No. 11/03

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. Innovative Bamboo products
2. Working with local scientists 'could stem biopiracy'
3. Brazil: development without destruction
4. Brazil: the Inaja palm
5. Pan-Africa: Women play central role in conservation in Africa
6. Kenya Wildlife Service permit to cut rare tree type now revoked
7. Kenya: Experts want carvers banned from forests (1)
8. Kenya: Experts want carvers banned from forests (2)
9. Madagascar: GEF Grant of $13.5 Million Supports Protection of Madagascar's Biodiversity
10. Namibia: Experts Discuss Tourism Rating
11. Nigeria: Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) tasks government on sustainable management of forests
12. Nigeria: Jigawa boosts gum arabic production
13. South Africa: Reaping new meds from old cures
14. South Africa: Western Cape opens 'Useful Plants' Garden
15. Uganda: NGO Launches Forest Center
16. Uganda: Norway and the European Union give forestry Shs 25bn
17. Bangladesh: A forest stolen for cash
18. China Bamboo Handicrafts competition
19. Request for information - significance of forest-derived nutritional and medicinal resources to human health
20. Request for assistance: Carapa guianensis
21. Request for assistance: mushrooms
22. International Fellowship Opportunity
23. 2004 US Forest Service International Seminars
24. Rainforest Alliance launches expanded Eco-Index
25. Web sites and e-zines
26. Events
27. Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants
28. 2003 IUCN Red List
29. Publications of interest
30. Miscellaneous: Thieves take tops of 20 000 trees
31. Miscellaneous: World Tourism Organization to become specialized UN agency

1. Innovative Bamboo products

From: Fu Jinhe, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, Beijing,

The bamboo industry in China is showing more and more potential. The annual production value is over US$40 billion and its annual export value is over US$600 million. There are more new bamboo products in China nowadays; e.g., bamboo extracts for beer, beverages, medicine and cosmetics. But I would like to introduce some other innovative bamboo products developed recent years: bamboo veneer, bamboo fire-proof ceiling, and bamboo fibre and its fabric.

Bamboo veneer
There are two kinds of bamboo veneer. One is a rotating cutting veneer from a culm and another is a peeling veneer from a rectangle bamboo composite.

Bamboo rotating cutting veneer pack boxes and trays used as food containers are substitutes for foam plastic and avoid the "white pollution" of the plastic food containers. In Japan it is used to pack "Sushi", a traditional Japanese food. In Australia and USA it is used for surfboards.

Peeling veneer from a rectangle bamboo composite is widely used (like wood veneer) in furniture and decoration. Bamboo is processed via cross cutting, rip saw, primary slicing, steaming, drying and so on into rectangle side bamboo strips, The strips are turned to bamboo plate plywood via slicing, sanding, glue application, and by increasing the bamboo block's temperature to soften it. After the block is processed to an even-thickness (about 0.20-1.50mm), the sliced bamboo veneer may be used for overlaying. This advanced technology and industrialized process and utilization of bamboo is groundbreaking.

Bamboo fire-proof ceiling
Over 230 000m2 of bamboo fire-proof ceiling is been used in Madrid International airport (Spain). The bamboo ceiling fits the highest European fire protection standard-M1 and consists of five layers of bamboo veneer. The invention of bamboo fire-proof products will promote bamboo utilization in many areas.

Bamboo fibre and its fabric
Bamboo fibre is made from the bamboo cellulose of natural bamboo and has been produced through processing methods, such as steaming and boiling etc. The fibre does not contain any chemical additives and is the most genuinely environmental friendly product. The fibre's gloss is bright and beautiful. At the same time, the fibre has a unique antibacterial and deodorizing function, a fine colour, elasticity, wearability, etc. In addition, it is especially moisture absorbent and permits ventilation due to the bamboo fibre's horizontal cross-section, which has gaps that can absorb and evaporate skin moisture instantly. Wearing bamboo fibre fabric in hot summers makes you feel especially cool. It is due to the bamboo fibre's special structure and natural "hollows" in the horizontal cross sections that experts refer to it as a "breathing" fabric. At the same time, it is soft to touch and easy to wear and is used for knitted underwear, T-shirts, bed clothes woven by machine, etc.

Photos of above products please visit website
For more information, please contact:
Fu Jinhe Ph. D.
Program Officer
International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Mailing Address: Beijing 100102-86, Beijing 100102, P. R. China
Tel: +86-10-8471 3337 ext.208 or 6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166
Website: or

2. Working with local scientists 'could stem biopiracy'

Source: GRAIN Los Banos , 11 November 2003

Drug companies should work closely with scientists in developing countries to ensure that such nations benefit directly from research into their natural resources, without having to wait for payments from the commercialization of research results, according to scientists in Panama.

The group, which has completed a five-year study of the impact of such research, says that working in partnership can stem accusations of 'biopiracy' against foreign researchers who sell products based on local genetic resources or indigenous knowledge. By becoming involved in research, developing nations gain immediate benefits, such as opportunities for education, research and economic development, they say.

The US$3-million project, whose conclusions are published in this month's issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, set up six laboratories in Panama and employed more than 60 locals as senior scientists, research assistants and student volunteers. Twenty Panamanians earned first degrees in the process, a dozen worked on master's degrees and one started a doctorate.

The scientific team also obtained a patent on three local-plant extracts that are effective against the parasite that causes leishmaniasis.

"We were inspired to do this project because tropical rainforests are disappearing fast," study leader Phyllis Coley of the Panama-based Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute told SciDev.Net. "Our main goal was to find ways of generating income from intact forests, and hence make it worth protecting them."

According to Tom Kursar, an associate professor of biology at the University of Utah who also worked on the project, conducting research in developing countries rather than collecting samples and analysing them abroad provides immediate benefits. "That provides a link from bioprospecting to conservation," he says.

Bioprospecting has been long identified as a potential path towards sustainable development, particularly after the 1992 Rio Convention on Biological Diversity, which encourages companies to give royalties to a country if a drug is developed from its genetic resources. But many believe that this approach is not effective, as only a fraction of plant extracts are developed into drugs and, when they are, it often takes years to start earning royalties.

Coley says that a better way of ensuring immediate benefits is to set up research programmes in the source country. "More than US$40 billion is spent annually by drug companies alone, and more by governments and non-profit organisations. If just a small fraction of this investment could support drug discovery research in developing nations, it could make a big difference," she says.

In a commentary accompanying the study, Jeffrey McNeeley, chief scientist of the World Conservation Union, praises the Panama project as "an excellent first step". But he says that more steps are needed, such as scholarships to develop graduate-level expertise in poor countries, recognition of the value of traditional medicinal knowledge, and compensation for the input of ancestral knowledge to drug discovery. "Through measures such as these, charges of biopiracy could well fade away and be replaced by a new era of international cooperation," he concludes.

3. Brazil: development without destruction

Source: Amazon News - 13 November 2003

Every year 1 600 000 hectares of forest are destroyed. In an attempt to revert this situation, the government is launching the Sustainable Amazonia Programme.

Five million square kilometres containing a fifth of the planet's fresh water and ten million animal and plant species: the vast Amazonian rainforest acts as the planet's guardian, maintaining the fragile balance in its climate. But Amazonia's problems are as vast as its riches. There are 380 000 small rural properties in the region. Rural producers clear the forest to prepare the soil for planting, destroying the trees which could serve as an important source of income. Each year, the area devastated is equal to 1 600 000 football fields.

