham first heard about the tuber in 1996. Two years later, he went to Peru to find out more. There he formed a partnership with Sergio Cam, a Peruvian entrepreneur, to start Chakarunas Trading. The company is named after the Quechua word for men who build bridges between cultures.

Today, Chakarunas organises local growers to sell their maca to the French firm Naturex, which extracts it into concentrate. Naturex sells the concentrate to Enzymatic Therapy, a Wisconsin-based company that makes and markets the finished maca products.

Thanks to the health supplements boom, both companies have grown, with Naturex’s revenues topping US$125 million in 2007 and Enzymatic Therapy’s surpassing US$80 million. Enzymatic Therapy sells US$200,000 worth of maca-based products each month.

One product, Maca Stimulant, is sold in Wal-Mart under Kilham’s Medicine Hunter brand. Kilham earns a retainer from both Naturex and Enzymatic Therapy, in addition to royalties from another Medicine Hunter-branded product at Wal-Mart.

Kilham and Cam pay growers here in Ninacaca a premium of 6 soles (about US$2) for a kilo of maca, almost twice the going rate of 3 to 3.40 soles a kilo. They have set up a computer room at the Chakarunas warehouse and a free dental clinic, the town’s first.

Kilham runs the constant risk of being branded a “biopirate”, an outsider who steals traditional knowledge and fails to pass on the benefits to the local community.

In 2001, the company Kilham worked for at the time, Pure World Botanics, obtained US patents for isolating and extracting maca’s key active compounds. The Peruvian government accused the company of profiting from what was rightfully Peru’s. Kilham said he fought to make his bosses open up the patents. The company denied they had acted improperly but Naturex, which bought Pure World Botanics in 2005, granted Peruvian companies free licenses to the patents and vowed to increase the price paid per kilo to maca farmers by 15 per cent.

“At Naturex,” the company’s marketing manager, Antoine Dauby, said in a statement, “we believe in giving back to the communities where we do business. And we’re doing that in Peru.” — NYT

For full story, please see:


33. Participants at NTFP training in Russia are welcome!

From: Ekaterina Yanchur and Nikolay Shmatkov, IUCN, Russia

In January 2008 a new IUCN project “Sustainable Development Models for Local Communities of Protected Areas in the North-West of Russia” (funded by the Ford Foundation) will start. It will be a continuation of a previous initiative “Assessment of Non-Timber Forest Products Market Use as an Alternative Livelihoods Strategy for Local Communities at the Protected Areas of the Russian North West” and will cover the development of NTFP businesses as alternative livelihoods and additional income generation opportunities for communities living in or near protected areas (PAs). The problem is that local communities, specifically in the rural and forest remote areas in Russia (where PAs are usually located) are forced by the economic situation to look for means of survival through intensive use of the natural resources which quite often is not legal – poaching, illegal logging etc., and other unsustainable practices.

Through master-classes, participants can learn traditional craft skills. Kargopol toy clay sculpturing has been kept by a small group of local hereditary potters. Scientists believe that the Kargopol toy has come from ancient times as it looks like the heroes of old Russian tales. Weaving and painting of baskets from wood chips is prevalent only in the North-West of Russia. With their own hands participants will make utensils from birch bark to produce authentic artifacts of traditional Russian culture. One more master-class will be dedicated to baking traditional Teterki cookies, meeting with local beekeepers and producers of herbal teas.

Training and consultation will be provided within the framework of this project and will consist in educating the local people on the efficient production and marketing of products made from sustainably harvested resources. Traditional products that could be produced by local communities on the basis of sustainable use of resources include: birch bark utensils and crafts, traditional clay toys and souvenirs, wool knitting, herbal teas, dried wild berries and mushrooms, etc.

All these traditional skills will be provided by local experienced crafters through master-classes and demonstrations.

We are looking for interested people who want to take part in such training and learn about traditional knowledge of the Russian North-West!

For more information please contact:

Nikolay Shmatkov

Tel: + 7 (495) 609 34 11.



34. PNG to benefit from Norway's donation for rainforest nations

Source: Xinhua, China, 8 January 2008

WELLINGTON -- Papua New Guinea (PNG) will benefit from the US$100 million donated by Norway for environment and conservation programs in tropical rainforest nations, the Pacnews reported on Tuesday.

