No. 08/04

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

Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page:

1. Acai berry sales to U.S brings security to Amazon farmers
2. Bushmeat: Anthrax now jumps to wild chimpanzees
3. Bushmeat: Wildlife announces ban on hunting during the close season
4. Medicinal plants: Amazonia loses medicinal plants and knowledge
5. Medicinal Plants: Traditional medicines 'must be registered and studied'
6. Australia: Fellow activists hit at green forest proposal
7. Bhutan: MacArthur Foundation provides $1.5 million for new forestry school
8. Brazil: Law to regulate the exploitation of NWFP in Acre State
9. Brazil: women to export handicrafts
10. Brazil: Conservation International starts scientific expeditions in Amapa
11. China to restore forest coverage to 19 percent by 2010
12. Indonesia: Kubu tribe marginalized on their own soil
13. Kenya: Lack of funds hindering tree planting plan
14. Mali: Government imposes six-month ban on tree felling
15. Namibia: Call to combat fires, save forests
16. Namibia: Spectre of desert looms
17. Thailand: Governors held to account for efforts to protect forest
18. Zambia: Lusaka forest reserves only account for 1.34%
19. Who conserves the world's forests?
20. Bees: Forest makes coffee farm richer
21. Bee Foundation to sign deal
22. Bioprospecting: Little prospect of bioprospecting 'billions'
23. Biotrade: Andean nations bet on biotrade
24. The Netherlands pledges 20 million euros to partnership programme
25. Training Announcement on NTFP Management

26. Non-wood products management and use in the Mediterranean region¿
27. The second Alaska non-timber forest products conference, Hidden Forest Values II
28. World Habitat Day 2004
29. 7th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of WIPO

30. Who conserves the world's forests? Community-driven strategies to protect forests and respect rights
31. Make free markets fair markets
32. Research articles categorized on the basis of plant names
33. The Overstory: Edible Leaves
34. Other publications of interest
35. Web sites and e-zines
36. Request for assistance: Beekeeping for forestry conservation and development
37. Five new Natural World Heritage sites designed
38. South Africa: Responsible forestry is our aim, says state
39. Describe species before they disappear
40. Warmer weather, human disturbances interact to change forests
41. Periodistas de temas ambientales amazónicos se reunirán en Brasil en junio del 2005



1. Acai berry sales to U.S brings security to Amazon farmers

Source: The New York Times, 4 August 2004 (in Amazon News, 5.8.04)

For more than 30 years, Raimundo Julião da Costa has eked out a living by selling a dazzling array of wild tropical fruits that grow naturally on his land in the lush floodplains of the Amazon rainforest. His biggest seller has always been açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) - a dark purple berry rich in nutrients that sprouts atop the millions of palm trees lining the riverbanks in the Brazilian jungle. But like thousands of other poor farmers, until recently Mr. da Costa found himself at the mercy of middlemen who have had a strong hold on the local fruit market for generations.

That started to change two years ago, when a few environmentally conscious surfers from a small California company called Sambazon offered to buy Mr. da Costa's açaí harvest at a 25 percent premium over the market price. The only catch - he had to designate a piece of his land as an ecological reserve and carefully manage the rest of his terrain to protect the biodiversity of the rainforest.

Mr. da Costa's American buyers may be relative newcomers, but they are already helping change the face of the tropical fruit trade in this part of the Brazilian Amazon. Because Sambazon offers guaranteed contracts, hundreds of peasant families are able, for the first time, to lock in a price for the bulk of their crop before the harvest. And as their sales become more lucrative, people have an incentive to preserve their habitat instead of abandoning it in search of work in nearby cities like Belém, where many former river dwellers live in poverty in crime-ridden shantytowns.

"The idea is to show the locals that it can pay off to become stewards of the forest," said Ryan Black, chief executive and a founder of Sambazon in San Clemente, Calif. (USA). While those may sound like the words of a seasoned environmental advocate, it was Mr. Black's nose for business that drew him into the conservationist movement. He and a friend, Ed Nichols, came up with the idea for importing tropical fruit after tasting açaí during a surfing trip to northeastern Brazil in 1999. A few months later, they founded Sambazon, short for Saving and Managing the Brazilian Amazon.

Rich in antioxidants and amino acids, açaí is thought to be one of the most nutritional fruits of the Amazon basin. So Mr. Black and Mr. Nichols first went after the health-conscious, processing the fruit into packs of frozen pulp mixed with guaraná, another berry from the Amazon that contains natural stimulants. Then they started distributing it to juice bars and fitness clubs throughout Southern California. Sambazon açaí is now carried by thousands of juice bars and grocery stores across the country. In most Brazilian cities, açaí is also a recent phenomenon, even though it has been a staple for indigenous communities in the Amazon for centuries.

The rising demand for açaí is good news for both Sambazon, which has been in business four years and hopes to turn its first profit this year, and the families along the Amazon who depend on the palm berry for their livelihood. Sambazon buys açaí from more than 750 families organized into four fruit cooperatives in the Várzea Flooded Forest, an unusual microclimate in Pará state where the Amazon river rises over 30 feet every year and floods the surrounding jungle. As word travels that a foreign company is paying a hefty premium for açaí, hundreds more families are rushing to join the co-ops.

Still, not everyone is thrilled with the arrival of Sambazon: a few local fruit processors complain that the company is artificially forcing up açaí prices. And middlemen, who often work for fruit merchants in nearby cities, are starting to put pressure on açaí pickers to stop selling their crops to Sambazon. Despite the complaints, Sambazon represents only a sliver of the market, around 2 percent of the region's crop.

"There is a concern that if acaí prices go up as a result of Sambazon paying a premium, that could hurt local consumers here in the region that eat acaí as a daily staple," said Aluízio Solyno of the Federation of Social and Educational Organs, a local NGO that helps the region's fruit gatherers set up co-ops. "The people who pick the fruit are benefiting, but a poor person who lives on the outskirts of Belém and eats acaí every day isn't."

One way middlemen try to woo locals away from importers like Sambazon is by offering cash up front to finance their harvest, an exceedingly rare financial luxury for small farmers in developing nations. But fortunately for Sambazon, the farmers here have another source of financing - EcoLogic Enterprise Ventures. A microcredit fund based in Cambridge, Mass., EcoLogic provides low-interest loans of $25,000 to $500,000 in environmentally sensitive rural areas in Latin America. EcoLogic's repayment rate is 98 percent.

EcoLogic has been supporting the açaí co-ops in the Amazon since November 2003, when it lent Sambazon $175,000 for last season's harvest. This year EcoLogic expects to disburse $400,000 to the company - $300,000 in August, just in time for the harvest, and the remainder in September, when the picking season kicks into high gear. Sambazon gets additional financial backing from environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy.

2. Bushmeat: Anthrax now jumps to wild chimpanzees

Source: The Nation (Nairobi), 29 July 2004

Anthrax has killed at least several wild chimpanzees in the tropical rainforest of the Ivory Coast - the first time the disease has been seen in these animals and in this type of habitat. As well as threatening great ape populations, the discovery raises fears that the disease could spread to humans through the illegal trade in bushmeat.

Researchers studying chimps (Pantroglodytes verus) in the Tai National Park saw eight animals disappear or die suddenly in the last few years. Healthy animals became weak, vomited and died within a few hours of symptoms appearing. Post mortems revealed that the animals suffered massive internal bleeding, suggesting bacterial infection as a possible cause. Genetic analysis of six animals showed Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, to be the culprit.

"Finding anthrax was a big surprise," says Georg Pauli from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany, who studied the primates. There have been no previous reports of anthrax in wild chimps, and the bacterium, which also infects humans and hooved animals, has not been found in Africa's tropical rainforests before.