Gilney Viana, Secretary for Sustainable Development, said that the greatest challenge now facing Amazonia is to modernize it without damaging the environment. He said that Amazonia cannot limit its economy to the exportation of raw materials. "One of the alternatives is to diversify production by incorporating technological innovations and aggregating value to insert Amazonia's products into the national and international markets", he said. He emphasised that sustainable development must be associated with the generation of jobs, the better distribution of income and a reduction in environment impact.

Amazonia occupies 61% of Brazil: The Amazonian rainforest occupies five million square kilometres, 61% of the territory of Brazil, and covers the states of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. The region's economy is based on mineral extraction, ranching, logging and export agriculture (mainly soya and cotton). In 2000, the Gross Regional Product was R$ 73 billion, 6.5% of Brazil's Gross National Product. In recent years, environmentalists have criticised government policies which have favoured the advance of the agricultural frontier in the region and offered incentives for damaging the environment. They have also strongly criticised logging, mineral extraction, the construction of roads and hydroelectric plants in the region which have had a serious environmental impact.

The document published by the Ministry of the Environment considers some of the alternatives for the development of the region. Predatory timber extraction, for example, could be replaced by the adoption of certificated forest management. In the agricultural sector, incentives could be offered to producers who increase the productivity of areas which have already been devastated. Ecotourism has been flagged as a means of generating income without damaging the environment. Other alternatives include investment in biotechnology and charging for environmental services.

4. Brazil: the Inaja palm

Source: Amazon News - 20 November 2003,

EMBRAPA is developing a project to use the Inaja palm, which is native to the Amazon region, to produce 'biodiesel', as well as other products. It is hoped that the project will make the production of inaja economically viable by 2006.

The project will develop research in the areas of genetic diversity, conservation of the natural population of the species and the refinement of its agroindustrial potential. The research will be managed by Embrapa's Biotechnology and Genetic Resources Centre in Brasilia and the National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA). The project has a budget of R$631 million.

Inaja can withstand floods, fires and poor soil quality. According to researchers, even after being burnt, the inaja regrows vigorously and germinates quickly.

According to EMBRAPA "inaja has enormous economic potential. It is rich in phosphorous, magnesium and fatty acids and may be used as food for birds, pigs and fish". It may also be used to produce meal and oil for human consumption.

5. Pan-Africa: Women play central role in conservation in Africa

Source: United States Department of State (Washington, DC), 17 November 2003

"Women in Africa are the most culturally, economically, and politically disadvantaged," said Dr. Helen Gichohi of the African Wildlife Foundation, but "they are also the most dependent on the wildlife and forests for food, water and firewood for their families." Dr. Gichohi stated this basic fact of life in Africa during a breakfast sponsored by the AWF at the National Press Club in Washington that highlighted the progress being made in the field of conservation in Africa and, specifically, the role of women in that process.

"Women in Conservation" was the topic for a panel discussion that featured Dr. Gichohi, AWF's vice president for programming; Faida Mitifu, the ambassador from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); Katie Frohardt, executive director of Fauna & Flora International; and Kim Sams, manager of conservation initiatives for Walt Disney World. All pointed out the central function of women in the entire conservation movement since they are the front line in the process in Africa.

Gichohi noted that when the political or economic decision is made to build in a forested area, it is the women -- who had been excluded from the decision entirely -- who have to walk farther for their water, search longer for their food and make more trips to carry their firewood. They are the ones most closely connected to the environment and "When the environment is degraded, women suffer the brunt of the effects," said Gichohi.

In that context, she stated, it is essential that women living in forested areas develop income-generating activities that take advantage of the natural resources around them. "I was sitting with my friend the other day and we were drinking some herbal tea and she commented that the tea wasn't very good," explained Gichohi. "We have women living so close to herbs that would make much better tea than what we were drinking. We need to commercialize the herbs and help the women earn a living without dislocating them from conservation areas."

Ambassador Faida Mitifu of the DRC said that her country's history of civil war has resulted in an unusually large number of female-headed households that depend on the forest for "sustainable life." Mitifu said that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will work with AWF to develop projects that focus on conserving wildlife and on increasing women's involvement in that effort.

Mitifu observed that there is a continuing contradiction between the traditional roles of women in Africa and the requirements of modern life. While there has been progress towards engaging women in politics and conservation, she said, there is still room for improvement. "In a male-dominated world, the policies are made by men, and the women and their plight are forgotten," explained Mitifu. She encouraged non-governmental organizations with a strong female influence to continue to advance the role of women in conservation projects.

Sams, in applauding the work of women in this vital field, noted that there were few men in attendance. She summed up the thoughts of many of the other panellists: "We have to get more men involved," she said, "because right now, ladies, we're really preaching to the choir."

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

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6. Kenya Wildlife Service permit to cut rare tree type now revoked

Source: The Nation (Nairobi), 14 November 2003

The Kenya Wildlife Service has been directed to revoke a 20-year-old permit it granted to a trader for the cutting of an endangered medicinal tree. It should also stop any further exploitation of the Prunas africana tree used in manufacturing medicine, Environment minister Newton Kulundu said yesterday.

The Minister accused the KWS of abusing its authority as the custodian of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). He said that although the Government had listed the plant under its endangered species, Kenya had been providing 60 percent of the world's supply estimated at Sh28.1 billion per year. In addition, he said Mr Jonathan Leakey had been mentioned as having been unprocedurally granted the permit to harvest the tree.

The indigenous tree, found in Baringo, Kakamega and Samburu districts, is used in manufacturing drugs for prostate cancer.

Full story:

7. Kenya: Experts want carvers banned from forests (1)

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi), 31 October 2003

In Malindi, about 1 000 wood carvers yesterday urged the Government to lift the ban on tree felling in the remaining forests. Malindi Handicraft Co-operative Society chairman, Mr Joseph Kimulu said that the ban on logging may render wood carvers jobless.

Speaking at the Malindi Handicraft Centre, Kimulu said the local wood carvers make beautiful curios that attract tourists from all corners of the world. "Thousands of tourists come to Kenya and buy wood carvings which depict our wildlife and cultural heritage. Wood carving is one of the industries which boost tourism," he said. Wood carving, he said, was a major job creator and that unless the Government lifts the ban on logging, the multi-million-shilling wood carving industry would collapse.

Environmentalists have called for the ban on logging, saying the cutting of trees from the remaining forests could wipe out forests in the district. Malindi Green Town movement chairman Godfrey Karume lamented that the unrestrained cutting of trees by wood carvers had threatened the world famous Arabuko Sokoke Forest with extinction. Karume strongly opposed the cutting down of indigenous forests which, he added, are a major tourist attraction and essential for scientific study.

8. Kenya: Experts want carvers banned from forests (2)

Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi), 5 November 2003

The Government has been urged to deny wood carvers licences to cut indigenous trees. Mr Z K Nderu, the chairman of the Environment Trust of Kenya, said the carvers were major destroyers of forests.

Speaking in Mombasa, Nderu said indigenous trees in the Coast Province - including the neem tree - were threatened with destruction owing to indiscriminate harvesting by the carvers. Nderu was reacting to calls by some wood carvers who urged the Co-operatives Minister, Mr Njeru Ndwiga, to help them acquire permits to harvest indigenous trees in forests. The carvers had complained that the Government ban was hurting their business.

Yesterday, Nderu strongly opposed the relaxation of the ban. "Wood carvers are to blame for the destruction of forests... The Government should not give in to their pleas," he said. He claimed that wood carvers were now using street children to put litter on the base of trees and set them on fire, causing the trees to fall down. They then come along to collect the wood. Nderu suggested that carvers should use clay to make curios. "For the sake of saving our forests, the wood carvers should turn to the use of clay in making handicrafts. "This would put an end to their clash with environmentalists," he said.

