No. 05/08

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.

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A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information and a warm welcome to the very many new subscribers.


PRODUCTS

1. Agarwood in high demand (Thailand)

2. Bamboo: Building on bamboo

3. Bamboo bridge spans the River Tyne (UK)

4. Baobab: New exotic fruit to hit UK shops

5. Berries: (Goji berry): 'Super berry' poses risk to UK's tomato and potato crops

6. Berries (Synsepalum dulcificum): Miracle fruit turns sour into sweet

7. Brazil nuts in Peru: A lot of nuts, a lot of noise

8. Bushmeat: The other food crisis

9. Gum Arabic: Sudan's manna from heaven and strategic weapon

10. Honey: Battling the MRSA Superbug with Manuka Honey

11. Honey in the USA: Distinctive flavors inhabit honey

12. Medicinal plants: Scientists in malaria battle

13. Moringa: HIV/AIDS Caregivers urged to provide quality care

14. Moringa: Planting of malunggay trees encouraged in schools

15. Moringa: Himalayan tree offers fuel crop hope

16. Mushrooms: Antibiotic-producing mushroom discovered

17. Mushrooms in Bhutan: Generating Yartsa Goenbub in the lab

18. Mulberry: Useful protein found in mulberry

19. Stevia: Coke, Cargill launch Stevia-based sweetener

20. Stevia in Kenya: Finlays in medicinal herb venture

21. Truffles take off in WA, Australia

COUNTRY INFORMATION

22. Australia: Sandalwood plantation for far north

23. Bolivia: 2008 exports of forest products from La Paz and Santa Cruz drop 26%

24. Cameroon: Studies recommend more forest access for Baka Pygmies

25. Canada: Ontario to preserve one-half of its Boreal Forest, more than 55 million acres

26. China: ADB helps China improve Baiyangdian Ecosystem

27. Ecuador Constitutional Assembly votes to approve rights of nature in new constitution

28. Ghana: MOFA makes advances to boost Sheanut production

29. India: Centrally sponsored Scheme on National Mission on Medicinal Plants

30. India: Villagers in Orissa depend on Mahua flowers for their livelihood

31. India: East India Leather is now an exclusive geo product

32. Kenya wins international recognition for forests

33. Mali: Forum des investisseurs sur la filière-karité au Mali

34. Qatar: Bioprospecting Plant Genetic Resources in Qatar

35. Solomon Islands: Honey production encouraged

36. Turkey: Turkish valley to be developed as ecotourism area

NEWS

37. Africans urged to 'eat locally' at poor people's summit

38. Climate Friendly cars: Prototype sustainable wooden car unveiled

39. Global Forest Plan could boost fight against poverty and climate change

EVENTS

40. “Trees Connecting People: In Action Together”

41. BfD Beekeepers' Safaris – latest dates

42. Trinidad & Tobago: 2-12 February 2009

43. "Poplars, willows and people's wellbeing" - 23rd Session of the International Poplar Commission Conference

44. Cultivated Agarwood in Vietnam; A guided field tour of successful Agarwood production in the Mekong Delta.

45. Training programme: ‘Governance for forests, nature and people’

REQUESTS

46. Request for information: Curaua fiber

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

47. Internship: the potential of Non-Timber Forest Products

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

48. “Africa – Atlas of our Changing Environment” now available

49. Other publications of interest

50. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS

51. African 'wall of trees' gets underway

52. Mexico plants 8 million trees in latest green project

53. Papua New Guinea’s forests all but gone in 13 years


PRODUCTS

1. Agarwood in high demand (Thailand)

Source: Thai News Agency MCOT, Thailand, 27 June 2008

High quality agarwood, which is black and full of oil, can fetch high prices of up to tens of thousands of baht. Agarwood producers in the eastern province of Rayong have more than 500 members from all over the country. They work together to produce agarwood from selecting agarwood species to processing the wood.

Every piece of agarwood is valuable as wood bits and chips can be used to make aromatic incense sticks, which cost 800 baht per kilogramme.

White parts of the wood scraps can also be distilled to make aromatic essential oil, which can be sold at more than 10,000 baht for 11g.

Dregs left over from the distillation process are made into special oil used in Muslim religious ceremonies. As a result, most customers come from Middle East nations, while some European countries also need aromatic agarwood oil to make perfume.

Archin Kittipon, Committee member, Agarwood Producers Group said “We can plant about 200-300 agarwood trees in 2.5 acres of land. The capital cost is around 3,000-5,000 baht. After four to five years, we can sell an Agarwood tree without heartwood at 2,000-3,000 baht. ”

Agarwood growers have to wait almost 10 years until Agarwood heartwood is ready for harvesting. It’s worth waiting though, because there is high demand for Agarwood. Although it is precious, agarwood traders said some Thai people had no idea what it looked like or how to earn money from this economic wood… legally of course.

For full story, please see: http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=4952

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2. Bamboo: Building on bamboo

Source: Business Line, India, 13 July 2008

The decline in timber availability and emergence of new technologies and product options has spurred interest in bamboo and coir-based composites as wood substitutes for the building industry. Bamboo-based panels and boards are hard and durable and may successfully substitute hard wood products.

India, being a timber-deficit country, relies heavily on imports. Its annual requirement is about 40 million cu m but only about 0.25 million cu m is available locally. To meet the increasing demand for wood-based panel products, there is a need to identify substitutes. A study by FAO forecasts that wood-based panel consumption in Asia and Oceania will grow at an overall average of 5.3 percent per year to reach 105 million cu m by 2010, which is well above the average rate of 4 percent per year for the world as a whole.

The growing consumption, by about 20,000 interior designers and architects in the country, would translate into clearing of 50,753 acres of forest. An exhibition conducted as part of the All India Seminar on National Building Code of India 2005 has lined-up several eco-friendly products required for the building industry, which will enhance comfort while reducing cost.

In a paper presented at the all India seminar on National Building Code of India, Mr M. R. Anil Kumar, MD, Kerala State Bamboo Corporation, said that bamboo is quickly transforming its image from a `Poor Man’s tree’ to a high-tech industrial raw material. Bamboo, which is now a globally recognised substitute for wood, can be processed into wooden products that may successfully compete with conventional wood products in price and performance. Engineered bamboo may well replace wood, steel and concrete in many uses. Bamboo-based composite products provide promising linkages between the organised and unorganised sectors, for instance, resin-bonded boards made from hand-woven mats.

The highest priority needs to be accorded to mat-based composites, including flattened bamboo boards, bamboo jute composites, corrugated roofing, shuttering material and mat glass fibre composites because of the employment intensity and linkages between industrial-scale bamboo units and the cottage sector.

The second set of composites is solid wood segment — laminated flooring, furniture sections and other high value products. All bamboo-based wood substitutes have extremely high viability with an internal rate of return varying from 27 to 30 percent depending upon the scale of manufacturing and cost of raw material.

Replacing wood based panels and hard wood with bamboo mat boards/flattened bamboo boards and flooring tiles is now a fairly well-documented, demonstrated and commercialized technology. Bamboo-based ply is competitive in pricing. Removal of bottlenecks on the supply side should create further downward pressure on prices. There has also been a demand for commercialisation of bamboo as an enterprise at the farmers’ level.

Bamboo should be promoted in the industrial scene through appropriate tie-up arrangements with bamboo-based industries such as paper, handicrafts and the new emerging areas of eco-friendly products such as like housing tiles, flooring and bamboo shoots.

For full story, please see: www.thehindubusinessline.com/iw/2008/07/13/stories/2008071350971700.htm

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3. Bamboo bridge spans the River Tyne (UK)

Source: Building.co.uk, UK, 16 July 2008

The River Tyne is about to get another bridge, this time made out of bamboo. The 100m span structure is being built by Australian firm Bambuco to mark the beginning of the Summer Tyne festival. It will be supported on 25m towers and is being hand built by riggers who are manually piecing the structure together using 20 tonnes of bamboo.

Engineering consultant Faber Maunsell has used 3D analytical software to develop the design and ensure that it is compliant with UK standards. John Longthorne, director at Faber Maunsell, said: “The River Tyne is famous for its bridges, each a feat of engineering in its own right. Bambuco’s bamboo bridge carries on that tradition, being the first suspension bridge across the lower reaches of the Tyne and an interesting counterpoint to the parabolic arches of the adjacent Millennium and Tyne bridges."