PNG's Environment and Conservation Minister Benny Allan announced this after formalities and discussions were concluded with the Norwegian government, the Suva-based regional news agency reported. The fund would be distributed among developing nations and most of the funding would be used on education and forest conservation.

He said the PNG delegation had a bilateral meeting with the Norwegian delegation during the climate change talks in Bali when PNG officially requested Norway to also assist with capacity building, transfer of technology, education, reforestation, data collection, human resource and pilot projects. Funding from the Norway's donation would be used to address some of these priority areas.

Many developed countries like Australia, Japan, Germany and others have pledged donations towards forest conservation.

Allen said other bilateral talks had been held with the Netherlands, Italy, Indonesia, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program

For full story, please see:


35. Prince Charles to work with Norway to save forests

Source: ENN News, 27 December 2007

OSLO (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles has offered to team up with Norway in projects to save forests around the world, Norwegian officials said on Thursday.

The Prince of Wales's offer to Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg followed Norway's announcement earlier this month that it aimed to provide about 3 billion crowns ($541.2 million) per year to prevent deforestation in developing countries.

Charles, who has said saving the world's rainforests is key to combating global warming, sent a letter to Stoltenberg suggesting that his Rainforests Project send representatives to Norway to discuss ways to cooperate, a spokesman at the prime minister's office said.

Stoltenberg said Norway would be glad to receive them and is willing to work with all who want to put systems and regulations in place to halt deforestation.

Norway has said that fighting deforestation is a quick and low-cost way to achieve cuts in greenhouse gas emissions blamed by scientists for global warming, in addition to maintaining biodiversity and securing people's livelihoods.

The Labour-led government has said that deforestation in developing countries is releasing carbon dioxide corresponding to about a fifth of total global greenhouse gas

Norway has said that commitments to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing nations should be included in a global climate change regime from 2012 and that it will work to develop funding and certification systems to promote the effort.

In April, Stoltenberg announced a goal to make Norway carbon neutral by 2050 by reducing emissions at home and by offsetting Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions by investing in environmental projects in the developing world.

For full story, please see:


36. UN strikes new forest accord

Source: Carbon Positive, Hague, Netherlands, 2 January 2008

A new international forest agreement struck at the United Nations is a major step towards controlling deforestation, its sponsors say.

The UN General Assembly has adopted the new accord put forward by the UN Forum on Forests which recognises that measures to produce sustainable forest use around the world must account for the human factor – that poor local communities rely on forest resources for their livelihood.

The UN says 1.6 billion people rely directly on forests for fuel, food, medicine and income.

"Almost all recent success stories of restoring the world's forests are based on better recognition of the needs and actions of local peoples, their ownership and access rights and ancient knowledge of indigenous tribes and communities." Pekka Patosaari, Secretariat director of the UN Forum on Forests, told General Assembly members.

The agreement is not legally binding on governments but will set new standards for forest management aimed at reducing forest clearing and the degrading of native forests in ways that preserve the livelihoods of forest users.

Patosaari said the lack of national and international mechanisms to underpin sustainable economic uses of woodland areas have defeated attempts to preserve them. About 3 per cent of the world’s forest cover has been destroyed in the last 15 years alone and deforestation accounts for around 20 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN climate conference in Bali kick started a new trial process to pay local communities not to clear forest. Many hope this Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) will lead to a legally binding worldwide agreement.

Environment News Service 27.12.07

For full story, please see:



37. Forest Classification: A Definitional Quagmire or What is a tree? Where is the forest?

13 & 14 February 2008.

Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

Two separate Brown Bag Seminars. Having a common understanding of what constitutes a ‘tree’ and ‘forest’ is fundamental for a discussion of assessment methods, ecosystem status, and sustainability. However, there is considerable variation locally, nationally, and globally in the definition, interpretation, and use of these terms. This presentation examines the range of definitions and descriptors in use, some of the misinterpretations they may cause and makes some recommendations for developing a common understanding of terms. Gyde Lund will be the lecturer.

