No. 04/04

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:

Birch bark extract - a value added boreal product
Brazil Nuts: Production of Brazil nut decreases
Georgia's forest await aid
Ghana: Medicinal plants dying - due to bush fire activities
India braces for fall-out from flowering bamboos
Lao PDR: Laos discovers lucrative ecotourism niche
Nigeria: Jigawa sets up committee on deforestation
Vietnam: Study on development potential and planning for ten major Vietnam NTFP species
Zimbabwe: Timber Companies to plough proceeds into local communities|
Employment opportunity: CTA, IUCN Non Timber Forest Products Project, Vietnam
Caucasus Environment: Call for papers on biodiversity

Proceedings of the XII World Forestry Congress
The Little Green Data Book 2004
Research articles on medicinals in India

Other publications of interest

Web sites and e-zines




Açaígives energy and strength
Source:Alex Bellos in the Observer, 18 April 2004 (in Amazon News, 22.4.04)

Rio de Janeiro is the city that worships health and beauty and where the healthy and the beautiful drink açaí. Pronounced ah-sah-yee, açaí is more of a lifestyle option than a foodstuff. The berry juice is served half-frozen and its thick gloopiness means that you slurp it up with a spoon. The way it looks is integral to its appeal. It is made from dark violet berries about the size of a raspberry; a deep, dense colour that seems weighted down by its nutritional secrets. It reflects no light and has the texture of mud. It is fruity with a chocolatey kick.

The nutritional breakdown of açaí is prodigious. It has high levels of iron, calcium, carbohydrates, fibre and antioxidants. And energy. A small 100g cup has almost 300 calories. Combined with the mystique of its Amazonian origins, açaí's contents have made it the beverage of choice for Rio's sporty elite.

Açaí is indigenous to the flood plains of the Amazon estuary. The açaí palm regenerates with ease and in areas where human development has destroyed natural vegetation the first tree that grows in its place is açaí. (Açaí palms cover an area equivalent to half the size of Switzerland.) In this region, its abundance and role as primary nutritional resource cannot be over-estimated: it is literally the fruit that has saved many poor families from starvation. 'Açaí is the main food staple of river communities in the Amazon estuary,' says the agronomist Oscar Nogueira. It is drunk for every meal - in much the same way as bread or rice is eaten in other cultures.

Belém is the main city in the Amazon estuary and world centre of açaí. In Belém more of the fruit is drunk than milk. An estimated 200 000 litres of the purple liquid is consumed per day among a population of 1.3 million.

Açaí is highly perishable and the only way it gets to Rio is in frozen packages. In Belém, the fruit is always consumed fresh. Since it goes off within 24 hours, in order to service the population with fresh açaí on a daily basis an enormous infrastructure has grown in Belém that employs an estimated 30 000 people.

The cycle starts in the rainforest. The açaí palm has a long thin trunk up to 25m high and a clutch of branches at the top from which hang ribbon-like leaves. Hundreds of açaí fruits dangle from branches in clusters.

The fruit picking is done by hand. In the afternoons, river-dwellers scramble up the trees, cut off the branches and climb back down again exactly as they have done for hundreds of years. In the evening, boats containing baskets of açaí leave the rainforest heading for Belém's market, where they arrive in the middle of the night.

The açaí market is a dockside next to the city market. By the early hours small boats have started arriving with baskets of the fruit which quickly fill the quay. By 3am men like Armando Ribeiro arrive. Armando owns the Casa do Açaí, one of Belém's 3 000 açaí points, where the fruit is pulped, into juice. Armando buys several baskets of the best açai and takes it back to his premises. When I arrive, shortly after 11am, Armando has been pulping the fruit for an hour. Customer demand for açaí is at lunchtime, and they prepare it fresh. He pours the fruit into the pulping machine and keeps on re-pouring the discharge until the blend is perfect. He sells three versions; thick (£1), medium (60p) and dilute (40p).

In Belém, you are never more than a block away from an açaí point. It is served like soup. The taste is almost unrecognisable from what I have become used to in Rio. The exotic sharpness and zesty kick is not there. The sensation is of a simple, neutered, bitter freshness. Açái is not a versatile fruit since it can only be stored frozen and cannot be cooked, so for the most part, it continues to be drunk just as the Indians have drunk it for centuries.

Scientists have discovered that açaí is rich in anthocyanins, the group of chemicals in red wine that are believed to lower the risk of heart disease. Swig per swig, açaí contains over 10 times more of them than red wine. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, calcium and vitamins. Açaí's recent success is also changing the nature of agriculture in the Amazon estuary. Agronomists have been successful in developing ways of cultivating açaí sustainably with high yield. In the last five years açaí production has tripled and brought work to poor rural areas. Belém now has more than 60 factories that export.

Açaí was an Amazonian secret that conquered Brazil. A company in California now imports it to the US and next month it will be introduced to British palates.

Birch bark extract - a value added boreal product

Chemist Pavel Krasutsky calls birch bark nature's "white gold."

Betulin, a powdery substance in the outer bark of the birch tree, has been shown to help wounds heal faster and cut inflammation. Many cosmetic companies, touting it as a skin toner and restorer, add birch bark extract to some of their products. And a compound, betulinic acid, is being tested as a treatment for melanoma and other serious diseases.

But birch bark largely has been burned as fuel after the trees were harvested for lumber. "This is a miracle which nature synthesized for us and we are burning this miracle like cheap fuel," Krasutsky said as he worked in his laboratory at the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI).