The bridge is due to be completed this Friday. When it is dismantled the bamboo will be reused.

For full story, please see: www.building.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=284&storycode=3118413&c=0

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4. Baobab: New exotic fruit to hit UK shops

Source: BBC News, 15 July 2008

An unusual fruit from a native African tree, the baobab, is to be available in the UK after being approved by the EU. The fruit, contained in a hard nut, has six times more vitamin C than oranges and twice as much calcium as milk.

African people have eaten the fruit for thousands of years, but Europeans will consume its pulp as an ingredient in smoothies and cereal bars.

Since 1997, foods not commonly consumed in the EU have had to be formally approved before going on sale.

The baobab tree grows throughout certain parts of Africa and has many different uses. The leaves can be eaten as relish and the fruit dissolved in milk or water and used as a drink. The seeds also yield an edible oil and can be eaten raw or roasted.

The fruit, bark and leaves of the tree are used to treat medical problems including fevers and kidney disease.

However, EU customers will not be able to try out the many traditional uses of the tree and its fruit, which is six to eight inches (15cm to 20cm) long. The fruit will be removed from its nut and the pulp, which is white, powdery and has a cheese-like texture, will be used as an ingredient in products such as cereal bars.

The non-profit trade association which has been lobbying for the EU approval, PhytoTrade Africa, hopes the demand for the fruit will mean employment for millions of African people.

Gus Le Breton, the association's chief executive, said: "The EU decision is a crucial step to developing the global market which could be worth up to £500m a year. Dozens of companies have shown interest in baobab since we submitted the application and many have already conducted initial research. Now that approval has been given, they can progress to full-scale product development."

The baobab tree can live for hundreds of years. Its trunk can grow up to 50ft (15m) in circumference and reach a height of 98ft (30m). Some baobab trees, which are 80% water, are hollow and have been used as bars, shops and even prisons.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7506997.stm

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5. Berries: (Goji berry): 'Super berry' poses risk to UK's tomato and potato crops

Source: Independent, UK, 20 July 2008

Goji berries might look innocuous, but the current craze for this "superfood" – fuelled by the endorsement of celebrities – could devastate Britain's multimillion-pound tomato and potato crops.

The Government has alerted farmers to the threat after it revealed last week that nearly 90,000 goji berry plants, which can carry diseases that are lethal to other crops, have been illegally imported from East Asia in the past year. Some of the plants have been destroyed but it is feared that most are already in the gardens of goji- berry enthusiasts.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued a warning to commercial growers, garden centres and gardeners, while the National Farmers' Union has warned that disease carried by the bright red berries could be "devastating".

"There are particular concerns over this," said Chris Hartfield, horticulture adviser to the NFU. "Put simply, because goji plants are part of the Solanaceae family – the same as potatoes and tomatoes – the bugs can travel on the goji plants, then easily move to, say, potatoes, where they debilitate the crop." He added: "The retail value of British tomato production is £150m, and potatoes are worth more than that, so the size of the industry that is under threat is pretty massive. If some bugs were to arrive here, they would be devastating."

The goji berry, also known as Lycium barbarum, contains up to 500 times more vitamin C than an orange, and is native to the Tibetan Himalayas. It has been used for medicinal purposes in China for centuries.

Demand in Britain has soared in the past year after the berry became the latest "superfood" to be endorsed by celebrities and health experts. The Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate warned there is a "substantial trade" in prohibited goji plants in the UK. Seeds and berries can be imported from anywhere in the world, but only plants grown within the European Union are permitted to be imported to the UK, because they are certified to be free of disease.

Defra sought last night to allay farmers' fears about the risks of any major outbreak, saying the chances of widespread disease were relatively low, because of weak connections between amateur gardeners and commercial vegetable growers.

For full story, please see: www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-wellbeing/health-news/super-berry-poses-risk-to-uks-tomato-and-potato-crops-872401.html

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6. Berries (Synsepalum dulcificum): Miracle fruit turns sour into sweet

Source: The Money Times, India, 1 July 2008

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. -- A Florida grower said demand is rising for a red berry nicknamed "miracle fruit" that can make sour things taste sweet. Curtis Mozie said the berries, which are native to West Africa, change taste for more than two hours, making sour things such as limes taste like candy, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Monday.

Scientists said the berry, Synsepalum dulcificum, contains a glycoprotein called miraculin that changes taste.

Mozie, who has more than a thousand "miracle fruit" trees in his orchard, charges $3 a berry and ships 3,000 berries a week, the newspaper said.

Cancer treatment centers have contacted him to see if the fruit will boost the appetite of chemotherapy patients, the newspaper said.

For full story, please see: www.themoneytimes.com/news/20080701/miracle_fruit_turns_sour_into_sweet-id-1027782.html

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7. Brazil nuts in Peru: A lot of nuts, a lot of noise

Source: Living in Peru, Peru, 15 July 2008

Scientifically known as Bertholletia excelsa, the Brazil Nut, despite its name, is not exclusive to that country and, contrary to common sense, the main producer is Bolivia. This type of nut grows naturally in the humid forests of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru and comes from one of the highest tress in the tropical Amazon region. Curiously, the locally named Brazil Nut is known in this country under the name of “Castaña de Para” while in Bolivia is identified as “Castaña del Beni”.

Leaving the anecdotic name aside, the Brazilian Nut has a very dynamic demand globally that has risen with the increased consumption of healthy products. Also, considering that this product is an excellent source of selenium, magnesium and thiamine and is full of proteins and carbohydrates, it constitutes an ideal diuretic food and a medicinal option for ear affections.

Taking advantage of that trend, Peruvian exports of Brazil Nuts area expanding to new markets, such as Hong Kong and Vietnam, in addition to the traditional list of countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, which together account for almost 92% of our current exports.

Between January and September 2007, the volume of exported Brazil nuts grew by 4.7%, overcoming the barrier of US$10 million. Even though the United States is already the main market for this product, it is important to notice that due to the preferences of the PTPA that will enter into force in January 2009, our country faces the opportunity of increasing its sales to this market using the preferential access.

On the other hand, given the fact that Peru exports Brazilian nuts in a primary state, our country faces also the challenge of selling these products with greater transformation. So, we could sell nuts without shells and toasted, packed for snacks or to be used in chocolates, candies and bakery products in general. Additionally, it is possible to explore the potential hidden of this product for the cosmetic industry as an input for oils, make up and beauty products.

Then, it is evident that in this, as in many cases, our country has a wide potential to expand its sales to this market but also has the opportunity to increase the value of the exported products and obtain greater profits that may give an extra impulse to the generation of more and better jobs for Peruvians.

For full story, please see: www.livinginperu.com/blogs/business/512

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8. Bushmeat: The other food crisis

Source: CIFOR POLEX, 17 July 2008

Conservationists have long argued that the hunting of terrestrial wildlife for food – including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians – poses a threat to the survival of many tropical forest species and ecosystems. A new study suggests we should be equally concerned that the so-called “bushmeat crisis” is also a food security crisis for many forest-dependent people.

“Conservation and Use of Wildlife-Based Resources:  The Bushmeat Crisis”, a technical paper published by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and CIFOR, summarizes the state of knowledge on this controversial topic.  According to Nasi et al, the bushmeat trade constitutes a significant, if largely hidden, component of the economies of tropical forest countries, with estimates ranging from US$42-205 million per year for countries in West and Central Africa.  However, “voluminous and varied” empirical evidence suggests that current rates of bushmeat extraction are unsustainable, and are leading to wildlife depletion in many areas.  Large mammal species are particularly vulnerable, and many are already locally extinct.

The “empty forest syndrome” is not just of interest to conservationists.  Bushmeat is an important source of protein and fats in rural diets – up to 80 percent in Central Africa – as well as an important seasonal safety net.  And in many countries, there is no clear substitute available if wild meat sources were to be depleted, or off-take reduced to sustainable levels.

Bushmeat’s importance to rural livelihoods is not restricted to its direct consumption. Research suggests that the poorest households are more dependent than the rich on bushmeat sales to local and urban markets.  Thus, the conventional wisdom that commercial trade can be banned without harming the subsistence needs of the poor is misguided.

The report suggests that sustainable management of bushmeat resources requires different approaches for different species and circumstances.  For example, species with low intrinsic population growth rates and high dependence on undisturbed habitat – such as gorillas – are particularly vulnerable to overhunting.  By contrast, fast reproducing generalist species that thrive in agricultural mosaics – such as duikers or rodents – may be very resilient to hunting pressure. Blanket bans on hunting and trade that don’t discriminate between these extremes are bound to fail.