Noon Wednesday 13 February 2008 at the USDA Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 60 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI - Contact JB Friday -


Noon Thursday 14 February 2008, Honolulu, HI - Contact Ron Cannarella -


38. International Seminar on Medicinal Plants & Herbal Products & International Herbo Expo - 2008

7-9 March 2008

Tirupati, India

Organized by the Department of Botany, S.V. University together with AP Medicinal & Aromatic Plant Board, Hyderabad.

The seminar is expected to be attended by several experts from well-known research and academic institutions, eminent medical physicians, traditional practitioners, NGOs, manufacturer of herbal products, members from the corporate sector, marketing consultants. and farmers from all over India. The delegates will get ample opportunity for exchange of ideas through individual and group discussions. The aim of the seminar is to provide a platform for mutual understanding and discussion between scientists about various aspects of research related to medicinal plants and for formulating strategies to achieve the common goals.

The seminar will cover cultivation, extraction of Medicinal plants and Herbal Products, Plant biotechnology, Supply of planting material and herbal products , applications in Ayurveda, Herbal Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals, standardization and quality control issues and marketing aspects.

For more information, please contact:


e-mail: or and


39. International Conference on Forests, Bioenergy and Climate Change.

20-21 March 2008

Casablanca, Morocco

Deadline for paper abstract submission: 25 January 2008.

For all information related to attendance, registration, abstract submission, conference themes, please:

visit the conference website:

or contact: Dr. Mohammed Ellatifi or


40. Conference 'Forest Recreation and Tourism serving Urbanized Societies' (also the 11th European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF))

28-31 May 2008

Hämeenlinaa, Finland

A call for papers for this event is now open.

All abstracts should be received before 28 February 2008.

Please visit:


41. 2nd International Beekeeping Congress

19-21 August 2008

Thimphu, Bhutan

Asia has long been well known for its glorious tradition of beekeeping and honey hunting, rich and diversified bee flora and fauna and suitable climate for beekeeping almost throughout the year. Asia is one of the leading continents in beekeeping research and training. Beekeeping is now established and developed as a profitable agro- forest based industry providing basic employment, supplementary income and nutritious food to a large rural population besides enhancing crop productivity through pollination.

Judicious planning and meticulous implementation of different innovative programs of Government departments, research institutions, private organizations, Universities and NGOs have paved the way for the modernization of beekeeping. In view of the availability of vast honey potentials, there is tremendous scope for further expansion, extension and diversification of beekeeping for sustainable livelihoods.

Beekeeping plays a crucial role in the present context of commercialization of agriculture and liberalization of economy. It covers entire scope of honeybee resources, bee products, beekeeping practices, pollination services and their interface with business systems and environment integrity. There is a significant unknown diversity of scientific and practical knowledge available in different countries which need to be disseminated properly. Due to lack of coordination amongst different implementing agencies little information is available on the overall status of research, training and extension systems.

The International Beekeeping Conference will provide a forum for reorienting the policies and programs for more productive and sustainable apiculture. The theme of the congress “Beekeeping development and its relevance in mountain agriculture” is most apt in the present context. The conference objective is to showcase research and development activities in bees and bee products.

The three day conference organized by Century Foundation, Bangalore, India in association with Ministry of Agriculture, Royal Government of Bhutan will help to develop an agenda to ensure sustainable livelihood, natural resource use optimization and eco-system protection through income generating activities like beekeeping. It will bring together the international scientific community involved in the study of bees and a unique opportunity to deepen our understanding of the diversity of bees in the Himalayan Kingdom and experience the wonderful hospitality of Bhutan.

Topics / Technical Sessions:

  • Biology and Management of Honeybees
  • Bees and Crop Pollination
  • Honey Flora and Migratory Beekeeping
  • Bee Pests, Diseases and Enemies
  • Bee Products: Processing and Marketing
  • Honey quality, safety and International trade issues
  • Beekeeping Technology and Equipment
  • Bees and Environment
  • Beekeeping Training and Extension
  • Apitherapy
  • Organic Honey Production and its importance

The last date for submission of abstract (s) is May 30, 2008

For more information, please contact:

