No. 03/03

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.

1. Identifying the `Winners & Losers' in the commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs)
2.India: NWFPs as food
3.FSC Social Strategy now available
4. Ethiopia: Britain backs biodiversity scheme
5. Uganda: Neem tree extracts to kill vegetable pests
6.Uganda: Sh500m Honey Factory to Open in Nalukolongo Soon
7. Zimbabwe: ITDG to Launch Small-Scale Beekeepers' Association
8.East Africa Asked to Fund Forest Conservation
9. Canada: Forests - Much More Than a Bunch of Trees
10. USA: Last large chestnut stand is threatened
11. Amazonia unites against biopiracy
12. Brazil: Cooperative administers ecotourism hotel in Amazonas
13. Committee on Forestry: A brief analysis of COFO 16
14. Earthwatch: 2003-2004 field grants
15. Medplant's Electronic Forum on Medicinal Plants
16. Web sites
17. Events
18. State of the World's Forests (SOFO) 2003
19. Publications of interest
20. Miscellaneous: Sources of funding for sustainable forest management; and Forest valuation database

1. Identifying the `Winners & Losers' in the commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs)
From: Dermot O'Regan [

The commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has an impact on many groups of people, from poor farmers to small-scale entrepreneurs, and on the resource base.

Examining different NTFP market chains can help to identify suitable development paths, so that commercial returns are not achieved at the expense of ecological sustainability and other social, cultural and environmental benefits.

Over the past three years, our group at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) Wallingford has been leading an international multi-disciplinary team examining the distribution, use and marketing of NTFPs from two species, marula (Sclerocarya birrea) in South Africa and Namibia, and crabwood (Carapa guianensis) in Guyana, to assess the economic and ecological impacts of their commercialisation on the forest resource base and people's livelihoods.

Our research has shown that NTFP use can provide important income for poorer households, especially for women, diversify their livelihood options, and at the same time lead to improved management and conservation of the resource. We have also highlighted the fact that the potential economic benefits of NTFP commercialisation must be weighed against social, cultural and ecological costs that may arise, particularly when products become the focus of large-scale enterprise.

The marula tree and its fruit are well known across southern Africa, thanks to its widespread distribution, its common use amongst rural communities (especially for brewing beer), and its popularisation through the advertising efforts of the producers of Amarula Cream liqueur. The marula tree has many uses and it is an example of an NTFP with considerable commercialisation potential. Its bark provides medicine, its wood is used for carving, its fruits for the preparation of juice, beer and jams, and its kernels provide a wholesome snack and high quality oil.

Crabwood is a tree found across Amazonia and Central America and is a much sought-after hardwood. But the benefits of the oil derived from its seeds are also known throughout the region. In Guyana, crabwood oil is a highly prized household item among Amerindian peoples having multiple uses, especially for the treatment of common ailments. Its other properties and uses have important potential, and have been examined so that appropriate management regimes can be developed.

The `Winners & Losers' project team includes specialists in environmental economics, ecology, natural resource management, community development, marketing, and intellectual property rights. We set out to identify the `winners' and `losers' in forest product commercialisation to help establish methods of sustainable harvest of resources, benefit local producers, and resolve conflicts. This knowledge can help forest-dependant communities all over the world to profit from their natural resources in an equitable and sustainable way. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) is funding the research as part of their Forestry Research Programme, and will use the results to inform local communities as well as national and international forest policies.

The research has shown that in identifying the `winners' and `losers' in forest product commercialisation we can conclude that an enterprise, community, or individual household may experience both winning and losing situations and that they may win and lose at different times of the year or season depending on certain circumstances. The lesson that has emerged is that there are winners' and losers' qualities or behaviour that influence the distribution of benefits in commercialisation.

Outputs from the `Winners & Losers' project are extensive and diverse, ranging from scientific papers to educational materials. One such output is a half-hour professional quality video film, Trees of Life: 10 lessons from the marula and crabwood trees, due to be shown on national television in the study countries and available on VHS for wider educational dissemination.