The authors argue that the solution to the bushmeat crisis is a more secure rights regime:  if local people are guaranteed the benefits of sustainable land use and hunting practices, they will be willing to invest in sound management and negotiate selective hunting regimes. Sustainable management of bushmeat resources requires bringing the sector out into the open, removing the stigma of illegality, and including wild meat consumption in national statistics and planning. 

Reframing the bushmeat problem from one of international animal welfare to one of sustainable livelihoods – and part of the global food crisis – might be a good place to start.

Citation: Nasi, R.; Brown, D.; Wilkie, D.; Bennett, E.; Tutin, C.; van Tol, G.; Christophersen, T. 2007. Conservation and Use of Wildlife-Based Resources:  The Bushmeat Crisis. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, and Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor. Technical Series no. 33, 50 pages. http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-33-en.pdf

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9. Gum Arabic: Sudan's manna from heaven and strategic weapon

Source: AFP, 9 July 2008

Khartoum (AFP) — In Sudan, gum arabic is "manna" from heaven and a key ingredient in iconic brands of globalisation despite US sanctions on this African country listed as a state sponsor of terror in Washington.

Hands covered in balls of see-through resin, Issam Siddig, the boss of Mannafibre Company, is categorical: gum arabic is the food which both the Bible and the Koran say fell from heaven to save the Israelites from starvation during their sojourn in the Sinai desert. For him the acacia sap is a "pure miracle".

In Saharan Africa, the gum grows west to east, from Senegal to Somalia. Sudan is the world powerhouse of "manna", providing more than half the total and the best variety, known as Hashab.

Sudan, Chad and Nigeria -- all three deeply troubled countries that produce 95 percent of the 60,000 tonnes of gum exported each year in the world -- would like to set up a cartel like oil's OPEC.

In Sudan, "the worst enemies are locust and man, locust fights against the gum and men are fighting each other," says Abdelazim Mirghani, head of the Sudanese forestry commission. One particularly virulent locust attack decimated crops in 1993.

In antiquity, the gum was extracted by making an incision in the trunk of acacia trees. It was coveted by the Egyptians who used it as glue for their mummies.

The British and French fought during colonial times for access to the tasteless and odourless gum used in textiles, paint, ink, confectionery and to stick the first postage stamps.

Today, gum is used in hair gel, chewing gum, and soft drinks such as Coca Cola, first sold by an Atlanta drug store in 1886. As a natural carbohydrate, gum arabic is the special emulsifier bringing together water, which accounts for 90 percent, and the still secret "7 X" trademark formula of the drink sold in 200 countries. Siddig says he supplies, through an agent in London, Pepsi Cola -- the other great US brand based on the cola nut.

Sudan is a country entrenched in the most infamous war in Africa -- Darfur. Washington put Sudan on the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 and has imposed US sanctions since 1997. Yet the US embassy in Khartoum confirmed that the United States imports gum arabic from Sudan.

"(It's) not really an embargo, not a real one. Lobbies in America were very active. There is a quota... I have myself a licence, selling them 1,200 tons (a year)," says Siddig. "(It's) more expensive through agents, in the UK, Italy, France. The French in particular are taking advantage of these sanctions," he adds, describing France's CNI as a main provider to Coca Cola. A global leader with a 35-percent share of the market, French company Iranex-CNI imports gum arabic from Sudan and re-exports it everywhere, chiefly to the United States after processing the gum in France.

Constantly changing, one ton of gum arabic this year costs between US$1,700 and US$2,500 depending on its quality, say the professionals.

For full story, please see: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jfgNmGYOlaBdb6OKP3JEyrw4AHTA

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10. Honey: Battling the MRSA Superbug with Manuka Honey

Source: PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria, 30 June 2008

With predictions of MRSA killing more people in the future than AIDS, medical professionals turn to the use of an old remedy: honey.

MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) is an antibiotic-resistant bacterium that causes life-threatening infections. A MRSA infection can become fatal if entered into the bloodstream which is why it is imperative to treat this condition immediately. MRSA treatment doesn't have to be as difficult as some people think. Even though antibiotics have become ineffective in treating these types of Staph infections, a particular type of honey, known as Manuka Honey is extremely effective.

MRSA Staph infections can be healed efficiently and quickly with the use of bio-active Manuka honey-based dressings. Studies have shown that the MRSA superbug cannot develop a resistance to this honey because Manuka Honey has an osmotic effect that draws moisture out of the bacterial cells, making it impossible for the MRSA bacteria to survive.

Manuka honey-based MRSA treatments are becoming available to hospitals and individuals worldwide as word of its effectiveness becomes mainstreamed. With reports of Manuka Honey acting as a natural cure for MRSA, antibiotics will most definitely be used less, especially since MRSA drugs usually prove to be useless. To date, there have been no reports of any bacteria being able to develop a resistance to Manuka Honey which is bringing new hope in the area of infection control.

For full story, please see: http://www.pr-inside.com/battling-the-mrsa-superbug-with-manuka-r675788.htm

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11. Honey in the USA: Distinctive flavors inhabit honey

Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, USA, 16 July 2008

Tupelo, lavender, sourwood, linden tree, sage, buckwheat, eucalyptus and Bradford pear are mere sweet drops in the honey pot. More than 300 distinctive types of honey are produced in the United States.

“Each region of America grows different plants and therefore has different honey,” explains Mark Brady, president of the American Honey Producers Association. “Texas, for example, produces honey from white brush, cat claw and mesquite plants; Nebraska is famed for its clover and alfalfa honey; South Carolina and Florida for tupelo.”

California produces several unique honeys, such as John Gipson’s Golden avocado honey, which has a deeply rich dried plum flavor. In addition, the must-try wildly flavorful avocado honey, Gipson’s Golden also produces lavender honey from the fields of a private California vineyard, wild blackberry honey from bushes growing near the Santa Rosa and Eel Rivers, and native Meyer lemon honeys.

“You can even get honey from cactus,” explain Erika Wain and Klaus Koepfli, of California’s Klausesbees honey company, who sell a candy-sweet, distinctly thick cactus honey from the Mojave Desert of California.

“Not many of us realize that the plants bees visit drastically affects the flavor of their honey,” says Brian Frederickson, owner of Ames Farm, which sells several types of single source honeys from Minnesota. “If bees hives are placed near linden trees, the honey will have a delightfully light mint taste, which tastes completely different from honey the bees make when they gather nectar from buckwheat blossoms, which tastes of molasses and brown sugar.”

Despite this wide range of choices, most Americans have only tasted honey blends, not single-source varieties. “Companies that supply supermarkets mix honey from many different beekeepers,” explains Troy Fore, Executive Director of the American Beekeeping Federation. “Supermarket honey is just as good and nutritious as any honey. However, unique and unusual flavors may be lost in the intermingling of many flavors. Honey from small beekeepers is more likely to come from a single floral source and will have that source’s flavor. The different flavors are distinctive, and it’s a treat to experience the variety.”

The best way to appreciate the wide range of tastes is to try a honey you’ve never had before, according to Bruce Wolk, director of marketing for the National Honey Board. He recommends logging on to the board’s Web site, www.honeylocator.com , to discover honey’s varied flavors. The site yields not just hundreds of types of honeys, each with detailed descriptions of the plant that produced it, but it also lists the beekeepers who sell that particular honey.

Pure Mountain Honey (www.MtnHoney.com), is just one of the many artisanal producers featured on the National Honey Board’s site. Owners Carl and Virginia Webb, who humorously say they employ 7 million workers, make an indescribably delicious sourwood honey, from sourwood trees indigenous to Georgia. Their sourwood honey won top prize for the “Best Honey in the World” at the 2005 World Honey Show, in Dublin, Ireland, which included 400 entries representing 21 different countries.

For full story, please see: http://newsminer.com/news/2008/jul/16/distinctive-flavors-inhabit-honey/

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12. Medicinal plants: Scientists in malaria battle

Source: York Press, UK. 1 July 2008

Something’s been bugging scientists at the University of York. They are working to make vital malaria drugs cheaper and more accessible to patients in developing countries.