That is changing, partly through a partnership formed in 2000 by NRRI, Potlatch Corp. and Synertec, an Allete subsidiary, to build on research being done at the university. The Duluth-based partnership, NaturNorth Technologies LLC, has developed a patented process to cost-effectively isolate pure betulin and other compounds from birch bark in very large quantities. NaturNorth scientists also have patented a way to convert betulin to betulinic acid. The partners, opting to go into business instead of licensing the patents to others, hope demand for the birch bark compounds grows enough to give them a lucrative venture.

Potlatch, a wood products and paper producer, can contribute raw material - at least 100 000 pounds of birch bark daily. The bark yields about 10 percent betulin, "so we literally can get tons of this stuff a day," said Robert Carlson, a university chemistry professor who is working on the project. Once the compounds are isolated, scientists can produce new derivatives to expand the range of potential uses. That's how NaturNorth creates betulinic acid from betulin.

NaturNorth, which has only small test production capabilities, pays a company in Prince Edward Island, Canada, to do the large-scale production work and another in Chicago to do smaller-scale derivative work, mostly for cosmetics use. Although birch bark extracts already are used in some cosmetics, NaturNorth offers the pure compounds found in the bark. To get to this point, however, NaturNorth was forced to find a way of removing the small amount of betulinic acid that occurs naturally in birch bark before it could offer any compounds to the cosmetics industry. Unilever NV had patented the use of betulinic acid in cosmetics and licensed the exclusive worldwide patent rights to Premier Specialties Inc., of Middlesex, New Jersey, USA. Premier has sold birch bark extract to the cosmetics industry since the mid-1990s.

Although NaturNorth expects to benefit from supplying pure birch bark compounds other than betulinic acid for use in cosmetics, it's the ability to isolate and derive from the pure compounds - especially changing the betulin molecule to create betulinic acid in large quantities - that has Krasutsky thinking of white gold.

Betulinic acid has been explored as a potential treatment for skin cancer for more than a decade, and that's one area NaturNorth is interested in. Betulin and its derivatives and other birch bark compounds also are being tested for effectiveness in treating HIV and respiratory syncytial virus. The bark compounds and derivatives also are being tested for effectiveness in crop disease management and preventing fungus growth on golf course turf. In addition to their other patents, Carlson, Krasutsky and colleagues have patented the use of betulin to cosmetically treat herpes and have other patent applications pending. Carlson said NaturNorth hopes to supply betulinic acid and its derivatives to other scientists doing clinical tests on their use in treating disease and, ultimately - if the tests are successful - becoming the supplier when the products are commercialized. No human testing has been conducted yet on betulinic acid as a treatment for melanoma, HIV or RSV, he said, but those tests are planned once researchers get regulatory approval.

A Russian company, Birch World Ltd. of Moscow, also has developed a method of isolating betulin from birch bark and has been producing commercial quantities for nine months, said Vice President V. Vdovenko. Birch World sells cosmetics and food supplements containing betulin in Europe and Japan, but has no North American customers, he said.

("Using technology to tap birch bark's potential", Karren Mills, Associated Press.)

Brazil Nuts: Production of Brazil nut decreases

Source:ComCiencia, 15 April 2004 (in Amazon News 22.4.04)

Biscuits, flour, oils, soap, Brazil nut milk, ice cream and wood: these are some of the products that the seed of the Brazil nut, popularly known as the Para nut, could produce when processed. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the Amazonia region is responsible for 98 percent of the national production of this nut, an activity that employs directly and indirectly one million people in the region. Despite its importance for the regional economy, the production of the Brazil nut is falling. This year Bolivia became the world's major exporter of Brazil nut, a title once held by Brazil.

According to IBGE, the Brazil nut's total production fell 20 percent between 2000 and 2002. The Brazilian Enterprise of Agro-livestock Investigation (EMBRAPA) believes that the decline in production is related to the lack of governmental incentives for extractivist producers and to the organizational problems in the cooperatives, the principal producers of Brazil nut.

According to investigators from the University of Campinas, it is understood that the stimulation of extractivism in Amazonia depends upon the formulation of a strategy of economic development in conservation units of extractivists. This is based upon the diversification of products and the modernization of the productive structure of extractivism with the guarantee of economic infrastructure for production and the strengthening and the implementation of applied investigation to the development of products derived from biodiversity.

In addition to the lack of governmental incentives, UNICAMP believes that the drop in production could also be related to the deforestation of the Amazonia region and the consequent reduction of areas of Brazil nut plantations to offer space to new cultivars, despite the prohibition on cutting native species. A new cultivar in the area, which is stimulating deforestation, is soybean production.

Georgia's forest await aid

Source: The Messenger, 16 April 2004 (in CENN, 16.4.04 Regional Daily Digest)

The Forest Development Project of the World Bank will begin drafting national policy on the forestry sector this April. With the financial help of the Food and Agriculture Organization and active public participation, the analysts working on the project hope that as a result the country will have an actual plan for utilizing forest resources and fighting deforestation.

Mike Garforth, who works in Georgia on improving Georgian legislation on forests, believes the government can find solutions to the problem of illegal logging and deforestation, only "if there is political will." Given this political will, Mr. Garforth has a list of necessary steps that must be taken. "People in the sector should get adequate salaries, and also there should be investments to modernize business plans and develop successful management and accounting policies," he advises. The elimination of corruption and development of the energy sector are other conditions affecting forestry, he adds.

According to Giorgi Gachechiladze, the leader of Georgian Green Party, Georgia's best timber is all going for export leaving Georgian's with a lower quality to work with. "70 percent of trees in Georgia are old and plus the variety of forest types is falling rapidly as a result of illegal logging," he, says. Mr. Gachechiladze explains the most affected forests are near populated areas (cities, villages). According to official statistics, forests occupy 45 percent of the territory of Georgia. Of the 400 different flora species in Georgian forests, 61 are native to Georgia and another 43 are found only in the Caucasus region.