"It's a serious problem for chimps," says conservationist Peter Walsh from Princeton University, New Jersey. Africa's 100 000 to 200 000 remaining wild chimps are already under threat from commercial hunting, habitat destruction and the Ebola virus. It is not clear whether the anthrax outbreak is a one-off, or if there are likely to be further incidents.

The disease could also spread to humans. The bacterium forms hardy spores that can be breathed in, consumed in contaminated food and water, or can infect the skin through human-to-animal contact.

Although illegal, the bushmeat trade continues to thrive, so hunters could catch anthrax when handling infected corpses.

It is unclear how the chimps became infected, making it hard for officials to instigate prevention and containment strategies. One possibility is that the disease was imported from neighbouring countries, where anthrax is endemic. Deforestation means that cattle transport routes from Mali and Burkina Faso now pass close to the Tai National Park border, so the chimps may have caught the disease from passing livestock. Our lack of knowledge highlights the need for improved health surveillance of wild chimps, says Pauli. In response to the anthrax finding, he is helping to establish a survey to assess the disease status of the world's great apes.

The threat of the disease affecting humans is real with the current levels of illegal bushmeat trade. Although monkey and chimps are not delicacies in East Africa like they are in West Africa, now the proliferation of bushmeat trade in Kenya cannot rule out the presence of these meats in the local outlets.

An on-going analysis of meat sold in Nairobi markets indicates that over a third of samples analysed so far are not from beef, mutton or goat. They are from bushmeat. The preliminary analysis so far only differentiates between bushmeat and the three mentioned but a further analysis that identifies the bushmeat up to the species level is underway and will be released soon.

The analysis, which is supported by the Kenya Wildlife Coalition, is bound to send shockwaves in Kenya's conservation circles, as well as to nyama choma (roasted meat) enthusiasts. It also came at a time when major stakeholders in the conservation industry were meeting in Mombasa for a three-day conference to chart the way forward for wildlife utilization in this country.

Statistics indicate that after drugs, bushmeat trade is the second largest illegal trade in the world, worth in excess of US$5.5 billion. Fifteen million animals are killed each year in the Brazilian Amazon alone.

Forty-four tons of bushmeat is consumed in logging camps in Peru. Ghana trades in 140 million pounds per annum worth of bush meat.

Twenty one tons of bushmeat is sold in Ghana in one month at over 26,000 pounds. In Ivory Coast, about $117 million is received from bushmeat trade per year.

In total, two million metric tons of illegal bushmeat is harvested each year in Africa, with an estimated 300 000 tons being consumed in Kenya. Nigeria is the largest exporter of bushmeat in Africa, yet it has low wildlife population and thus may be obtaining the bushmeat from other countries.

Last year, 82 people were caught with bushmeat while 22 have been caught this year. It is believed that this meat finds its way to outlets in Nairobi such as Burma Market, Rikana House as well as butcheries in other towns.

Wildlife experts now fear that the trade is getting out of the hands of poor people and is financed by fairly wealthy people. The bushmeat trade is now recognized as a major direct cause of wildlife decline in eastern and southern Africa.

A DSRS survey shows that 58 per cent of Kenya's wildlife has been lost in the last 20 years and most of this is attributed to the bush meat trade," said a participant at the meeting.

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3. Bushmeat: Wildlife announces ban on hunting during the close season

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), 4 August 2004

The annual ban on hunting of wildlife throughout the country has been announced by the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission in a release signed and issued by Mrs. Vivian Nuhu this week.

¿The annual ban on hunting of wildlife throughout the country is here with us again. The period referred to as the "Close Season" by the Wildlife Conservation Regulations LA. 685 at 1971 directs that during the four months of 1 August to 1 December each year, there should be no hunting of wild animals, with the exception of the grasscutter. The purpose is to give wild animals, including duikers, royal antelopes, bush pigs, etc which supply the bulk of bushmeat and would be breeding about that time, to enable their young ones develop into the next generation. In addition, collecting or destroying any wildlife for trade, population control or any reason whatsoever, is not allowed during this period.

Non-observance of the close season thus undermines the sustainability and eventual existence of wild animal populations, thereby depriving Ghanaians of a valuable natural resource.

The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission does not support a complete ban on bushmeat. We believe that if the principle of the close season is understood and observed in the same way that no one kills a pregnant goat/sheep/cow or brooding hen but waits for the mother to wean off the young, there would surely be continuous supply of bushmeat.

The grasscutter has been exempted from the Close Season because thorough study of this prolific breeder has been done and including it in the Close Season might result in excessive populations with possible negative impact on agricultural production. However, one needs a license to hunt grasscutters. This way, the use of chemicals and other dangerous or unorthodox means could be monitored and curtailed. The District Assemblies, when issuing trading licenses to bushmeat traders/sellers, are to ensure such licenses cover only grasscutters hunted by hunters with permits obtained from the Wildlife Division. Traders who flout this aspect of the L.I. 685, 1973, will have themselves to blame.

We pray that the public will not patronise the sale of all bushmeat, dead, alive or smoked except for grasscutters so that hunters will find it uneconomical to hunt these animals during this period. Remember that the wild animals belong to both the present and future generations and that their continuing existence depends on each and every one of us. We therefore are appealing to all, especially the police, to arrest and prosecute such offenders by notifying the nearest Wildlife Division and Forestry Commission offices or the Executive Director, Wildlife Division in Accra.¿

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4. Medicinal plants: Amazonia loses medicinal plants and knowledge

Source: O Estado de S.Paulo, 9 August 2004 (in Amazon News, 12.8.04)

Chainsaws that advance into the Amazonia forest not only knock down trees. With the loss of plants, knowledge about them, principally their medicinal characteristics, is also being lost. This has been confirmed by researchers from the Federal University at Minas Gerais, who are comparing two studies, one conducted in 1984 and the other in 2001, on the use of medicinal plants, specifically those used against malaria, for the population in the south of Para State.

According to Maria das Graças Lins Brandão, one of the study¿s authors, through deforestation Brazil is losing a wealth in which no one is aware of the dimensions. ¿We are not only talking about material wealth, our work has shown that we are also actually losing the culture/knowledge related to these medicinal plants,¿ she stated. ¿For us it was horrendous to confirm that in such a short period of time, especially in São Feliz do Xingu, they no longer know the medicinal plants of the region.¿ Their intention was to collect more data and samples of plants that were used versus malaria. ¿But there was nothing left. When the plants disappear, traditional knowledge becomes forgotten. Future generations do not learn about their properties¿, she concluded.

5. Medicinal Plants: Traditional medicines 'must be registered and studied'

Source: GhanaWeb.Com (in SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 16 - 22 August 2004.)

A World Health Organization official has urged traditional medicine practitioners in Africa to register their products to gain more benefits ¿ including international trade ¿ from their use. Speaking on 16 August at the first scientific meeting of the Western Africa Network of Natural Products Research Scientists, which focused on malaria and HIV/AIDS, Charles Wambebe said that only 22 of 46 African countries have policies or laws covering traditional medicine.

Wambebe said traditional medicine was the most accessible form of treatment for most Africans, and underlined the need for more complementary use of traditional and modern medicine practices to meet the health needs of the majority. He also stressed the importance of research and conservation of medicinal plants to ensure their sustainable use.

Speaking at the same meeting, Marian Ewurama Addy, the network's executive secretary, said she was concerned that local pharmacists prefer to import foreign drugs rather than prepare traditional treatments. She said medicinal plants would be used more effectively and rationally and would have greater value if more were known about their scientific basis.

Link to full GhanaWeb.Com news story

6. Australia: Fellow activists hit at green forest proposal

Source: Tasmania Examiner, 2 August 2004 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.07)

Thirteen Tasmanian conservation groups yesterday united in rejecting World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)¿s Blueprint for the Forest Industry and Vegetation Management in Tasmania. Speaking in Launceston along with leaders from other conservation groups, Geoff Law, of The Wilderness Society, said that if the blueprint were adopted it would go against 25 years of work to protect Tasmania's old-growth forests and biodiversity. He added that the WWF did not consult with local groups and was "setting the bar too low" when it came to environmental goals.