They are doing this by improving yields of one of the world’s most important medicinal plants, the aromatic herb artemisia, and will showcase their work this week at a major public exhibition at the Royal Society in London.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) now recommends artemisinin combination therapies (ACTS) as the most effective malaria treatment. However, artemisinin is extracted from the aromatic herb artemisia and the plant only produces tiny amounts, making ACTs too expensive for many in need.

The Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York is using the latest molecular and genetic technologies to fast-track the plant breeding of artemisia and increase yields.

Professor Dianna Bowles, one of the project leaders, said: “Our aim is to rapidly develop high-yielding, non-GM varieties of artemisia that will help reduce costs and secure supplies of this anti-malarial medicine.”

For full story, please see: www.thepress.co.uk/news/3187631.Scientists_in_malaria_battle/

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13. Moringa: HIV/AIDS Caregivers urged to provide quality care

Source: Ghana News, Ghana, 24 July 2008

Ho. People giving care to HIV/AIDS victims have been urged to offer quality care in order to uplift the flagging spirits of those victims and improve their health. Mr Victor Ntumi-Attah, Executive Director of the NGO AFRIWEB Foundation gave the advice at a workshop on home-based management for People Living With Aids (PLWAs) and their caregivers in Ho on Wednesday.

The workshop attended by 40 PLWAs and their caregivers was organized by the Ghana AIDS Commission in collaboration with the Department of Women, to educate the caregivers on how to approach their work. Mr Ntumi-Attah urged the caregivers to provide local foods and herbs, such as the moringa leaf, kontomire, soya bean and local rice, under hygienic conditions, to the PLWAs in order to improve the diet of the victims and strengthen them.

For full story, please see: www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/health/artikel.php?ID=147368

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14. Moringa: Planting of malunggay trees encouraged in schools

Source: Philippine Information Agency, Philippines, 7 July 2008

La Trinidad, Benguet. Planting of malunggay trees is encouraged in schools in support to the Food for School Program and the gulayan sa paaralan program under the accelerated hunger mitigation program (AHMP).

The Department of Education (DepED) is promoting the planting of malunggay trees in schools which is vital in sustaining in-school feeding of children with low-cost nutritious foods. DepED Secretary Jesli Lapus issued Memorandum 234 series 2008 dated May 2, 2008 which encourages the planting of malunngay trees in schools.

Malunggay scientifically named Moringa oleifera is considered as one of the world's most useful and nutritious plants propagated for human food, livestock, medicine, dye and water treatment. A gram of malunggay leaves contain seven times the vitamin C found in oranges, four times the calcium and two times the protein found in milk, four times the vitamin A found in carrots and three times the potassium found in bananas.

Accordingly, scientific researches likewise show that malunggay trees are sources of olea oil and biofuel potential of becoming an alternative source of income.

The Department of Agriculture is also advocating the planting of malunggay trees nationwide as an answer to hunger, poverty, and malnutrition. As stated in the directive, school administrators should encourage the planting of malunggay trees in the schools and communities through integration in Science classes and school community outreach projects.

Nurse-In-Charge of DepED Benguet Virginia Basatan said there are a number of varieties of malunggay suitable in lowland and highland areas. According to Basatan, in a School Health and Nutrition Congress held in Teachers Camp last summer, DA Central office announced that their office is still on the process of propagating various varieties for distribution.

As per the directive issued, DepED and DA will be working together for the implementation of the program in close coordination with the Bureau of Plant Industry for their technical assistance to the propagation, processing of fruits and leaves for food and for the provision of seeds, seedlings, stem cuttings of malunggay to the schools.

Basatan said there are malunggay-based recipes developed and being standardized. This will be distributed later and to serve as guide in the preparation of nutritious foods for in-school feeding and for the families. (PIA-Benguet)

For full story, please see: www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&fi=p080707.htm&no=37

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15. Moringa: Himalayan tree offers fuel crop hope

Source: The West Australian, Australia, 7 July 2008

A tree from the foothills of the Himalayas has emerged as a potential biodiesel crop for WA. Trial plantings of the tree in the Gascoyne have shown promising initial results.

The tree, Moringa oleifera, is capable of producing up to 2000 litres of oil per hectare, about four times the amount available from annual crops such as canola, which can be used for food or biodiesel.

State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance, who is taking to Cabinet a proposal for 5 per cent of all transport fuel used in WA to be sourced from biofuels by 2011, believes the crop could become a major biodiesel source for WA.

While the criticism of biofuels as a major cause of world food price inflation because food crops were diverted to fuels had been dramatically exaggerated, it was undeniable that having another buyer in the market would increase prices, he said.

“We know that we can grow (Moringa) in areas which are not currently used for food production,” he said. “When we get access to seed that is more suited to more temperate environments it could be that it becomes a significant crop in those environments, in which case it will be competing with food.”

Department of Agriculture and Food project manager Henry Brockman said trials of the tree were in place from Kununurra to Albany, but the best results were coming from an irrigated site near Carnarvon.

Pods are harvested from the tree and seeds, the size of a 10¢ coin, are taken out and crushed for oil, leaving the tree to grow for an estimated 15 years. The residue left after the oil is extracted can be used as stockfeed.

In Carnarvon, one-year-old plantings were yielding 350 litres of oil per hectare but output was expected to increase dramatically in coming years as the trees reached their peak production capacity.

The seed pods are now picked by hand but researchers are working on a mechanical harvester.

Dr Brockman said the tree’s ability to grow on marginal and salt-affected country meant it could be used in parts of the Wheatbelt.

The department is expected to enter an agreement with an Indian university next week to breed new varieties with higher oil yield and the ability to grow in different regions in WA.

For full story, please see: www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=77&ContentID=83241

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16. Mushrooms: Antibiotic-producing mushroom discovered

Source: FreshPlaza, Netherlands, 18 July 2008

Philippines: A group of government scientists recently discovered an antibiotic-producing microorganism from a type of mushroom which has been found to be effective in treating diseases of livestock, particularly swine, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) reported yesterday.

The scientists from the DOST’s National Research Council of the Philippines, led by Dr. Asuncion Raymundo, a plant pathologist, found that the mushroom species Clitopilus passeckerianus produces the antibiotic called pleuromutilin.

The DOST said pleuromutilin prevents the bacteria from producing protein, an essential component of its diet. Without protein, bacteria stops reproducing and consequently die. Pleuromutilin also acts as the building block for the production of tiamulin, a biological compound effective in treating common hog diseases such as mycoplasmas, arthritis, enzootic pneumonia, and dysentery, the agency said.

Data from the DOST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) showed that the Philippines was among the leading hog raisers in the Asia Pacific Region in 2001. However, the report also stated that Luzon’s production rate, compared to that of Mindanao and Visayas has plummeted in 2001 compared to earlier years, attributing this to high mortality rate among swine on account of disease.

“The NRCP antibiotic derived from the mushroom has the clear potential to solve this problem,” the DOST said.

For thousands of years, mankind has recognized the varied uses of mushrooms. In addition to being an effective fermenting agent, it is also considered an efficient waste disposer and major manufacturer of organic fertilizer, the DOST said.

Mushrooms can grow anywhere from farm animal manure, from spoiled food in the kitchen, to the dead barks and leaves in the deepest reaches of foliage.

For full story, please see: www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=25778

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17. Mushrooms in Bhutan: Generating Yartsa Goenbub in the lab

Source: Kuensel online, 18 July 2008

Highlanders in Bhutan need not set out on wild cordyceps expeditions if the research on domesticating Cordyceps sinensis, locally known as Yartsa Goenbub, proves successful, say researchers.

Researchers at the renewable natural resources research centre (RNR-RC) in Bumthang are trying to see if cordyceps can be cultivated in laboratories. Principal research officer, Dorji Wangchuk, said that he was expecting a promising output as mycelium in two of the 38 test tubes on trial in the lab had already started showing positive results. “I’m waiting for the other 36 cultures to come up,” he said. “The mycelium could be mass propagated for domesticating cordyceps using potential host insects.”

In the wild, cordyceps are found in different locations of Haa, Lingshi, Laya, Lunana, Bumdeling and Bumthang. An average dried cordyceps weighs 0.19 g and 0.47 g when fresh.

According to a veteran collector in Bumthang, about 1,350 collectors were out for a month collecting cordyceps from Chhokhor geog alone during harvest season. They collect the expensive fungus from Diruphu, Ganchu, Sejeyphu, Chachen, Namtatheng, Kingkhorphu, Djegarphu, and Yangdrok. Cordyceps grow at altitudes 3,900-5,004 m above sea level at Kerab and Phugonma in Chhokhor.