There is no verified data regarding the volume of forest products cut and how much timber and other forest products are exported from Georgia.

On 3 December 2002 an agreement was reached between Government of Georgia and IDA (World Bank group), on implementation of the Forestry Development project. The project should be implemented from 2003 to 2008. Five districts (Oni, Ambrolauri, Lentekhi, Tsageri and Mestia) have been selected as target areas for the project.

The World Bank project will work not only on developing the national policy but also on improvements in legislation governing the sector.

According to Mr. Garforth it will take 5-10 years for Georgia to learn to maintain its forests well.

Ghana: Medicinal plants dying - due to bush fire activities

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), 22 April 2004

Due to indiscriminate bush fires in forest areas, it has been observed that most of the medicinal plants are being destroyed. Most of these bush fires are set by Fulani herdsmen who send their cattle on grazing and other local farmers who are still practicing slash and burn farming methods.

The centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine (CSRPM) has moved in to save the situation of depletion of medicinal plants by cultivating farms in Mampong, Begoro, Ayikuma and Mamfi.

The Acting Director of CSRPM, Dr. Archie Sittie, advised that the Centre is also raising 71 000 special plants, which had great medicinal potency but were vanishing on the wild due to bush fires. He added that the Centre, with nearly 27 years in the business, had conducted a lot of research into medicinal plants and their applications, which had produced good results. He said, the CSRPM was now thinking of converting some of the medicines into capsules and tablets. Dr. Sittie also advised that the Centre had embarked on a project to find natural preservatives from plants to replace the orthodox chemical preservatives, which would be more useful to our health.

He added that there were a number of herbal medicines on the market today, which was not so in the past. Now, however, CSRPM collaborates with the Ghana Foods and Drugs Boards to assess the potency and efficacy of these drugs. Ghana was playing a pioneering role in traditional medicine by setting a research centre to produce qualified traditional medicines.

India braces for fall-out from flowering bamboos

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update: 19-25 April 2004

Northeast India is gearing up to protect itself from possible famine triggered by a huge surge in the rat population, itself the result of the flowering of bamboo plantations that began this month and is expected to peak in 2007.

Most species of bamboo in India - home to the world's largest bamboo forests - flower simultaneously every 50 years, then set seed and die. In previous years, the simultaneous production of seeds by millions of bamboo plants has caused a surge in the number of seed-eating rodents. The rodents then move to nearby paddy and potato fields in search of food, with a devastating effect on staple crops.

Furthermore, the lack of adequate storage facilities needed to cope with the glut of harvested bamboo in the remote hills of northeast India means that most of the bamboo that is harvested quickly rots. And the soil, which was previously bound together by bamboo roots, erodes away.

India's Ministry of Environment and Forests has set up two committees to recommend ways to limit crop losses. One has suggested that bamboo is extracted before it flowers, and that mixed vegetation is planted immediately after flowering to stop soil erosion. The second recommends improving harvesting and storage facilities for the extracted bamboo, and removing export restrictions to find additional outlets for harvested bamboo.

In a separate proposal, the Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource and Technology (CIBART) is exploring a pilot project with the Ministry of Rural Development and Manipur state government, which involves creating a buffer zone - in which bamboo would be completely removed to deter rats - around bamboo-growing villages in the state's Tamenglong district.

Indira Khurana from CIBART says that in areas in which bamboo has already flowered, the seeds could be collected and immediately planted in the buffer zone. This would limit the number of seeds available to rats and would also reduce the time during which bamboo would not be available to local communities.

Most scientists agree that it is too early to gauge how effective the measures will be. They also agree that a lack of detailed information on bamboo plantations is one of the biggest hurdles in the management of bamboo resources in India.

According to the National Technology Mission on Bamboo Technology and Trade Development, more research is urgently needed into the best way to manage bamboo flowering in a way that provides economic security to those rural people and small-scale industrial workers who depend on bamboo for their livelihood.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests says that 26 million tonnes of bamboo, spread over more than 10 million hectares, will be affected by the imminent bamboo flowering. Only 10 per cent of this bamboo grows in accessible areas and can be retrieved for industrial use.

Bamboo last flowered 48 years ago in northeast India, where Mizoram state was particularly hard hit by widespread crop losses. Famines in 1911-1912 and 1861 in Mizoram have also been linked with bamboo flowering.

The exact reason for the synchronised bamboo flowering is unclear, but some scientists believe that it is triggered by a genetically programmed internal clock.

Lao PDR: Laos discovers lucrative ecotourism niche

Source: Dennis Gray, Associated Press. 5.3.04 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.03)

As Asia's once remote regions open up to tourism, cultural collisions become ever-more common and hasten the breakdown of vulnerable societies. Environmental harm is often a byproduct. The Laotian government and foreign groups are hoping there is still time to head off such damage while reaping some of tourism's rewards, and they have met with some initial success.

In the mountains of northern Laos, home to the Akha, Hmong and 36 other officially recognized ethnic groups, trekkers are guided to carefully selected tribal villages which receive 10 000 kip (US$1.30) for each tourist to be used for medicine, schooling and general community welfare. The guides, locally recruited and knowledgeable, explain cultural taboos to the visitors while interpreting the ways of foreigners to the oft-bewildered hosts. Groups are limited to a maximum of eight so as not to strain food supplies, which is purchased from the village.

With tourist income coming in, illegal logging and hunting of wildlife by the poor tribesman have diminished and health conditions are improving. As part of the training on how to host foreigners, villagers learn about using toilets, boiling water, sleeping under mosquito nets, and preserving the ecology around them. The Luang Nam Tha area, with its trekking trails, village destinations, and The Boat Landing Guest House, an exemplary eco-lodge, will be used as a field-training site for guides and tourism officials from other provinces where similar projects will be initiated.

