No. 05/06

Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en

A special welcome to all our new subscribers!


PRODUCTS
1. Bamboo: Vietnamese bamboo fences to enter Europe
2. Bamboo corridor to join separated giant pandas
3. Bushmeat trade in Indonesia
4. Bushmeat: Dozens of monkeys rescued from illegal meat trade
5. Bushmeat: Roads tied to bushmeat hunting in Africa
6. Chestnuts: Rare American chestnut trees discovered
7. Cork: Future of cork oak forests hangs in the balance
8. Ginkgo biloba: How a herb might help the brain
9. Mulberry leaves found nutritious for livestock
10. Mushrooms in India: Exotic mushroom yield dips in Himachal, prices rise
11. Mushrooms in UK: Wild mushroom-picker wins battle of the chanterelles
12. Ramps: All for the love of Appalachia's stinky onion
13. Nothapodytes nimmoniana: Stinking tree treats cancer
14. Tea-tree oil a neat irritant
15. Truffles: Namibia’s four-star fungus

COUNTRY INFORMATION
16. Bhutan: Bomdeling villagers want a piece of the Cordyceps pie
17. Brazil: Government issues list of Brazilian plant species to prevent biopiracy
18. Canada: Ground hemlock harvest regulations coming
19. Ethiopia: Delivery contract for dry raw bamboo
20. Ghana: Cultivate bamboo for employment and income generation
21. India: Bamboo boost to rural economy
22. India: Experts debunk World Bank report on JFM
23. Indian project to share Britain's biodiversity grants
24. Nepal: Nepal Rosin and Turpentine goes to private hands
25. Panama: Renewed support to strengthen governance for Ngöbe-Bugle and La Amistad
26. Rwanda: Technical assistance to boost bamboo forestry
27. Swaziland: Need to establish honey processing plant
28. Tanzania: Potential money-minting ’Misambu’ tree project launched
29. Uganda: Shea butter for export
30. Vietnam: Pine resin makes inroads in lucrative US market

NEWS
31. ASEAN launches Environment Year 2006 at Bogor
32. Biopiratage : Le cactus coupe-faim qui ouvre l'appétit de firmes suisses
33. EU issues plan to fight plant, animal extinctions
34. Indigenous Peoples' Network for Change
35. Online Discussion Forum: Natural Products in Rural Enterprises

REQUESTS
36. Experts in bamboo inventory sought
37. Request for information: Medicinal plants projects in Africa

EVENTS
38. Defying Nature's End: The African Context
39. Fields, Trees & Everything in Between: Developing the Peace Region’s Agroforestry Sector
40. Enterprise Development and Marketing of Natural Resource Products Training Course

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES
41. Hunting for plagiarizers
42. Other publications of interest
43. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS
44. Money grows on French trees, but slowly
45. HIV-like virus found in wild chimps

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L


PRODUCTS

1. Bamboo: Vietnamese bamboo fences to enter Europe

Source: ScandAsia.com, 30 May 2006

A Vietnamese and a Danish company have joined hands to produce Danish designed bamboo fences in Vietnam for the European market to serve the significantly growing demand on the sale of bamboo fences in Northern Europe.

The Vietnamese partner Bac Ninh Company makes handicrafts for foreign markets whereas the Danish partner company Prodex develops, manufactures and markets a range of garden products in Europe. The cooperation, supported by the Danish Business-to-Business Programme, combines the access to abundant bamboo raw materials and production facilities of Bac Ninh in Northern Vietnam and Prodex’s design of durable bamboo fences, technical skills and strong access to the European market.

The strategic cooperation between the two partners will focus on quality, customizations and the ability to make products by using Vietnamese raw materials.

The business cooperation is expected to create ten new jobs at Bac Ninh’s factory in 2006 plus a number of jobs with sub-suppliers and bamboo growers. Over time, the collaboration is expected to result in a separate company being established and a larger and more diverse turnover

For full story, please see: www.scandasia.com/viewNews.php?news_id=2441&coun_code=dk

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2. Bamboo corridor to join separated giant pandas

Source: Shanghai Daily - Shanghai, China, 20 May 2006

FOR two decades, two groups of giant pandas living in the Qinling Mountains area in northwest China's Shaanxi Province have been separated from each other by a national highway. Now the highway has become abandoned after construction of a tunnel, and workers have begun efforts to rejoin the two groups.

To bring the two groups together, rangers from the Mount Guanyin Nature Reserve and social volunteers have begun planting bamboo on top of a 1 900-meter-long highway tunnel that runs through the Qinling Mountains.

Approximately 90 ha of bamboo will be planted on the Qinling tunnel, allowing for free passage between the two isolated panda groups, said Yong Yange, head of the research center of the state-level Fuping Giant Panda Protection Zone.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Bureau and provincial-level Mount Guanyin Nature Reserve jointly launched the bamboo planting program early this week.

Local farmers say they have spotted giant pandas four to five times a year after abandonment of this section of the highway, said Zhu Yun, an official with the Mount Guanyin Nature Reserve.

Biologists estimate that there are now approximately 1,590 giant pandas living in the wild worldwide, most in the mountainous areas of southwest China's Sichuan Province. There are only 273 giant pandas living in the Qinling area.

For full story, please see: www.shanghaidaily.com/art/2006/05/20/278547/Bamboo_corridor_to_join_separated_giant_pandas.htm

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3. Bushmeat trade in Indonesia

Source: Dr.Syed. S. Ahmed akif1999@yahoo.com on tropical biodiversity listserve

MEDAN, Indonesia -- The eight fruit bats dangle from a stick alongside one of the busiest streets of this teeming city. The bats hang head down, their feet and mouths bound tightly with rubber bands. Passing cars, buses and motorcycles belch so much smoke that the pollution at street level exceeds any smog alert standard.

The bats, with black wings and reddish-brown fur, are caught in the rainforest about an hour outside the city by stringing a net between two trees. They are kept tied up day and night until they are sold. Two or three times a day, their keepers unbind their mouths for a few minutes and give them a few squirts of sugar water. Every once in a while, they are fed banana.

But these bats are not destined to suffer long. They will be sold to passing motorists as a cure for asthma. The recommended treatment is to cook the bat's heart and eat it.

Westerners might think that improving Medan's air quality would do more to help asthma sufferers. But here in Indonesia's fourth- largest city, there are many who believe that bat hearts are the answer.

"There is always a buyer," said roadside bat vendor Mat Unan, who estimates that he and his partners have sold as many as 500 bats at about $3 apiece in the last three years.

For best results, it is customary to remove the heart from the animal while it is alive. "It's very brutal," said Hardi Baktiantoro, Jakarta coordinator of the animal protection group ProFauna Indonesia. "Even though legally we cannot do anything about it, we ask people to stop on ethical grounds. We ask them, is it ethical to torture the animals just for pleasure or medicine?"

Bats are not the only unusual animals on the menu in Indonesia. In various parts of the country, cobra blood, bear paws, sea turtle eggs, orangutan meat, crocodile and tiger penises, geckos, dried seahorses, monitor lizards, goat testicles, shark cartilage, pythons, sperm whales, rhinoceros horns and monkey brains are consumed as health remedies, impotency cures or gourmet treats.

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4. Bushmeat: Dozens of monkeys rescued from illegal meat trade

Source: KFMB - San Diego, USA, 5 May 2006

Thirty-three monkeys from five species were imported to the U.S. and were distributed to six zoos, including the San Diego Zoo. The monkeys, aged one to five years old, were found as bushmeat trade orphans in the markets of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"These monkey species, along with gorillas and chimpanzee, are among the animals slaughtered and sold for their meat in the markets of equatorial Africa," stated Jim Maddy, executive director of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The monkeys arrived in March and went through quarantine before being shipped to their respective zoos. They will eventually be paired for mating to support a strong population of their species in AZA zoos.

For full story, please see: www.kfmb.com/story.php?id=49159

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5. Bushmeat: Roads tied to bushmeat hunting in Africa

Source: Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 9 May 2006

A new study ties the presence of roads to bushmeat hunting in the Congo rainforest and also raises important questions for global conservation.

The study, published in the current edition of Conservation Biology, found that roads and associated hunting pressure reduced the abundance of a number of mammal species including duikers, forest elephants, buffalo, red river hogs, lowland gorillas, and carnivores. The research suggests that even moderate hunting pressure can significantly affect the structure of mammal communities in central Africa.