While the blueprint would protect some public forest from land clearing, it would still be logged. It does not support community campaigns to stop logging in areas considered locally important, such as the Great Western Tiers and the North-East highlands. Furthermore, it supports the unpopular Southwood proposal and suggests compensating Forestry Tasmania for not clearing State forest.

For the full text, see

7. Bhutan: MacArthur Foundation provides $1.5 million for new forestry school

Source: Environmental Media Service,, 7 July 2004 ((in Community Forestry E-News 2004.07))

The MacArthur Foundation has announced a grant of $1.5 million to Bhutan to establish a new forestry school ¿ the Ugyen Wangchuck School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ¿ to train conservationists and managers for the country's forest nature reserves, which cover 35 percent of the country. Forest guards and protected area staff will be taught the newest conservation techniques and protected area management approaches. Courses will also be available for professional staff to receive additional training to update their skills when necessary. The school will be designed to accommodate the number of staff required to manage the country's protected areas ¿an annual intake of 70 students ¿ with adequate space to offer training courses on specially designed topics such as watershed management or environmental education. It will be located in Bumthang District in central Bhutan, with access to nearby forests and the Thrumshingla National Park for practical field training.

Training programs will be developed in collaboration with the Yale School of Forestry, the U.S. Forest Service, the Asian Institute of Technology, and the University of Montana's School of Forestry. Once established, the school's operating costs will be supported by the Royal Government of Bhutan.

For the full text, see

8. Brazil: Law to regulate the exploitation of NWFP in Acre State

Source: O Rio Branco , 13 August 2004 (in Amazon News, 19.8.04)

Non-timber forestry products from areas smaller than 500 ha will now have regulations for product exploitation and commercialization. Acre's Institute of the Environment (IMAC) and the Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) signed an inter-institutional agreement that will require that native seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, skins that are destined for medicinal, ornamental, aromatic, industrial uses may not be transported to other regions in their natural form.

Anselmo Forneck, the executive director of IBAMA reported that the concern is to avoid that natural resources and dividends for the State that come from forestry products are being freely transported to other regions, without contributing to Acre's development. With respect to environmental aspects, the new law will permit better control and inspection of forestry products that are not derived from timber, through sustainable management in the forest.

9. Brazil: women to export handicrafts

Source: O Estado de S.Paulo, 12 August 2004 (in Amazon News, 19.8.04)

Women with low incomes from the Pantanal neighbourhood, some of the most needy in Porto Velho, are exporting hammocks, baskets and other pieces made from prime materials from the forest to France, Belgium and the US. The first cargo sent in March was valued at R$30 000.

The export has changed women's lives, as for example that of Raimunda Conceicao Reis, 51 years old. One year ago Raimunda entered the Salesian Socio-education Centre, connected with the Union for Micro and Small business (SIMPI). With other women, she learned to make straw baskets and cotton hammocks that are now exported to Europe. For every hammock that she exports, she earns $35, however in the last couple of months she has stopped producing to teach other women how to make pieces, and it could get even better. The SIMPI president, Leonardo Sobral, says that their work will go even farther. "SIMPI has an office in Porto Velho and one in Florida, and now we are filming a documentary, in Portuguese, French and English showing the production by the women. This will help them to conquest new markets."

10. Brazil: Conservation International starts scientific expeditions in Amapa

Source: Conservation International Brasil, 1 August 2004 (in Amazon News, 5.8.04)

Today a series of 15 scientific expeditions will start in Amapa's conservation units. The initiative's objective is to map the local biodiversity in the Amapa's conservation units and to help with the elaboration of efficient public policies for the conservation of natural riches. The mega-operation is lead by the NGO Conservational International (CI-Brazil), in partnership with the Institute for Scientific and Technological Research of Amapa State (IEPA), the State Secretary of the Environment (SEMA) and IBAMA-Amapa. It will also receive support from the Brazilian Army. The expeditions will be conducted during the next two years at an estimated cost of R$700 000. Among the conservation units is the National Park of the Tumucumaque Mountains, the world's largest tropical forest with more than 3.8 million hectares.

None of these areas possess management plans and are lacking basic infrastructure from administrative offices to equipment and information about the diversity existing in the region. "This lack of information directly affects the elaboration of the management plans for the protection of these areas", explained Enrico Bernar, the projects co-ordinator of CI-Brazil in Amazonia.

"We need to break with the idea that a protected area is an impediment to economic development", affirmed Jose Maria Cardoso, CI-Brazil's scientific vice-president. He explained that the recent study on the economic impact of the ten conservations units around Manaus demonstrated that the annual financial movement from these areas passes US$1.7 million, generating 210 jobs, with an average income of US$4 330 per employee.

The expeditions' work will form a nucleus around the Amapa's Corridor of Biodiversity, and has as an objective to contribute to the effective protection of areas of great importance for biodiversity and for the socio-economic development of the State.

The expeditions will also explore the opportunities to create new conservation units that connect those already existing, in the hope of concluding the design of Amapa's Corridors of Biodiversity, promoting a real green ring around the areas of major development in the State.

11. China to restore forest coverage to 19 percent by 2010

Source: Xinhuanet, 19 July 2004 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.07)

The Chinese government has set an ambitious goal in its forestry restoration work, saying that it will improve its current forest coverage rate of 16.55 percent to more than 19 percent in the coming six years. Other goals include restoring national forest coverage up to 23 percent by 2020 and to 26 percent by 2050. Much of China's natural forests have been destroyed to make way for economic development. Over the past half century, China consumed 8.6 billion m3 of forestry resources, producing more than 5 billion m3 of timbers for construction. In the process, the country's forest coverage rate dropped to 62 percent of the world's average.

Over the past year, the Central Government has poured more than 43.1 billion yuan (US$5.19 billion) into forestry restoration. This year the figure is expected to reach 44.2 billion yuan (US$5.32 billion). The government's cumulative investment in forestry restoration from 1949 to 1999 was just 24.3 billion yuan (US$2.93 billion). Last year, China's afforestation area reached 10.9 million hectares or 1 percent of the country's territory area, adding more than 45 million new job opportunities. Since the natural forest protection project was launched in 1998, 320 million m3 of forestry resources have been saved and commercial logging has been banned in 13 provinces along the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the Yellow River.

China has increased its forest area by 13.3 million hectares in recent years through afforestation and returning fragile land from farmland to forest projects. "China's total forestry resources are still inadequate," said a senior official with the State Forestry Bureau, adding that the country's economic and social development in the coming 50 years is expected to require 18.5 billion m3 of timber consumption ¿ 1.6 times the country's current total forestry resources.

Coping with the contradiction between economic development and forestry restoration is clearly a long-term project for the Chinese government

For the full text, see

12. Indonesia: Kubu tribe marginalized on their own soil

Source: Jakarta Post, 20 July 2004 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.07)

About 1 300 people from the Kubu tribe living in Bukit Duabelas National Park, Jambi, are being marginalized. Previously known for respecting the environment, chronic poverty has changed their habits and forced them to participate in illegal logging activities, working as guides, porters or loggers.

Logging has depleted natural resources in the forests, including animals and plants that used to be a food source for tribe members. It has also opened up the forests to urban dwellers, thus exposing the Kubu people to modern lifestyles and inculcating a desire in them to emulate the city people. Illegal logging provides a source of income for them to meet their basic needs and, for some, to catch up with modernity.

In addition, the Kubu tribespeople are pressured to supply traditional buyers, jenang waris or tauke, with logs to compensate the decrease of other forest products. The Kubu are dependent on and felt obligated to the jenang waris, who often helped them by providing staple foods when the tribal people were unable to collect forest products.