Tourist numbers have gone up from 37 600 in 1991 to about 700 000 last year. Tourism was the no. 1 foreign income earner in 2000, adding US$113 million to the country's meagre coffers.

In a still largely subsistence economy, community-based tourism brings in cash needed by rural people for basic goods and may keep them from migrating to towns in search of jobs. Village women can make more in one hour by cooking for a tourist than collecting bamboo shoots in the forest for a week. Some of the best guides can get US$5 a day instead of killing a bird for US$1.

Still, things are changing very quickly. As happened earlier in tribal areas of northern Thailand, some villagers are ashamed to wear their traditional attire in front of foreigners or don it just to beg or be photographed for a fee. Most tourists would like to have a meaningful kind of experience with local people, but it is an art to have tourists going into a village again and again and not have them leave a negative impact.

For the full text, see

Nigeria: Jigawa sets up committee on deforestation

Source:Daily Trust(Abuja), 23 April 2004

The Jigawa State government has set up a committee to check the menace of illegal tree vendors in the state. The five-man committee was to investigate activities of the illegal vendors, extent of damage, and provide ways and modalities to be used in protecting the shelterbelts.

The committee will also look into ways the state government will follow to promote afforestation and a tree planting attitude in areas bordering Niger.

Announcing the measures taken, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Gum Arabic and Shelterbelt, Alhaji Umar Hassan Birniwa, said the decision to set up the committee was as a result of the need to tackle the menace of damage to shelterbelts. He further revealed that forest reserves across the state have been damaged seriously, leading to increased encroachment of the desert along the areas comprising the demarcated shelterbelts in the state.

Alhaji Birniwa further added that the government would map out a strategy to promote alternative sources of energy and the alternative energy fund established was to assist in discouraging the menace.

Along with other measures, the efforts would facilitate effective utilization of forest resources as well as protect and create a conducive environment.

For full story, please see:

Vietnam: Study on development potential and planning for ten major Vietnam NTFP species

Source: Vietnam NTFP network e-bulletin issue No2,

Forest Inventory and Planning Institute has been conducting a long term study to survey and assess potentials as well as propose a development plan for 10 major Vietnam NTFP species, including cinnamon (Cinnamomum casiaBl.), pine resin, anise (Illicium verumHook.f.), cardamon (Amomum aromaticumRoxb), bastard cardamon (Amomum villosum), rattan, essential oil species, agar wood, codonopsis, and cajuput.

The study covers the whole country, budgeted at 700 million VND in total, and will yield a distribution map system; an ecological and development potential map system; and a set of data on areas of development potential at district level for these ten species.

The first phase running from 2001 - 2003 has resulted in (a) a 1:1,000,000 scale map system of natural potential for the development of the ten species; (b) information on ecological characteristics of 14 species in need of study; (c) information in the field at major distribution areas; and (d) an initial report on study outcomes.

The next phase of study will focus on updating the available data and collecting missing information on the socio-economic situation, national and international NTFP market demands and indigenous knowledge, as well as natural potential and current situation, of these ten major species.

For more information contact
Mr. Nguyen Phu Hung
Tel: 84.4. 6870600,


Nguyen Thi Bich Hue (Mrs.)
Communications Officer
Non-timber Forest Products Sub-sector Support Project
8 Chuong Duong Do street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (844) 9 320 970/1, Ext 114
Fax: (844) 9 320 996,


Zimbabwe: Timber Companies to plough proceeds into local communities

Source:The Herald(Harare), 20 April 2004

Timber Concessionaires operating in Zimbabwe will now be required to deposit money into a Trust Fund that will benefit neighbouring communities. In an interview, the General Manager of the Forestry Commission, Dr Enos Shumba, confirmed that there was a general agreement among stakeholders that a fund be set up to benefit the communities. Dr Shumba said it was part of the Forestry Commission's policy recommendations that concessionaires and safari operators should contribute to a Trust Fund whose proceeds should be ploughed into community development projects. Operators are also encouraged to form partnerships with local communities.

The participation of local communities in gazetted forests has been largely restricted to individuals collecting firewood for subsistence requirements, while individuals with large commercial cattle herds obtained commercial grazing rights in specific areas.

The communities involved in the woodcraft industry used to collect dead wood from forests such as Fuller in Victoria Falls under the supervision of the Forestry Commission. However, the arrangement was terminated and all wood collection and harvesting is now done illegally.

The current policy on "indigenisation" of timber concessions aims at bringing local communities into business activities in gazetted forests, as it requires the timber concessionaires to offer 10 percent of their stake to local communities in a partnership arrangement.

Employment opportunity: CTA, IUCN Non Timber Forest Products Project, Vietnam

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

IUCN - The World Conservation Union was founded in 1948 and brings together 79 states, 112 government agencies, 760 NGOs, 37 affiliates, and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique world-wide partnership. Its mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.

In Vietnam, IUCN is currently implementing the Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) Sub-Sector Support Project - Phase II in collaboration with the Non-Timber Forest Products Research Centre (NTFP RC)/Forest Science Institute of Vietnam (FSIV) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The project aims at supporting ecologically sustainable use, management and development of NTFPs that contribute to biodiversity conservation, improved livelihoods of poor people resident in and around forest areas, and to local and national socio-economic development in Vietnam.

Chief Technical Adviser

The initial contract will be for a period of two years, with prospects of extension for the right candidate. The position will be based in Hanoi with frequent travel to Project Regional Stations and field sites.