The Conservation Biology study examined a 400-square-mile area of tropical rainforest in southwestern Gabon, of which 130 square kilometers was the Rabi oil concession operated by the Shell-Gabon Corporation since 1985.The area served as a good study site because Shell's closely guarded and carefully regulated concession effectively protects the forest from hunters and incursion by outsiders. Such is not the case in the unprotected areas outside the concession, where road density is higher and hunting and development pressures are greater. By comparing mammal abundance and behaviour between the two areas, the researchers found that roads had the greatest impact on large and small ungulates, causing important changes in mammal community structure. Further, say the researchers, hunting and roads may also alter the behaviour of many species, with wildlife outside the concession area possibly showing a higher propensity to flee when confronted by humans.

The findings are significant because unlike previous studies in the region, which generally focused on only a single species, the researchers were able to "quantitatively assess the relative effects of roads and hunting (and their interaction) on different species and guilds of mammals." More broadly, the scientists say that their work has "both general and key local relevance, because the study area is a potentially critical corridor between two recently designated national parks in Gabon, and its future is far from secure." The scientists explain that because oil production in the Rabi concessions has dropped by nearly 80 percent since 1997, it is expected that Shell Oil will eventually abandon its concession which could result in "a dramatic increase in hunting, logging, and slash-and-burn farming, as well as continued oil production by smaller companies" less attuned to environmental concerns than the multinational giant. Since the Shell concession has essentially served as a wildlife refuge, its abandonment could have significant consequences for resident animal populations in this exceptionally biodiverse region.

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0509-gabon.html

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6. Chestnuts: Rare American chestnut trees discovered

Source: AP, 19 May 2006 in ENN Newsletter, dailynews@enn.com

Albany, Georgia, USA. — A stand of American chestnut trees that somehow escaped a blight that killed off nearly all their kind in the early 1900s has been discovered along a hiking trail not far from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Little White House at Warm Springs.

The find has stirred excitement among those working to restore the American chestnut, and raised hopes that scientists might be able to use the pollen to breed hardier chestnut trees.

"There's something about this place that has allowed them to endure the blight," said Nathan Klaus, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who spotted the trees. Experts say it could be that the chestnuts have less competition from other trees along the dry, rocky ridge. The fungus that causes the blight thrives in a moist environment.

The largest of the half-dozen or so trees is about 40 feet tall and 20 to 30 years old, and is believed to be the southernmost American chestnut discovered so far that is capable of flowering and producing nuts.

The chestnut foundation has been working for about 15 years to develop a blight-resistant variety. The goal is to infuse the American chestnut with the blight-resistant genes of the Chinese chestnut.

American chestnuts once made up about 25 percent of the forests in the eastern United States, with an estimated 4 billion trees from Maine to Mississippi and Florida.

The trees helped satisfy demand for roasted chestnuts, and their rot-resistant wood was used to make fence posts, utility poles, barns, homes, furniture and musical instruments.

Then these magnificent hardwoods, which could grow to a height of 100 feet and a diameter of 8 feet or more, were almost entirely wiped out by a fast-spreading fungus discovered in 1904.

For full story, please see: www.enn.com/today.html?id=10492

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7. Cork: Future of cork oak forests hangs in the balance

Source: WWF, 16 May 2006 in South African Wine News

Three quarters of the Western Mediterranean's cork oak forests could be lost within 10 years, threatening an economic and environmental crisis, according to a new WWF report.

On the eve of the International Wines and Spirits Fair in London this week, WWF warns that up to two million hectares of cork oak forests - around half the size of Switzerland - will be put at a heightened risk of desertification and forest fires due to a predicted decline in the cork stoppers market.

The report Cork screwed? says that the future survival of the cork forests strongly depends upon the market for cork wine closures. However the trend away from cork stoppers could lead, in the worst case scenario, to synthetic and screw tops holding 95 percent of the closure market by 2015. This would result in the loss of 62 500 jobs in the cork-producing regions. Endangered species such as the Iberian Lynx, Barbary Deer and the Imperial Iberian Eagle would be further put at risk of extinction.

Cork stoppers, which are biodegradable and can be recycled into other products, represent almost 70 per cent of the total cork market value.

Every year over 15 billion cork stoppers are produced and sold to the wine industry. The cork landscapes provide a vital source of income for more than 100 000 people in the cork-producing countries of Portugal, Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France.

Cork harvesting is an environmentally friendly process during which not a single tree is cut down. Synthetic and screw top closures are more harmful to the environment because they use more energy in production and are oil-based products

WWF is calling on the cork industry to continue to invest in the quality of cork stoppers and the wine industry to make cork the preferred closure option. Better management practices in cork oak landscapes also need to be coupled with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accreditation - the highest environmental certification system.

The report can be found at: www.wine.co.za/attachments/PDF-View.asp?PDFID=38

For full story, please see: www.wine.co.za/news/news.aspx?NEWSID=8488&Source=News

Related story: www.greenconsumerguide.com/index.php?news=3116

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8. Ginkgo biloba: How a herb might help the brain

Source: ScienceNOW Daily News, 30 May 2006

Researchers have identified a key cellular pathway by which the herbal medicine Ginkgo biloba may protect brain cells. If the results are confirmed in people, G. biloba might one day be used to lessen the effects of stroke.

For centuries, traditional Chinese physicians have used extracts from leaves of the maidenhair tree, G. biloba, to treat asthma, bronchitis, and brain disorders. Although many of G. biloba‘s purported benefits remain unproven, doctors in the United States are studying the herb's potential to slow memory loss and ease confusion in patients with Alzheimer's disease. No one knows for sure how the herbal extract affects the brain.

For full story, please see: http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2006/530/4

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9. Mulberry leaves found nutritious for livestock

Source: New Vision (Kampala), Uganda, 23 May 2006

Mulberry (Morus alba), locally known as 'nkenene,' is a multi-purpose fodder shrub. It plays an important role in the nutritional security of both animals and people. Its sweet fruits are highly valuable and eaten mainly by children, while its leaves provide high-quality feed for small ruminants.

Kenyan farmers have been feeding cows and goats on mulberry leaves since the 1990s. Ugandan farmers have also begun making use of it.

William Opio, a senior trainer with St Jude Family Projects in Masaka (Uganda), says mulberry was previously planted for the silkworm industry and taken as a fruit by children. "Now we give it to livestock. Although it is still little, we mix mulberry with fresh forages (grasses and legumes) to get a balanced diet," he says. Fresh grasses like Tanzania (kakira kambwa), elephant and guatemala are a source of carbohydrate and contribute 70% to the diet. Fresh legumes like mulberry, calliandra (kalibwambuzi), sesbania (muzimbandegeya), leucaena, tephrosia (muluku), lablab, gliricidia (mutamesse) and ipomea temirostris (ekabowabowa) are protein-giving foods. They work as a dairy meal.

Opio says the cows and goats graze and browse every type of grass and shrub. "Among the legumes, it is mulberry and calliandra that are consumed first. Fresh forages are cut on a daily basis, chopped, mixed and fed to animals," he says.

According to Paths to Prosperity Report, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) 1998-99, a similar experiment was carried out in central Kenya in 1997-98 to determine the voluntary intake of tree-shrub fodder supplements by heifers.

Mulberry had the highest voluntary intake of the fodder used in this trial, compared to dairy meal.

The high voluntary intake and the fact that the bark was eaten are indications of mulberry's high nutrition. Sweetness is an important factor in the voluntary intake of fodder.

With each type of fodder, cattle were able to select the more nutritious parts. And their selective feeding, together with the level of supplement intake, determined the amount of nutrients they consumed.

As a result, cattle produced more milk when given mulberry than when given calliandra or leucaena. The extent to which farmers used mulberry as fodder for dairy cattle was similar to the extent they used calliandra and leucaena.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200605250067.html

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10. Mushrooms in India: Exotic mushroom yield dips in Himachal, prices rise

Source: NewKerala.com, Kerala, India, 21 May 2006

The prices of a rare and wild Himalayan mushroom that is a much exported delicacy have gone up sharply to as much as Rs.5,000/kg due to low yield this year.

Locally called 'guchhi', this wild mushroom is found in the damp and dark forests of Himachal Pradesh at heights of 1 800-3 000m above sea level.