More information about the project and (coming soon) downloadable reports and other outputs can be found at the `Winners & Losers' website at

For more information, please contact:

Dermot O'Regan
Water Policy & Management
CEH Wallingford
Maclean Building
Crowmarsh Gifford
United Kingdom
OX10 8BB
Tel: +44(0) 1491 692417
Fax: +44(0) 1491 692338

2. India: NWFPs as food
From: Ajoy Bhattacharya, India [

The following has been extracted from a recent paper by A.K.Bhattacharya, V.K. Sinha and Piyusha Tiwari of the Indian Institute of Forest Management, entitled "Seasonal availability and consumption pattern of NWFPs as food among the Baiga Primitive Tribe Group of Dindori District of Madhya Pradesh, India"


NWFPs constitute an integral component of food for the communities dependent on forests. The role of NWFPs becomes more significant for less agricultural dependent communities with small land holdings residing in remote forests villages. In order to assess the role of NWFP-based food habits of such communities, a preliminary study was carried out in one of the most forest dependent tribes of India, i.e. Baigas. This study was carried out with people of Baiga Primitive Tribe Group (PTG) living in remote "Chadha" village of Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh.


NWFPs have been defined as "all goods of biological origin other than wood as well as services derived from forests and allied land uses". Since times immemorial people, specially tribals, have been dependent on the forests for various valuable biological resources like timber, fuel wood, food resources, medicines and other extracts many of which have no replacement by modern cultivation options. NWFPs play an important biological and social role in local food systems for the people living in and around forests as they depend heavily on forest resources to meet their day-to-day requirements. The communities living in close vicinity of forests are especially dependent for their livelihood needs and food security. NWFPs are most extensively used to meet dietary shortfalls and to supplement household income during particular lean seasons in the year. Many agricultural communities suffer from seasonal food shortages generally known as "hunger periods". These commonly occur at the time of year when stored food supplies have dwindled and new crops are only just arriving. During this period the consumption of NWFPs increases. In many States of India, specially, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Himchal Pradesh, 80 percent of forest dwellers depend on forests for 25-50 percent of their annual food requirements.

Objectives of the study

The study is an attempt to assess the role of NWFPs in the food habits of one of the most forest dependent communities, the Baiga (a primitive tribe of Madhya Pradesh) of Dindori district. The specific objectives of the study include

· Analysis of the consumption pattern of NWFPs among the Baiga PTG in different seasons

· Analysis of the food intake of the Baiga tribe;

· Identification of NWFPs that play an important role in food availability during different seasons.


Dindori region of Madhya Pradesh is tribal dominated area. Baiga is the dominant Primitive tribe of the District. Baigas are not limited to one place, but inhabit inaccessible, difficult and treacherous areas. The Chadha village of Dindori District was selected for the present study because of the dominance of the Baiga PTG in the area, location and accessibility. 75 families out of total 85 families of Chadha belong to Baiga PTG. The survey was carried out through focus group discussions and scheduled interviews. Six focus group discussions were carried out in six different settlements of Chadha village, while survey through scheduled interviews was carried out in one of these settlements with 50 out of the total 75 households in the settlement.

Results and Discussion

1. Food (agricultural produce) availability in different seasons

Agriculture crops like Maize, Kodo, Kutki and Ramtila are grown in the area. Inadequate irrigation infrastructure restricts farmers to only Kharif crop. Land holding of the villagers is small (2-3 acres/household) and the average family size is six. Maize and Chirota Bhaji (NWFP) form staple diet of the villagers and are consumed throughout the year. Availability of food declines in summers and during onset of rainy season. During this time of the year villagers are most dependent on forest food to meet the shortfall in agricultural produce and food requirement of the family.

2. NWFPs availability in different seasons

Fifty-three NWFPs have been reported to be collected by the villagers in Chadha (not including fish). Out of 53 species, 46 are used for domestic consumption and remaining NWFPs are collected for sale. NWFPs like Sal seeds, Tendu leaves and Harra are collected by the villagers and sold to the Forest Department. Some NWFPs are also sold in open market after meeting the domestic consumption. The collection period and quantity depend on the availability of the NWFP. The majority of species are available during March to July, the maximum being available during June (62.78%), followed by May (44.18%), April (41.86%) and July (41.86%).

Collection and consumption pattern

Out of the total NTFPs being consumed, 49 % are consumed as fruits, 26% as leaves, 16 % as rhizomes and 5 % as the entire plant.

Most of the NWFPs, other than mushrooms and leaves, are collected during March to June. Villagers go deep inside the forests and cover long distances, ranging from 2 to 5 km, to collect NWFPs. Some NWFPs, like Chirota Bhaji, Gular etc., primarily used for consumption are found adequately in and around village. Some of the NWFPs are consumed mainly as leaves, for example Chirota, Pepal, Dhoodia, Saroota, Kanjari etc. These leaves are collected from June to September when the leaves are new and young.Leaves of Chirota are collected from July to September and dried and stored for consumption throughout the year.Rhizomes of few species like Kanhaya Kand, Birar Kand, Kadukand etc are collected and consumed throughout the year.