General Responsibilities

The CTA shall, together with the National Project Director (NPM) and his Deputy, be responsible for overall management and implementation of all project activities.

Specific Responsibilities

¿ Ensuring that the project will be implemented as a partnership with MARD and with the local stakeholders at the pilot sites;

¿ Promoting close co-ordination of project activities with programmes of Government agencies and other stakeholders;

¿ Formulating and communicating a vision and strategy for the project;

¿ Contributing to the development of policies and development frameworks for the NTFP sector and the host organisation;

¿ Providing assistance with institutional strengthening and capacity building of the NTFP RC and other key partners;

¿ Promoting team building and providing inspiration and encouragement to project staff;

¿ Promoting the integration of gender considerations in all project activities;

¿ Providing managerial and technical supervision and co-ordination of project activities, including development of annual work plans, management of project budget, preparation of technical and financial reports, and monitoring and evaluation;

¿ Providing technical guidance to field level activities and in facilitating a community-based project management process.

¿ Identifying, documenting and disseminating project lessons and experience;

¿ developing awareness materials and conducting awareness activities; and

¿ Assisting with the recruitment and supervision of project funded personnel, consultants and sub-contractors.

Qualification and Experience

¿ Academic qualifications in natural resources management, rural development or other relevant fields.

¿ Substantial (preferably at least ten years) relevant experience in fields relevant to NTFP sustainable use and management, conservation and livelihood development issues.

¿ Solid experience in the management of similar projects including project planning, monitoring & evaluation; management of multi-disciplinary teams, including local and expatriate technical experts, and financial management and procurement.

¿ Knowledge of and experience with gender and equity issues.

¿ Strong analytical skills and leadership capacity. Fluency in English. Computer literacy.

¿ Exceptional abilities in communication, networking, negotiations and writing.

¿ Flexibility and ability to operate in different cultural settings and with a variety of stakeholders; culturally and gender sensitive.

¿ Knowledge of and work experience in Vietnam or other Southeast Asian countries would be a desirable.

Interested candidates should send their application and CV along with the names of two referees by30 April 2004to:

Human Resources Unit, IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Asia Regional Office, # 63 Sukhumvit 39, 10110-Bangkok, Thailand. Tel: ++662 662 4061; Fax: ++662 662 4389; email:iucn@iucnt.orgurl:

Caucasus Environment: Call for papers on biodiversity

Source: CENN 21 APRIL 2004 Daily Digest

CENN (Caucasus Environmental NGO Network), together with Armenian and Azeri partners, publishes a quarterly regional environmental magazine: Caucasus Environment. This is a bilingual (English and Russian) publication. The aim of CENN is to create an independent high quality publication on environmental issues - a magazine that could educate, inspire and empower Caucasus citizens to make a difference for the environment. The regional magazine covers not only purely ecological matters, but also issues concerning the environment as a whole. These include the natural environment, social environment (the interconnection between the environment and poverty, gender issues, demography, health, historical cultural heritage, ethnography, archaeology, geopolitical issues, etc.), industry & environment, agriculture, tourism, land use, cadastre and all types of characteristics and peculiarities of the Caucasus region, defining environment in a broad sense. The Magazine is distributed worldwide.

A future issue of the "Caucasus Environment" will be dedicated to the biological diversity of the Caucasus. (Caucasus - meaning not only Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also southern regions of Russia, Iran and Turkey). We are looking for your articles on biological diversity, including (a) Relict, endemic and rare species of flora and fauna; (b) Endangered species and species, typical for Caucasus; and (c) Commercially important species and habitats (medicinal herbs, game birds etc.). We will be happy to have articles not only from Caucasus - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey, Russia - but also articles provided by specialists and scientists interested in this region.

For more information and for guidelines on how to submit articles, please contact:

Catherine Nakashidze
Caucasus Environment Magazine
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network
Tel: +995 32 92 39 46
GSM: +995 99 51 67 09
Fax: +995 32 92 39 47;


Proceedings of the XII World Forestry Congress

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

The complete proceedings of the XII World Forestry Congress are now available on CD-Rom. To request for a copy, contact Publications and Communications Officer, Forestry Department, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy, or

The main proceedings, including the Final Statement, and the full texts of all papers are also available

The Little Green Data Book 2004

Source:WorldBank, 2004 (in Community Forestry E-News 2004.03 March 31, 2004)

The Little Green Data Book 2004 is a pocket-sized ready reference on key environmental data for over 200 countries. Key indicators are organized under the headings of agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, energy, emission and pollution, and water and sanitation. Costing US$15 each, orders can be placed at

Research articles on medicinals in India

From: Pankaj Oudhia, India

An additional 600 research articles, based on my ethnobotanical and ethno-entomological surveys in Chhattisgarh, India, have been added to the following site.

Other publications of interest

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

Campos, M.T. and Ehringhaus, C.2003. Plant virtues are in the eyes of the beholders: a comparison of known palm uses among indigenous and folk communities of Southwestern Amazonia.Economic Botany57: 3, 324-344

Despite its central importance to tropical forest conservation, the understanding of patterns in traditional resource use still is incipient. To address this deficiency, the authors compared known palm uses among two indigenous (Yawanawa and Kaxinawa) and two folk (rubber tapper and ribeirinho) communities in Southwestern Amazonia (Acre, Brazil). The authors conducted 140 semi-structured 'checklist' interviews about palm uses with male and female adults in the four communities. The knowledge of each community about the uses of the 17 palm species common to all communities was compared by testing for significant differences in the mean number of uses cited per informant and by calculating the Jaccard similarity index of known uses of palm species among the four communities. The following three hypotheses were confirmed: (1) the use of palms differs according to the cultural preferences of each community; (2) indigenous communities know significantly more about palm uses than folk communities; and (3) part of the indigenous knowledge was acquired through contact with Amazonian folk communities.