Dubbed as the world’s most expensive mushroom, Cordyceps sinensis was sold for between US$ 6,126 and 10,450 a kg in 2007 from Dodena, Thimphu. After its collection was legalized in 2004, the highest production was recorded at 423.88 kg in 2006 and the lowest was 128.16 kg last year.

For full story, please see: www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=10795

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18. Mulberry: Useful protein found in mulberry

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update (23 - 29 June 2008)

Indian and UK scientists have purified a natural protein from the common tree Morus indica or mulberry, which is similar to an 'antibiotic' protein that protects against pathogenic bacteria. The protein could find use in the food and pharma industries.

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19. Stevia: Coke, Cargill launch Stevia-based sweetener

Source: BusinessWeek, USA, 9 July 2008

Consumers looking for a guilt-free way to satisfy a sweet tooth now have another option.

A new no-calorie sweetener jointly developed by Coca-Cola Co. and Cargill Inc. will go on sale for the first time on Wednesday. The sweetener, named Truvia, is made from the leaves of stevia, an herb grown in South America and Asia.

Stevia-based sweeteners are already used in products in Japan and South Korea and are available as a nutritional supplement in the U.S. Truvia would be the first stevia sweetener marketed as a table-top alternative to sugar substitutes like Splenda and Equal.

Cargill said it has tested the product extensively and published the results of studies backing its safety in the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology in May. Cargill spokesman Ann Tucker said under Food and Drug Administration rules, no further approval is required to market and sell the product as a general purpose sweetener.

Coca-Cola and Cargill jointly own the trademark on the sweetener, and Coca-Cola has said it will likely use the product to sweeten its drinks. Coca-Cola spokesman Kelly Brooks said in an e-mail response to inquiries that the company could not comment on when consumers might see the sweetener in its drinks. We will explore possible applications for our portfolio, but for competitive reasons we cannot discuss timing," Brooks said.

For full story, please see: www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D91Q92600.htm

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20. Stevia in Kenya: Finlays in medicinal herb venture

Source: Business Daily Africa, Kenya, 23 July 2008

Outgrowers are set to benefit from a move by private agricultural firm Finlays Kenya to grow 12,000 acres (5000 hectares) of stevia whose sap is used for medicinal and food flavouring.

Finlays is embarking on the project in partnership with PureCircle — a Malaysian sweeteners production firm — which will inject Sh1.2 billion ($20 million) into the joint venture. Finlays will also be refining the extract derived from stevia and has plans to put up an extraction plant. The project provides a diversification opportunity for Kenyan farmers reeling from declining yields and earnings under monoculture cash crop systems and rising costs of inputs like fertilisers.

The company intends to grow stevia within in its own estates first and then roll it out to smallholder sector, once it has the technical expertise. Finlays expects the project to “create several hundred high end jobs.

The joint venture with PureCircle – which has most of its production activities in China and Malaysia but incorporated in Bermuda, an income tax haven — goes by the name JVCo. It will be majority-owned by PureCircle but the local firm has the option to hold majority of 51 per cent in the coming years.

PureCircle’s main concern is a stevia, a noncaloric herb, native to Paraguay, used as a sweetener and flavour enhancer for centuries. Demand for the commodity is rising due to its natural sweetener qualities as opposed to its synthetic rivals. An extract from the stevia leaf using a patent-protected process, is over 100 times sweeter than sugar.

The market potential of the sweetener was underlined recently when Cargill struck a deal with Coca-Cola to develop and sell a branded version of the extract called Rebiana. Cargill, like Sunwin International, is a rival to PureCircle in stevia development.

Of the $20 million that PureCircle is putting in Kenya, an estimated $15 million has been allocated to the crude stevia extraction plant and the balance to the plantations and associated working capital.

The joint venture will own both the stevia plantations and the extraction plant.

PureCircle will have exclusive rights to acquire all stevia extracts and, or, dry stevia leaves produced by JVCo for a period of seven years with renewable options thereafter.

With arable land constrained in many parts of the world, Asian companies see African countries like Kenya, which has a reputation for producing quality horticultural products as an attractive destination for agricultural investments. It enhances the Asian firm’s supply chain and geographical diversification of its production.

For full story, please see: www.bdafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8942&Itemid=5822

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21. Truffles take off in WA, Australia

Source: ABC Online, Australia, 30/06/2008

The south-west of Western Australia is on the verge of becoming the biggest truffle-producing region in the world, according to industry experts.

The Wine and Truffle Company near Manjimup, harvested 325kg of the gourmet fungus last year, with a single kilo worth up to $3000

Operations manager, Damon Boorman, expects a record crop this season from its plantation of 13,000 hazelnut and oak trees. We actually want - and the French have said that this will probably come true - that the Manjimup-Pemberton region will be the home of the French Black truffle in the entire world," he says.

The French trufferies and truffle-growing regions are actually decreasing in production levels every year. “We're increasing, so in 10 years time, we will be producing the most truffles in the entire world."

For full story, please see: www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/200806/s2289582.htm

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22. Australia: Sandalwood plantation for far north

Source: ABC Online, Australia, (July 2008

A plantation for one of the world's most valuable timber species will be established near Cooktown in far north Queensland.

Forestry giant ITC says the property Gold Tyne at Lakeland will become Queensland's first Indian sandalwood plantation.

Company spokesman Michael Clarke says the far north is the ideal place because of the region's climate and soil.

He says the timber is highly sought after and grown mainly for its oil. Very large molecules enable it to give off a strong scent and also be used in high-end perfumes and it's a property that's quite unique to Indian sandalwood oil as opposed to other oils that are available," he said.

For full story, please see: www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/09/2298845.htm?section=business

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23. Bolivia: 2008 exports of forest products from La Paz and Santa Cruz drop 26%

Source: Lesprom Network, Russia, 2 July 2008

Moscow. Exports of forest products from La Paz and Santa Cruz, Bolivia, during the period January to March 2008 slipped 26% compared to the same period in 2007, ITTO reported.

By value, exports fell from $28.59 million in 2007 to $21.10 million, breaking a positive trend that has occurred since 2002. Among the reasons for the decrease are the ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ effects, the shortage of diesel fuel, the falling value of the US dollar, the US mortgage crisis and the legal complexities facing forest operators.

Processed wood, including furniture and furniture parts, plates and sheets, chairs, chestnut without husks and canned palm hearts constituted 63.91% of total forest products. The remaining 36.09% were from semi-processed products such as sawnwood, boards and poles.

Exports of wooden products were 91.73% and worth a total $19.36 million. Non-wood products were $1.75 million or 8.27%, with the main product being chestnut without husks. Exports of non-wooden products fell 29% when compared to 2007.

For full story, please see: http://wood.lesprom.com/news/34629/

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24. Cameroon: Studies recommend more forest access for Baka Pygmies

Source: The Post (Buea), 12 June 2008

An ongoing World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF studies have recommended that Baka pygmies be given more access to forest resources and space within national parks.

Baka pygmies make up some 40 percent of the population living around the three national parks; Boumba Bek, Nki and Lobeke, in Southeast Cameroon. They are essentially hunters, gatherers and semi-nomadic in their lifestyle.

The studies entitled "Space and Resource Use of Indigenous Baka pygmies" residing around Boumba Bek and Nki National Parks are led by WWF Jengi Southeast Forest Programme. Their results will provide a basis for the negotiation of access rights for Bakas within protected areas, which is a priority biodiversity conservation approach by WWF Jengi.

Baka Pygmies reliance on the forest for their livelihoods prompted this recommendation. They harvest honey, mangoes, wild yams, medicinal plants and many other non-timber forest products from there. They hunt, live and have their sacred sites inside the forest. This dependence on the forest has made them so important to conservation efforts.

After participatory mapping of the resource use areas, conducting group and individual interviews and direct observations, a WWF research team concluded that Baka pygmies do not recognize any limit in their quest for forest resources and performance of their traditional rituals. They carry out activities both in and around the parks.

They see both as continuity and disregard the boundaries erected by the minds of men. "It is important to give them unfettered access to harvest non-timber forest products, especially medicinal plants and visit to sacred sites," recommends the study.