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9. Madagascar: GEF Grant of $13.5 Million Supports Protection of Madagascar's Biodiversity

Source: Global Environment Facility (Washington, DC) Press Release, 24/11/03

A $13.5 million grant, approved today by the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), is supporting Madagascar's ambitious plan to protect its globally significant biodiversity, which includes hundreds of species that are unique to the island.

"Protection of Madagascar's biodiversity and natural resources will contribute to improving the quality of life for the country's residents, many of whom depend directly on natural resources for their livelihoods," said Len Good, CEO and Chairman of the GEF. "This project will also benefit the global environment, since Madagascar contains numerous unique species, including many medicinal plants that are of critical importance to the pharmaceutical industry."

The project is funded by a $13.5 million GEF grant and $135.4 million in co-financing from other sources, including $18.5 million from the Government of Madagascar. The World Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), two of GEF's implementing agencies, are managing the project in partnership with key government agencies and NGOs. The project supports the third and final five-year phase of Madagascar's innovative Environmental Action Plan, which was started in 1991 with the support of a broad coalition of international donors, agencies, and NGOs.

Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, is one of the 17 recognized mega-diverse countries that represent 80 percent of the world's biological diversity. As a result of Madagascar's longstanding geographical isolation and highly varied micro-climates, the archaic life-forms making up Madagascar's terrestrial ecosystems have evolved into some of the most unique biodiversity in the world.

Without substantial and sustained intervention, there is a real risk that numerous species that are unique to Madagascar will become extinct. Deforestation caused by illegal logging and unsustainable agricultural practices, among other factors, is a major threat to the biodiversity. It also leads to a rapid loss of topsoil, which in turn diminishes the country's agricultural productivity and accelerates its downward spiral of extreme poverty. Nearly 80 percent of the country's poor residents live in rural areas and depend on the land almost exclusively for their livelihoods.

GEF funds will be used to preserve the quality of Madagascar's globally significant biodiversity and natural resources.

Investments made under Madagascar's Environmental Action Plan from 1991 to the present are leading towards the establishment of a comprehensive environmental policy and regulatory framework, and have already led to the creation of environmental institutions. The Government of Madagascar's Ministry of Water and Forests, for example, has successfully carried out an action plan to improve governance. This plan included the transferral of 70 percent of permit fees to local stakeholders, thus providing an increased incentive for communities to support the enforcement of logging regulations.

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10. Namibia: Experts Discuss Tourism Rating

Source: The Namibian (Windhoek), 18 November 2003

Ministry of Environment and Tourism representatives met in Windhoek yesterday for a one-day workshop on eco-rating. Eco-rating is the evaluation of the tourism industry based on international environmental standards.

Namibia's dry eco-system is seen as vulnerable because of the fast-growing tourism industry. A statement issued by the Namibian Community Based Tourism Association (Nacobta) said to keep tourism in Namibia attractive and unique, the impact of tourism on the environment had to be minimized. It said eco-rating system was an ideal tool for self-regulating, eco-responsible operations within the tourism industry, and enhancing the country's tourism promotion.

At present there are no formal systems or structures in place in Namibia to evaluate, promote and reward eco-responsible practices in tourism.

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11. Nigeria: Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) tasks government on sustainable management of forests

Source: Vanguard (Lagos), 4 November 2003

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), an associate of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has called on the Federal Government to adopt policies for sustainable management of the country's forest resources. The call for the policies is coming against the background of the fact that the wanton destruction of the country's forests continues, while various governments of the federation refuse to embrace sustainable forest management practices.

The president of NCF, Chief P. C. Asiodu stated this at the 14th Annual General Meeting of the Foundation in Lagos recently. He added that of equal importance is the need for a review of existing environmental laws to guard against excesses on the part of those whose activities impact adversely on the environment. He said that "the wanton destruction of the little that is left of our forests continues as many state authorities refuse to embrace sustainable forest management practices".

"Our relatively large population of over 130 million which is young and growing at nearly 3 percent/year, that is, 20 percent of the population of Africa confined to less than 4 percent of the land area of our continent, underscores the urgent need for us in Nigeria to adopt policies for careful sustainable management of our natural resources. Happily, we have achieved successes in demonstrating that economic development and increasing income for the people is not only compatible with wise conservation practices, but indeed, can be enhanced thereby. For instance, the Hadejia/Nguru Wetlands Conservation Project, which traverses Yobe and Jigawa states, has wound up and the project's goal is being redefined to lay greater emphasis on the development of ecotourism. This particular initiative promises to ensure at once the conservation of wetlands and the development of the tourism industry. To this end, we are seeking the support of the various tiers of government and the private sector to raise the necessary funds. This brings to the fore the need for various stakeholders to work together."

"It is this kind of developmental approach that will clearly demonstrate the wise use of natural resources, which on the one hand, improves the economy, and on the other, protects the environment. NCF, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has formulated a new National Forest Policy which is awaiting presidential approval. We can no longer afford the wanton destruction of the remaining portions of our forests with their inestimable, yet undiscovered resources including priceless wildlife. To underscore this, we must deplore the rate at which concessions are granted to logging companies in some states of the federation. It is hoped that with the approval of the new National Forest Policy, such practices will be reduced.

According to the NCF president, sound environmental policies that will guarantee the wise use of natural resources should be pursued in the interest of future generations.

12. Nigeria: Jigawa boosts gum arabic production

Source: Daily Trust (Abuja), 19 November 2003

A joint initiative between the United States-based African Development Foundation and the Jigawa State government has raised N280 million for the provision of five million seedlings of Acacia sp. to produce Gum Arabic to boost the production of the product and reduce the menace of desertification. The joint effort would see to the provision of 100 ha of land to develop a special programme on drought and desertification protection through the establishment of Gum Arabic centres.

Disclosing this to newsmen, the Director-General of the state research institute, Dr. Hilton Gommes, said 200 farmers were used to nurse the five million seedlings. He said that the farmers had already been provided with free seedlings for Gum Arabic and will be given N3 for each seedling nursed. Dr. Hilton added that the farmers are also provided with free seedlings to grow in their farms.

He disclosed that already, officials of the ADF led by Dr. Nathaniel Fuse, have visited the state to study the success of the initiative.

Dr. Hilton Gommes described the institute's achievement as a revolutionary idea to improve agriculture and better the state's socio-economic wellbeing.

13. South Africa: Reaping new meds from old cures

Source: GRAIN Los Banos , 11 November 2003

Samson Mvubu's corner of the bustling Faraday Market is crammed with bundles of bark, roots, bulbs and animal parts used to treat all manner of maladies, ranging from madness to coughs and infections. Mvubu is an "inyanga", a traditional herbalist. He spent years learning to treat illnesses using plants found in the fields and forests surrounding his village. Visitors to this market come to Mvubu for cures from the countryside. Among them are a small but growing number of scientists, who show up armed with notebooks and ask lots of questions. "The traders here are not happy about them," he says of the scientists. "They just run away with our plants under their arm and they don't come back."

Five years ago, few scientists bothered to visit Mvubu and his fellow healers. Now, however, it seems the world is waking up to the vast untapped potential of biological and indigenous resources. Bioprospecting - searching nature for plants and animals with commercially useful properties - is a booming field. Traditional healers like Mvubu, who tend to come from poor, marginalized communities, increasingly are perceived as the ones who might lead scientists to important discoveries. "Everyone wants access to biodiversity," says Dr. Marthinus Horak, manager of bioprospecting at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which is sponsored by the South African government.