Duchesne, LC. and Wetze, S.2003. Management of non-wood forest products and woody resources in Canadian forests: need for integration and research. (Original title : L'amenagement des produits forestiers non ligneux et des ressources ligneuses des forets canadiennes: besoins d'integration et de recherche.)Forestry Chronicle. 79: 5, 853-859.

Non timber forest products (NTFPs) are emerging globally as a tool for the establishment of sustainable forest communities. They provide employment to various sectors of society, draw on local expertise and culture, and increase the outputs of forests. In recent years, NTFPs have received accrued interest by the general public, governments and the private sectors of Canada. However, for the NTFP industry to enter mainstream Canadian industrial culture it is now critical to attempt the integration of the timber industry with the NTFP industry to benefit both sectors. NTFPs can be harvested from four types of environment: wild stocks from timber-productive forests, wild stocks from non-timber-productive forests or lands, managed stocks from intensively managed forests, and domesticated stocks from agricultural systems. A large body of evidence suggests that NTFP management and harvest can serve the forest industry in many ways. There are four possible types of interaction between the NTFPs and timber industries: independent resource use, competition for resources, complementary resource use and symbiotic resource use. Integration of both industries in a sustainable manner will need to be supported with research that addresses economic, social, policy and ecological questions.

Fleury, M. & Moretti, C.2003. Une demarche equitable pour la valorisation des produits forestiers en Guyane.Bois et Forets des Tropiques. No.277, 90-92.

Grace, O.M.; Prendergast, H.D.V.; Staden, J. van; Jager, A.K. and van Staden, J.2003. The suitability of Thin Layer Chromatography for authenticating bark medicines used in South African traditional healthcare.South African Journal of Botany, 69: 2, 165-169.

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) was investigated as a potential tool with which medicinal bark products used in South African traditional healthcare may be authenticated. Dried bark products are difficult to identify, and misidentification or adulteration increasingly affect their appropriate use and accurate documentation of their trade. A traditional medical practitioner pinpointed eight bark species used in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa that are difficult to identify. These wereEkebergia capensis,Harpephyllum caffrum,Rapanea melanophloeos,Schotia brachypetala,Croton sylvaticus,Albizia adianthifolia,Acacia sieberianaandAcacia xanthophloea.

LaRochelle, S. and Berkes, F.2003. Traditional ecological knowledge and practice for edible wild plants: biodiversity use by the Raramuri in the Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico.International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 10: 4, 361-375;

The Raramuri who live in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua State, Mexico have developed local knowledge and harvesting strategies for edible wild plants that have the effect of conserving the biodiversity of their forest ecosystem. This paper presents the results of ethnobotanical research undertaken in the community of Basihuare in the Sierra Tarahumara, to provide details on some practical aspects of the Raramuri worldview regarding interconnections between people and their environment. This traditional philosophy forms the basis for the use of edible wild plants and the harvesting strategies practiced in Basihuare, such as selective harvesting, environmental modification and domestication. These activities provide the opportunity for harvesters to monitor the landscape and the plant resources that occur on the land, as well as present a setting for the communication and exchange of traditional ecological knowledge. However, Raramuri harvesting practices are under stress because of increased external pressures from commercial timber extraction and other development. The authors discuss the state of traditional ecological knowledge and its transmission in the context of development activities in the region. The key to sustainability in the Sierra Tarahumara may be the maintenance of traditional management practices for edible wild plants, and other non-timber forest products, that lead to the conservation of biodiversity by creating patchiness and renewing the plant cover on the land.

Marshall, E.; Newton, A.C.2003. Non-timber forest products in the community of El Terrero, Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve, Mexico: is their use sustainable?Economic-Botany, 57: 2, 262-278;

The importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to rural income was examined in a highland community in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve, Jalisco-Colima, Mexico. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques were used to interview 70% of households in the community of El Terrero. Of the nine plant species identified as NTFP sources (Rubus adenotrichosandR. pringlei,Ternstroemia lineata,Crataegus pubescens,Prunus serotina,P. persica, Gnaphalium spp.Marrubium vulgare, Cunila sp. andTilia mexicana) the two principal species traded by the community were tila (derived from the flowers and fruits of the treeTernstroemia lineata), and blackberry (Rubus spp.). Collecting and selling of NTFPs was almost exclusively undertaken by women, with 80% of respondents participating. NTFP sale ranked as the most important source of cash income for 30% of women interviewed, and either second- or third-most important for the remainder. The research examined harvesting impact on populations ofT. lineata, an understorey tree species characteristic of cloud forest, which this was assessed in the four most-frequented collecting sites. Results suggested that current harvesting approaches appear to be sustainable, although 95% of the women interviewed reported a decline in resource availability within the last 15 years, apparently resulting from illegal cutting. Suggestions are made with respect to the sustainable development of NTFP resources to help alleviate poverty within the Reserve.

Mohammad, Arshad; Ghulam, Akbar; & Samia, Rashid. 2002. Wealth of medicinal plants of Cholistan desert, Pakistan: conservational strategies.Hamdard Medicus. 45: 4, 25-34

Some 64 medicinal plant species in the Cholistan Desert in Pakistan are listed, with information on the local names and medicinal uses. The diversity of the medicinal plant resources in the Cholistan Desert and strategies for their conservation (both in situ and ex situ) are discussed.