It cannot be cultivated and has to be spotted in the wild by sharp-eyed specialist highlander guchhi hunters who sell the grey mushroom at high prices in Shimla, Chandigarh and Delhi markets.

A guchhi merchant in Shimla said that “the rates are even higher in markets outside the state. Since we do not find any customers to buy this highly expensive vegetable here, we always send it to Delhi from where much of it is exported to Europe and America while the rest is used by five star hotels".

According to government officials, the production of guchhi mushroom in the state varies between 2 000 kg to around 5 000 kg. But this year, the yield is expected to be one of the lowest.

The much sought after wild mushroom begins to sprout in spring and continues to do so till early summer in the highlands of Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur, Sirmaur, Chamba and Mandi districts.

Folklore has it that the more the flashes of thunder in spring the more chances of finding this elusive mushroom. Some determined guchhi hunters remain away for weeks to scour the mountains and valleys for guchhi before returning with their collections.

Once dried, the mushroom is ready. This mouth-watering vegetable then becomes a delicacy, some even call it the most expensive food in the country.

For full story, please see: www.newkerala.com/news2.php?action=fullnews&id=62694

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11. Mushrooms in UK: Wild mushroom-picker wins battle of the chanterelles

Source: Independent - London, UK, 17 May 2006

A debate over the legality of mushroom picking which yesterday ended in a hard-earned victory for the 64-year-old businesswoman, Brigitte Tee-Hillman.

A judge criticised the waste of public money after ruling that the German-born mushroom-picker should not face criminal charges for allegedly "stealing" six and a half kilograms of chanterelles, worth £27, near her home in the Hampshire forest.

The case was brought on behalf of the Forestry Commission after officials took apparent umbrage to her practice of picking mushrooms to be sold to top London hotels and restaurants.

Mrs Tee-Hillman, who has run her wild mushroom supply business since 1976, was arrested by police in November 2002 and her produce confiscated after the commission claimed the gathering of fungi for commercial gain was illegal.

But Judge John Boggis QC ruled that whatever the intricacies of civil law surrounding the mushroom trade, Mrs Tee-Hillman should not find herself facing a criminal court.

The Forestry Commission said last night that it would continue its legal fight against Mrs Tee-Hillman by switching its proceedings to the civil courts.

A spokesman said the case was being brought on behalf of amateur fungi pickers and the animals that depend on the mushrooms. "Ultimately we are working to safeguard the forest environment by helping sustain the insects and wildlife that depend on the mushrooms, and make sure there's enough for everyone to enjoy."

For full story, please see: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article485492.ece

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12. Ramps: All for the love of Appalachia's stinky onion

Source: Christian Science Monitor, 17 May 2006 (in CFRC Weekly Summary 18/5/06

The ramp, a wild onion savoured by foodies, is now in season. This Appalachian delicacy is also known as the "stinky mountain onion". For mountain folks, supplementing meagre incomes by hunting game as well as gathering ramps and other crops on public lands goes back generations. But overharvesting means the pickin's are getting slimmer.

The Appalachian ramp has had growing appeal over the past decade - from dozens of humble hill festivals at the season's high point in mid-April until the end of May to the best tables at the famous Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia to well-known chefs.

This spring for the first time, botanists in North Carolina are taking the wild seeds and replicating the soils for commercial cultivation of the ramp. "Part of our strategy with the ramps is to develop crops that are specific to the mountains so they can't be taken away from us," says Beverly Whitehead, of the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association in Robbinsville, N.C.

The wild onion first pokes up from the forest floor in March and April. The veggie once nourished Native Americans, and provided a Vitamin C blast that protected Appalachian settlers from disease, says Jeanine Davis, associate professor of horticulture and a ramp expert at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

People who live in these parts hope that the ramp can help fill the revenue gap since burley tobacco - the major Appalachian cash crop in the 20th century - is on the way out as with smoking in restaurants. But it's a tall order: A ramp only grows in elevations above 3,000 feet, and takes seven years to mature.

To prevent harvesting too many of the slow-growing plants, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina has banned ramp picking since 2002, and the Cherokee National Forest on the Tennessee-North Carolina border now requires permits for pickers.

Ramps sell for as much as $5 a bunch, up from $1.50 a bunch 10 years ago.

NCSU just picked its first-ever crop of cultivated ramps. Some predict that a mix of commercial cultivation and careful woodland picking - cutting the root stump off at the base allows the plant to flourish the next spring - could be the future of ramp production.

Yet a debate is brewing about whether such wild harvests should be allowed, or forests should be off limits. "We have some conservationists that just want to ban people from the forest, but when you get out and study it you realize gathering ramps is what a grandfather and a grandson do on a Sunday afternoon," says Davis.

For full story, please see: www.csmonitor.com/2006/0517/p02s01-usgn.html

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13. Nothapodytes nimmoniana: Stinking tree treats cancer

Source: Down to Earth, 15 February 2006 (in MFP News, Vol. XVI, no. 1)

A tree found in India is the world’s richest source of Camptothecin (CPT), a drug used to treat cancers of the ovaries and the colon. Nothapodytes nimmoniana, commonly called the “stinking tree” is being over-exploited because of the yield of this chemical. As a result, there has been an estimated 20 percent decline in its natural population over the last decade in India. The tree is found in southern India, the Himalayan foothills and Assam. It also grows in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

In an effort to ensure sustainable availability of CPT, researchers from Bangalore have carried out a survey of N. nimmoniana trees in the Western Ghats. They found that some individual trees had CPT content almost twice of what had been reported earlier. The researchers hope that once the high-yielding varieties have been identified, the trees could be used to prepare clones or cell lines, which could provide the chemical. Individuals with high CPT content could be used to raise plantations of high CPT yielding trees as part of agroforestry systems.

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14. Tea-tree oil a neat irritant

Source: Australian, 16 May 2006

Allergic reactions to tea-tree oil {derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia} are rising as more people mistakenly apply the popular herbal substance undiluted and directly to the skin.

Dermatologists have warned the public to take care when using tea-tree-derived products, which despite their seemingly benign origin have powerful antiseptic properties even at low concentrations.

Tea-tree oil is sold almost pure as an essential oil and is included in many skin and hair products. It is often used to treat sores, cuts and abrasions, even acne.

A study to be presented at a conference of dermatologists in Melbourne today found that the longer the tea-tree oil product was used after opening, the greater its potential for causing skin irritation, as the oil "readily oxidises to become more allergenic".

Study co-author Rosemary Nixon, of the Skin and Cancer Foundation, said allergy specialists should be aware of tea-tree oil's potential to cause skin rashes. "We are not saying don't use it - we are just saying it shouldn't be used in a concentrated form and directly applied to the skin," she said. It was an effective antiseptic in concentrations of 5 to 10 percent, said Dr Nixon.

For full story, please see: www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19144951-23289,00.html

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15. Truffles: Namibia’s four-star fungus

Source: Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2006

Black truffles have long been prized in France, where pigs or trained dogs snuffle about under oaks to bring the treasured delicacies to market for as much as $1 200/kg when they're scarce. But in the Kalahari Desert in southern Namibia, the Nama people will sell you a couple of pounds of truffles for a few dollars or so, unless they're keeping them to eat. The Nama call them !nabas (the exclamation mark indicates a tongue click in the local language).

Kalahari truffles (Terfezia pfeilii), are distantly related to French black truffles, but they are not as aromatic. Unlike the black French truffle, with its hard, knobby outer layer, Kalahari truffles have a smooth brown skin like a small round potato. Like the French truffle, which is always found near the roots of oaks, the Kalahari truffle has a symbiotic relationship with a plant — the desert melon.

The Nama recommend carrying a stout stick when truffle hunting to flip aside adders, though it seems they rarely bother with such fancy precautions themselves, thrusting their hands into the dense grasses to pluck out the truffles betrayed by a small crack in the red sand.

Namibians are as inventive about Kalahari truffles as others are about the potato. They bake them, boil them, puree them, slice them raw with salt or serve cooked slices in a salad. Some barbecue them or grate them over pasta. Some fry them in lashings of butter and eat them on toast. Some recommend wrapping small ones in bacon and baking them whole.

Kalahari truffles are cheap in Africa because it is Africa: The collectors are often poorly paid or ask little for their goods. But if the Kalahari truffle ever found its way into the markets of Paris or Rome, it would doubtless create ripples of excitement, curious buyers and higher prices — if not the sky-high prices of European black or white truffles.