With 24 000 plant species, the biodiversity of this country is almost unparalleled. And with almost 300 000 traditional healers nationwide, local knowledge of plants and their uses is equally abundant. Increasingly, CSIR scientists tap into the knowledge of traditional healers, who have helped to identify hundreds of the plants researchers are studying now. However, in South Africa - where at least 70 percent of people rely on traditional remedies, and where newspapers run stories of AIDS patients who swear by "miracle" herbal concoctions - no major drug has yet been developed. Dr. Namrita Lall, a botanist at the University of Pretoria, is one of many hoping to change that. Working with a traditional healer, she has found what could be a promising alternative treatment for tuberculosis.

The potential rewards of this type of cooperation are great for both scientists and traditional healers, Horak says. But collaboration also raises troubling issues. Operating in a legal vacuum, researchers and corporations historically have laid claim to indigenous resources without compensating communities or obtaining their consent. Long before issues of traditional knowledge emerged for debate in global arenas like the World Trade Organization, colonial botanists catalogued vast amounts of traditional knowledge, which is now available to anyone, says Rachel Wynberg, a Cape Town researcher on biodiversity issues.

Even now, rich countries have resisted demands from the developing world that traditional knowledge be recognized under international patent laws. And while the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes the need for stronger regulatory mechanisms, many developing countries rich in biodiversity have yet to pass their own laws protecting biological and indigenous resources.

Meanwhile, Mvubu at the Faraday Market says he has stopped speaking to scientists because he mistrusts their motives.

In a major breakthrough earlier this year, however, CSIR announced an agreement with the San of the Kalahari Desert to share in the profits of a potential blockbuster weight-loss drug. In 1996, CSIR scientists discovered and patented appetite-suppressing chemicals found in the succulent desert plant hoodia. For untold years, the San chewed on hoodia to relieve hunger during long hunting trips. With hoodia, scientists hoped to "put South Africa on the map as a supplier of international drugs," Horak says. The CSIR licensed P57 - the plant's appetite-suppressing ingredient - to a British company, Phytopharm, which in turn licensed pharmacological giant Pfizer to further develop and market the drug. When the South African San Council, an indigenous-rights group, got wind of the deal, it fought for the San to share in profits from the drug -- since it was their knowledge that led scientists to the discovery in the first place.

The case sparked an international scandal, but Horak insists that CSIR always intended to recognize the San's contribution. "We've proven the potential for bioprospecting to translate into benefits to communities," Horak says. Just how much the San will benefit financially remains to be seen. Pfizer recently pulled out of the deal, and any drug that may yet be developed from hoodia is still years away.

Wynberg says she doubts the San or any other indigenous groups ever will see much benefit from bioprospecting, given the projects' complexity. "Even if hoodia does succeed, it's unique," she says. "One in 10,000 projects may yield some kind of promising lead ... so maybe in South Africa there will be one other."

For full story, please see:,1286,61090,00.html?tw=wn_techhead_1

14. South Africa: Western Cape opens 'Useful Plants' Garden

Source: BuaNews (Pretoria), 26 November 2003

A garden featuring 150 indigenous plants with a wide range of traditional uses has been officially opened at Kirstenbosch in the Western Cape. The Useful Plants Garden is a brainchild of the current Kirstenbosch scholar Phakamani m'Africa Xaba, who began the project in February 2002. This project received funding from the Botanical Society of South Africa and the Rowland & Leta Hill Trust administered by Syfrets Trust Limited.

Launching the garden yesterday, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said it would teach the public about the conservation of indigenous plants. The garden focuses on plants commonly used in southern Africa, especially those that had become rare or endangered through exploitation for medicinal usage or by competition from exotic crops. "Because this project was started by a young person it would educate other young people about the importance of their culture and to take care with pride of the resources around them", she said.

Mr Xaba said the garden was based on centuries of plant use knowledge from all the peoples and cultures of South Africa. "We want to use it to educate the general public about useful indigenous plants but also to get communities practically involved in the development of Indigenous crops and the preservation and conservation of threatened medicinal plants," he added.

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15. Uganda: NGO Launches Forest Center

Source; New Vision (Kampala), 12 November 2003

On 8 July 2003 a Japanese NGO called "Kalinzu Forest Project", inaugurated "Kalinzu Forest Conservation Education Centre" in Bushenyi District of Uganda. The small classroom-looking centre is designed for visitors to explore and enjoy the rich natural resources of the forest reserve. The Centre is located next to Nkombe Forest Station. The "Grant Assistance for Japanese NGO Projects" of the Japanese Government was used to finance the building.

For more information, please contact; Kalinzu Forest Project, Email:
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16. Uganda: Norway and the European Union give forestry Shs 25bn

Source: The Monitor (Kampala), 12 November 2003

The Norwegian International Agency for Development (NORAD) and the European Union signed a joint memorandum to support the National Forestry Authority on Monday. The joint support is worth Shs 25 billion for the next five years. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment Eng. Bezalel Kabanda witnessed the signing; he said "I am pleased that this partnership has come in place to protect our environment and especially forests".

The National Forestry Authority was formed early this year to oversee the 1.4 million hectares of forests in 506 central reserves in the country.

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17. Bangladesh: A forest stolen for cash

Source: Community Forestry E-News 2003.16,

Source: WRM Bulletin 75, October 2003
Plantation of exotics - rubber, acacia and eucalyptus in particular - is one major factor that has changed the Modhupur sal forest (Shorea robusta) for ever, with severe consequences for the ethnic communities - Garos and Koch - who have lived in the forest for centuries.

With loan money from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank in particular, the government has actually established plantations of alien species all over the public forestland. Except for the Sundarban, only fragments of native forests remain in Bangladesh.

Pineapple and banana plantations have also expanded in the Modhupur sal forest in the recent times, with too much use of pesticides, including DDT and imported hormone to make the fruit bigger and ripen quicker, posing a serious concern. Now both pineapple and banana production and trade are controlled by the Bangalee traders.

In Bangladesh "social" forestry on public forest land means big cash deal with loans coming from international financial institutions. The practice of "simple plantation" forestry has been passed for "social", "community" or "participatory" forestry. The land belongs to the Forest Department (FD); loan money comes from the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and the FD establishes the plantations on public forestland, cutting native forests and bushes with the argument that the local species are less productive and grow slow. The locals and often outsiders are drawn into it as the so-called participants or beneficiaries who have no say about the selection of species, while the production and trade are controlled.

According to some appalling statistics about the state of the Modhupur forest given by the Tangail Forest Office, out of 46 000 acres in the Tangail part of the Modhupur forest, 7 800 acres have been given out for rubber cultivation, 1 000 acres to the Air Force, 25 000 acres have gone into illegal possession and the Forest Department controls only 9 000 acres.

In Modhupur, once abundant with medicinal plants, one can hardly find native species such as Gandhi Gazari, Ajuli (Dillenia pentagyna), Dud Kuruj, Sonalu (Cassia fistula) (Golden shower), Sesra, Jiga, Jogini Chakra (Gmelina arborea), Kaika, Sidha, Sajna, Amloki (Emblic myrobalan), and Gadila.

Currently, the Forest Department is implementing the second rotation of fuelwood plantation throughout the country with loans for the Forestry Sector Project from the ADB. The controversy, debate and protest that the first rotation of plantation (beginning in 1989-90) generated are still alive. The Forest Department continues to ignore all these protests and controversies around plantations.