Pandey, K. and Tiwari, S.P. 2003. Studies on ethnobotanical approach of the vanishing tribe Raji.Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany. 27: 4, 947-955

This paper describes folklores regarding the indigenous knowledge of floristic classification of the vanishing tribe Raji in Pithotagarh and Champawat district in Uttaranchal, India. The medicinal uses of these plants are given.

Pandit, B.H.; Thapa, G.B.; Neupane, R.P.; Ya, T. (ed.); Tulachan, P.M..2003. Domesticated non-timber forest products as the major sources of livelihood for hill tribes in marginal mountain farms of Nepal.Mountain agriculture in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region: Proceedings of an International Symposium held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 21-24 May, 2001. 119-122. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); Kathmandu; Nepal.

This paper considers non-wood forest products (NWFPs) as potential sources of income for marginal mountain farmers. Results of a field survey conducted in Galaudokhola watershed, Nepal, are presented. The study revealed that ethnic groups like the Chepangs and Tamangs who live mainly at higher elevations have benefited significantly by selling NWFPs produced on their marginal lands that are not suitable for cultivation of cereal crops. However, the intensity of NWFP production and the amount of income derived depend on the household size in general, and the number of women in particular.

Shiva, A.2002. Biodiversity conservation and development for health and food security.International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management, 3: 1-2, 11-18.

This paper discusses the various methods that can be used to ensure the sustainable production of non-timber forest products (NTFP) in India, and promote biodiversity conservation. Topics covered include: (1) the sources of food and medicinal plants for health purposes; (2) sustainability of food production for health and food security from agricultural crops; (3) exploitation of food and medicinal plants from the forest; (4) sustainable harvesting of NTFPs, including food and medicinal plants; (5) development of health and food security, and biodiversity conservation from forestry crops; (6) health and food security from NTFPs; and (7) the present status of the exploitation of food and medicinal plants.

Singh, N.M. & Krishna, S.2004.Women and community forests in Orissa: rights and management. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, USA.

This paper reviews the community forest management (CFM) in Orissa, India and the involvement of women in the management and in the collection of non-wood forest products. The federated alliances among forest protection groups are discussed, focusing on women in these groups and federations. Also covered are the community rights in the state, highlighting some of the equity concerns with CFM, and introducing the concept of trusteeship rights, as opposed to ownership rights, to safeguard the interests of forest-dependent sections of the people.

Tabuti, J.R.S. 2003.Locally used plants in Bulamogi County, Uganda: diversity and modes of utilisation - medicinal, edible, fodder and firewood species. Agricultural University of Norway, As, Norway.

This thesis consists of six papers investigating the use and administration of medicinal plants in Bulamogi county, Uganda; practitioners of ethnomedicine and the users of herbal drugs; the plants used in treating cattle; the status of wild food plants in the locality; the fodder plants for cattle in the area; and the firewood use in Bulamogi, including the species selection, harvesting and consumption patterns.

Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO's NWFP Programme


La ONG ALAS (Alianza para las Areas Silverstres) tiene el gusto de anunciar el nacimiento oficial de su pagina web. Destinada a enlazar los interesados en Aves, animales, plantas y áreas silvestres en Nicaragua.


Ancient Armenian recipes using non wood forest products (herbs) to make herbal teas.

Business & Biodiversity Resource Center

This resource center can help you find out about the important role which biodiversity plays for businesses. You can see how your sector impacts on wildlife and nature, and what companies are doing to help conserve and manage biodiversity.

Centre for Non-Timber Resources at Royal Roads University

The Centre for Non-Timber Resources at Royal Roads University was officially launched in January 2004.

The March issue of "A Year Beneath the Trees" (in .pdf format), plus more information on the Centre's activities, is available from their website.

Non-Timber Forest Products in Scotland

This new website has been launched to provide information about the diversity of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) available from Scotland's woodlands. NTFPs include all materials supplied by forests except timber and include wild and managed game, edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms, foliage, seeds, bark, resins, dyes and craft materials.

The site has been set up with funding from Scottish Enterprise through the Scottish Forest Industries Cluster by a group of organizations and individuals with an interest in developing the untapped market potential of these many products.

The site provides information about the gathering, management and trading of NTFPs, including a database of buyers and case studies of operating businesses. Recognizing the increasing number of initiatives and research projects related to NTFPs, the site also has a database of publications, as well as a directory of web links.


From: FAO's NWFP Programme

Community Forestry: Principles and Practices Today

7-25 June 2004

Bangkok, Thailand

While community forestry has become a mainstream component of many national forestry programs, several countries are still struggling with the complex challenges of adapting their programs to be more responsive and relevant to the needs and interests of communities. To address common issues faced at this stage of development, RECOFTC has designed an intensive 20-day introductory course to enable participants to identify and analyse key community forestry concepts, strategies and principles. In addition, a 5-day field trip will enhance the understanding of the relationship between people and forest, and increase exposure to real-life implementation issues on the ground. Through this course, participants will gain confidence and skills needed to support local institutions in devolving forest management in their home country effectively.

For more information, please contact:

P.O. Box 1111
Kasetsart University
Bangkok 10903, Thailand
Tel: 66-2-9405700; Fax: 66-2-5614880

Wildlife as a Natural Resource. 6thInternational Wildlife Ranching Symposium

Paris, France

6-9 July 2004

Ten years after the global survey of wildlife management in Africa carried out by the Foundation on behalf of the European Union, several questions remain to be answered. How can wildlife succeed in maintaining its existence within our world in rapid modernization? Is the observed erosion of biodiversity definitely, directly and positively correlated to the development of human population and activity? How, in the forthcoming future, can we keep some "wild" spaces for our wildlife on our transformed planet?