Mushrooms ("Pehri" in local dialect) are collected by villagers from July to August. The consumption of mushrooms depends upon the quantity collected; the larger the collection, the higher the consumption.

The average collection period per household varies from species to species and also depends on the availability in a particular year. In a good production year the period rises to two months for few species like mushroom, mango, Lorangi Kand, Birar Kand, Chirota Bhaji, Kachhar Bhaji etc. The average collection period for majority of the NTFPs is ten to 30 days.

The average total quantity of NTFPs collected/year/household has been found to be 558.8 kg. Mango is collected in maximum quantity (40 kg/household/year) followed by Chirota Bhaji (35 kg/household/year) and Maruha (30 kg/household/year). The majority of the NTFPs are consumed cooked (46.5 %) and others raw (34.9%). The rest (19 %) are consumed both raw and cooked.


NWFPs form an integral part of the food intake of the Baiga tribe. Some NWFPs like mushrooms and Chirota leaves are stored and consumed throughout the year. Consumption of mushrooms to a large extent depends upon availability in the area, while other NWFPs are collected and consumed from March to September.After the Kharif crop is harvested not much emphasis is laid on collection, partly because of low availability and partly because of availability of agricultural crop. Chirota leaves and mushrooms form a significant part of food intake throughout the year, and their consumption does not decline with seasonal availability of agriculture produce (to a large extent). Leaves of Dhoodia, Bhramrakas, Sarota, Kachar etc are consumed only during rainy season. NWFPs like Khamar, Kachnar, Bhilwa, Goolar, Aam etc are consumed as fruits from March to June depending upon availability.

(Detailed information about the seasonal availability of the NWFPs, the collection period, consumption pattern and quantity collected is available from the authors.)

For more information, please contact:

Dr AK Bhattacharya, IFS
Associate Professor
Indian Institute Forest Management
Nehru Nagar, Post Box 357, Bhopal 462003, India
Tel: +91 755775716, 773799 PBX ext. 391
Fax: +91 755 772878
e-mail - or

3. FSC Social Strategy now available
From: Jane Stewart, FSC (

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has released the latest version of its Social Strategy: Building and Implementing a Social Agenda (version 2.1).It can be downloaded in English and Spanish from the FSC website ( <

The strategy outlines objectives, outputs and activities to strengthen how FSC responds to social issues, particularly those relating to stakeholder engagement and participation in the FSC system.This includes improving how FSC works with and involves local communities, Indigenous Peoples, forest workers and small/low intensity managed forest operations, such as NTFP operations.

The first version of the Social Strategy was circulated for public input and comment in June 2002.This current version incorporates the priorities and suggestions received.FSC has starting putting these activities into practice, and is building partnerships to ensure successful implementation of the Social Strategy.

For more information on the Social Strategy, the consultation process, or to become involved in implementing the Strategy, please write to

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization that has developed a system for identifying and labeling products from well-managed forests. FSC is active in 66 countries on five continents.

For more information, please visit the FSC website (

or contact

Jane Stewart
Assistant Policy Officer
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
Avenida Hidalgo 502
Oaxaca 68000
Oaxaca, Mexico
Tel: +52 951 5146905 ext.107
Fax: +52 951 5162110

4. Ethiopia: Britain backs biodiversity scheme
Source: UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, 25 March 2003

The British government announced that it is backing an ecological scheme aimed at protecting Ethiopia's indigenous plant life. The research programme aims to protect and boost native species of trees, rather than fast growing imports which can damage the environment. Massive deforestation in Ethiopia has left less than three percent of the country covered in trees.

The scheme will look at the role played by community tree seeds in reversing the scale of damage caused by cutting down trees. The project is part of a three-year research programme, run in partnership with the world-renowned Royal Botanic Garden at Kew in London.

The funding comes under the Darwin Initiative which was established at the Rio Summit in 1992 and aims to safeguard the world's biodiversity. Each year, some 30 schemes are funded worldwide through the British government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

For full story please see:

5. Uganda: Neem tree extracts to kill vegetable pests
Source: New Vision (Kampala), Uganda, 26 March 2003

Farmers could use extracts of the neem tree to control pests that attack vegetables, research done in Makerere University has revealed. Dr Anne Akol, a lecturer at the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, found that neem tree extracts could kill several cabbage pests. She said only low doses of the extract were needed to kill the insects, and that farmers in Kenya were already using the neem extracts to control pests. "Neem doesn't kill the insects immediately, but it causes abnormal growth to the insects," she said.