Dr. V. Sivaram,

Organizing Secretary – 2nd IBC 2008

Department of Botany,

Bangalore University

Bangalore - 560056, INDIA

Email: or

Tele: 91-80-22961315,

Fax: 91-80-23219295

Mobile: 9845514004


Mr. Kailash Pradhan

Dy. Chief Research Officer

Local Coordinator -2nd IBC2008

Council for RNR Research of Bhutan

Ministry of Agriculture

Thimphu, Bhutan

Tel#: 00-975-2-323514/322936

Fax#: 00-975-2- 322504/321097

Mobile #: 00-975-17614798



Congress President:

Dr. Anita, M

Century Foundation

Bangalore, India

Mobile: 91-9845056044



42. Conference 'Landscape Ecology and Forest Management: Challenges and Solutions'

16-18 September 2008 (with subsequent field trip)

Chengdu, China

The deadline for submitting abstracts for this event, organised by the Landscape Ecology working party of IUFRO, has been extended to 15 February 2008.

The conference includes a symposium titled 'Urban forest landscapes in the context of developing countries and rapid urbanization'.

For more details, please visit the conference webpage at:



43. NTFP Proceedings now available

From: Jim Chamberlain,

RG5.11 with the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions recently published the proceedings of the Technical sessions organized by RG5.11 for the XII IUFRO World Congress held in Brisbane, Australia in 2005. The papers presented were all double-blind peer reviewed. To expand the coverage of information regarding Non-Timber Forest Products the abstracts for the sessions were included, as they were accepted.

Copies are available by contacting the Coordinator of 5.11 (address below) or by contacting the Asia Pacific Association of Forestry Research Institutions, c/o FRIM, Kepong 52109 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

For more information, please contact:

Jim Chamberlain, Ph.D.,CF

Research Scientist, Non-Timber Forest Products

Coordinator, Research Group 5.11 (Non-Wood Forest Products), IUFRO

U.S. Forest Service, SRS-4352, National Agroforestry Center

1650 Ramble Road

Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA

Tel: +1-540-231-3611

Fax: +1-540-231-1383

Email: or;;


44. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Caillon, S., and Degeorges, P. 2007. Biodiversity: negotiating the border between nature and culture. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(10):2919-2931.

Croitoru, Lelia. 2007. Valuing the non-timber forest products in the Mediterranean region. Ecological economics. 63(4): 768-775

Farrera, M.A.P., Vovides, A.P., Iglesias, C., Meléndez, N.M., and Camilo, R.M. 2007. Endangered Chamaedorea species (Arecaceae) from southeastern Mexico, with notes on conservation status, habitat, and distribution. Rhodora 109(938):187-196.

Flamenco-Sandoval, A., Ramos, M.M., and Masera, O.R. 2007. Assessing implications of land-use and land-cover change dynamics for conservation of a highly diverse tropical rain forest. Biol. Conserv. 138(1-2):131-145.

Gebauer, J; El-Siddig, K; El-Tahir, B-A-; Salih, A-A-; Ebert, G-; Hammer, K. 2007. Exploiting the potential of indigenous fruit trees: Grewia tenax (Forssk.) Fiori in Sudan. Genetic-resources-and-crop-evolution. Dec; 54(8): 1701-1708.

ABSTRACT: The small leaved white cross berry (Grewia tenax [Forssk.] Fiori) is a fruit-producing deciduous shrub or small tree of widespread occurrence in semi-arid and sub-humid tropical climates. Despite its well-recognized potential and high prices on local markets, there are no commercial plantations in Sudan. Wild plants have continuously been used to meet the growing commercial demand for their fruits. Recently, there has been an increased interest in finding alternative, potentially high-value cash crops to improve the income of small farmers who are currently depending upon growing and selling millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor [L.] Moench), sesame (Sesamum indicum L.), and groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). G. tenax has often been cited as a prime candidate for domestication as a useful horticultural plant. One major factor hampering this development is the limited and scattered knowledge available on this species. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of G. tenax by providing information on its botanical and horticultural characteristics in the effort to promote its domestication and commercialization for regional and global markets.

Hecht, S.B., and Saatchi, S.S. 2007. Globalization and forest resurgence: changes in forest cover in El Salvador. BioScience 57(8):663-672

Kaimowitz, D.; Sheil, D. 2007. Conserving what and for whom? Why conservation should help meet basic human needs in the tropics. Biotropica 39(5):567-574.