The study gives inkling into Baka pygmies' strongly held beliefs, traditional approach to conservation, symbolic attachment to some non-timber forest products and their semi-nomadic way of life. Honey, an important non-timber forest product, is used during two important traditional dances called Mboma and Mbomo. "The Mboma dance is performed during funerals, while Mbomo is performed to chase evil spirit."

Bakas in the north and east of Boumba Bek have permanent external and internal camps alongside huts that serve as resting places during penetration into the forest. According to the study, "the internal huts sometimes provide refuge for people accused of witchcraft or adultery." This brings out the degree of penetration of the forest.

According to Dr. Louis Defo, WWF Jengi Collaborative Management Advisor, the studies will provide necessary information for the integration of these indigenous forest people in natural resource management. "Given WWF's philosophy in participatory management, it is fundamental to address the needs of local communities in order to win their support for conservation work," he said.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200806121028.html

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25. Canada: Ontario to preserve one-half of its Boreal Forest, more than 55 million acres

From: Patricia S. De Angelis, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USA, Patricia_DeAngelis@fws.gov

Seattle, Wash. As news spreads of Ontario’s commitment to protect over 55 million acres of Canada’s Boreal Forest, an area the size of the United Kingdom, leading international scientists and conservationists are expressing their strong support for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s science-based leadership.

“Premier McGuinty has set a new standard for Canada and the rest of the world for land conservation by committing to one of the world’s largest conservation plans,” said Dr. Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “Ontario’s commitment to set aside half of its Boreal Forest helps ensure the long-term integrity of a vital ecosystem. This is truly a conservation milestone.”

Ontario’s plan to protect 50 percent of its Boreal Forest is considered a conservation science first and the size of this commitment is unprecedented in North American history. “This is the kind of bold leadership and large-scale thinking that the world needs as we confront the challenges of global warming,” said Dr. Terry Root of Stanford University. Dr. Root is a lead author for the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded last year’s Nobel Peace Prize. “Solutions to ensuring the survival of species and ecosystems as they are forced to move north to adapt to our warming planet require protection of very large unfragmented blocks of habitat like what we see in northern Ontario. And making these areas off limits to industrial uses helps ensure that the carbon there now doesn’t get released and make things worse,” added Dr. Root.

The announcement widely cited the recommendations made by 1,500 scientists to the Canadian Government last May to set aside at least half of Canada’s Boreal Forest in large, interconnected protected areas to guard against climate change and protect internationally significant wildlife populations (see www.borealbirds.org/scienceletter.shtml)

These concerned scientists, led in part by Dr. Root, include some of the world’s most notable ecologists, climatologists, and conservation biologists.

Scientists identify the 1.4 billion-acre Canadian Boreal Forest as one of the world’s most significant and largest intact forest and wetland ecosystems. The Boreal Forest:

    • Is the world’s single-largest terrestrial carbon storehouse. The Canadian Boreal Forest alone stores 186 billion tons of carbon – equivalent to 27 years of the world’s carbon dioxide fossil fuel emissions.

    • Contains the majority of North America's fresh, unfrozen water.

    • Hosts some of the planet’s largest populations of wolves, grizzly bear and woodland caribou.

    • Provides nesting grounds and nursery for billions of migratory songbirds and waterfowl; half of North America’s birds are dependent on Canada's Boreal Forest for their survival.

Dr. David Schindler, winner of the 1991 Stockholm Water Prize, water sciences' equivalent to the Nobel Prize, added, “Premier McGuinty has long-term vision, recognizing that storing carbon, protecting biodiversity, and traditional lifestyles and maintaining freshwater supplies are more important than immediate profits. Now the rest of Canada must set aside equivalent areas. The rapid disappearance of the Boreal Forest is of particular concern in Alberta, where oil sands development, logging, and mining exploration have damaged much of the Boreal outside of Wood Buffalo National Park, a United Nations World Heritage Site."

Scientists worldwide recommend that a target of 50 percent protection of an ecosystem is necessary to sustain it over the long term. Overall, only 10 percent of Canada’s Boreal Forest is currently protected.

For the past decade, the Pew Environment Group, through its Canadian Boreal Initiative project, has been working with First Nations, industry, government and conservationists to preserve Canada’s Boreal Forest, an internationally significant ecosystem for the world’s climate and biodiversity. Industrial development, including logging, mining and oil and gas extraction threaten Canada’s Boreal Forest.

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26. China: ADB helps China improve Baiyangdian Ecosystem

Source: China CSR, China, 25 July 2008

To help counter the environmental damage to Baiyangdian Lake in north China, the Asian Development Bank is providing a loan of US$100 million for the US$273 million Integrated Ecosystem and Water Resources Management in the Baiyangdian Basin Project, which will focus on the critical actions to conserve Baiyangdian Lake — one of the most important and vulnerable ecosystems in China.

Through a range of interventions, the project will help alleviate ecosystem constraints in the basin by improving water quality and quantity. Additionally, the project will include training for ecosystem management and eco-tourism. Development of non-timber forest products will also be encouraged.

For full story, please see: www.chinacsr.com/2008/07/25/2564-adb-helps-china-improve-baiyangdian-ecosystem/

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27. Ecuador Constitutional Assembly votes to approve rights of nature in new constitution

Source: The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund via CFRC Weekly Summary 7/17/2008

On July 7, 2008, the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly – composed of 130 delegates elected countrywide to rewrite the country’s Constitution – voted to approve articles for the new constitution recognizing rights for nature and ecosystems.

“If adopted in the final constitution by the people, Ecuador would become the first country in the world to codify a new system of environmental protection based on rights,” stated Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Ecuador is now leading the way for countries around the world to make this necessary and fundamental change in how we protect nature,” added Mari Margil, Associate Director of the Legal Defense Fund.

Over the past year, the Legal Defense Fund has been invited to assist Delegates to the Ecuador Constitutional Assembly to re-write that country’s constitution. Delegates requested that the Legal Defense Fund draft proposed Rights of Nature language for the constitution based on ordinances developed and adopted by municipalities in the United States.

The Legal Defense Fund has now assisted communities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Virginia to draft and adopt new laws that change the status of natural communities and ecosystems from being regarded as property under the law to being recognized as rights-bearing entities.

Those local laws recognize that natural communities and ecosystems possess an inalienable and fundamental right to exist and flourish, and that residents of those communities possess the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems. In addition, these laws require the local governments to remedy violations of those ecosystem rights.

In essence, these laws represent changes to the status of property law, eliminating the authority of a property owner to interfere with the functioning of ecosystems and natural communities that exist and depend upon that property for their existence and flourishing. The local laws allow certain types of development that do not interfere with the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish.

For full story, please see: www.forestrycenter.org/headlines.cfm?RefID=103223

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28. Ghana: MOFA makes advances to boost Sheanut production

Source: Ghana News, Ghana, 18 July 2008

Tamale. Mr. Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has stated that the government was determined to revamp the Sheanut industry in recognition of its poverty reduction role, particularly in northern Ghana. He said that it was in this regard that MOFA was collaborating with Burkina Faso which had made advances in research into the shea tree to reduce the time the shea tree takes to fruit and improve upon its quality. Mr. Debrah was speaking at the launch of the Produce Buying Company (PBC) Limited Sheanut purchasing for the 2008/09 main crop season in Tamale on Thursday.

He said significant advances had also been made by the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) to improve upon the growth characteristics of the shea tree and his Ministry would continue to sponsor further research by the institution in that direction. He said his Ministry was going to pursue all issues related to the Shea production and processing to make it the cocoa of the North adding: "We are moving forward with the Shea tree".

Mr. Debrah appealed to farmers to make profitable use of the fertilizer which was being subsidized by the government to boost production, saying:

Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, Northern Regional Minister who launched the Sheanut purchasing season said over 130,000 metric tons of sheanuts, representing over 50 percent of the production were picked seasonally in northern Ghana. He said this left a large proportion of the nuts in the bush. Alhaji Idris said nearly 70,000 metric tons of the nuts were processed and consumed locally while 45,000 metric tons of nuts were exported and only 15,000 metric tons of butter exported. He said it was estimated that Ghana accounted for 22 per cent of the Sheanut and butter trade in West Africa adding: "There is no doubt that the Shea has a great potential as a foreign exchange earner comparable to Cocoa".