She advised farmers not to collect extracts from different neem trees as trees vary in the concentration of the natural pesticide. Some trees have higher concentrations than others.

Akol completed her research in 2001. By setting up experiments in a laboratory, she established that the neem extract could kill cabbage pests like aphids and caterpillars. She however she did not establish how many other pests could be killed using neem.

For full story, please see:

6.Uganda: Sh500m Honey Factory to Open in Nalukolongo Soon
Source: New Vision (Kampala), Uganda, 25 March 2003

Beekeepers in Uganda will no longer have to hassle for local market for their honey with the opening of a new honey processing plant in Kampala by Mazima Group of companies next month. The plant, to cost sh500m, is under construction in Nalukolongo near Kampala and on completion will process honey from various parts of the country, for local consumption and export.

Mazima Group of companies managing director Harshad Barot said they were undertaking this venture to exploit the untapped value in organic honey that is plentiful in Uganda but not yet fully tapped. The Mazima Group is working together with the Uganda Beekeepers Association to provide materials and some financial assistance.

For full story please see:

7. Zimbabwe: ITDG to Launch Small-Scale Beekeepers' Association
Source: The Herald (Harare), Zimbabwe, 27 March 2003

THE Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) of Southern Africa will tomorrow launch the Zimbabwe Small-Scale Beekeepers' Association (ZSBA). The formation of the new organization has been necessitated by the absence of a collective voice to represent the interests of over 10 000 small-scale beekeepers in the country. ZSBA's mandate is to provide a public platform from which beekeepers can articulate the challenges they face and pursue options that will improve production.

ITDG said there was need to create a vibrant association to set up linkages between small-scale beekeepers with national and regional organizations facilitating exchange of information and experiences between small and large-scale beekeepers. The organization would also look at strengthening the network between beekeepers at village level and the policy makers at national level which will increase poor producers' access to credit, training, research results, improved beekeeping technologies and markets. It is expected that the new organization would be a collective voice which facilitates more effective interaction with relevant government departments and other service providers.

ZSBA would also provide a platform for knowledge sharing on value addition of honey related products, the practice of using bees for pollination and implementing sound environmental management practices. Apiculture, the science and art of raising bees, has largely been ignored as an agricultural activity in the country. The potential for beekeeping for income generation is beginning to be realised and, beekeeping associations, NGOs and extension services are looking at ways of improving small-scale beekeeping by building on people's knowledge and skills. Beekeepers are failing to supply enough honey for the local market and demand is being met by importing the sweet juice from South Africa.

The initiative that has been taken by ITDG would fill in the information gap that has existed over the years. An International Beekeeping Symposium held in the country in November 1999, which focused on beekeeping in Southern Africa, demonstrated that there is an increasing demand for information dissemination and training in improved beekeeping. In regions such as Vumba near Mutare where rural people have been given assistance, the production and processing of quality honey and other bee products has dramatically increased and yet, demand generally is still greater than available supply. Efficient information dissemination would not only see increased honey production but also save the environment.

Apiculture has a saving effect on the environment since the beekeepers would avoid the cutting down of trees as well as avoiding veldt fires.

Players in the industry have projected that the assistance from the associations, NGOs and Government would speed up the growth of apiculture and it would not be long before it started competing with other industries.

For full story, please see:

8. East Africa Asked to Fund Forest Conservation
Source: The East African Standard (Nairobi), Kenya, 23 March 2003

The East African countries have been urged to take the responsibility of funding the conservation of the remaining forests in the region following a decline in external donor support. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Eastern Africa Co-ordinator, Dr Fanuel Shechambo, said Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania should fund the conservation of forests. He said this was because funding from external donors has declined.

Shechambo made the remarks in Mombasa after the closure of a workshop on Economic Instruments and Financing Mechanisms for Conservation and Sustainable Management of East African Forests. Participants were drawn from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and World Conservation Union Regional Office for East Africa, among others. He said the East African countries are experiencing a decline in donor funding on conservation of forests.The World Conservation Union through IUCN, he said, has been implementing the East Africa Cross Border Biodiversity Project through funding from GEF. Shechambo said the goal of the project is to reduce the rate of loss of forest biodiversity at specific cross-border sites of national and global significance in East Africa.