Conflicts between those who do not participate in illegal logging and those who do are more prevalent. Illegal logging continues totally unchecked due to the absence of security officers in the protected forest, and the number of trees in the 60,500-ha forest has declined substantially.

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13. Kenya: Lack of funds hindering tree planting plan

Source: The Nation (Nairobi), 2 August 2004

Plans to plant more trees have been frustrated by lack of workers and money, an assistant minister said, yesterday.

Prof Wangari Maathai said that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources had last year urged communities living near Government forests to plant tree nurseries. Under the programme, the ministry was to buy the seedlings at Sh5 each, while the communities were to provide labour during planting. But the plan failed due to lack of funds. Prof Maathai said that in her Tetu constituency, which was supposed to be a pilot project, there were about 300 000 seedlings waiting to be planted in Aberdare Forest. The project would have cost Sh1.5 million, but the district forest officer only received Sh250 000.

The tree-planting programme was meant to discourage communities living near Government forests from farming in them by providing them with an alternative source of income.

Prof Maathai said last year's sacking of foresters did not augur well for the programme. She said a plan to reclaim the areas under indigenous forest cover had also been affected by the shortage of foresters. "We started off on a bad note by sending away our foresters. Even when some of them returned in March, they did not do much because there was no money," she said.

She also asked Kenyans to be patient, as the Government was working on a national forest policy to benefit them all. Tea and coffee farmers have been pressurising the Government to open up forests for cultivation of food crops.

In an attempt to move away from plantation to conservation forestry, the Government plans to zone off areas under natural forest cover and those for plantation forests, she said.

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14. Mali: Government imposes six-month ban on tree felling

Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, 11 August 2004

The government of Mali has imposed a six-month ban on tree felling to try and slow the rate at which the country's savannah woodland is being steadily decimated for firewood and charcoal. However, housewives in the capital Bamako are grumbling that this has pushed up the price of cooking fuel.

The Ministry of the Environment estimates that Mali is loosing 400 000 ha of tree cover a year to meet the rising demand for construction timber and fuelwood. According to Felix Dakouo, the ministry's director of conservation, the country's 12 million population consumes six million tonnes of wood per year. In Bamako, that works out at 1.5 kg of wood per day for each of the city's one million inhabitants -- a rate of consumption which this arid country can no longer afford as the Sahara desert, which covers the northern half of Mali, advances steadily southwards.

At a conference in the central town of Mopti in June, local farmers complained to President Amadou Toumani about unauthorised logging and charcoal exports to countries like neighbouring Mauritania. The government responded at the beginning of July by banning the cutting down of live trees and the export of charcoal for six months. This covers Mali's rainy season and the early cooler part of the dry season which follows. "From now on people will have to make do with dead wood. Removing that makes our forests healthier," Environment Minister Nancouma Keita said.

Groups of wardens are due to patrol the forests to ensure the logging ban is adhered to. Anyone wishing to cut down dead trees will require a special permit and will have to work under their supervision. The forest wardens have been empowered to seize vehicles and chainsaws on the spot. Offenders also face a fine and possible imprisonment.

Some people welcomed the tree felling ban, noting that less than 10 percent of Mali's land is covered with trees and that deforestation is taking place at the rate of one percent a year, speeding the southward advance of the Sahara.

"At this pace, if nothing is done, our children's future will be threatened," one retired forestry worker told IRIN. He lamented the fact that the forest rangers who once stopped people from chopping down Mali woodland illegally had lost all their authority in recent years.

But others are worried about a 50 percent rise in the cost of firewood and charcoal in Bamako since the measure came into effect because fewer supplies are reaching the city. Throughout Mali, most people use wood fires or small charcoal stoves to cook their daily meal. Only a small minority of affluent people in the main towns use gas or electricity.

The government has suspended logging until the end of January 2005 as a one-off measure that will not necessarily be repeated in future years.

But it is also launching initiatives to boost future wood supplies and increase public awareness when it comes to conservation. During the summer holidays, school children in Bamako have been charged with planting new trees along all the city's main avenues and ensuring that at least 400 saplings are planted in each suburb of the dusty smog-ridden capital. Student Ami Konate was enthusiastic about the project. "We're planting trees to preserve our environment. Whoever plants a tree, has not lived in vain," the 16-year-old said. But she had a word of reproach for the adults. "If you cut down all the trees, what will we have left?"

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15. Namibia: Call to combat fires, save forests

Source: The Namibian (Windhoek), 29 July 2004

The Chairperson of the Kavango Regional Farmers' Union, Mathew Wakudumo, has appealed to residents in the region to declare war on veld fires. Wakudumo told Nampa that people should take the matter of veld fires very seriously forests were being destroyed every year and this could lead to desertification.

He stressed that a collective effort was needed from all stakeholders. Wakudumo urged traditional leaders, with the assistance of the Namibian Police, to heavily punish people who caused fires.

He said many residents benefited from forests in various ways, such as providing material for building their huts. "Why can't we stop fires so that we can continue benefiting from our forests' resources?" asked Wakudumo.

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16. Namibia: Spectre of desert looms

Source: New Era (Windhoek), 6 August 2004

Fears are rife in Otjinene that desertification may set in if people continue to cut down trees at the present rate. Some residents of Otjinene say trucks stacked with droppers and poles, which are sold to mostly commercial farmers for fencing, is a very common sight in the area.

Former councillor of Otjinene, Billy Katjatenya, said yesterday that as a farmer and a resident he shared people's concerns about the way yellow trees were being felled. The yellow tree (termina-lias ericea) is used as both cattle feed as well as building material. But Katjatenja was quick to point out that he assumed people cutting down the trees did so with the necessary permission.

The area manager for Otjinene in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism said all people cutting droppers had permits from the forestry office, as well as permission from either the traditional chief or the forestry committee of the areas concerned. Ezegiel Kavari said there was no reason for concern because the communities themselves allowed people to cut down the droppers. He noted that some had permission to cut up to 10 000 droppers, adding that the forestry office could only take action if it felt that trees in a particular area needed to regenerate or if there was some illegal cutting.

However, Kavari said if uncontrolled, the practice could cause desertification.

Meanwhile, the forestry office is in the process of establishing community forestry whereby the community will be responsible for the management of the forests. The process may take up to next year or 2006 to be completed.

At the moment, a survey is being conducted to come up with an inventory of all the trees that are in the forests after which, the handover would take place.

This would work on the same principles as communal area conservancies where communities preserve natural resources while deriving benefits from them. The N$15 that people pay to the forestry office for the permit would then go to the communities for their use. With this development, the forestry office will play an advisory role and assist the communities where they need help.

For full story, please see:

17. Thailand: Governors held to account for efforts to protect forest

Source: Bangkok Post, 31 July 2004 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.07)

Environmental officials will send forest maps to provincial governors, who will then be held accountable for any failure to stop forest encroachment. An appraisal system called a ''balanced score card'' would judge how well governors curb deforestation. If they fail, their pay could be cut or they could be transferred, said Suvit Khunkitti, minister for natural resources and environment.

Recent images of national forests have shown Thailand lost at least 300,000 rai of forest areas (480 km2) to felling and encroachment in the past two years. National Parks, Wildlife, and Plants Conservation Department chief Somchai Pienstaporn said 60 cases of forest encroachment were reported during March and July.

For the full text, see

18. Zambia: Lusaka forest reserves only account for 1.34%

Source: The Post (Lusaka), 26 July 2004

The forestry department says Lusaka Province's forest reserves currently account for only 1.34 per cent of the total land area in the province. And the forestry department and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) are in the process of developing an initiative of co-managing forest reserves with the private sector.

According to a report presented during a stakeholders' workshop on the preparation of a management plan for Lusaka east forest, wildlife sanctuary and recreation park held at Longarces Lodge, the eight forest reserves in the province only cover a total area of 29 310 ha.