Too many indicators provide evidence that wildlife is struggling to survive despite increased awareness and multiplied measures to cope with the negative trends of global conservation. The emerging concept of sustainable development has brought hope to reconcile Conservation and Development.

One of the most obvious itineraries lies in the sustainable use of the renewable natural resources. Wildlife is indeed one of these. Paradoxically, the use of renewable resources such as wildlife or timber is more controversial than the use of non-renewable natural resources such as oil or fossil water. One of the reasons for this may lie in a higher perceived value of the latter in industrialized societies. Maybe it is time to reconsider these relative perceptions and to upgrade the value of living beings such as wild fauna and flora.

The International Wildlife Ranching Symposium (IWRS) has strived now for 15 years to bring together the people who care about upgrading the value of wildlife and its products throughout the world.

The Symposium will provide a forum to interact and exchange information and ideas on all aspects of wildlife conservation as a tool for sustainable development, including:

¿ Sustainable use of wildlife reevaluated as a tool for the conservation of biodiversity

¿ Wildlife management in harmony with rural development

¿ Consumptive use and non-consumptive use of wildlife

¿ Wildlife ranching under temperate, arctic and tropical conditions

¿ Multispecies and multifunctional wildlife ranching

¿ Monospecific wildlife farming including deer, crocodile, ostrich, grasscutter

¿ New technologies for the sustainable use of wildlife

¿ New approaches for involving local communities including CBNRM, conservancies

¿ Wildlife as food including the bushmeat issues

¿ Wildlife products including marketing, processing, controlling

¿ Wildlife/Human conflicts including disease transmission, crop damage, predation on livestock

¿ Legal issues in the field of sustainable use of wildlife including challenges in land use policy

Closing date for submission of presentation proposals:30 April 2004

Final date for registration:30 April 2004

For more information, please contact:

Philippe Chardonnet
Fondation Internationale Pour La Sauvegarde de la Faune
International Foundation For The Conservation Of Wildlife
15 Rue de Téhéran - 75008 Paris, France

ProForest 2004 Summer Training Programme

12-16 July 2004

Oxford, UK

The programme will provide a range of up-to-date courses dealing with current issues for those involved in forest management, forest product supply chains, certification and sustainable natural resource management.

For more information, please contact:

Andry Rakotovololona
Project Manager
58 St. Aldates
Oxford OX1 1ST
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1865 243439
Fax: +44 (0)1865 790441

6th International Conference on the Niger Delta. Capacity building: strategies for poverty reduction In the Niger Delta

3-5 November 2004

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Deadline for position papers is11 June, 2004

For more information, please contact:

Austin Monday
Rivers Economic Development Forum
Montex House, 95 Aggrey Road,
P.M.B. 6001,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Tel: +234-084-485023, 573437, 08056238558

Communication Strategies for Multiple Partner Involvement in Forestry Extension

27thSeptember - 1stOctober 2004

Orvieto, Umbria, Italy

This 7thExtension Working Party Symposium is organized by the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations - IUFRO Working Party S6.06-03 Extension - in technical cooperation with FAO, and hosted by Istituto di Biologia Agroambientale e Forestale, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy

Extension throughout the world has evolved to include multiple partners and stakeholders in the delivery of educational programs and technical assistance. Often the end users, such as farmers and forest owners, are participants in both the research endeavor as well as the extension of research results.

Communication strategies among all participants in Extension are more important than ever. This symposium will explore this subject through invited lectures, volunteered papers, posters, tours, discussions and deliberations with FAO officials.

Under the overall topic of communication strategies the presentations may refer to:

¿ Private forest owners and farmers;

¿ Agroforestry, forestry and small-scale forests;

¿ Smallholder technical access and management;

¿ Strengthening and promotion of private forest owners and farm forest organizations

Contributions from all persons and organizations involved in forestry or agroforestry extension, like extension professionals, development workers, researchers, officials and decision makers, both government and non government are welcome.

1 May: Abstracts and preliminary registration

15July: Definite registration, payment of fees

15August: Full paper delivery deadline, participation confirmation

15September: Program/proceedings ready

27September: Symposium begins

For more information, please contact:

Roland Beck, Chair of Forest Policy and Forest History, Am Hochanger 13, 85354 Freising,

Germany. Phone: +49-8161-71-4621; Fax: +49-8161-71-4623,

World Herbo- Bamboo Expo - 2005

12-15 January 2005

Bhopal M.P. India

Objectives of the Expo include:

¿ To introduce all international herbs, herbal products, traditional medicine, and vaidhyas on one platform.

¿ To provide one platform for South East Asia for International, Natural & Herbal products manufacturers, exporters and importers.

¿ To create business opportunities in Japan, USA, UK and Europe.

¿ To promote long term solutions by assembling the world's most enlightened thinking on its innovative themes for the sustainable development of India's rich biodiversity.

¿ Green Earth, " Healthy Animals - Healthy People".

Topics to be discussed include:

¿ Tribal development through commercialization of medicinal plant biodiversity.

¿ Innovative bamboo products, bioenergy, bio-foods, bio-medicines, prospective for the people & environment. & for Green Earth Mission.

¿ Role of Ayurveda in AIDS, cancer and heart and other diseases;

¿ Impact of WTO and need for world trade promotion initiative for Poverty Alleviation;

¿ Bio-diversity, bio-technology intervention & role of women specialist, ecotourism and holistic health science.

For more information, please contact:

The Secretary General
World Herbo Expo 2004
Jeev-Jantu Kalyan Sangathan (PFA)
"Vasundara Bhawan", E-4, Patel Nagar
Raisen Road, Bhopal-462012 (M.P.) India
Tele.: +91-0755-2713713, 2752727, 2754941,,


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last updated:  Monday, August 24, 2009