The project has been dealing with cross-border sites between Taita Taveta and Chome in Same District in Tanzania, forests at Namanga between the Kenya-Tanzania border, forests in Turkana and stretch into Moroto District in Uganda. Others include swamp forests of Sango Bay in Rakai District of Uganda bordering Minziro forest in Tanzania. Shechambo asked the three countries to come up with budget allocations on conservation of forests since they play a key role in the economies of the region.

For full story, please see:

9. Canada: Forests - Much More Than a Bunch of Trees
From: Dave Buck (

Manitobans from remote northern communities are literally forging a new path through the forest to enhanced economic security.They are harvesting often overlooked non-timber forest product materials such as: mushrooms, berries, floral greens, medicinal herbs, craft supplies, landscaping products, and more. Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) Training Program graduates are processing these materials and selling them to vendors in Canada and around the world, including the U.S. and Japan.

The NTFP Training Program is a remarkable example of community economic development at its best.Looking at ordinary things in extraordinary ways, Keewatin Community College, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), five northern Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) -- Cedar Lake, Greenstone, North Central, North West and Kitayan, and the Province of Manitoba are working together to ensure the success of the Northern Forest Diversification Centre.The Centre, established in February 2001, is a subsidiary of Keewatin Community College in The Pas and was set up to develop the non-timber forest products and ecotourism industries in the North.One of the ways it does this is through the NTFP Training Program.

The training program, delivered locally in the communities, teaches students about the industry, including an understanding of their unique community resource base, the market potential, safe and ethical harvesting, and NTFP-based businesses.Students come away with the information and skills they need to assess opportunities and to develop an industry valued by some at hundreds of millions of dollars annually in Canada."NTFP Training Program grads know that the forest is more than a bunch of trees," commented Dave Buck, NTFP project coordinator and instructor."They recognize the potential and are on the way to developing their new businesses.They have even come together, with the help of the Community Futures Development Corporations, to form the Manitoba Wild Harvesters Association so they can tackle larger markets with a diversified product line."

Annette Brightnose graduated from the July 2001 training session held in Cormorant and is a member of the Manitoba Wild Harvesters Association."Fifteen people were trained in July and now 40-50 people are attending our monthly meetings," Brightnose said."The interest in non-timber forest products is growing and we are teaching, supporting and helping each other."Brightnose, her husband, Eddie, and their four children aged 6 to 22 years, work together to harvest and prepare their products for sale through the association.

Among many products they are working on, the Brightnose family is now collecting dry diamond willow for walking sticks.The willow sticks are cleaned, peeled, sanded and varnished repeatedly until they shine just right.After a leather hand strap is attached on top and a rubber tip is placed on the bottom, a walking stick emerges from what was once considered suitable for the fireplace."We are a lot stingier with what goes onto the fire now," commented Brightnose."We see the forest in a whole new way - it's full of valuable resources.I'm happy that I've been able to pass on my knowledge to my family.And I love that we're able to spend our long summer days together doing something we enjoy.It's not all work.It's fun too!"

"One of the keys to the success of the NTFP Training Program is the aftercare provided through the Northern Forest Diversification Centre," said Buck."Government support of the Centre means that we are able to provide NTFP grads with on-going mentorship, market development and coordination."The Association of Canadian Community Colleges has recognized the Centre as being one of the top 10 "exemplary practices in rural community development."

Interest in the NTFP Training Program is growing.So far, it has been delivered in the northern Manitoba communities of Moose Lake, Cranberry Portage, Cormorant, Sherridon and National Mills.Plans are underway to offer the course in Lynn Lake, South Indian Lake and Leaf Rapids.

WD is proud to be part of the Northern Forest Diversification Centre and the Non-Timber Forest Products Training Program -- a community economic development project with tangible impact on the lives and economic well being of people and communities in northern Manitoba.

For more information on the NTFP Training Program or products available through the Manitoba Wild Harvesters Association, contact: Dave Buck at the Northern Forest Diversification Centre, +1-(204) 627-8681 or

10. USA: Last large chestnut stand is threatened
Source: CFRC Weekly Summary 3/28/03,

Scientists are trying to save the world's largest existing stand of American chestnut trees from a virulent fungus that virtually wiped out the rest of the species. The American Chestnut Foundation awarded nearly US$30 000 to two Wisconsin scientists to help them in their efforts to save and catalogue the stand, a 60-acre patch along West Salem's rural La Crosse County Highway C.