The report states that the high population density and increasing and competing demands for forest products and land has put a lot of pressure on the remaining forests, resulting in a high rate of deforestation and land degradation. It adds that illegal quarrying, cultivation and charcoal production activities have claimed considerable parts of the existing forest reserves.

The report states that in spite of the inadequate funding to the forestry department in this year's budget, preliminary works for the construction of beacons, clear boundaries and the promotion of joint forest management areas with stakeholders have commenced.

It notes that apart from the high poverty levels in the country that have exerted pressure through the over exploitation of forest reserves, the forestry department was also faced with problems of inadequate capacity in terms of human, material and financial resources to facilitate the sustainable management of the reserves and accompanying resources.

On the idea of co-managing forest reserves with ZAWA and other stakeholders, the report stated that the move would restore and maintain biodiversity in the reserves. This would provide a habitat for wildlife, promote economic activities as well as recreation.

For full story, please see:

19. Who conserves the world's forests?

Source: IUCN, 26 July 2004 in CENN, 27.7.04 Daily Digest

Indigenous peoples and other communities who live in and around the world's tropical forests often are as effective as their national governments at conserving forests, and are outspending foreign donors by as much as two to one, according to a new study by Forest Trends, an IUCN member organization based in Washington, D.C. The announcement comes as delegates from 59 nations gather in Geneva to debate the renewal of the International Tropical Timber Agreement.

Some 240 million indigenous and local community peoples own and manage about one fifth of the world's tropical forests, and invest US$ 1.2 billion to 2.6 billion a year in forest management and conservation, according to the study.

20. Bees: Forest makes coffee farm richer

Source:, 4 August 2004 (on WBCSD Web site)

Seven percent of a Costa Rican coffee farm's annual income ¿ $62,000 ¿ comes directly from the pollination "services" of adjacent tropical forest, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is the first to quantify in such detail the economic value of pollination services from tropical forests.

"This study illustrates that there are compelling economic reasons for conserving native ecosystems," said Taylor Ricketts principle author of the study and director of WWF's Conservation Science Program. "Because the benefits we derive from ecosystems are difficult to quantify, they are often assumed to be worthless. Yet, we found that without this forest, the coffee plantation would lose about $60 000 in income from the diminished pollination alone."

Ricketts' team investigated pollination on coffee plants at three distances from the forest: near (330 feet), intermediate (one half mile), and far (just under a mile). The areas closest to the forest experienced more pollination by wild bees which increased coffee yields and decreased the number of deformed beans, compared to the plants farthest from the forest. Hand pollinated branches served as the control.

"Our numbers are very conservative because we just looked at one ecosystem service ¿ pollination ¿ on one farm," said Paul Ehrlich, a co-author and Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University. "If we quantified other ecosystem services like water purification, and the value of pollination to other neighbouring farms, the value of this forest would be even greater."

The study found that the value of tropical forest is likely greater than other land uses for which forests are often destroyed. Cattle pasture, for example, would yield approximately $24 000 a year, less than half of what pollination services provides to the coffee plantation.

"The fact that pollination services alone are so valuable to an individual farm demonstrates how conservation is compatible with economic development," continued Ricketts. "Protecting natural ecosystems can benefit both biodiversity and local people."

For full story, please see:

21. Bee Foundation to sign deal

Source: BuaNews (Pretoria), 12 August 2004

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Deat), South Africa, will sign an agreement with the Bee Foundation tomorrow in an effort to intensify partnership between the two. The two started working together in June, when Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi launched a R2 billion Indigenous Bee Conservation project in Limpopo to conserve the African bee.

The project is expected to create self-employment especially in rural areas and also encourage people to play an active role in economic development.

Limpopo's Makonde village was chosen for the launch because of its rich vegetation suitable for the survival of the bee population.

Honey production depends largely on areas where bees can get the necessary nectar, water and the manpower to protect their hives. For this reason, people are receiving training weeks for bee farming and bee production around.

Some bee products were effective in treating TB and preventing other opportunistic diseases from becoming rampant

The Memorandum of Understanding is expected to ensure both parties' understand their responsibilities to ensure the project succeeds. It will also provide an opportunity for the two to report back to the public on the progress and challenges since the launch of the Bee Conservation project.

For full story, please see:

22. Bioprospecting: Little prospect of bioprospecting 'billions'

Source: Nature, 12 August 2004 (in SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 9-15 August 2004)

Rules are needed to govern the exploitation of biological resources. But basic economic principles suggest that commercial interests will be unwilling to pay for rights to access and exploit biodiversity found in developing nations.

In a letter to Nature, David Simpson and Roger Sedjo respond to suggestions that new 'ownership' rules might realise the potential of bioprospecting to lead to new drug developments (see Can 'plant passports' put bioprospecting back on track?). They say that despite new products being potentially worth billions of dollars, governments of developing countries have often been misled about the value of their biodiversity.

The low ratio of success to failure and the abundance of natural chemicals that have yet to be tested for pharmaceutical potential are among the factors that will deter researchers from paying much in return for the opportunity to seek new products, say Simpson and Sedjo.

Link to full letter by Simpson and Sedjo in Nature

Reference: Nature 430, 723 (2004)

(See Digest 6/04 for more information)

23. Biotrade: Andean nations bet on biotrade

Source: [BIO-IPR] Resource pointer, 16.8.04, citing Tierramérica

Colombia produces coffee, cut flowers, but also bamboo. Peru supplies minerals and fish for restaurants, but also ornamental fish for home aquariums. Venezuela is a leader in petroleum and aluminium, but also aloe.

Environmentally sustainable ''bio-trade'' is gaining ground among the long-standing commercial products that the Andean region puts on the international market.

The extraordinary biological wealth of South America's Andean countries is beginning to pay off for those who take advantage of it. Despite the ecological and economic importance of preserving biodiversity, the notion of leaving nature untouched is falling by the wayside.

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela are four of the 12 countries in the world with greatest biodiversity. They are Andean countries, but they also hold portions of the vast Amazon Basin.

''We are facing a new wave, marked by the possibility of a boom in the intelligent use of biodiversity, taking advantage of it in a sustainable way,'' Claudia Martínez, social and environmental vice-president of CAF, the development agency of the Andean Community of Nations, told Tierramérica.

This ''new wave'' is in keeping with the initiatives of the Global Environment Facility, an international funder of eco-projects, to manage biodiversity with a broad approach, involving lawmakers, officials and conservationists, but also businesses, rural communities and indigenous groups that want to take advantage of their natural resources.

In Peru, for the past 10 years the local company OAFA (Ornamental Amazon Fish Aquarium), an exporter of aquarium fish, has run a 250 million-dollar-a-year business, and aims to become the main supplier for Europe.

Taking advantage of autochthonous resources for bio-trade entails identifying niche markets and even developing new forms of organization.

Another success story is Bambú de Colombia, in business for more than 30 years, and employing hundreds of families in planting and prevention of deforestation.

The Andean countries are trying to promote production for bio-trade, ''and in each one we face difficulties in obtaining financing, the lack of research, the lack of development of new products and a failure to consolidate what we have to offer,'' said Patricia Londoño, consultant to the ''green markets'' group in the Colombian Environment Ministry.

In the region, ''the issue has begun to come to the fore, pushed by the regulation frameworks and trade negotiations for products derived from biodiversity,'' said Martínez, adding that CAF has already earmarked $900 000, for programmes to fortify institutional, business and community development geared towards bio-trade.

Trade and organizing rural and indigenous communities to make the most of their natural resources are part of the first phase in the ''new wave'', before full sustainable exploitation of biodiversity, which requires financing and research, and the region is far from obtaining those, said CAF environment director Roberto López.

In Venezuela, the Aloeven company is working with dozens of aloe-vera growers in the arid plains of the central-western region, and processes around 80 tons of crystals and gel from this plant each month, mostly for food companies in Venezuela, Italy and the United States.