(Article extracted from: "Modhupur. A stolen forest, robbed Adivasis", by Philip Gain, Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD), email:

18. China Bamboo Handicrafts competition

From: Fu Jinhe, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, Beijing,

The first China Bamboo Handicrafts competition was held on 1-2 November 2003 in Anji, the famous bamboo homeland of China. It was sponsored by INBAR, the China Bamboo Industry Association and organized by Anji county government.

There were 80 authors who submitted 223 bamboo artworks. All of the bamboo artworks were classified into two types: one bamboo sculpture and carving, the other bamboo weaving. From each type, the judges awarded one artwork a gold prize, four a silver and eight a bronze.

Based on an applicant's level of bamboo artwork, 11 people were selected as "Master of China Bamboo Handicrafts". Over ten authors have donated their bamboo artworks to the China Bamboo Museum in Anji. Anji county government wants to organize four more of such competitions in the future.

For more information, please contact:
Fu Jinhe Ph. D.
Program Officer
International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Mailing Address: Beijing 100102-86, Beijing 100102, P. R. China
Tel: +86-10-8471 3337 ext.208 or 6470 6161 ext.208
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166
Website: or

19. Request for information - significance of forest-derived nutritional and medicinal resources to human health

From: Hety Herawati, CIFOR,

We've been working on a literature review on nutritional and medicinal roles of wild rainforest products in contributing to human health. We have found considerable documentation about such products and their possible or assumed role in health. However, we have been surprised to find very little regarding their actual significance for health and nutrition.

We need to identify and obtain publications and references, including synthesis or case studies that address the actual health role of forest products.

Part of the difficulty we face is that such information may be scattered over many disciplines, making it easy to overlook key publications. We would appreciate your help.

For more information, please contact:
Hety Herawati
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

20. Request for assistance: Carapa guianensis

From: Victor Acosta

I am looking for information on the oil extraction of Carapa guianensis - especially the necessary equipment for the extraction and the marketing of the oil.

If you can help, please contact:
Victor Hugo Acosta Avila
Romulo Espinar 117,
Iquitos, Peru

21. Request for assistance: mushrooms

Source: Feja Lesniewska,, in Taiga-ntfp list

I would like to take the opportunity to ask what do you do with all those mushrooms. Indeed what do you do with all NTFPs from the boreal?

At the Winnipeg meeting in 2002 a decision was taken to produce a Boreal Cookbook. I offered to collect recipes and compile the initial booklet. It would be wonderful to have it ready for the next Bi-annual meeting in September 2004.I know there are a vast number of recipes. After all cooking and eating has been, and is, and we want it to continue to be, the life of us boreal people

Please send recipe ideas to me (Feja Lesniewska on If you don't have any of your own ask the grandmothers and grandfathers, look in those old books or, in this modern age, try the internet for contemporary recipes.

If you have any photos/illustrations or humorous stories relating to your experiences with boreal foods please send those too.

22. International Fellowship Opportunity

From: Angie DiSalvo

The World Forest Institute (WFI) is seeking individuals working in forestry and natural resources to apply for our International Fellowship Program. WFI is a division of the World Forestry Center, which is a small, private non-profit educational organization based in Portland, Oregon U.S.A. The Forestry Center promotes education and information exchange regarding forests and forestry.

The Fellowship Program brings natural resources professionals from around the world to work at the World Forest Institute for six to 12 months. Over 50 Fellows from 17 countries have participated in the program. Fellows staff country desks at WFI, and work with colleagues from around the world. They work on a primary research project developed in cooperation with their sponsors, and also participate in group activities which include site visits to forestry agencies, universities, companies and mills.

We seek individuals with initiative, interest in international forestry issues, and a good command of English. Please go to our website for a full description at:

For more information, please contact:
Angie DiSalvo
International Fellowship Program Manager
World Forest Institute, World Forestry Center
4033 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221 USA
+1-(503) 488-2137

23. 2004 US Forest Service International Seminars

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

The USDA Forest Service International Programs and its partners are pleased to announce four international training opportunities for 2004. The seminars stimulate deliberations and problem solving for issues related to three unique areas of natural resource management. The USDA Forest Service supports the seminars with the idea of engaging a global network of natural resource managers in a productive, interactive dialogue on common challenges and solutions.

Invited participants are selected to reflect the widest possible geographic distribution and diversity of experience. Program activities will take advantage of the experience of the participants, as well as the unique heritage of the field locations included in each seminar. Three of the programs are intensive, interactive seminars designed for English-speaking senior natural resource management professionals who desire to improve their managerial capabilities and administrative skills. Another addition to our list of collaborative trainings includes a Spanish-language-based field course on protected area management.

The seminars include:
The University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and the USDA Forest Service International Programs co-sponsor the International Seminar on Watershed Management. (June 22-July 7, 2004 ~ Tuition $4,000)

The International Field Course on Wildlands and Protected Area Management, co-hosted by the Center for Protected Area Management and Training at Colorado State University and USDA Forest Service International Programs, held entirely in Spanish, presents key concepts, principles, and methods of protected area management while emphasizing field-based practical exercises. Participants will interact extensively with local resource users, various local, state, and federal agencies, collaborating private conservation organizations, and other citizen groups involved in natural resource management. This interaction will provide participants hands-on experience with solving complex biodiversity conservation and natural resource use and management problems, as well as in interacting with the many types of stakeholders involved in real world situations. (July 6- August 8, 2004 ~ Tuition $4,950)

The International Seminar on Protected Area Management is held in the northern Rocky Mountains of the western United States. Designed for senior level planners and managers of nationally significant protected areas worldwide, this integrated state-of-the-art course examines strategies to conserve the world's most special places. The program, sponsored by the USDA Forest Service International Programs and the Universities of Montana, Idaho and Colorado State, will evaluate policies and institutional arrangements that sustain both people and natural resources. (August 5-21, 2004 ~ Tuition $4,750)

The International Seminar on Forestry and Natural Resources Administration, cohosted by USDA Forest Service International Programs and Colorado State University, presents a broad spectrum of natural resource management techniques and institutional arrangements so that participants may selectively gather ideas that can assist in the management of their lands. The seminar focuses on strategies and methods to develop, manage, and conserve natural resources for the sustained delivery of goods and services to meet the full range of human needs. (August 22-September 9, 2004 ~ Tuition to be announced)

Participants who have their own financial sponsorship are invited to get more information and apply via our website:

(Note: Please visit the website for application details and updated tuition costs.)

24. Rainforest Alliance launches expanded Eco-Index

Source: November 2004 CEPF E-News,

Now it is easier than ever to find detailed information about conservation projects in Latin America through the Eco-Index, an Internet resource managed by the Rainforest Alliance. The Alliance launched the completely redesigned and expanded site earlier this month to help busy conservationists more speedily discover what their colleagues are doing in the region.

The Eco-Index has information about more than 550 projects of 400 NGOs and government ministries throughout the Neotropics. The site is in English and Spanish, while profiles of Brazil-based projects are also available in Portuguese. The database is searchable by keyword, country, organization, funders and/or by 70 different categories.

Each project profile holds a wealth of well-organized information, such as objectives, accomplishments, budget, donors and lessons learned. Details about available reports or studies are included, with many available in PDF format for immediate downloading. Reports are downloaded from the site some 6,000 times each month, so if you want to ensure that your studies are reaching the people who can truly learn from them, the Eco-Index is the best choice for low-cost distribution.