11. Amazonia unites against biopiracy
Source: Amazon newsletter, 6 March 2003, (

The campaign against biopiracy in Amazonia launched by the Acre-based NGO has been joined by the Amazonian Working Group (AWG), which is composed of 513 local organizations. The campaign is a result of an attempt by Amazonlink to support a project by rural producers to export sweets made from cupuacu to Germany. The organization discovered that the name cupuacu had been registered as a trademark by the Japanese multinational company Asahi Foods in Japan, Europe and the United States. This means that Amazonlink cannot use the name cupuacu on the packaging of its product even though it is a plant native to Amazonia. Asahi also holds patents on the manufacture of chocolate from cupuacu seeds (cupulate) and the extraction of vegetable oils.

The Brazilian embassies in Tokyo, Washington and Berlin are analysing whether to contest these patents. The National Institute of Industrial Property has made a request to a related body in the United States to cancel a number of registered trademarks including cupuaçu, açaí and caipirinha, among others.

This is the latest in a long line of cases of biopiracy which include the patenting of blood and genetic material from indigenous Amazonian peoples, the ancient drink, ayahuasca and oils made from copaiba and andiroba.

The AWG wants local communities to participate in the revision of Brazilian legislation on the protection of the region's biodiversity.

12. Brazil: Cooperative administers ecotourism hotel in Amazonas
Source: Amazon newsletter, 2 April 2003 (

The Hotel Aldeia dos Lagos, located on an island in the Silves region in Amazonas, is administered by 52 members of the Ecotourism and Environmental Work Cooperative. The cooperative aims to generate income, publicise ecotourism and obtain resources for environmental conservation.

The hotel is surrounded by 51 lakes. Until last year, the area was constantly invaded by predatory fishermen which reduced the amount of fish available for local consumption.The local population created the Silves Association for Environmental and Cultural Preservation in 1993. This association gave rise to the Work Cooperative.

The members of the cooperative have received vocational training in the hotel and tourism industry.

The 30-bed Aldeia dos Lagos Hotel was founded in 1996. Each member of the cooperative earns around R$ 1,000 per year. The cooperative is investing in marketing to attract more tourists.

13. Committee on Forestry: A brief analysis of COFO 16
Source: Earth Negotiations Bulletin


A sense of renewal prevailed at COFO's sixteenth session at the FAO in Rome. There was an emerging recognition of the necessity to bring the forestry sector forward into the 21st century. Positive moves started at home with the significant restructuring of the session itself, to be a more participatory process. Additional areas of renewal included a forestry mandate more outward looking toward international policy as well as honing into national and local issues of poverty reduction, institutions and governance. The session provided an excellent opportunity to put forward a shift in thinking, as the forum brought together delegates from over 110 countries and some of the world's most prominent forest experts.Yet, underlying this proactive atmosphere prevailed many of the old frustrations and concerns regarding resources, representation and how to ensure the future of SFM. This brief analysis considers some of these key concerns.


For this session, the FAO redesigned COFO to make it more dynamic and participatory, to focus on the hottest issues in forestry, and to illustrate FAO's commitment to tackling "real" issues facing the forestry sector. The new structure, in a complete change from past meetings, included side and satellite events hosted by FAO, IGOs, NGOs and individual countries. These events addressed issues such as forests and poverty and forests and water, which allowed greater dialogue between participants. The FAO suggested that this would result in less rhetoric and more concrete opportunities for dialogue.

Yet, at the same time the meeting remained inherently characterized by homogeneity of government officials and gray suits, and a few voices of NGOs and indigenous peoples.Some delegates felt that a technical meeting of COFO's nature was of marginal interest to NGOs, yet according to others it could have been an opportunity for COFO to be more inclusive and for FAO to widen its partnerships, especially now that they aim to engage in a broad range of cross-cutting issues.


With poverty alleviation now firmly on the COFO/FAO agenda, many developing countries were hopeful this would generate renewed funding opportunities for the forestry sector.However, merely placing these issues on the agenda guarantees neither funding nor successful implementation. It emerged in discussion that there exists a growing concern over the weakness of national institutions, which is a major factor hindering successful implementation at the local level. Particularly pertinent are the lack of capacity and the lack of means for participation of local peoples in decision-making. Tackling these issues will require great ingenuity on FAO's part and a financial commitment by donor countries.