Luckert, M.K.; Campbell, B.M.; Gorman, J.T. and Garnett, S.T. 2007. Investing in Indigenous Natural Resource Management. CDU Press.

For more information, download the book flyer and the chapter listing.

Luttrell, Cecilia, Schreckenberg, Kate and Peskett, Leo. 2007. The implications of carbon financing for pro-poor community forestry. ODI Forestry Briefing 14

The emergence of new financing mechanisms associated with the rise of carbon markets brings potential for increased investment in forestry. This paper explores the implications of these mechanisms for community forestry and suggests ways in which such finance may contribute to the pro-poor outcomes of community forestry. The paper also provides an opportunity for those working on the design of carbon financing mechanisms to draw on the experience of community forestry in structuring appropriate benefit systems. The main focus of the discussion is on 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation' (REDD).

McShea, WJ; Healy, WM; Devers, P; Fearer, T; Koch, FH; Stauffer, D; Waldon, J. 2007. Forestry matters: decline of oaks will impact wildlife in hardwood forests. Journal of wildlife management. July; 71(5): 1717-1728.

Morrison, J.A., and Mauck, K. 2007. Experimental field comparison of native and non-native maple seedlings: natural enemies, ecophysiology, growth and survival. J. Ecology 95(5):1036-1049

Mukul, S.A. 2007. Bridging livelihoods and forest conservation in protected areas: Exploring the role and scope of non-timber forest products. Field experience from Satchari National Park, Habiganj, Bangladesh. BSc. Dissertation. Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh. xi + 95 pp.

Mukul, S.A., Uddin, M.B. and Tito, M.R. 2007. Medicinal plant diversity and local healthcare among the people living in and around a conservation area of northern Bangladesh. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management, 8(2).

Ohl-Schacherer, J., Shepard, G.H., Kaplan, H., Peres, C.A., Levi, T., and Yu, D.W. 2007. The sustainability of subsistence hunting by Matsigenka native communities in Manu National Park, Peru. Conserv. Biol. 21(5):1174-1185.

ABSTRACT: The presence of indigenous people in tropical parks has fueled a debate over whether people in parks are conservation allies or direct threats to biodiversity. A well-known example is the Matsigenka (or Machiguenga) population residing in Manu National Park in Peruvian Amazonia. Because the exploitation of wild meat (or bushmeat), especially large vertebrates, represents the most significant internal threat to biodiversity in Manu, we analyzed 1 year of participatory monitoring of game offtake in two Matsigenka native communities within Manu Park (102,397 consumer days and 2,089 prey items). We used the Robinson and Redford (1991) index to identify five prey species hunted at or above maximum sustainable yield within the ~150-kmpo core hunting zones of the two communities: woolly monkey (Lagothrix lagotricha), spider monkey (Ateles chamek), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), Razor-billed Currasow (Mitu tuberosa), and Spix's Guan (Penelope jacquacu). There was little or no evidence that any of these five species has become depleted, other than locally, despite a near doubling of the human population since 1988. Hunter-prey profiles have not changed since 1988, and there has been little change in per capita consumption rates or mean prey weights. The current offtake by the Matsigenka appears to be sustainable, apparently due to source-sink dynamics. Source-sink dynamics imply that even with continued human population growth within a settlement, offtake for each hunted species will eventually reach an asymptote. Thus, stabilizing the Matsigenka population around existing settlements should be a primary policy goal for Manu Park.

Perez, M; Garcia, M; Blustein, G; Stupak, M. 2007. Tannin and tannate from the quebracho tree: an eco-friendly alternative for controlling marine biofouling. Biofouling. 23(3/4): 151-159

Rawat, D.S., and Rana, C.S. 2007. Arenaria curvifolia Majumdar (Caryophyllaceae): an endangered, and endemic Himalayan herb rediscovered. Curr. Sci. 92(11):1486-1488.

Richards, Michael and Jenkins, Michael. 2007. Potential and challenges of payments for ecosystem services from tropical forests. ODI Forestry Briefing 16.

This paper summarises current potential and challenges facing the development of payments for ecosystem services (PES) as a means of promoting the sustainable management or conservation of tropical forests, including the challenge of combining equity or poverty reduction objectives with environmental objectives, and the interaction of PES with broader forest sector and 'extra-sectoral' policies.