The Eco-Index's "What's New?" page is an online environmental magazine, updated each month. Read interviews with foundation officers and researchers in the field, highlights of exceptional new projects, a newsletter featuring articles about Neotropical conservation projects and more.

According to Diane Jukofsky, director of Neotropics Communications at the Rainforest Alliance, there are more than 20 CEPF-funded projects already in the Eco-Index database, with more added each month.

Project directors submit information on the Eco-Index via a template questionnaire, available on-site or upon request by sending an e-mail to To ensure the quality of information, Eco-Index staff members, based in New York and Costa Rica, carefully edit, fact check and translate each questionnaire.

Jukofsky noted that the popularity of the Eco-Index continues to grow, with more than 16,000 visitors each month. "Through the Eco-Index the conservation community is establishing a permanent record of innovative efforts to safeguard biodiversity in the Neotropics," she said. She urged directors of the many conservation projects supported by CEPF in the region to submit their completed questionnaires and share their knowledge and experiences.

25. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

Forest and Poverty Mapping in South Asia

Forestry and Land Use Programme, IIED
The Forestry and Land Use programme seeks to improve people's livelihoods from forest and land use on the basis of equity, efficiency and sustainability.

The Forestry and Land Use programme's website pages have been substantially updated and redesigned. These pages include descriptions of their:

research themes (,
current and past projects <>, research partners <>, and

staff (
Many of their publications ( and reports are available on the site in pdf format.

Rainforest Alliance: Back to School, Back to Nature
Starting soon, teachers will be able to download a free conservation curriculum for grades K-6. Find out more about this exciting new program, upcoming special events and how to get school supplies that help support conservation.

26. Events

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

International Herbal Fair - 2003
14-16 December 2003
Nagar, Bhopal, India

The Madhya Pradesh State Minor Forest Produce (Trading & Development) Co-operative Federation Limited, Bhopal, India is the main state agency seeing to the development and trade of MFPs, including medicinal plants, for the last two decades or so. The Federation has been trying to support the medicinal and herbal sector through initiatives in conservation, processing, value-addition and marketing.

Considering the growing importance of herbal products and to provide collectors, traders, manufacturers and consumers an interface for networking and marketing (in an effort to address the main problematic area in this sector) our organization has organized a National Level Herbal Fair with resounding success for the past two years, with increased participation from both the manufacturers and consumers.

This time the organization has widened its horizon and is organizing this International Herbal Fair, where it is envisaged that there will be further opportunities for all the major stakeholders of this sector. The participation criteria and fees are very simple and nominal so that even the smallest player can think of exploring the potentialities of this field.

On display will be the latest in natural herbal products, cosmetics, alternative and traditional medicine to name a few.

For more information, please contact:
Mr.Narendra Kumar (ED and State Medicinal Plants Commissioner) or
Ms. Regina Hansda, Asst. Manager & Organising Secretary, IHF-2003, 09826096878
MP State MFP (Trade& Development) Cooperative Federation Ltd. 74, Bungalows, Khel Parisar, Bhopal, India
Telephone: 91-755-2555867
Telefax: 91-755-2552628

International conference on the Great Himalayas: Climate, Health, Ecology, Management and Conservation
12-16 January 2004
Dhulikhel, Nepal.
For more information, please contact:
Ram Bhandari
President and Executive Director
Himalayan Resources Institute (HIRI)
GPO Box: 13880,
New Baneshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel.: 00977-1-4491646
Fax: 00977-1-4416144

Regional Conference on Sustainable Development of Rattan in Asia
21-23 January 2004
Los Baños, Philippines
The emergent pressure on the ecosystem and the environment brought about by deforestation and increasing dependence on timber has been influential in the shift towards NTFPs. Rattan is second only to timber in many ASEAN countries in economic importance. The significance of NTFPs as a source of livelihood and capital inputs is now being realized.

Therefore, the plight of rattan production and utilization cannot be ignored and it is apparent that there is a need for improved techniques in planting and management of rattan in degraded forests. Collaborative efforts and exchange of information and/or experts concerning the management of rattan to a broader perspective is imperative. This could turn to the formulation and adoption of improved technologies for sustainable development of rattan. Through this collaboration, various stakeholders will gain economic and environment benefits.

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau-Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ERDB-DENR) and the Forest Products Research and Development Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FPRDI-DOST) are currently implementing a pre-project entitled " Application of Production and Utilization Technologies for Sustainable Development of Rattan in the ASEAN Member Countries" with funding support from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). This Asian-wide endeavour will cover Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The development objective of the pre-project is to assess the socio-economic acceptability, financial and market feasibility of rattan production and utilization technologies in the ASEAN member countries. Specifically it aims:

1. to conduct a situational analysis of the rattan industry and determine the socio-economic, production, harvesting, processing, utilization and market dimensions of rattan both in plantation and community-based levels in the ASEAN member countries; and

2. to determine the future actions needed to enhance ASEAN Regional cooperation through collaborative research in rattan sustainable development.

This pre-project will capture the status quo of the Region's socio-economy in relation to rattan industry. Other factors such as socio-demographic information, acceptability, preferences and attitude towards rattan as raw material will also be studied. The information will provide decision-makers with bases for rationale and viable decisions for future market-related actions.

This Regional Rattan Conference is a culmination of all the activities in the pre-project and shall highlights the presentation of papers on the status of rattan resources in participating ASEAN countries, their uses, extent and management of natural stands and appropriate silvicultural activities related to sustainable development.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Celso P. Diaz
Director, ERDB
Overall Project Coordinator
ITTO Pre-Project
College, Laguna
4031 Philippines
Phone: (6349) 536-3628, 536-2269/536-2229
Fax: (6349) 536-3481; (6349) 536-2850
E-mail:,, or

VII World Bamboo Congress
28 February-4 March 2004
New Delhi, India
The seventh World Bamboo Congress will convene under the theme "Bamboo for Development: Prosperity for People and the Environment."

For more information contact: Government of India, Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, Ministry of Textiles; tel: +91-11-2610-6902; fax: +91-11-2616-3085;


2004 Certification Watch Conference (the Frontiers of Forest Certification)
28 March-2 April 2004
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Organized by the Forest Certification Watch, the fifth edition of the conference builds on a tradition of high-profile strategic events presented by the organization since 2001. The conference will address such important issues as the linkages between State or Provincial-level forest policy and certification; certification of non-industrial private forests in the US and Canada; sustainable management and certification of the boreal forest; and responsible procurement policy and implementation.

The first early-bird registration deadline is set for December 5, 2003. Registration fees include a DVD presenting extensive highlights from the 3rd Certification Watch Conference held in March 2003. The DVD is sent by postal mail to early bird registrants.

Scholarships will be offered to parties such as non-industrial owners, not-for profit social and environmental organizations, forest dependent communities, First Nations and students, ensuring a broad participation in the event. Scholarships can be applied for on the conference website.

Geared towards an audience of forest products industry executives, forest management and certification experts, governmental officials, environmental organizations, First Nations and community representatives, Certification Watch Conferences provide the deepest and most extensive source of information on the present and future state of forest certification and responsible procurement.

For more information, please contact:
The Conference Coordinator
+1-(514) 273-5777 or toll free in North America at 1-877-273-5777.