In relation to the wider policy process, delegates expressed concern regarding marginalization of the forestry sector in international processes, partly out of choice, as in the case of the UNFCCC, and partly due to exclusion, such as in the international trade negotiations. COFO's endorsement of the new mandate is a positive step in creating synergies with other international processes, but its deliberations brought to the fore the real dilemma of the forestry sector: how to champion and influence these processes effectively to ensure SFM.


Overall, COFO demonstrated recognition of the need to adapt FAO's programmes to wider international processes and national circumstances, and to consider the realities of poverty and local peoples in relation to forests. Yet FAO has to contend with the how rather than the whether: how the forestry sector should undertake these challenges and how FAO deems to support it effectively, especially considering the disparate number of international, regional, and national institutions dealing with forestry. COFO has voiced its intentions to guide the forestry sector forward more proactively. Only time will tell if this is simply rhetoric or if it will result in long-term and concrete action.

A full report on COFO 2003 prepared by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is available at:

14. Earthwatch: 2003-2004 field grants Source: Biological Conservation Newsletter, April 2003

The Research Program at Earthwatch invites proposals for 2003-2004 field grants. Earthwatch is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring field research and promoting public education in the sciences and humanities. Past projects have been successfully fielded in, but are not limited to, the following disciplines: animal behaviour, biodiversity, ecology, ornithology, endangered species, entomology, botany, and resource and wildlife management. Interdisciplinary projects are especially encouraged as is multinational collaboration. Information can be found or you can contact Earthwatch at 3 Clocktower Place, Suite 100, P.O. Box 75, Maynard, MA 01754-0075; Tel: 978-461-0081; Fax: 978-461-2332. E-mail:

15. Medplant's Electronic Forum on Medicinal Plants
From: Rolie Srivastava [

I would like to inform you about the organization "Medplant", a global 'network of networks' dedicated to supporting and linking existing regional initiatives to build partnerships and improve collaboration on the sustainable use and conservation of medicinal plants.

Medplant is a relatively new initiative that emerged out of a recognition that few mechanisms exists to allow organizations and agencies working on medicinal plant issues to share information on their activities, their successes and challenges. Although several regional initiatives exist, there is an expressed need for an international network that would allow existing regional networks to maintain their regional identity while sharing their experiences and learning from lessons of other agencies/individuals around the world.

Medplant is a response to these needs, and is made up of a diverse group of actors working on medicinal plants. The network is currently housed in Canada at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) with technical support from Bellanet. The Medplant website address is

Medplant will be holding an electronic forum on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants from April 9th, 2003 until May 7th, 2003 that will highlight the different perspectives and issues related to the conservation of medicinal plants. We would like to encourage you to share your thoughts and perspectives on this important issue by joining the electronic forum. Please contact the Project Coordinator, Rolie Srivastava at

At the end of the e-forum a final report will be produced that will be presented at an international conference in the fall of 2003.

For more information, please contact:

Rolie Srivastava
Project Co-ordinator
Networking on Medicinal Plants
c/o International Development Research Centre
P.O. Box 8500
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 3H9

16. Web sites From: FAO's NWFP Programme

FAO Forestry Department's new site: Genetically modified trees and biosecurity

A new site has been linked in on the forestry home page. It addresses the issues of genetically modified organisms from a Forestry point of view. The site is available in English, French and Spanish.

17. Events From: FAO's NWFP Programme

An Expert Group Meeting to Prepare a Manual on "Assisted Natural Regeneration of Tropical Forests of Southeast Asia"

14-15 April 2003
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

For more information, please contact:

Ismail Harun
Senior Research Officer
Natural Forest Division
FRIM, Kepong
52109 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel. 603-62797173
Fax. 603-62797857

The City in the Woods: The future of urban trees in Britain.

15-16 April 2003.
York, UK.

The aim of this two day seminar is to present the great variety of benefits that trees bring to urban life and the real threats to their existence that exist there. It is generally accepted that the term Urban Forest refers to the total tree population within the area influenced and used by our urban populations. This includes woodlands, street trees, landscape trees or individual trees and groups of trees in parks and gardens. All of these, in some way or form have an impact on the human population and vice-versa. Urban Forestry and arboriculture is concerned with the sustainable management of these trees.

For more information, please contact:

ISA UK&I Chapter, 148 Hydes Road, Wednesbury, West Midlands, England, WS10 0DR. Tel: +44 (0)121 556 8302.
Fax: +44 (0)121 556 8302.