Sánchez-Azofeifa, G.A., et al. 2007. Costa Rica's payment for environmental services program: intention, implementation, and impact. Conserv. Biol. 21(5):1165-1173.


Sekhsaria, P. 2007. Conservation in India and the need to think beyond 'tiger vs. tribal'. Biotropica 39(5):575-577.

Uddin, M.S., Mukul, S.A. and Abedin, M.J. 2007. Assessing local and urban native fruit markets in Sylhet district, Bangladesh. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management. 8(2).

Uddin, M.B. and Mukul, S.A. 2007. Improving Forest Dependent Livelihoods through NTFPs and Home Gardens: A case study from Satchari National Park. Pp 13-35. In: Fox, J., Bushley, B., Dutt, S. and Quazi, S.A. (eds). Making Conservation Work: Linking Rural Livelihoods and Protected Areas in Bangladesh. Hawaii: East-West Center and Dhaka: Bangladesh Forest Department (available online at:

Valle, DR do; Staudhammer, CL; Cropper, WP Jr. 2007. Simulating nontimber forest product management in tropical mixed forests. Journal of forestry. Sept; 105(6): 301-306.

Wilson, K.A., Underwood, E.C., Morrison, S.A., Klausmeyer, K.R., Murdoch, W.W., Reyers, B., Wardell-Johnson, G., Marquet, P.A., Rundel, P.W., McBride, M.F., Pressey, R.L., Bode, M., Hoekstra, J.M., Andelman, S., Looker, M., Rondinini, C., Kareiva, P., Shaw, M.R., and Possingham, H.P. 2007. Conserving biodiversity efficiently: what to do, where, and when. PLoS Biol. 5(9):1850-1861.

Zambrana, N.Y.P., Byg, A., Svenning, J.C., Moraes, M., Grandez, C., and Balslev, H. 2007. Diversity of palm uses in the western Amazon. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(10):2771-2787.



45. Brazil: Inpe will map post-harvest forests in Amazonia

Source: Folha do Amapá, 9 January 2008

Despite the fact that it is the only country with tropical rainforests that monitors deforestation, Brazil still does not truly know how much standing forest exists in Amazonia. There is no reliable estimate of how much regeneration is occurring in the region.

"We have two educated guesses", jokes Inpe's Dalton Valeriano. He is referring to preliminary estimates that point to some 160,000 square kilometers of secondary forest, within a 665,000 square kilometer area deforested. Uncertainty regarding figures is as great as their importance. Secondary forests, after all, absorb carbon gas (the main greenhouse gas) as they grow. And they grow quickly. "You can walk beneath them in five years", says the scientist. Finding out how much secondary forest exists in Amazonia is really the only way Brazil can know precisely what its carbon balance is.

Almeida is performing a type of 'reverse engineering" of Prodes images. Instead of covering the deforested area and looking at what's left, he is 'masking' the rainforest. Since signs of secondary forests are quite visible on satellite images, researchers believe that by the end of the study they will have an estimate of what is regenerating with a 5% margin of error. "We will not only be able to tell whether or not there is a forest, but what kind of forest it is", says Valeriano. (CA)

For full story, please see:


46. Elephants keep ants in harmony with tree hosts

Source: New Scientist, UK, 10 January 2008

If the African savannah were to lose elephants, giraffes, and other large grazing mammals, there would be unexpected ecological effects all the way down to the ants and acacia trees of the plains, suggests a new study.

The mutually beneficial relationship between acacia trees of the African savannah and the ants that live on the trees and defend them from harm has an unexpected third partner in the form of these large mammals.

In the absence of the grazers, the formerly cosy relationship between trees and ants breaks down into an every-species-for-itself battle.

The whistling-thorn acacia (Acacia drepanolobium) and its ants have long been a textbook example of a mutualistic relationship. The tree provides the ants with nectar and hollow thorns to live in. The ants return the favour by aggressively attacking any animal that touches the tree.

Todd Palmer of the University of Florida in Gainesville, US, and his colleagues compared this relationship in 12 study plots in Kenya.

Tree harm

On half of the plots, large herbivorous mammals have been fenced out since 1995. On the other half, herbivores still roam freely.

In plots without herbivores, the trees produced less nectar and fewer hollow thorns, presumably because they needed less protection.