17th Commonwealth Forestry Conference: Forestry's Contribution to Poverty Reduction
28 February to 5 March 2005
Colombo, Sri Lanka
For more information, please contact:
Libby Jones, Secretary, Standing Committee on Commonwealth Forestry, Forestry Commission, UK
Telephone: 44-131-314-6137
Fax: 44-131-316-4344 e-mail: or

27. Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

The Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants, Vol. 4, No.1, has just been published.
For more information, please contact
A.N. Rao

28. 2003 IUCN Red List

Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin [], Linkages Update 26/11/03

IUCN-The World Conservation Union has recently released its updated Red List, regarded as the world's most reliable inventory of the conservation status of flora and fauna. With over 2 000 entries added and 380 taxa reassessed since the release of the previous year's list, the Red List currently records over 12 000 species threatened with extinction. 762 plants and animal species are already logged as "extinct."

The list finds that invasive species are an overriding threat to global biodiversity, threatening to undermine populations of native plants and animals on islands and continents.

All known conifer species have been reassessed, and the 2003 list sees new entries of over 1 000 Ecuadorian plants, 125 Hawaiian plants, over 300 cycads and 35 Galapagos Island snails.

IUCN will undertake a major analysis of the Red List in 2004, the results of which will be presented to the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok in November 2004.

For more information, please visit:

29. Publications of interest

From: FAO's NWFP Programme

Aguilar-Støen, M., and Dhillion, S.S. 2003. Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Mesoamerica: environmental and developmental perspectives. Environ. Conserv. 30(2):131-138.

Aguirre, A.A., Ostfeld, R.S., Tabor, G.M., House, C., and Pearl, M.C. (Eds.). 2002. Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice. Oxford University Press. New York, NY. 432 pp.

Andelman, S.J., and Willig, M.R. 2003. Present patterns and future prospects for biodiversity in the Western Hemisphere. Ecol. Lett. 6(9):818-824.

Badola, R., and Hussain, S.A. 2003. Conflict in paradise - women and protected areas in the Indian Himalayas. Mtn. Res. Dev. 23(3):234-237.

Bowkett, L.A., and Kirkpatrick, J.B. 2003. Ecology and conservation of remnant Melaleuca ericifolia stands in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania. Aust. J. Bot. 51(4):405-413.

Campbell, Bruce M. & Luckert, Martin K. (Editors). 2002. Uncovering the Hidden Harvest Valuation Methods for Woodland and Forest Resources. Earthscan, London, UK. ISBN:1853838098

For conservation of plant resources to succeed, it is essential to understand their importance for local people and their livelihoods. This practical and accessible handbook shows how to do this for a non-technical readership. It describes the diverse products and services provided by forests and woodlands - the hidden harvest - and sets out clearly the range of economic and other approaches to valuing them. From this it explains how better-informed decisions on resource allocation and conservation can be made.

With contributions from ecologists, economists and sociologists, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of successful natural resource management, the manual shows how to untangle the complicated network of benefits from forests, and uses the full portfolio of approaches in valuing them. These include the analysis of household livelihoods and plant-based markets, non-market valuation and decision frameworks such as cost-benefit analysis.

Carey, A.B.; Colgan, W. III: Trappe, J.M.; Molina, R. 2002. Effects of forest management on truffle abundance and squirrel diets. Northwest Science. 76(2): 148-157.

Dovie, D.B.K.; Shackleton, C.M.; Witkowski, E.T.F.; Benjaminsen, T.A. (ed.); Cousins, B. (ed.); Thompson, L. 2002. Accessing natural resources: implications for sustainable management and livelihoods. Contested resources: challenges to the governance of natural resources in Southern Africa. Papers from the International Symposium, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa, 18-20 October 2000. 2002, 336-348.

The development of sustainable use of natural resources requires knowledge on the extent of use and the state of the resources. This paper examines the role of forests and woodlands in the maintenance of livelihoods. These resources, mainly non-timber forest products, are an important though underestimated part of the economy of many countries in southern Africa. Human reliance on these resources for several centuries has shaped what we see today as the 'challenge'. The authors examine different models of co-management with a view to developing and proposing an interface model for best practice. The implications of private and government-owned natural resource areas under conservation are also evaluated in the light of increasing human activities from outside and within. This has led to conflicts in conserving biodiversity. The reason for this is that management activities have not provided a meaningful balance between the livelihood requirements of local people and the goals of conservation. In response to the complications of managing these resources sustainably, a holistic approach for developing full participation of all stakeholders and subsequent partnership is proposed through a Community Conservation Interface (CCI) model. Stakeholders include all the entities, such as resource managers and scientists, non-governmental organizations, the business community, local resource users, government authorities, political bodies, formal and informal institutions that affect the resource. The model recognizes the devolution of power and responsibility for resource use and management from a central point to all stakeholders. Unlike most existing management strategies, CCI fully integrates as many stakeholders as possible and gives them equal recognition to resolve differences in their goals. It is concluded that stakeholder participation in making decisions on the sustainable management of natural resources should be given priority without any bias. In addition, compromise on resource use with local residents and formal recognition by governments for harvesting of these secondary resources is vital. Finally, practices undertaken by local people in protecting these resources require protection through tenure, which can become an effective incentive for conserving the resources.

FAO. 2003. Biodiversity and the ecosystem approach in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Rome, Italy. ISBN 92-5-104917-3.

Felton, A.M., Engström, L.M., Felton, A., and Knott, C.D. 2003. Orangutan population density, forest structure and fruit availability in hand-logged and unlogged peat swamp forests in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biol. Conserv. 114(1):91-101.

Ganeshaiah, K.N. (ed.); Shaanker, R.U. (ed.); Bawa, K.S. 2001. Global change and tropical forest ecosystems. Harnessing market forces for biodiversity conservation. Tropical ecosystems: structure, diversity and human welfare. Proceedings of the International Conference on Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare, Bangalore, India, 15-18 July, 2001. 165-190; Science Publishers, Inc.; Enfield; USA

Six notes discuss: experience in West Kalimantan in the development of non-timber forest products for conservation and sustainable development; ecotourism and biodiversity in mountain areas; bioprospecting for conservation of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge; forest certification as a market -based mechanism for promoting responsible forestry; markets for environmental goods and services; and a computer-aided participatory approach to monitor the local agrobiodiversity through market analysis of a fair price market for vegetables in Madurai.

Ganeshaiah, K.N. (ed.); Shaanker, R.U. (ed.); Bawa, K.S.. 2001. Global change and tropical forest ecosystems. Indigenous knowledge and its relevance to conservation and management of tropical forest ecosystems. Tropical ecosystems: structure, diversity and human welfare. Proceedings of the International Conference on Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare, Bangalore, India, 15-18 July, 2001. 165-190; Science Publishers, Inc.; Enfield; USA

Thirteen notes discuss indigenous knowledge in relation to: use of biodiversity in Brazilian hot spots; changing research practice; the study of river fish in the Mekong region, Vietnam; conservation of biological and cultural diversity in China; biodiversity registers; systems of knowledge; land cover changes during 1988-98 Ha Long city, northeast Vietnam; edible invertebrates among Amazonian Indians; medicinal plants in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique; social welfare; natural resource use on Siberut Island, Indonesia; participatory resource monitoring for non-timber forest products in a wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, India; and diversity of medicinal plants in secondary forest in West Kalimantan.

Gera, P. 2002. Women's role and contribution to forest based livelihoods. Human Development Resource Centre, UNDP; New Delhi; India.

Section II of this paper, which is a review of the secondary literature, discusses the role of Indian women in forestry, with special reference to non-timber forest products. Section III examines the gender focus in forest policy and programmes, primarily of the Forest Department, with suggestions for strengthening gender-based reporting in departmental data. Section IV presents the reporting of women's role in forestry in national databases, namely, the Census of India, the National Sample Surveys and National Accounts Statistics. It examines the adequacy of the representation of women's roles in the databases and puts forth suggestions for strengthening gender reporting in the forestry sector.