The difficulty with exporting truffles, however, is not just their short shelf life — about a week — but regularity of supply. This wet-season desert fungus is widely available one year and scarce the next.

Professor Varda Kagan-Zur of Ben-Gurion University in Israel has been studying the cultivation of the Kalahari truffle and melons in Namibia in an effort to commercialize them. Dave Cole, who belongs to a Namibian non-profit association of development experts, the Center for Research Information Action in Africa, is helping coordinate the project, now in its final year. He says it has had mixed results, "but we have learned quite a few good things."

The study, underway for the better part of a decade, aims to create a predictable supply for markets and provide a livelihood for poor rural farmers. One fear he has is that cultivating truffles may create a viable industry for large commercial farmers and bypass small-scale, threadbare farmers.

For full story, please see: www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fg-truffles15may15,0,5973146.story?coll=la-home-headlines

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

16. Bhutan: Bomdeling villagers want a piece of the Cordyceps pie

Source: Kuensel, Buhutan's National Newspaper, 12 May 2006

Villagers of Bomdeling gewog in Trashiyangtse dzongkhag hope they will be allowed to collect the highly valued medicinal plant, Yartsa Goenbup (Cordyceps sinensis), from this year.

Last season about 15 villagers from Bomdeling who walked three days to Shingphel, a Cordyceps growing area in the gewog, were sent back by the forest officials because they did not have permits for collection. Forest officials also said that only people living in higher regions were allowed to collect the plant and not farmers of the whole dzongkhag. Bomdeling villagers, however, feel that their gewog fell in the higher regions of the dzongkhag.

The Bomdeling sanctuary park ranger Ugyen Tshering told Kuensel that “We implement the rules issued by the ministry but we don't have the authority to legalise the collection of Cordyceps”.

Ugyen, a farmer from Betsamang village under Bomdeling gewog, said that it was painful to see only some people in the gewog harvesting the plant and earning a lot of money. The Cordyceps growing areas in Trashiyangtse are Shingphel and Pemaling, which are a four-day walk from the block centre in Bomdeling.

The collection season is from June 1-30. The government charges a royalty of 10 percent on what farmers earn selling the cordyceps to the authorised buyers and exporters. Last year, the prices for Cordyceps touched Nu. 98,000/kg in Bumthang.

For full story, please see: www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6937

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17. Brazil: Government issues list of Brazilian plant species to prevent biopiracy

Source: Agência Brasil, 23 May 2006 in BIO-IPR] Resource pointer, 26.5.06

Yesterday (22 May), in commemoration of World Biodiversity Day, the Brazilian government released a list containing the scientific names of around three thousand species of Brazilian flora, such as cupuacu, kiwi, carambola ("starfruit"), pequí ("souari nut"), babosa ("aloe"), and catuaba, among others. The purpose of the list, which represents an unprecedented move by a country, is to prevent foreign companies from registering the names popularly used in Brazil to refer to these plants.

"We are acting preventively," affirmed the minister of Environment, Marina Silva.

The most famous case of misappropriation of a Brazilian species was cupuacu. In 2003 a Japanese firm won the right to commercialize the cupuacu brand name in Japan, the United States, and Europe, so that Brazilian products composed of cupuacu ended up being denied entry to these markets, since they were considered pirated merchandise. Brazil finally succeeded in nullifying the patent after going to court.

The list of Brazilian species is open to constant update. The document will be widely circulated and delivered via diplomatic channels to foreign patent offices and international organizations, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), that deal with these matters.

For full story, please see: http://internacional.radiobras.gov.br/ingles/materia_i_2004.php?materia=265515&q=1&editoria=

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18. Canada: Ground hemlock harvest regulations coming

Source: CBC Prince Edward Island - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, 20 April 2006

With the value of ground hemlock (Taxus canadensis) increasing, the provincial government is introducing regulations for harvesting it which will come into effect at the end of the month.

The evergreen shrub is used to produce paclitaxel, a powerful anti-cancer drug.

The new regulations require everyone involved in the harvest, buying or exporting of ground hemlock to be licensed. Those people will also have to complete courses on harvest practices. The only exception will be landowners who harvest hemlock on their own property.

As demand for ground hemlock has grown so has the number of people going on to other people's property without permission to harvest the plant.

Environment Minister Jamie Ballem says these new rules should address the problem.

"Non-timber products such as ground hemlock hold great hope for those suffering from cancer, and for those who depend on the forest for their livelihood," says Ballem. "These regulations are intended to provide land owners with a measure of protection from theft and site damage and help harvesters and buyers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the resource, and thus their livelihood."

The new regulations also include an annual season for harvesting, which will run from 16 August to 30 April.

For full story, please see: www.cbc.ca/pei/story/pe-hemlock-harvest-20060420.html

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19. Ethiopia: Delivery contract for dry raw bamboo

Source: The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa), 23 May 2006

Land and Sea Development – Ethiopia PLC (LSDE) has announced a five-year, US$136 million contract agreement providing for the sale and delivery of dry raw bamboo and eucalyptus forest material and products to its clients – pulp and paper mills in India.

During the contract time, LSDE would sell and deliver approximately 30,000 metric tons of the agroforestry products, whose development sites are in the Benshangul-Gumuz and Amhara states.

The company’s CEO said the agroforestry development and business project is a joint venture of three giant companies engaged in the sector. It will begin exporting its products within a period of nine months.

The company held consultations with students of plant science and scholars from the Addis Ababa University on ways of working in coordination with the project.

The company’s President said that the company would be harvesting and re-planting bamboo and hybrid eucalyptus and other non-wood crops that could be used in the pulp and paper manufacturing. Moreover, the factory would exert all efforts to exploit the rich market opportunity in the paper industry through hiring modern technologies from abroad, over the next three years. The project would be the first of its kind in Africa. He also indicated the prevalence of the investment friendly atmosphere in Ethiopia.

The company has plans to engage in similar investment activities in Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State.

Phase 2 of the programme is the in-country development of the Ethiopian pulping capacity through the development of a large scale pulp mill within the territorial boundaries of Ethiopia through a joint venture with its Indian partners.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200605240821.html

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20. Ghana: Cultivate bamboo for employment and income generation

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra), 18 May 2006

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Adenta, Kwadjo Opare Hammond, has charged his colleagues and constituents to cultivate bamboo for employment and income generation.

Giving a statement on the floor of the house yesterday, the MP brought to light the great potential of bamboo as a tool for rural development and called on government to consider investing in bamboo as part of its Millennium Development Goals.

According to Mr. Hammond, bamboo can be used to protect the environment against erosion, landslides, and building of topsoil on degraded lands as well as protection of water bodies, adding that most mining areas that have been degraded could be regenerated faster with bamboo. Bamboo is biodegradable and after planting, the culms could be used after four years for processing or for sale.

The MP said there are hundreds of products that have been developed from bamboo, most of these being baskets, jewellery boxes, trays, coasters and flowers vases, produced with small hand tools in rural communities. There are other products, such as toothpicks, skewers, bamboo ply (plywood), laminated boards (timber), flooring and roofing sheets, which need heavy industrial machines.

China has achieved great progress in the development of bamboo over the past fifteen years in which series of panel products superior to timber were developed and items such as bamboo curtains, mats and carpets appear in international markets. He also said that new products such as bamboo charcoal, vinegar and extracts of bamboo leaves, including medicinal products, natural pesticides, beverages and daily toiletries are marketed because of their great developmental potential. China's bamboo sector has become a fast emerging rural industry that goes beyond traditional handicrafts and practical daily products. This, Mr. Hammond said, plays an important role in reducing timber consumption, protecting natural forests, alleviating poverty by creating employment avenues for income generation, since it helps improve the environment and encourages rural socio-economic development.

The Indian government has started training rural communities in bamboo processing, which is a move to generate jobs in the northern parts. He lamented that Africa has not taken bamboo seriously and forests are getting degraded yearly. However, Ghana has taken steps to pursue an agenda by setting up the Bamboo and Rattan Development Programme (BARADEP) under the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, which if taken seriously can create jobs for the unemployed and alleviate rural poverty.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200605190494.html

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21. India: Bamboo boost to rural economy

Source: Calcutta Telegraph, 24 May 2006

The North Eastern Council (NEC), in association with the National Vocational Training System, will develop a network in the Northeast for effective use of the bamboo resources to generate livelihood options of the rural population of the region.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently in New Delhi, the National Vocational Training System has agreed to support the NEC through the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre at Guwahati. It will provide support measures for a systematic approach for developing bamboo-related skills among poor villagers, school dropouts, illiterate people and unemployed youth.