Bio-trade could be a boon to the Andean countries, which also hold part of the Amazon, as a platform to pursue development in biodiversity and gain access to hungry markets, according to studies that CAF entrusted to U.S. technology research centres.

As for the field of applied sciences in health and industry, in 2003, there were 370 biotechnology pharmaceuticals in development to treat more than 200 diseases.

The Andean countries, according to recommendations received by CAF and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, should step up value-added activities in taking advantage of their biodiversity, and intensify efforts to regulate and jointly negotiate their potential in integration and free trade agreements that are under way.

One of the key aspects of the free trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru refers to access to the biological wealth of the three South American nations.

For full story, please see:

24. The Netherlands pledges 20 million euros to partnership programme

Source: FAO press release, 28 July 2004

The Netherlands has pledged 20 million euros to support the work of the FAO-Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP) over the next four years, FAO announced today.

The FNPP focuses on three key areas: forestry, food security and agricultural biodiversity. Within this framework, it supports FAO's work to build capacity in poor countries for development planning and policy-making. This assistance is targeted specifically to the poorest countries ¿ those classified by the World Bank as eligible for International Development Association loans.

The programme was established in May 2001 as a new type of FAO initiative, in which donor support is not tied to particular projects or specific departments within the UN agency, but instead goes to support a broader range of activities sharing common objectives and carried out in close cooperation by diverse FAO units.

Activities undertaken by FAO with FNPP support in recent years range from the development of a coordinated forestry policy for the countries of central Africa, to technical assistance with poverty reduction programmes in India's poverty-stricken Orissa state, to studies in Ethiopia aimed at improving the efficiency of seed delivery systems.

Among the activities targeted for action by FAO under the agreement signed today are:

¿ improving developing countries' abilities to assess food security and nutrition needs during emergencies, in order to better mobilize their relief efforts;

¿ promoting the inclusion of food security and forestry concerns in national poverty reduction strategies;

¿ stimulating more widespread adaptation of national plans for helping small-scale farmers and rural communities cope with the increasingly globalized food economy;

¿ reducing poverty through more effective use of forest resources;

¿ encouraging better management of agricultural biodiversity at the local level, as well as the incorporation of agrobiodiversity concerns into national policies.

The FNPP was the first such "strategic partnership" programme established by FAO. Similar partnerships have since been formed, or are under preparation, with Canada, Norway and Sweden.

Today's pledge brings the total amount of FNPP funding granted to FAO by the Netherlands to around 35 million euros. This support comes in addition to the regular contribution made by the Netherlands to FAO's operating budget.

The new funding will support FAO's FNPP work through 2007.

For full story, please see FAO online newsroom:

25. Training Announcement on NTFP Management

From: Bal K. Kattel, ForestAction []

Training on Community Based NTFPs Management

5-12 October 2004

ForestAction is organizing this national level training course for field level forestry professionals. It builds on ForestAction's previous training experience and is a response to the demands of various institutions from our end. This training is designed to strengthen the capacity of field based staff of Government, projects, NGOs and CBOs working in forestry and rural development sector.

In recent years, increasing values and expanding markets of NTFPs have created added opportunities as well as challenges to local level NTFP management. To cope with these challenges and tap the opportunities for the benefit of communities depending on forests for livelihoods, local level forest stakeholders need to be equipped with new sets of concepts, skills, tools and ideas on sustainable use and management of NTFPs. This proposed training will expose the participants to several crucial dimensions of NTFP management ranging from resource assessment, sustainable harvesting, domestication techniques, marketing, institutional arrangement, technological issues in product development through policy environment. To maximize the learning outputs, ForestAction will pull the expertise of professionals from different organizations working in the NTFP sub- sector in the country. This training will include field exposure and practice where NTFP management activities are the most innovative in Nepal.

Nominations should be received by 27 September 2004.

Should you wish to sponsor a candidate for training, please contact ForestAction or the Environmental Resources Institute (ERI).

For more information, please contact:

Netra Timsina
Team Coordinator
Fax: 977 1 5552924, or


From: FAO¿s NWFP Programme

26. Non-wood products management and use in the Mediterranean region¿

20 September to 1October 2004
Solsona (Lleida) Spain

This seminar is organized by the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia within the framework of the Azahar Programme, development cooperation programme on sustainable development, environmental protection and conservation of natural resources in the Mediterranean region, which is financed by the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation of the Catalan Government.

The main objective of the seminar consists of providing an adequate setting for an international meeting where knowledge and experiences can be shared, and to discuss the different production and management strategies for non-wood forest products that exist in the Mediterranean region, as well as identifying opportunities for joint collaboration.

The seminar is aimed at people in high-level positions and technicians working in administrations involved in natural resources management, rural development, citizen¿s participation or land management, as well as experts and researchers in the field of NWFP.

For more information, please contact:

Rosa Ricart
Tel: +34 973481752 / 973481681;
Fax: +34 973481392;

27. The second Alaska non-timber forest products conference, Hidden Forest Values II

1-2 October 2004
Sitka, Alaska. USA

The purpose of this conference is to exchange information, cooperate and raise awareness of issues on sustainable and equitable, environmentally and economically viable opportunities for non-timber forest products in Alaska. This discourse seeks a balance of development and sustainability, with respect for traditional uses. It will accomplish this by bringing together a diverse assemblage of local, state and federal agencies, tribal governments, traditional users, landholders, cottage enterprises, and other NTFP related businesses, scientists and NTFP experts. This conference will address traditional values, income opportunities, and sustainability issues related to non-timber forest products in Alaska.

For more information, please contact:

Al White, Coordinator
Mat-Su RC&D
1700 E. Bogard Road, Suite 203
Wasilla, Alaska, 99654
Tel: +1-(907) 373-1062 ext. 102
Fax: +1-(907) 373-1064

28. World Habitat Day 2004

4 October 2004
Nairobi, Kenya.

This year's World Habitat Day will be celebrated under the theme "Cities - Engines of rural development."

For more information, please contact:

Jane Nyakairu
Chief, Information Services Section
P.O. Box 30030
Nairobi 00100, Kenya;
Fax: +254-20-624-060;

29. 7th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of WIPO

1-5 November 2004
Geneva, Switzerland

This meeting is organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

For more information contact:

Tel: +41-22-338-9111;
Fax: +41-22-733-5428;


30. Who conserves the world¿s forests? Community-driven strategies to protect forests and respect rights

Source: Forest Trends

This paper¿s authors, Augusta Molnar, Sara J. Scherr and Arvind Khare, pooled research from scientists and found that local communities are spending at least US$1.2 billion to US$2.6 billion per year on forest management and conservation activities, which is approximately the annual budget that developing countries spend on protected areas and two to three times the amount of ODA for conservation of protected forests worldwide. The authors argue that this situation creates opportunities to achieve biodiversity conservation through pro-poor policies and forest based livelihood activities, suggesting that indigenous peoples and other residents in regions of great biodiversity should be given a larger role in policymaking and greater recognition for their contributions to conservation, as well as strengthened rights to produce and sell forest products. The authors suggest that, ¿With a modest level of financial and other support, community conservation efforts could be increasingly effective and sustained with a very high return to the planet.¿

Forest Trends released this paper during the 26-30 July 2004 negotiations of the renewal of the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA). The ITTA 1994 carries a reference encouraging member governments to consider the interests of local communities in developing their timber industry. However that reference had been dropped going into the July 2004 negotiations, and negotiations for the successor agreement are taking place against the backdrop of a policy shift that has seen a more than doubling of the amount of land under ownership or management of local communities over the last 15 years

A copy of this document is available in pdf format at:

31. Make free markets fair markets

Source: David Kaimowitz (CIFOR),

India's recent elections showed the country's economy still does not shine for many families. That is especially true for the 100 million people that rely solely or partly on collecting and marketing forest products.