Mr. Isaac Osei, Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) said the Board would support the Sheanut industry through the provision of protective clothing such as Wellington boots and gloves as well as snake serum to the pickers. He appealed to all Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) operating in the Sheanut industry to send regular reports to the Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Department of COCOBOD indicating their purchases, exports as well as producer and export prices paid. Mr. Osei said it was through a compilation and analyses of such data that the true state of the Sheanut industry could be determined and the necessary corrective policy measures instituted.

For full story, please see: http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=147089

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29. India: Centrally sponsored Scheme on National Mission on Medicinal Plants

Source: Press Information Bureau (press release), India, 24 July 2008

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave its approval for the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Mission on Medicinal Plants at a total outlay of Rs.630 crore for implementation through National Medicinal Plants Board, through Dept. of Ayush during the 11th Plan.

By 2011-12, the Mission proposes to cover 80,000 – 100,000 ha of land under medicinal plants through direct financial assistance for cultivation and an almost equal area which will be covered by offering incentives to farmers who may switch over from traditional crops to medicinal plants in areas where infrastructure for quality planting material, processing, warehousing, marketing, quality testing and certification is promoted through cooperatives of growers, self help groups, corporate etc. About 200 nurseries will be established both in public and private sector, for making available planting material of certified quality. The interventions are expected to generate approximately 6 crore man/days of employment by the year 2011-12.

The approval would benefit in developing medicinal plants sector through production of raw material of quality and standardized constituents for use by the AYUSH/Herbal industry and as well as for exports and thereby enhance the quality and acceptability of AYUSH systems of medicine and promote export of value added items for a increased share in the world market.

For full story, please see: http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=40609

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30. India: Villagers in Orissa depend on Mahua flowers for their livelihood

Source: DailyIndia.com, FL, USA, 7 June 2008

Villagers in Orissa, who depend on 'Mahua' flowers for their source of livelihood, are finding it difficult to make both ends meet due to low prices of the flowers. 'Mahua' is the raw material used for making country spirit, which is a big source of revenue for the State Government. The months between February and May are the peak season for collecting 'Mahua' flowers.

The residents of Bhatli village are going through a tough time and are unable to support their families as the Panchayat Samiti has fixed the rate for selling 'Mahua' flowers which they say is quite low. "We have come here to gather 'Mahua' flowers. For the last two years, the 'Mahua' yield has not been sufficient. We collect 'Mahua' flowers every day with the hope that we will earn something, but unfortunately we have to sell the flowers at a throwaway price," said Kanak Pradhan, a villager.

Almost all the villagers especially women start collecting 'Mahua' flowers early in the morning and continue their work till sunset after which they take the collected flowers home for drying. "We collect them from here and take them home for drying. After drying them, we sell them to the Mahajan (middleman). We have no idea about the fixed rate," said Bharat Majhi, a villager.

The sub collector of Bargarh district said that this year the rate for the sale of 'Mahua' flowers are fixed at Rs 1500 per quintal and Panchayat Samitees have been entrusted to ensure that villagers get minimum support price for their produce.

"This is a season of 'Mahua' flowers and the government of Orissa has made adequate provisions for the sale of these flowers by the villagers wherever it is produced. It comes under the non-timber forest produced products. The rate of such products including 'Mahua' flowers is fixed by the Panchayat Samitee concerned. The Gram Panchayats are given the responsibility to see all these aspects so that the poor people get minimum fixed support price by the Panchayat Samitee," said Bishnu Prasad Mishra, Sub collector, Bargarh district.

The 'Mahua' flower is one of the non-timber forest products. Most tribals along forested area of Orissa depend on such products for sustaining themselves for around six to seven months in a year. By Sarda Lahangir
For full story, please see: http://www.dailyindia.com/show/247534.php/Villagers-in-Orissa-depend-on-Mahua-flowers-for-their-livelihood

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31. India: East India Leather is now an exclusive geo product

Source: Business Standard, India, 23 July 2008

East India Leather a vegetable tanned leather specialised by the tanneries in Trichy and Dindigul for the last 160 years had now been approved and registered as an exclusive geographical product by the geographical indications registry of the union ministry of commerce.

The registration under the geographical indications of goods (registrations and protection act), 1999 will give the product an exclusive brand image similar to Darjling Tea or Kanchipuram Silk Sarees or Coorg Coffee. The characteristic quality and reputation unique to the geographical location is indicative behind the logo and EI Technology is a British legacy in the country.

Evidence is available that the exclusive tannery process utilizes Cassia species, Pungum Oil and Wattle Bark Extract as utilized in 1805 at a tannery near Chennai. It was in 1856 a tannery unit was established on the so called EI Technique the name of which was made in gratitude to the East India Company who nurtured the technique in this part of the country.

EI Leather is very popular in Italy, France and other Western countries since it was the best sought variety of leather to manufacture garments, fancy handbags and suede leather shoes. The uniqueness of the EI Leather is include its special feel the gloss and polish it accrue year over year while in use, the peculiar smell and the noise when it is tapped.

For full story, please see: http://www.business-standard.com/common/storypage_c_online.php?leftnm=10&bKeyFlag=IN&autono=42880

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32. Kenya wins international recognition for forests

Source: CEPF E-News, July 2008 (cepfnews@conservation.org)

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee added 27 new sites to its World Heritage List this month, including Kenyan forests revered as sacred sites and sheltering some of the nation’s most important biodiversity.

The Mijikenda Kaya Forests include 11 separate forest sites spread across some 200km of the nation’s coast. Regarded as sacred by the Mijikenda people, the forests contain the remains of numerous fortified villages known as kayas.

They also shelter the few remaining patches of indigenous forest in a landscape being increasingly converted to farmland. More than half of Kenya’s rare plants are found in the coastal region.

In announcing the designation, UNESCO said “the site is inscribed as bearing unique testimony to a cultural tradition and for its direct link to a living tradition.” The kayas are regarded as the abodes of ancestors and maintained by a council of elders. All are designated as national monuments and many are home to innovative community-based projects, such as those helping to conserve the Muhaka and Kinondo kayas that have been supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund.

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33. Mali: Forum des investisseurs sur la filière-karité au Mali

Source: Intelink, France, 27 June 2008

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - Un Forum des investisseurs au profit de la filière-karité au Mali s’est ouvert vendredi à Bamako, sous la présidence du ministre malien des Finances, Abou Bakar Traoré, avec pour objectif de catalyser les investissements étrangers directs dans la transformation sur place et la commercialisation du beurre de karité.

Ce cadre de concertation entre producteurs et investisseurs de la filière-karité est organisé sur l’initiative du Centre Objectif du millénaire pour le développement, en collaboration avec le gouvernement malien et l’université de Columbia aux Etats-unis.

Selon le représentant-résident du PNUD au Mali, Joseph Bill Cataria, le développement de la filière-karité peut contribuer à l’atteinte des OMD et à la réduction de la pauvreté au Mali.

Le Mali dispose du plus grand potentiel de production de karité de la sous-région, estimé à 80.000 tonnes et son exploitation permettra de faire face à la demande mondiale de karité qui reste importante, selon la même source.

Les usages que l’on peut faire des produits du karité sont nombreuses, 5% de la matière grasse végétale intervenant dans la fabrication du chocolat étant tiré de ce produit, alors que le substitut naturel le plus proche du beurre de cacao à ce jour est le beurre de karité.

Mais la filière fait face à un certain nombre de contraintes liées à la qualité des produits, comme les problèmes d’acidité, de couleur ou d’odeur, ou encore l’hérérogénéité des résidus de beurre et les contraintes liées au conditionnement et à l’organisation du circuit de commercialisation.

Le karité a été retenu par le Mali parmi les produits nationaux concernés par l’accroissement de l’offre sur le marché international.

Ce Forum se tient simultanément avec la rencontre sous-régionale des femmes productrices de karité de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, organisée par la Coopération canadienne et le ministère malien de la Promotion de la femme, de l’enfant et de la famille.

For full story, please see: www.intelink.info/fre/actualites/economie/0806272007_forum_des_investisseurs_sur_la_filiere_karite_au_mali

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34. Qatar: Bioprospecting Plant Genetic Resources in Qatar

Source: Update of the month from the GFU, July 2008

This study will ‘bioprospect’ Qatar’s indigenous plant and fungal biodiversity to explore the potential of Qatar’s Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) to address two contemporary issues facing Qatar. These issues are:

• the increase in incidence of ‘diseases of affluence’ and

• the desertification of Qatar’s arid lands.