Professional Development Training in Special Forest Products

6 June 2003
Camp Oty'Okwa, Ohio, USA

This training is a follow-up to one held last year that provided an introductory overview of special forest products. It's open to all professionals interested in learning more about special forest products such as ginseng and other high value plant species native to Ohio.

For more information please call Rural Action Forestry @ 740-767-2090 or email

ProForest - The 2003 Forest and Certification Summer Training programme

7-11 July 2003
Oxford, England

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

For more information, please contact:

ProForest, 58 St Aldates, Oxford, OX1 1ST, UK
Telephone +44 1865 243439 Fax +44 1865 790441

Forests in the Balance: Linking Tradition and Technology - XXII IUFRO World Congress

8-13 August 2005
Brisbane, Australia

For more information, please contact:

Dr Russell Haines, Queensland Forestry Research Institute, PO Box 631, Indooroopilly 4068, Australia;
Tel 61-7-3896 9714;
Fax 61-7-3896 9628;


Side event at the XII World Forestry Congress on Resources, Trade and Market Structure for Bamboo and Rattan

Québec, Canada
20-21 September 2003

An International Workshop will be held by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) as a side event of the XII World Forestry Congress.

For more information please contact:

Maxim Lobovikov, Program Manager, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), Beijing 100101-80, People's Republic of China.


18. State of the World's Forests (SOFO) 2003 From: FAO's NWFP Programme

The entire 2003 Situation of the World's Forests is available at:

For more information, please contact: Adrian Whiteman at

19. Publications of interest From: FAO's NWFP Programme

Alongi, D.M. 2002. Present state and future of the world's mangrove forests. Environ. Conserv. 29(3):331-349.
Beckley, T., et al. 2002. Indicators of Forest-dependent Community Sustainability: The Evolution of Research. The Forestry Chronicle 78(5): 626-636
Bertin, R.I. 2002. Losses of native plant species from Worcester, Massachusetts. Rhodora 104(920):325-349.
Burke, A. 2003. The role of Namibian inselbergs in contributing to local and regional plant species richness. Biodivers. Conserv. 12(3):469-486.
Firn, R.D. 2003. Bioprospecting - why is it so unrewarding? Biodivers. Conserv. 12(2):207-216.
Hobohm, C. 2003. Characterization and ranking of biodiversity hotspots: centres of species richness and endemism. Biodivers. Conserv. 12(2):279-287.
Loibooki, M., Hofer, H., Campbell, K.L.I., and East, M.L. 2002. Bushmeat hunting by communities adjacent to the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: the importance of livestock ownership and alternative sources of protein and income. Environ. Conserv. 29(3):391-398.
Saha, S. 2003. Patterns in woody species diversity, richness and partitioning of diversity in forest communities of tropical deciduous forest biome. Ecography 26(1):80-86.
Smith, J.H. 2003. Land-cover assessment of conservation and buffer zones in the BOSAWAS Natural Resource Reserve of Nicaragua. Environ. Manage. 31(2):252-262.

20. Miscellaneous: Sources of funding for sustainable forest management; and Forest valuation database
Source: H. Gyde Lund (
) FIU 17 March 2003

From Adrian Whiteman (FAO), "Just over a year ago I announced that FAO had prepared a small database on sources of funding for activities in support of sustainable forest management. In response to the many positive comments we received on this pilot project, we have been working to expand this further and a much fuller version of the database is now available ( The database contains links to the webpages of agencies that present clear guidelines and procedures for applying for their funds. The database can be queried by type of activity, country, type of applicant and the amount of funding required. In addition, in recognition of the digital divide, we have a facility to print-on-demand a complete database extraction for any country in the World and we will be disseminating some of these hard-copies to our partners in developing countries."

Another area where FAO is frequently asked for advice is the subject of forest valuation. In response to this, we have created a small database of forest valuation studies, with about 30 examples each from Africa, Asia and Latin America ( The database contains short summaries of each study and information such as the location of each study, the forest outputs valued, the valuation methodologies used and the value estimates produced in each study. The database is currently restricted to studies that can be obtained on-line in full and we have focused on developing countries. The database can be queried by country, type of output and valuation methodology used. REVISION AND UPDATING: These databases will be updated periodically and FAO would be happy to receive comments on the databases, new information or updates to existing information on the databases. Any such information can be sent to Adrian Whiteman at:


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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009