Orissa is India's poorest state and one of its most forested, and Orissa's tribal forest dwellers are the poorest of the poor. Many of them, particularly the women, earn income by harvesting forest products used to wrap Indian cigarettes and to make plates, oils, mats, medicines, drinks, and handicrafts.

Past government policies made these people's lives harder. Harvesters were forced to sell to the government or private companies the government signed contracts with, which gave them a monopoly. The government used forest products as a source of revenue. Parastatals often paid late and had high marketing costs due to corruption and inefficiency, which further reduced harvesters' incomes. Meanwhile, companies with government sponsored trading monopolies paid low prices, bought products in advance at times of great distress, and tricked and cheated the harvesters.

Since this situation did not fit well with the federal government's free market rhetoric, Orissa's government came under pressure to reform. The NGOs also complained. Things came to a head after the government prosecuted a tribal women's cooperative for selling brooms, rather than respecting the official monopolies. Soon after, in 2000, the state government devolved the authority to regulate the trade of 68 non-timber forest products to village councils. The government only retained control over a handful of the main products.

Reformers thought the new policy would greatly benefit poor harvesters, but that did not happen. A few things did improve, such as the price harvesters received for hill brooms, however, generally not much changed.

N.C. Saxena's "From Monopoly to De-Regulation of NTFPs: Policy Shifts in Orissa (India)", published in the International Forestry Review, explains why. In it, Saxena shows how the harvesters' poverty and limited information, policies that indirectly continue to favour existing traders and specific features of the forest products and their markets have kept real competition from emerging. Given that, he argues the government needs to move beyond a laissez faire approach and become more pro-active. In particular, state agencies and NGOs should provide credit, market information and infrastructure, help harvesters organize themselves, and encourage villagers to get involved in processing and marketing. The government should also de-regulate even more. Making markets freer was good. Making them fairer would be even better.

To request a free electronic copy of this article or send comments or queries to the author, you can write N.C. Saxena at:

32. Research articles categorized on the basis of plant names

From: pankaj oudhia

The Web site of the International Parthenium Research News Group (IPRNG) includes research articles categorized on the basis of plant names, e.g. aromatic crops, forest herbs, medicinal crops, medicinal trees and weeds, medicinal insects, ornamentals.

33. The Overstory: Edible Leaves

From: FAO¿s NWFP Programme

The latest issue of the Overstory (no. 141) covers edible leaves and has been written by Franklin W. Martin, Ruth M. Ruberté, and Laura S. Meitzner.

For more information, please contact:
The Overstory
P.O. Box 428, Holualoa, Hawaii 96725 USA

34. Other publications of interest

From: FAO¿s NWFP Programme

Brosius, J.P. 2004. Indigenous peoples and protected areas at the World Parks Congress. Conserv. Biol. 18(3):609-612.

Endress, B.A., Gorchov, D.L., Peterson, M.B., and Serrano, E.P. 2004. Harvest of the palm Chamaedorea radicalis, its effects on leaf production, and implications for sustainable management. Conserv. Biol. 18(3):822-830.

Kiss, A. 2004. Is community-based ecotourism a good use of biodiversity conservation funds? TREE 19(5):232-237.

Kusters, Koen and Belcher, Brian. 2004. Forest Products, Livelihoods and Conservation Volume 1 ¿ Asia. CIFOR, Bogor, Indonesia

This book, along with the companion volumes, presents the full set of 61 cases from Asia and Latin America. The reports are organized to present a standard set of information to support comparative analysis, but the authors also included rich detail, idiosyncrasies and analysis of issues and opportunities in their own cases.


Mayaux, P., Bartholome, E., Fritz, S., and Belward, A. 2004. A new land-cover map of Africa for the year 2000. J. Biogeogr. 31(6):861-877.

Mayers, James and Bass, Stephen. 2004. Policy that Works for Forests and People: Real prospects for governance and livelihoods. ISBN: 1 84407 096 4, 356pp.

Poor forestry policy has led to a pattern of common problems in many countries around the world leading to the loss of natural forests, inequitable access, lack of information and resources and ossified institutions. Based on world-wide research, this book is the most authoritative study to date of policy processes that affect forests. It provides a thorough analysis of the issues, options and factors that determine different outcomes. This book offers clear and practical advice on how to formulate, manage and implement policies appropriate to different contexts with a major annex containing tools and tactics. These are real policies that work for both forests and the people who economically depend on them.

To order:

Mendelson, S; Cowlishaw, G; Rowcliffe, J.M. 2003. Anatomy of a bushmeat commodity chain in Takoradi, Ghana. Journal of Peasant Studies, 31: 1, 73-100.

Bushmeat, the meat of wild animals, is a highly valuable non-timber forest product in West and Central Africa. The trade in this commodity is currently of great interest to development and conservation agencies, due to concern over the sustainability of its use and the implications of its loss for poor rural households. Based on semistructured interviews and participant observations undertaken in January and February 2000, the authors describe the bushmeat commodity chain that supplies the city of Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana. There are five primary actors in the trade: commercial hunters and farmer hunters, all of whom are men based in local rural areas; and wholesalers, market traders and chopbar owners, all of whom are women based in the city. Bushmeat is freely traded between all actors and actor groups, but the main trade route is from commercial hunters to wholesalers to chopbars. Wholesalers are the smallest actor group but handle the largest per capita market share, while chopbars are the most numerous group and together account for 85% of retail sales. The costs of participating in the trade appear to be lowest for hunters and highest for chopbar owners. Kin support networks play an important role in minimizing these costs, especially with respect to entry costs (nearly half of all bushmeat traders inherit their business) and labour costs (many employees are family members); kins also assist in other ways, especially through sharing knowledge and supplying credit. Among the urban actors, the bushmeat trade as a whole is perceived as a low-status occupation, although individual reputation remains important. In Takoradi, the bushmeat trade is largely unregulated by either state or local institutions, and there is no evidence of any individual actors or actor groups exerting control over the market. Hunters make significant profits, indicating that the bushmeat trade has the potential to make a substantial economic contribution to rural households. In contrast, urban actors appear to make relatively small profits. Comparison with the existing literature suggests that the structure and operation of the bushmeat trade in Takoradi is typical of the trade in many other parts of West Africa.

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

Sanchez-C, D.; & Valtierra, P,-E. 2003. La organización social para el aprovechamiento de la palma camedor (Chamaedorea spp.) en la selva lacandona, Chiapas. Agrociencia (Mexico). v. 37(5) p. 545-552. (Social organization for the exploitation of camedor palms (Chamaedorea spp.) in the Lacandona rainforest, Chiapas)

In 2001, a survey was conducted among 60 palm cutters and structured interviews took place with other stakeholders in Chiapas, Mexico. In recent years, over-exploitation has increased to the point of endangering wild populations of Chamaedora palms (Chamaedorea oblongata, Chamaedora elegans and Chamaedora ernesti-august) in the Lacandona rainforest. Community-based conservation and use is probably the best approach for regulating the collection of wild palms. In 1994, the Sociedad de Solidaridad Social (SSS) Follajes Lacandones was the aim to promote the integrated use of natural resources, especially the sustainable exploitation of non-timber species of the Lacandona rain forest. Members invested time and money to establish palm nurseries and plantations. There are now 80 ha planted with palms, of which 30% have reached the harvesting stage. Attempts to market palm leaves abroad have failed due to lack of social organization and the incapacity to secure a permanent supply of quality products.

Saxena, N.C. 2003. From monopoly to de-regulation of NTFPs: policy shifts in Orissa (India). International Forestry Review 5(2): 168-176.

Vermeulen, S. 2004. Biodiversity planning: Why and how should local opinions matter? Gatekeeper Series 115. ISBN 1 84369 525 0.