For more information, please contact: Human Development Resource Centre, UNDP, 55, Lodi Estate, New, Delhi - 110 003, India.

Guangwei, Chen (ed). 2002. Biodiversity in the Eastern Himalayas. Conservation through dialogue. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal. ISBN 92 9115 555 1.

Howard, P. (ed). 2003. Women and plants: gender relations in biodiversity management and conservation. Zed books. ISBN 1-84277-156-6.

This unique collection of in-depth case studies from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and North America demonstrates the importance of women and gender relations in plant genetic resource management and conservation. It provides a state-of-the-art overview of the concepts, relationships and contexts explaining the relatively hidden gender dimensions of people-plant relations. The contributors come from a rich range of disciplines including ethnobotany, geography, agronomy, anthropology, plant breeding, nutrition and development economics. They demonstrate how crucial women are to plant biodiversity management and conservation at household, village, and community levels; and how gender relations have a strong influence on the ways in which local people understand, manage, and conserve biodiversity.

Maikhuri, R.K.; Rao, K.S.; Kusum, Chauhan; Kandari, L.S.; Prasad, P.; Rajasekaran, C; Chauhan, K. 2003. Development of marketing of medicinal plants and other forest products -- can it be a pathway for effective management and conservation? Indian Forester. 2003, 129: 2, 169-178

In recent times, the demand for medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) has increased rapidly in the global market. Domestic sales are growing at a rate of 20% per annum, while international market for herbal products is increasing at a rate of 7% per annum. The relationships among collectors, concessionaires, village traders and middlemen or retailers in the marketing channels of higher Indian Himalayan medicinal plants are discussed. Difficulty of gaining access to the major wholesalers or processors is a primary barrier in obtaining market information. This information on the flow of products is important not only for marketing analysis, but also for an assessment of the sustainability of the market for medicinal plant cultivation and conservation. The valuation and pricing mechanism and the factors influencing prices are discussed. Some major constraints in the market and marketing of medicinal plants are given. The conservation and management of MAPs in their natural habitat require active involvement of the local communities. Thus, effective training and capacity building focused on domestication, cultivation and conservation, improved marketing systems and processing/semi-processing, bioprospecting and value addition locally are the appropriate short- and long -term solution to assure conservation and management and sustainable livelihoods to the local communities.

Mäntyranta, Hannes. 2002. Forest certification. An ideal that became an absolute. Kustannusosakeyhtïö Metsälehti, Finland. ISBN 952-5118-49-5

Marrero-Gómez, M.V., Bañares-Baudet, A., and Carqué-Alamo, E. 2003. Plant resource conservation planning in protected natural areas: an example from the Canary Islands, Spain. Biol. Conserv. 113(3):399-410.

Mitchell, C. 2002. A survey of Non-Timber Forest Product use in the North Negros Forest Reserve, Negros Occidental, Philippines. MSc Thesis, University of Edinburgh.

Nilanjana, Das; Chattopadhyay, R.N. 2003. Inventory of forest-based medicinal plants -- a case study in South West Bengal. Indian Forester.129: 1, 69-79.

A study was conducted to identify the medicinal plants frequently used by the forest fringe people of Nayagram Range under Midnapore West Forest Division of Southwest Bengal, India. A total 75 species having medicinal value were identified and presented along with their identifying characters like botanical names, local name, family, plant type and uses of the plant components against different diseases. The medicinal plants belong to 34 dicotyledonous plant families and 4 monocotyledonous families. In dicotyledons, the maximum number of genera belonging to the family Fabaceae and the maximum number of species belong to the genus Terminalia. In monocotyledons, the family Liliaceae is represented by a maximum number of genera. The medicinal utility of the plant species was also highlighted.

Peterson, C.E. & Monserud, R.A. 2002. Compatibility between wood production and other values and uses on forested lands: a problem analysis. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-564. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 51p. Available in pdf format from:

Shrestha, P.M.; Dhillion, S.S. 2003. Medicinal plant diversity and use in the highlands of Dolakha district, Nepal. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2003, 86: 1, 81-96

This paper presents the ethnomedical uses of wild species among nine rural communities managing local forest resources in the Bonch Village Development Committee (VDC), Dolakha district, Nepal. Local communities possess knowledge of 113 medical remedies derived from 58 species belonging to 40 families to treat a wide range of aliments. A review of literature indicated that 56 medical remedies reported in this paper are new. Most medicines were prepared in the form of juice and were administered orally. Roots and leaves were the most frequently used plant parts. Local people were familiar mostly with the species dealing with common ailments particularly cough/cold, digestive problems, fever, headache, and skin infections. Complex ailments were treated by traditional healers. Haphazard harvesting and over-exploitation of commercial species were also reported. Sustainable harvesting methods and domestication of potential commercial species require attention in the local forest operational plans. The present study indicates that the area harbours a high diversity of medicinal plants. Despite gradual socio-cultural transformation, local communities still possess substantial knowledge of plants and their uses. The reliance on folk medicines for health care is associated with the lack of modern medicines and medication, poverty and the traditional belief of its effectiveness. Since there is a lack of phyto-therapeutic evidence for many of the species, we recommend that phytochemical and pharmacological studies be carried out in order to confirm the validity of properties attributed to these species: this is particularly relevant for species with market potential beyond the district. With setting up management plans for their extraction, these medicinal resources can provide for both subsistence needs and income. This, however, requires detail assessment of resource quantities, productivity potential, sustainable harvesting methods, domestication possibilities, market value of potentially promising species, and importantly, equitable benefit sharing regimes.

van Gemerden, B.S., Olff, H., Parren, M.P.E., and Bongers, F. 2003. The pristine rain forest? Remnants of historical human impacts on current tree species composition and diversity. J. Biogeogr. 30(9):1381-1390

Wipfli, M.S.; Deal, R.L.; Hennon, P.E. 2002. Managing young upland forests in southeast Alaska for wood products, wildlife, aquatic resources, and fishes: problem analysis and study plan. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-558. Portland, OR: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 64p. Available in pdf format from:

30. Miscellaneous: Thieves take tops of 20 000 trees

Source: Star Tribune, 26/11/03 cited in

The tops of up to 20 000 black spruce trees were stolen this month from an 18-acre tract of state land in Hibbing, Minnesota (USA). State forestry officials suspect that they will be sold as 4-foot tabletop Christmas trees in New York and Chicago.

Authorities say the tree rustlers probably took more than a week to remove several truckloads of spruce tops. Gone are between 10 000 and 20 000 treetops, valued at up to US$80 000.

The stolen treetops were about 1 inch in diameter and 3 feet to 6 feet tall, clipped or sawed from 16-foot trees and hauled off in bundles. Investigators are checking with Christmas tree wholesalers in the Twin Cities area and St. Cloud. According to a conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources these tabletop Christmas trees are shipped all over the country and sold in New York and Chicago. In addition, there were reports of bough pickers earning up to US$20 000 a year removing pine branches for wreaths.

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31. Miscellaneous: World Tourism Organization to become specialized UN agency

Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin [], Linkages Update 26/11/03

Among the actions taken at the 15th General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), held from 20-23 October in Beijing, China, was the decision to transform the organization into a specialized agency of the United Nations. The UN General Assembly in turn approved this decision on 7 November 2003. Delegates also supported the Organization's "Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty" (ST-EP) initiative, a joint project with UNCTAD to encourage sustainable tourism that aims at alleviating poverty.

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