Sure enough, the most beneficial species of ant, Crematogaster mimosae, was 30% less common on trees in these plots. Instead, it was replaced by a second ant, C. sjostedti, which harms the trees by encouraging attack by a stem-boring beetle.

As a result, trees on the herbivore exclusion plots grew more slowly and were more likely to die than trees on control plots.

'Ripple effects'

Even C. mimosae becomes less "friendly" on the exclusion plots. Left with less food and housing, it stops attacking invaders and begins tending sap-sucking insects, again to the detriment of its host.

The result has sobering implications for conservation. Large mammals are especially vulnerable to habitat loss and encroachment by human settlements, and their numbers are declining over much of Africa. If the decline continues, far more than the mammals themselves could be at risk, the study suggests.

"Make a major perturbation and you're likely to see ripple effects that you might not have expected," says Robert Pringle, a member of the study team at Stanford University in California, US.

Journal reference: Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1151579)

For full story, please see:

Related article:


47. 'No clear trend' in forest loss

Source: BBC News – UK, 8 January 2008

Data on tropical forest cover is so poor that we do not know if the forests are declining, a study has found.

Alan Grainger from the UK's University of Leeds examined UN analyses going back almost 30 years, and found that "evidence for a decline is unclear". Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), he proposes a global forest monitoring system.

The UN admits there are problems with the data, but says tropical forests are certainly in retreat.

Dr Grainger is not so sure. "People have been assuming that forest cover is shrinking," he told BBC News, "and certainly deforestation has been taking place on a large scale."

But, he says, there is also evidence that in some countries, forests are expanding spontaneously.

"Our analysis does not prove that tropical forest decline is not happening, merely that it is difficult to demonstrate it convincingly using available tropical forest area data," he writes in PNAS.

Revised estimates

The UN reports are produced by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its regular global Forest Resources Assessments (FRAs). Assembled principally using data from national forest authorities, the FRAs are widely regarded as the most accurate estimates available, which is why they are used by many researchers in the areas of forestry, land-use change and sustainability.

For his PNAS paper, Dr Grainger looked at the four most recent FRAs, published in 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2005. Each of the individual reports showed a decline in tropical forest cover; but across the four reports, he found no trend was discernible. This is largely because each assessment revised earlier estimates of cover. For example, in 1980 the FAO estimated natural tropical forests spanned 1,970 million hectares. But the 1990 assessment used a revised figure for 1980 of 1,910 million hectares.

The FAO says it made these revisions because better data became available, and because each assessment used different criteria.

"What you've got is a desire by the FAO for consistency inside each of its studies," commented Dr Grainger, "but that's come at the expense of consistency between studies."

Resource drain

"I agree totally that there are tremendous difficulties in tracking long-term trends in the area of tropical forest, although we are witnessing some improvements," responded Mette Loyche Wilkie, a senior forestry officer at FAO who co-ordinated the 2005 FRA.

"We know that very few countries in the world undertake regular assessments; in the tropics, that's primarily due to lack of resources," she said. "In Africa, for example, a number of countries undertook national inventories in the 1970s and 1980s, funded by external donors; and very few have reported inventories since then; donors, and the countries themselves, have had other priorities."

Despite these difficulties, she believes the assessments have shown clearly that tropical forest cover is declining. "We saw this clearly for example in the 2000 assessment, where we undertook a remote sensing survey of tropical countries and it was very clear there had been a decline during the period 1980-2000."

In preparing for its 2010 assessment, the FAO is planning a survey of current and historical satellite data to give higher-quality estimates of forest extent, and to establish uniform and consistent standards between countries.

Alan Grainger agrees that such an analysis is needed. But he urges going further, advocating the establishment of a World Forest Observatory to monitor developments precisely. "What is happening to the tropical forests is so important, both to the peoples of tropical countries and to future trends in biodiversity and global climate, that we can no longer put off investing in an independent scientific monitoring programme that can combine satellite and ground data to give a reliable picture," he said.

Political initiatives to tackle climate change have renewed the interest of some western governments in tropical forestry.

If richer nations are to pay poorer ones to protect forests - a concept which appears likely to form a centrepiece of a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol - monitoring changes in cover will become a high priority.

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009