Many land management or natural resource management planning processes now include specific provisions for ¿biodiversity¿. But biodiversity remains a fuzzy concept, with different meanings for different people. Although progress has been made recently to ensure that people living within areas rich in biodiversity, for example at the World Parks Congress in 2003 (WPC, 2003), the fear of many people is that the concept of biodiversity remains tied up with conservation. This means that issues felt by local people ¿ often the guardians of biodiversity ¿ are neglected and biodiversity planning processes may not even know how to ask the right questions to ensure these voices are heard. This Gatekeeper provides basic guidance on the different facets and values of biodiversity and how these matter to different interest groups. Most emphasis is given to the respective communities living with biodiversity where the local contexts and choices are incorporated in the biodiversity planning processes.

To order, please email:

35. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO¿s NWFP Programme

Atlas News

To see full-color maps of cities and ecoregions, visit the U.S. Geological Survey's National Atlas of the United States at

National Forestry Programme Facility

The NFP Facility has prepared a good amount of information on poverty reduction.

BOSQUES AMAZÓNICOS VIRTUAL Año 4 N° 13 is now available.

For more information, contact: Juan Mateluna Florián at

RECOFTC E-LETTER - The July 31, 2004 Community Forestry E-News No. 2004.07, published by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) is now available at:

INBAR Newsmagazine Vol.10 (1) is now available in English at

For more information, please contact:

Fu Jinhe Ph. D.
Program Officer and Coordinator of IUFRO 5.11.05
Bamboo and Rattan International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Mailing Address: Beijing 100102-86,
Beijing 100102, P. R. China
Tel: +86-10-6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166


36. Request for assistance: Beekeeping for forestry conservation and development

Source: Volunteers For Africa Organization (in Forest Information Update 26.7.04)

The Volunteers For Africa organization works with rural communities in East Africa to enhance forestry conservation. One of VFA programmes is use of beekeeping as a conservation tool, as well as income generation method for forest communities. In October this year, VFA is holding a training workshop bringing together representatives of women and youth groups living around forests and wetlands in the Rift Valley and Eastern Provinces, Kenya, who are involved in beekeeping and forestry conservation. This will be a four-day session and will include a lessons learnt workshop, as well as a modern beekeeping methods and marketing training workshop.

VFA is receiving material support from the Bees For Development Trust. We require an additional US$2 000 to enable the workshop to be a success. The funds will cater for accommodation and training materials for the about 40 participants.

Any one with information as to where VFA could source any form of assistance is requested to contact: Justin Muhoro, Programme Officer, VFA on email


37. Five new Natural World Heritage sites designed

Source: IUCN, July 1, 2004 (in 70 Issue of the CENN Electronic Bulletin)

The World Heritage Committee inscribed five new natural World Heritage sites during its 28th session in Suzhou, China in June 2004. These include, Ilulissat Icefjord (Denmark), the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia), the Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve (Russian Federation), the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas of South Africa, and the Pitons Management Area (Saint Lucia).

For the first time ever, two natural sites in the Arctic have been inscribed on the prestigious World Heritage List. Following the positive recommendations of IUCN v The World Conservation Union, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee of 21 countries unanimously approved the listing of Ilulissat Icefjord of Denmark and Wrangel Island in the Russian Federation.

38. South Africa: Responsible forestry is our aim, says state

Source: Sunday Times (Johannesburg), 25 July 2004

The government has dismissed suggestions that it is hampering economic development in rural areas by dragging its feet on the licensing of new areas for forest plantation. This follows comments by Forestry South Africa two weeks ago that the state is not issuing licences to plant trees in areas owned by black communities in Eastern Cape.

Mike Warren, a deputy director at the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, says licensing decisions are taken by the national and provincial departments of environmental affairs and agriculture and that many of these delays result from the applicant having to respond (possibly several times) to informational requirements that were omitted from the original application documentation.

He says government sees forestry as one of the most important economic empowerment tools in the Eastern Cape. "What remains important is responsible and environmentally friendly forestry which we will not later regret."

The annual turnover of the South African forestry industry is estimated at R30-billion. This represents about 9.3% of the country's agricultural output and 9% of total manufacturing output. The industry¿s contribution to the gross domestic product is nearly 3%. The sector directly employs 130 000 people and 390 000 others in downstream and service activities, all of which provide a livelihood for 2.6 million people in rural areas.

For full story, please see:

39. Describe species before they disappear

Source: Nature (in SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 19 - 25 July 2004)

Only 1.8 million of an estimated ten million species on Earth have been described. Up to 20 per cent face extinction, and countless more are disappearing unnoticed, potentially leading to less productive and stable ecosystems. There is therefore an urgent need to reinvigorate taxonomy, so that ecologists can make specific predictions that could help inform decisions about development and conservation.

This Nature editorial calls for more projects like the Sabah Biodiversity Project, set up partly by Charles Godfray, director of the UK Natural Environment Research Council¿s Centre for Population Biology, who has argued that taxonomy must become a web-based information science so knowledge is not lost.

Ecologists also need to look to the examples of high-profile climate change and genetics research, and to lobby governments for much greater backing. It may be hard to quantify the results of ecosystem research but sustainable forestry, agriculture and tourism will strengthen the economies of developing countries, and bring wider benefits to the rest of the world.

Full story in Nature:

Reference: Nature 430, 385 (2004)

40. Warmer weather, human disturbances interact to change forests

Source: [cfc-news] CFRC Weekly Summary 8/19/04

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) used a computer-modeling program to project 200 years of change in a forest in northwestern Wisconsin under three climate scenarios. In one scenario, they assumed no change from current temperature and precipitation conditions; in the other two scenarios, they used data from global forecasts that predict a hotter, wetter climate.

41. Periodistas de temas ambientales amazónicos se reunirán en Brasil en junio del 2005

Source: Revista Bosques Amazónicos virtual, August 2004.

Se estima que cerca 400 periodistas y otros profesionales participarán, del 2 a 5 de junio del próximo año, en el ¿II Encuentro Internacional de Periodismo Ambiental Amazónico¿ que se realizará en Belén do Pará, Brasil. Entre los temas que serán debatidos está la cobertura periodística de hechos relacionados con el medio ambiente y la investigación científica desarrollada en la región.

La presidente del Sindicato de Periodistas de Pará, Carmen Silva, entidad responsable de la promoción del evento, resaltó que es paradójico, que a pesar del crecimiento registrado en las últimas décadas en el acervo tecnológico, nivel de conocimiento y cualificación de los científicos amazónicos, aún son pocas las publicaciones dirigidas al público objetivo mayor que priorizan temas de relevancia para la región amazónica. ¿Hay una dicotomía entre lo que se produce en las academias, universidades, institutos con la búsqueda de lo que la sociedad necesita¿, señaló Carmen Silva.

El programa del evento, que aún está en fase de conclusión, ya prevé la realización de discusiones sobre la biodiversidad amazónica - potencialidades y riesgos - y el periodismo y su contribución en la construcción de la conciencia ambiental.

El I Encuentro se realizó en septiembre del 2003, en Río Branco, Acre, Brasil y el del próximo año tendrá como sede Belén do Pará, una ciudad amazónica con aproximadamente un millón y medio de habitantes y considerada uno de los puertos de entrada de la Amazonía brasileña.

Por su relevancia internacional, el evento llegarán a Brasil periodistas de todos los países que poseen regiones también amazónicas como Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana y Colombia, además de profesionales de otros países y continentes interesados en el tema.

El ¿II Encuentro Internacional de Periodismo Ambiental Amazónico¿ fue oficialmente promocionado el pasado 25 de junio, por Marcus Barros, presidente del Instituto Brasileño de Medio Ambiente (IBAMA), que entre otras afirmaciones, aseguró que las instituciones públicas tienen miedo de la prensa. Así, recomendó a los periodistas presentes y a la prensa en general que profundice más los asuntos amazónicos, dejando de priorizar el actual, en detrimento del contexto más amplio.


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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009