The agreement becomes significant in view of the current shortage or poor quality of training on bamboo-based crafts, as it is expected to address the immediate subsistence needs of the people. It will also fulfil the requirement for non-formal technical training courses in public ITIs, particularly in accordance with market demand and sensitivity.

The Northeast has abundant bamboo resources with a growing stock of more than 60 million tonnes, two-thirds of the bamboo resource base in India and is 54 percent of the world’s total reserve of bamboo.

The NEC has identified bamboo as one of the thrust areas for development of the region and has launched the North East Regional Bamboo Mission aimed at sustainable development of the bamboo sector, promoting poverty alleviation, rapid industrialisation and ushering in of all-round development in the bamboo sector.

The Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre, Guwahati, established in 2000 as a joint venture of UNDP, UNIDO and the department of science and technology, is now a registered body under the NEC.

For full story, please see: www.telegraphindia.com/1060525/asp/northeast/story_6260177.asp

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22. India: Experts debunk World Bank report on JFM

Source: Sify, Taramani, Chennai, India, 2 May 2006

The recent World Bank report, criticising the current Joint Forest Management (JFM) model for not conceding enough rights and responsibilities to communities has been debunked by experts and officials of the Ministry of Forest and Environment. They say the assumptions in the WB report have disregarded the ground realities in the country.

The JFM concept, envisaging participation of people in forest management, was introduced in the 90s as one of the principal strategies to protect and conserve the natural green cover.

Under the programme, communities receive better access to non-timber subsistence forest products and a share of net commercial timber revenues in return for providing improved forest protection.

The World Bank says the current JFM model was heavily tilted in favour of the state forest department. The government staff have strong control over planning, management, investment, harvesting and marketing.

According to its study, most of the communities participating in JFM are not able to benefit from the forest products to earn their livelihood. They often view JFM as something imposed which does not take into consideration local institutions, which make use of the local knowledge and work in local cultural context.

Environment and Forest Ministry experts say the World Bank has given a "simplistic" analysis without taking into account the complexities of the India conditions. "The situation is not ripe yet for giving total responsibilities of forest management to communities living on them," said a senior official of the Ministry. The example of the North-East is there to learn from, he said. In the North-East, States barring Assam, forest land has been under communities from the very beginning. As the region was not administered by the British, there is little forest land under the government. The result has been reckless exploitation by communities leaving just shrubs in place of forests, he said.

For full story, please see: http://sify.com/finance/fullstory.php?id=14195726

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23. Indian project to share Britain's biodiversity grants

Source: Indo Asian News Service in DailyIndia.com, 23 May 2006

An Indian project to protect and sustain the trade in medicinal plants is among those selected for funding from Britain's biodiversity grants announced Monday to mark the International Biodiversity Day, an official statement said Tuesday. `

The Darwin Initiative grants worth £84,876 were announced by Britain's Biodiversity Minister Barry Gardiner to support new projects and foster expertise in developing countries.

'A founding principle of the Darwin Initiative is the importance of maintaining and strengthening the link between people and the natural environment in developing countries,' said Gardiner, according to a statement released here by the British High Commission.

'The world's poorest countries are home to some of the planet's richest natural habitats and ecosystems. The people who live there are the most dependent on natural resources for their survival, but have the fewest resources to put towards protecting them,' said Gardiner.

A sum of £57,076 would help develop projects like 'a University of Reading-backed project to use DNA tools to safeguard the sustainable trade in medicinal plants in India', the statement said.
Since 1992, the project has committed over £55 million to more than 100 projects in 100 countries.

For full story, please see: www.dailyindia.com/show/28261.php/Indian_project_to_share_Britains_biodiversity_grants

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24. Nepal: Nepal Rosin and Turpentine goes to private hands

Source: Himalayan Times, Nepal, 12 May 2006

The government has decided to privatise the Nepal Rosin and Turpentine Limited (NRTL), a state-owned company, for which a formal agreement with the private company Dibya Pashmina Udyog (DPU) was signed today at the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The government sold NRTL for a little over Rs 110 million to DPU, the highest bidder.

Bimal Prasad Wagle, joint secretary at the MoF and chief of privatisation cell said the company was privatised because of weak financial performance.

NRTL has a capacity to produce 2,800 metric tonnes of rosin and 625,000 litres of turpentine yearly. The products of NRTL hold tremendous potential for export to India and other countries

For full story, please see: www.thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=6a5Wa2qa.9amal&folder=aHaoamW&Name=Home&dtSiteDate=20060512

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25. Panama: Renewed support to strengthen governance for Ngöbe-Bugle and La Amistad

Source: CEPF E-News, May 2006

New funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) will help the Ngöbe-Bugle indigenous peoples in Panama to better manage more than 420,000 ha of land in and around the Amistad Biosphere Reserve. The recently awarded grant will help the Ngöbe-Bugle to strengthen their environmental protocols and practices and involve local community members more closely in decision-making regarding uses of their land.

The Ngöbe-Bugle have territorial rights to 700,000 ha of land covering nearly 50 percent of the Talamanca-Bocas del Toro biodiversity conservation corridor in the southern region of the Mesoamerica Hotspot. They play a vital role in conserving the area, particularly in the buffer zone around the reserve, which has been particularly hard hit by cattle grazing, drug cultivation, forest fires, hunting, and illegal logging.

The Asociación de Profesionales y Técnicos Ngöbe Bugle (APROTENG) will use the CEPF grant to work with Panama’s Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente. Together, they will establish an environmental commission to advise the board of the Nö Kribo Regional Congress, the governing body for the largest portion of the Ngöbe-Bugle territory, the Nö Kribo region. This grant will contribute significantly to improving the management of key protected areas, one of CEPF’s strategies in the region.

The Talamanca-Bocas del Toro Corridor is an area with extremely high levels of endemism: 21 percent of its 12,000 species of vascular plants are endemic, as are 40 percent of its 521 species of mammals. The Nö Kribo region alone includes parts of the Fortuna Forest Reserve and La Amistad International Park, as well as much of the park’s buffer zone, and almost all of the Palo Seco Forest Reserve.

CEPF investments support 200 indigenous and non-indigenous rural communities, including the Ngöbe-Bugle, in the southern region of the Mesoamerica Hotspot.

For more information, contact Kherson E. Ruiz, at APROTENG.

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26. Rwanda: Technical assistance to boost bamboo forestry

Source: The New Times (Kigali), 17 May 2006

The World Agroforestry Centre - ICRAF is ready to offer the necessary technical assistance to boost the bamboo forestry along the shores of Lake Kivu. This leading global body that transforms rural development through agroforestry, envisages having a three-year plan to cover the shores of the lake with bamboo forest.

David Kagoro, the representative of World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF in Rwanda visited the area on 15 May and presented to the mayor of the Rubavu District, Ramathan Barengayabo, a plan for the multipurpose functions of bamboo woodland. Kagoro underlined their enthusiasm to provide technical expertise to the districts bordering Lake Kivu.

Promoting bamboo forestry is one of the key areas we ought to enhance in the rural areas if there is a good framework to ease our effort. That's why we have contacted the Rubavu mayor," Kagoro said.

Asked if the centre is to fund the scheme, Kagoro said, "We are not a donor agency. We only provide technical assistance by training people on how to carry out agro-forestry and provide seedlings to them where necessary."

On his part, Barengayabo underscored that the district is ready to work with any organization that wants to reinforce environment protection in the area. He observed that the Ministry of Lands, through its Decentralisation Environment Management Project (DEMP), is tirelessly formulating strategies to support local government authorities conduct environmental conservation program. He added: "It would be more important for us when your attempts are coordinated with DEMP. That's when our environmental project and personnel would easily adopt your skills and expertise and make them beneficial for the people."

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200605170283.html

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27. Swaziland: Need to establish honey processing plant

Source: The Swazi Observer - Mbabane, Swaziland, 4 May 2006

Michael Zwane, Director of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Unit had stated that there is a need to establish a honey processing plant in the country. He added that a plant of this nature would have to be strategically located so that beekeepers can have easy access to it.

This stands to benefit the Swazi nation mainly because it will:

• facilitate rural commercialisation of local products

• improve agricultural productivity, including production of by-products such as wax (candle manufacturing), royal jelly and beebread

• provide diversity to farming options

• add value to farm products that are sold to medicinal, cosmetics and processed food markets.

• * Create stable employment, especially to rural communities

• Earn valuable foreign currency from export.

• Development of a local planted products and branded accordingly.

One of the main advantages of the country’s honey is its prolonged shelf life which is almost non-perishable and can be stored for decades.

Currently, 60 percent of local demand is met by South Africa. Beekeepers in Swaziland are able to supply 40 percent of the local market share.

The market for Swazi honey on European markets is large and the local brand of honey has a better competitive edge because of its high quality and low risk of pesticide contamination.

For full story, please see: www.observer.org.sz/main.asp?id=21094&Section=business

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28. Tanzania: Potential money-minting ’Misambu’ tree project launched

Source: Sunday Observer in IPP Media-Guardian, Tanzania, 14 May 2006

The Dar es Salaam-based Unilever Tea Tanzania Limited has launched a campaign (under the Novela Project banner) that will involve the planting of 2,900 Misambu type of trees on Eastern Usambara Mountains in Muheza District, Tanga Region.

Speaking shortly after the launching occasion, Muheza District Natural Resources Officer Faustin Makumba asked residents of Muheza to seriously conserve the trees, saying they would later benefit from income earned from the sale of fruits from the trees.

A Novela Project manager at Kwezitu village, Fidelis Rutatina, assured villagers that his company which operates under Unilever Tea Limited, was ready to buy all fruit from them in the future. He said that his company would buy single kilogramme of fruit at a price of 150/-.

Previously, Misambu trees were cut and destroyed because the people were not aware of their importance, especially through their fruit, he stated. Apart from mobilizing people to plant Misambu trees, his company has been purchasing Misambu trees planted by individuals at a price of 300/- per tree. He added that so far, his company has purchased 500 tons of fruits of Misambu trees. About 70 tons out of 500 tons purchased were from Kwezitu village.

Rutatina underscored that fruits from Misambu trees are used for manufacturing cooking oil abroad, and therefore a reliable market existed.

Further quality research on cooking oil from fruits of Misambu trees was still underway in countries like Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria, he said.

The goal is to ensure that by 2011, every household would earn 200,000/- from each harvesting season of fruit from the trees, Rutatina said.

An estimated 20,000 Misambu type trees would be planted by next year, Rutatina said.

For full story, please see: http://www.ippmedia.com/ipp/observer/2006/05/14/66389.html

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29. Uganda: Shea butter for export

Source: New Vision, Uganda, 17 May 2006

Over 2,000 women of Northern Uganda Shea Processors Association (NUSPA) are preparing for the certification process that will see their products access the lucrative shea butter market in the US, Europe and Japan.

“This exercise will secure the much- needed market for the high quality shea butter from Uganda to all over the world,” Eliot Masters, the project coordinator, said recently.

Odourless organic shea butter is a vital ingredient in the production of cosmetics and chocolate.

“If all requirements are met, they should be able to get a recommendation from the Certification of Environment Standards (CERES) by July,” said Dick Ayoku of Uganda Organic Certification (Ugo Cert). The rigorous process will be inspected by Ugo Cert on behalf of CERES and Uganda National Bureau of Standards.

CERES is one of the world’s most respected organic certification bodies based in Germany.

For full story, please see: www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/220/499064

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30. Vietnam: Pine resin makes inroads in lucrative US market

Source: Viet Nam News, 24 May 2006

Viet Nam recently exported its first consignment of processed pine resin to the US, which local enterprises described as a breakthrough for the nation’s fledgling pine resin production industry.

The Quang Ninh Pine Company’s 36-tonne shipment, valued at US$70,000, was evidence of the great potential for development in the sector, said Le Ngoc Quang, General Director of the Pacific Ink Company.

American demand for high-quality pine resin – a natural material obtained by distilling pine wood and used to produce many products including ink, glue, and paint – is substantial, given that the nation is a centre for the printing and chemical industries.

US-based ink producers relied on pine resin imported from China, South America and Indonesia, but are increasingly gaining confidence in Vietnamese producers, Quang added.

Accordingly, the Quang Ninh Pine Company said it plans to invest in an additional production facility to take advantage of increasing demand.

Although Viet Nam’s terrain and climate make it suitable for pine tree cultivation, it had not yet made good use of the natural material, with average annual pine resin output a modest of 8,000 tonnes. Local producers have so far exported their poorly processed pine resin at prices considerably much lower than those to be expected on major markets such as the US.

If the industry is given greater priority from the Government and authorities and favourable conditions continue to develop, Viet Nam could easily produce more than 40,000 tonnes of high-quality pine resin a year, bringing in about $70 million, he said.

This would not only contribute to the State budget, but also create more local jobs and raise incomes among pine growers, said Quang.

The nation’s first pine resin export marks the advent of a bright future for Viet Nam’s pine cultivation sector, pine resin production, and printing ink industries, Quang concluded.

For full story, please see: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=03BUS240506

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NEWS

31. ASEAN launches Environment Year 2006 at Bogor

Source: Viet Nam News Agency, 19 May 2006

ASEAN has designated the year 2006 as ASEAN Environment Year (AEY) with the theme, “Biodiversity: Our Life, Our Future” at an official launch held in Bogor, Indonesia, on 18 May.

Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister for Environment of Indonesia, called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to increase research and cooperation on long-term biodiversity.

The launch of AEY 2006 aims to raise people's awareness of the region’s rich biodiversity, and strengthen regional cooperation and the implementation of actions on environment conservation. It supports ASEAN’s commitment to achieve the goals of sustainable development envisaged in ASEAN Vision 2020 on the establishment of a ‘clean and green ASEAN’.

ASEAN Environment Year is celebrated every three years with the aim of promoting environmental awareness at all levels of society. It highlights ASEAN's environmental achievements; and strengthens partnerships among ASEAN member countries as well as the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organisations and addresses environmental challenges in the ASEAN region.

The ASEAN region is well-known for its rich and unique biodiversity, where three of the 17 mega bio-diverse countries in the world are located, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Southeast Asia houses approximately 20 percent of the world's species despite only accounting for 3 percent of the world’s land coverage. There are approximately 27 000 species that are endemic to the region

For full story, please see: www.vnagency.com.vn/NewsA.asp?LANGUAGE_ID=2&CATEGORY_ID=33&NEWS_ID=199757

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32. Biopiratage : Le cactus coupe-faim qui ouvre l'appétit de firmes suisses

Source : Le Courrier, Genève, 6 mai 2006 (in BIO-IPR Resource pointer, 26.5.06)

Les indigènes du désert du Kalahari en Afrique australe appellent les autorités suisses à stopper le «commerce illégal» du cactus hoodia.

Demandez dans les pharmacies un produit coupe-faim et on vous aiguillera sur des gouttes ou des capsules à base de hoodia, un cactus qui pousse en Afrique australe. Internet regorge de publicités pour ce «remède minceur 100% naturel». La preuve que cela marche? Les indigènes Sans (ou Bochimans) mâchaient le cactus pour atténuer la faim lors de leurs expéditions de chasse dans le désert du Kalahari. Hélas pour eux, ils n'ont pas eu la «sagesse» de déposer un brevet. Utilisés comme arguments publicitaires, les Sans ne touchent pas un centime sur le commerce d'une plante dont ils ont découvert les vertus, s'indignent les défenseurs des indigènes dans une lettre au président de la Confédération helvétique, Moritz Leuenberger.

Les Sans et leurs soutiens réclament la fin de ce «commerce illégal». Ils s'appuient sur la Convention sur la biodiversité de 1992, que la Suisse et l'Allemagne ont ratifiée. Dans les deux pays, plusieurs marques proposent des produits à base de hoodia, des compléments alimentaires qu'on peut se procurer sans ordonnance. Or, la Convention sur la biodiversité prône une répartition équitable des bénéfices tirés de ressources génétiques locales ou de savoirs traditionnels.

Moritz Leuenberger a alors chargé le directeur de l'Office fédéral de l'environnement de répondre aux Sans à sa place. Dans sa lettre, datée du 15 mars dernier, Bruno Oberle souligne les efforts de la Suisse sur la scène internationale contre le pillage génétique. «Des efforts qui devraient finir par conduire à un partage équitable des bénéfices résultant de la commercialisation du cactus.»

Pas de quoi convaincre les indigènes et leurs défenseurs. Pour François Meienberg, de la Déclaration de Berne, «les autorités sont effectivement très actives pour améliorer et compléter la Convention sur la biodiversité mais, dans ce cas concret, elles ne font rien.»

Circonstance atténuante, la Suisse a beau avoir ratifié la Convention, elle n'a pas encore adapté sa législation. «Elle aurait tout intérêt à le faire, soutient M. Meienberg. Ce n'est pas exclu qu'un groupe étranger fasse breveter une plante des Alpes.»

Pour l'instant, les autorités n'envisagent que d'informer les vendeurs helvétiques de hoodia pour les sensibiliser au problème.

Dans sa réponse aux Sans, M. Oberle se déclarait très intéressé par un accord conclu récemment entre les Sans et des planteurs sud-africains du fameux cactus. Les indigènes toucheront une part des ventes. Sur l'emballage, un logo attestera du respect du droit des Sans.

Y aura-t-il une filière de commerce équitable en Suisse aussi? L'Office fédéral de l'environnement ne peut que le souhaiter et non obliger les producteurs.

For full story, please see: www.lecourrier.ch/modules.php?op=modload&name=NewsPaper&file=article&sid=41419&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

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33. EU issues plan to fight plant, animal extinctions

Source: Reuters, 23.5.06 in ENN Newsletter

The European Union laid out a plan on Monday to halt losses of plant and animal species by 2010 as part of a global drive to slow what could be the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs were wiped out.

The European Commission presented a paper with guidelines for the EU's 25 member states and institutions like the European Parliament on stopping biodiversity loss, which it said was harming efforts to boost economies and improve the environment.

The Commission said 43 percent of Europe's native bird species, 45 percent of butterflies, 45 percent of reptiles and 52 percent of freshwater fish faced extinction in Europe alone.

Its plan, which did not include new legislation, covered financing, decision-making, and promoting awareness, the Commission said in a statement.

Environmental group Greenpeace said the EU's plans were not sufficient to confront threats ranging from expanding cities to climate change, widely blamed on emissions of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels.

"The EU needs to do more than document and monitor the loss of biodiversity; it needs to review its own destructive policies for their part in the crisis, and take drastic measures to revise them," Greenpeace's Sebastien Risso said in a statement.

EU nations agreed in 2001 to "halt the loss of biodiversity" on the continent by 2010 -- tougher than a global goal set in 2002 of "a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss" by 2010.

For full story, please see: www.enn.com/today.html?id=10512

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34. Indigenous Peoples' Network for Change

Source: CEPF E-News, May 2006

The Indigenous Peoples' Network for Change is a project aimed at responding to the need for indigenous peoples to effectively participate in international processes that have direct impacts on their daily lives, with particular attention to the Global Environment Facility ( GEF) and Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD) meetings and related events.

This three year project brings together ten regions of the globe collectively under the International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests (IAITPTF) and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North ( RAIPON).

www.international-alliance.org/network_for_change.htm

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35. Online Discussion Forum: Natural Products in Rural Enterprises

From: Anna M. van der Heijden, avanderheijden@irgltd.com

Please join us in an online discussion forum on Natural Products in Rural Enterprises next week from June 5-7 (Monday through Wednesday).

In this online forum, moderated by Elaine Marshall (independent consultant), Kate Schreckenberg (Overseas Development Institute), Ousseynou Ndoye (Center for International Forestry Research) and Pradeep Tharakan (International Resources Group), participants will discuss and exchange ideas on the central challenges of developing a successful and sustainable natural products industry.

For more information and for free and easy registration, please visit www.frameweb.org/npforum. If you have any trouble subscribing to the discussion, please contact Lauren Sorkin at lsorkin@irgltd.com or me at avanderheijden@irgltd.com and we will be happy to assist you.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to colleagues around the world. We’re looking forward to a lively event and hope that you will join us.

For more information, please contact:

Anna M. van der Heijden
Knowledge Systems Coordinator
International Resources Group (IRG)
1211 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 1.202.289.0100
Fax: 1.202.289.7601

avanderheijden@irgltd.com / www.irgltd.com / www.frameweb.org

www.frameweb.org/npforum .

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REQUESTS

36. Experts in bamboo inventory sought

Source: H. Gyde Lund, gyde@comcast.net, FIU 22 MAY 06

INBAR is planning an International Workshop on Bamboo Inventory and Certification for Sustainable Management in Beijing and Anji, China 25-29 September 2006. We are inviting bamboo inventory experts around the world to join our efforts to establish a bamboo inventory manual. If we have funds, the participants need only to pay their international flights to and from China.

Expression of interests: please contact Dr. Jinhe Fu at jfu@inbar.int and also introduce your expertise in bamboo/forest inventory.

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37. Request for information: Medicinal plants projects in Africa

From: Mike Davison, WRENmedia, wrenmediamd@yahoo.co.uk (in Phytomedica list)

Later this year I shall be compiling a pack of radio interviews, for distribution to radio stations across Anglophone Africa, on the subject of medicinal plants. The interviews will be recorded by journalists based in the following countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Cameroon, The Gambia and Zimbabwe.

I would be very keen to know of projects currently operating in any of these countries to improve conservation, cultivation or use of medicinal plants, particularly those involving local communities. If such projects are underway, they could make good `stories' for the pack to report on. The pack – one of a regular series of Rural Radio Resource Packs – will be funded by CTA http://www.cta.int and produced by WRENmedia www.wrenmedia.co.uk. The subject is one that we have been requested to cover by several stations who receive the packs.

I would be very grateful for any information you can provide on current work – or others I might contact to enquire.

For more information, please contact:

Mike Davison
WRENmedia
Producers of New Agriculturist

http://www.new-agri.co.uk

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EVENTS

38. Defying Nature's End: The African Context

20-24 June 1006

Antananarivo, Madagascar

Major themes include the importance and status of African biodiversity; assessing and valuing the ecosystem services it provides; and using debt relief to properly manage natural capital and reduce poverty.

The symposium will present the latest research on links between the environment, poverty and health, and new strategies on resource management and governance to realize the greatest benefits from nature. A major theme will be how biodiversity conservation can help Africa reach the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000 to achieve significant progress in alleviating poverty worldwide by 2015. Among the symposium speakers will be Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana; Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the U.N. Millennium Project; World Bank Environment Director Warren Evans; and environmental leaders from around the world, particularly Africa.

For more information, please contact:

Tom Cohen, Media Relations Director, Conservation International

Tel: +1-202-912-1532.

Email: tcohen@conservation.org

www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-05/ci-ast051606.php

www.conservation.org

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39. Fields, Trees & Everything in Between: Developing the Peace Region’s Agroforestry Sector

23-24 June 2006

Dawson Creek, Canada

This regional conference is being organized by the Boreal Centre for Conservation Enterprise Society (BCCE).The event will provide an opportunity for agricultural producers, rural landowners, First Nations, and economic development groups to learn about this growing business sector.

As the name implies, agroforestry is a farming system that integrates crops and/or livestock with trees and shrubs. Diversifying production systems on farms creates additional sources of income, while protecting soil, water, and wildlife.

In North America, the dominant agroforestry systems include alleycropping, silvopasture, windbreaks and shelterbelts, riparian buffer strips, and forest farming or non-timber forest products. In the B.C. and Alberta Peace region, there are examples of all the above practices but only in recent years has there been a concerted effort to develop agroforestry as an industry in its own right.

Presentations will include general talks on agroforestry systems, government support programs, and market development including Branding the Peace. Industry presenters will speak about goat-grazing, birch syrup production, seed growing under hybrid poplar, and harvesting decorative evergreens.

For more information, please contact:

BCCE executive director Reg Whiten

Box 285

Moberly Lake, B.C. V0C 1X0, Canada

e-mail: interraplan@uniserve.com

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40. Enterprise Development and Marketing of Natural Resource Products Training Course

17-31 August, 2006

Bangkok, Thailand

Costs: The course tuition fee is US$2,750

The Enterprise Development and Marketing of Natural Resource Products Training Course aims to provide you with the knowledge and understanding of key elements which influence community enterprise development and the linkages with sustainable rural livelihoods, the analytical skills and knowledge to research potential products, the market situation and market entry, and the skills to develop participants' capacity to plan and implement sound micro and small enterprise development programs.

The course contents cover the following 4 modules:

• Introduction to key principles and processes of small-scale enterprise development for sustainable rural livelihoods

• Participatory approaches for product selection and market development for a promising product

• Concepts, mechanisms and challenges for new and innovative enterprises

• Development of an enterprise

For further information on course content or for an application form please visit www.recoftc.org or contact:

Somjai Srimongkoltip
The Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia & the Pacific
P.O. Box 1111, Kasetsart University, Bangkok 10903, Thailand
Phone: (66-2) 940-5700 Fax: (66-2) 561-4880, 562-0960
E-mail: contact@recoftc.org
Register on-line now http://www.recoftc.org/site/index.php?id=54

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

41. Hunting for plagiarizers

Source: David Kaimowitz, CIFOR, d.kaimowitz@cgiar.org, POLEX List

I called my last POLEX message about bushmeat in Ghana, “Have your animals and eat them to”. I thought it was a great title, but it turns out it wasn’t mine.

About a year ago John Robinson and Liz Bennett from the Wildlife Conservation Society sent me their article called “Having your wildlife and eating it too: an analysis of hunting sustainability across tropical ecosystems”, published in Animal Conservation. When I wrote my message I’d forgotten that, but the title clearly stuck in the back of my mind.

In any case the Robinson and Bennett piece helps put the Ghana article in a broader perspective. Robinson and Bennett reviewed studies from all over the African, Asian, and Latin American tropics to see where hunting threatens wildlife the most. They conclude that hunting in moist forests is likely to be much less sustainable than hunting in dry forests, humid grasslands, forest fallows, and mixed patches of pasture and forests.

There are several reasons for that. Antelope, deer, and other ungulates have lots of meat and thrive in grassy open areas. Many of these species reproduce pretty fast; so you can catch 15-20% of them each year without running out. Opener areas also have many large rodents, particularly in Latin America, and they multiply even faster.

In contrast, monkeys and sloths are more important in moist forests, where much of the food is up in the trees. They have less meat and breed slower than rodents or ungulates. Many of the leaves in these forests have compounds that protect them from animals. Whereas each square kilometer of grasslands in places where it rains more than 500mm/year can support a mammal population weighing 15 to 20 tons, a square kilometer of rainforests rarely supports more than three tons.

In theory, opening up forests by logging or shifting cultivation could actually increase animal stocks and the availability of meat. Studies show deer and antelope populations decline right after logging, but then increase markedly. However, don't jump to conclusions because logging is often associated with other activities that endanger wildlife such as permanent agriculture and commercial hunting, so populations could easily decline. You are also likely to lose the largest animals and those that breed most slowly.

So whether you look just at West Africa or all across the tropics the message seems similar. Hunting threatens some species and ecosystems much more than others. Bushmeat policies should consider that.

To request a free electronic copy of the paper in pdf format you can write to Lauren Terwilliger at: lterwilliger@wcs.org

To send comments or queries to the authors you can write to: John Robinson at wildcons@aol.com or Elizabeth Bennett at lizwcs@pd.jaring.my

The full reference for the article is: Robinson, J.G. and Bennett, E.L. 2004. Having your wildlife and eating it too: an analysis of hunting sustainability across tropical ecosystems. Animal Conservation 7: 397-408.

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42. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Chen, Jim. 2006."There's no such thing as biopiracy...and it's a good thing too", McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 37, 35 pp. http://ssrn.com/abstract=781824

Dutfield, Graham. 2006. Protecting traditional knowledge: pathways to the future, draft paper, ICTSD, Geneva, April 2006, 53 pp. www.iprsonline.org/ictsd/Dialogues/2006-04-26/Formatted%20version%20of%20GD%20paper.doc

Tewari, V.P. and Srivastava, R.L. (eds) 2006. Multipurpose Trees in the Tropics: Management and Improvement Strategies. Jodhpur, Scientific Pub., 760 p., $85. ISBN 81-7233-424-9.

WWF. 2005. Beyond Belief: Linking faiths and protected areas to support biodiversity conservation. A research report by WWF, Equilibrium and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC). WWF. ISBN 2-88085-270-6

www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/forests/publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=58880

WWF. 2006. Joining the Dots: Species and Protected Areas – A contribution to the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas. WWF Global Species Programme, Wien, pp 94.

www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/species/publications/index.cfm?uNewsID=63500

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43. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Connecticut Ferns

Hosted by the Connecticut Botanical Society (USA), this Web site indexes ferns by both their common scientific names.

www.ct-botanical-society.org/ferns/index.html

Wikiwords

Wikiwords is a collaborative project to create a dictionary of all terms in all languages with definitions and example sentences. Wikiwords was derived from the ProZ.com KudoZ Open Glossary.

www.wikiwords.org/

WordOrigins

www.wordorigins.org/

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MISCELLANEOUS

44. Money grows on French trees, but slowly

Source: Reuters, 24 May 2006

The area in France covered by forest has grown by a third in the last 50 years, partly due to private investors who have funded reforestation programs as part of long-term, tax-efficient investment plans.

One third of France is covered by trees, the farm ministry says, and at more than 16 million hectares, the country's forest takes up more land than all the arable crops combined.

The investment yield is not even close to that achieved on stock or bond markets. But investors do enjoy tax breaks and they get something that an equity stake can't provide -- a slice of the countryside they can pass on to the next generation.

Seventy percent of France's forest is privately owned while the remaining 30 percent is state owned with just over one million proprietors owning at least one hectare of trees.

"In exchange for looking after their piece of forest, owners obtain significant tax rebates," a top manager at the largest forest fund management business, CDC Foret, told Reuters. He said many people chose to invest in forests in the late 1970s, seeing them as safe havens at the time of the oil crisis. "Forests then became for many a sound investment," he added.

The country gains something too. Forests absorb the equivalent of 138 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and provide three percent of the country's energy consumption.

Investing in forests became even more attractive after the wind storm of 1999 that destroyed many trees throughout France.

But even with the fastest growing trees, investors have a considerable wait to see any return on their money.

The farm ministry likens investing in forest land to other types of real estate. Both are kept many years and handed on as inheritance.

And many trees outlive their investors by a long way. "You have to be patient with those investments when one knows that it takes some 150 years for an oak tree to come to maturity," the CDC Foret manager said.

For full story, please see: http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=reutersEdge&storyID=2006-05-24T100920Z_01_L19784737_RTRUKOC_0_US-TIMBER-FRANCE-FORESTS.xml&pageNumber=2&imageid=&cap=&sz=13&WTModLoc=NewsArt-C1-ArticlePage2

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45. HIV-like virus found in wild chimps

Source: Nature.com (subscription) - London, UK, 25 May 2006

Scientists have spotted the signs of an HIV-like virus in chimpanzees in southern Cameroon, confirming the long-held suspicion that these animals are a natural reservoir for the virus in the wild.

The discovery bolsters the theory that the first people to contract HIV did so through contact with infected blood from wild chimps in the jungle, before eventually spreading the virus to nearby Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and onwards from there.

Researchers led by Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama at Birmingham travelled to Cameroon to collect droppings from the chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes.

The virus probably got into humans as a result of bushmeat hunting, Hahn suggests. "The most likely route, based on the biology of these viruses, is human exposure to infectious chimp blood or body fluids during hunting and butchering," she says.

The genetics of the wild chimp SIV are very close to the human virus. This suggests that humans contracted the virus directly from chimps, rather than both humans and chimps contracting it from monkeys, as some experts had previously suggested.

It is unclear exactly how the virus arose in the chimps themselves, but it is probably derived from two viruses carried by monkey species on which the chimps prey, suggests Paul Sharp, a viral geneticist at the University of Nottingham, UK, who also worked on the study.

Analysis of the path of the human pandemic has pinpointed Kinshasa as the epicentre of the outbreak. The first HIV-positive human blood was obtained here in 1959. The virus was almost certainly carried here by infected humans, says Sharp:

For full story, please see: http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060522/full/060522-17.html

Related story, please see: www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2197326,00.html

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009