This research will assemble the results of the latest studies in disparate fields such as pharmacognosy, epidemiology, microbiology, ethnology, and restoration ecology to yield a document that identifies and evaluates top PGR candidates that could contribute to the improvement of Qatar’s public and ecosystem health. In addition, a presentation and extension education booklet will be produced to apprise relevant stakeholders of PGR related opportunities.

Plant species involved include: Aizoon spp., Anastatica hierochuntica, Terfezia claveryi, Tirmania nivalis, Ziziphus spp.

For full story, please see: www.underutilized-species.org/MasksSearch/SearchProjectDetail.aspx?id=281

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35. Solomon Islands: Honey production encouraged

Source: Solomon Star, Solomon Islands, 15 July 2008

Honey production has the potential to help the economy and allow rural farmers engaged in small and medium business activities. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock highlighted this during the Trade and Agriculture Show last week during the Agriculture Day.

Officers at the Ministry’s stall said currently honey production in the country is very low because no many farmers are engaged in the industry. They said more farmers must engage in honey production because honey in Solomon Islands is one of the best and there are also a lot of honey bees around.

"There is no need to import honey for sale in the shops if more farmers are engaged in the production of honey within their communities and homes," one officer said. "By producing honey, people can earn their living out of it by selling its end product at the market.”Also it is nutritious for family consumption."

For full story, please see: http://solomonstarnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2188&change=71&changeown=78&Itemid=26

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36. Turkey: Turkish valley to be developed as ecotourism area

Source: Turkish Daily News (subscription), Turkey, 25 July 2008

The 40,000-hectare Cehennem Dere Valley (Hell Stream Valley), which is home to rich flora and fauna, has been found highly suitable for a variety of ecotourism activities, such as trekking, terrain bicycling, flora discoveries and observation of natural life, according to the study by experts from the Eastern Mediterranean Forestry Research Institute and Istanbul University

As part of Turkey's first ecotourism project, a group of experts has examined a forest of cedars and spruces in the Çamlıyayla district of the southern province of Mersin to determine its fitness as an ecological site.

“The studies for the project, which aims to determine ecotourism strategies, have been completed,” said Dr. Ersin Yılmaz, director of the institute. Yılmaz also said the experts have prepared a map for ecotourism activities to be held in the valley, the first valley where ecotourism examinations have been carried out in Turkey. “In addition to its rich flora and fauna, the valley is also home to a considerable number of ancient monasteries, churches and windmills,” he said.

Yılmaz said the valley is scientifically proven to be appropriate for seven types of ecotourism activities: observation of birds, flora discovery trekking, nature trekking, discovery trekking for non-wood forest products, discovery walking, bicycle tours and observation of wildlife. Of these, he said observation of bird species has priority.

Pinus brutia (Turkish pine), Pinus thunbergii (black pine), the Taurus cedar and the Taurus spruce are major examples of foliage that make the valley an attractive spot for ecotourism, he added.

The valley is also home to various caves, cascades and geological forms. The project is expected to serve as a model for further projects in the field of ecological tourism in Turkey.

For full story, please see: www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=110774

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NEWS

37. Africans urged to 'eat locally' at poor people's summit

Source: AFP, July 8, 2008

Katibougou, Mali (AFP) — While the Group of Eight wealthy nations get together in Japan to discuss the food crisis, an African anti-globalist meeting stressed Africans could help themselves by eating local products.

An enticing people's market with locally produced rice, mangoes, traditional medicines and African clothes is part of the so-called "poor people's summit" in Katibougou, Mali, held as a counterbalance to the G8 summit.

In the dusty West African town activists are helping both farmers and craftsmen promote their own products. "They speak of a food crisis, but look, there is food. The problem is that people still prefer to eat what comes from abroad instead of local produce," said Oumar Diakite, who represents textile workers in Mali.

Based in a little square close to the Soviet-built agricultural college, the market swarms with people -- men and women, young and old. Fresh produce is piled high. "It's a real problem. There are African nations that subsidise products from abroad. That's killing our local products," said Diakite, who also criticised the privatisation of the cotton industry, one of Mali's main earners.

On one side of the market, a potential customer is discussing mangoes with the fruit traders. Mali is one of the main producers of mangoes in West Africa. "There are so many mangoes here but we have two big problems: storage and export markets," said Ninbou, head of a local women's group.

The shea butter sellers, for their part, are much better off. For several years they have benefited from a European Union directive that allows their product -- made from the nuts of the shea or karite tree -- to be used in chocolate. "Yes, for us business is going well," said one seller. "Our products are all over Europe. In Germany and in France there are associations that help us."

The Group of Eight reconfirmed a promise made three years ago in Gleneagles, Scotland for the G8 to double aid to Africa by 25 billion dollars by 2010. In Katibougou there are no such monetary promises but what participants lacked in resources, they made up for in solidarity, with volunteers helping where they could. "It's not rocket science. We may curse the (rich) North, but first we have to get our own house in order," said Nouhoun Keita, an anti-globalisation campaigner.

For full story, please see: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gxxVuKLTG_HXmV79ADvyMFJGjBSw

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38. Climate Friendly cars: Prototype sustainable wooden car unveiled

Source: Economic Times, India, 19 June 2008

A prototype car made of wood was unveiled in Kyoto, western Japan on 18 June 2008. With traditional craft of bamboo used on its door, the one-seater car runs about 10km with a combination of a lithium-ion battery and capacitor after recharging from a wall outlet at your home. The maximum speed is 50km per hour.

For full story, please see: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/World_News__Trends_June_19_2008/articleshowpics/3143846.cms

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39. Global Forest Plan could boost fight against poverty and climate change

From: Mike Shanahan, IIED, mike.shanahan@iied.org

An emerging initiative could pave the way for fundamental change in the way forests are managed, boosting efforts to fight both poverty and climate change, says research published today by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

The World Bank-nurtured idea is of a global forest partnership that links local and global processes and promotes decision-making on the international stage that reflects the view and needs of local stakeholders such as forest dwellers.

But the study’s authors warn that the World Bank will have to heed the advice of hundreds of experts they consulted if it is to make a real breakthrough in tackling the problems of past decades and the weaknesses of typical international forest programmes.

IIED consulted widely on the bank’s idea. More than 600 forest experts responded to IIED’s survey or participated in focus groups in Brazil, China, Ghana, Guyana, India, Russia and Mozambique, as well as at international meetings.

A majority agreed a new partnership was needed to protect forests and forest-based livelihoods, but pointed out ways it should diverge from the bank’s initial idea if it is to really serve local needs on an equitable basis with the rapidly changing global forestry agenda. IIED also reviewed more than 50 existing initiatives to identify the proposed alliance’s potential partners and the gaps it could fill.

The consultation identified key features that would make a global partnership a unique and truly progressive way for international forestry to work. It should focus on empowering primary ‘stakeholders’ such as forest dwellers so that their rights, knowledge and needs are centre-stage. It should greatly improve flows of finance to activities that support local needs alongside global public goods such as carbon storage. It should interact effectively with other sectors such as water and agriculture, where the underlying causes of forest problems – and the seeds of sustainable solutions – are often lodged.

“Without these building blocks, the ambitious partnership idea is unlikely to succeed,” says IIED’s Steve Bass, the report’s co-author. “This is a new opportunity to develop an empowering, stakeholder-focused partnership that can attract real investment to manage forests sustainably. It has potential to harness an enormous groundswell of energy to manage forests so they can help address local poverty and global climate change. Right now, Western governments are planning large climate and forest funds – the partnership could identify the best ways to invest those funds for long-term good.”

Existing efforts to make forestry work for the poor have not generated the results expected. The desire to create a new global forest partnership that connects local and global processes and people is an ambitious break from tradition that could create new ways to do business in the forest sector.

“The World Bank should be praised for breaking with normal practice and supporting the independent scrutiny of its plans through engagement with a broad range of stakeholders,” says co-author James Mayers, head of IIED’s Natural Resources Group. “What the bank must now avoid is trying to drive the partnership from the top-down. Instead it must act as the facilitator, providing financial and other support in a hands-off way to enable an independent alliance to be built from the bottom up, bringing together local and regional partners with global organisations.”

The report urges the formation of a ‘development group’ of forest, environment and development leaders, mainly from the South and credible to government, civil society and the private sector, who can come together and contribute to the development of the initiative. They would be supported by a small group of progressive international institutions in their efforts to forge a new kind of local-global partnership.

Daniela Gomes Pinto and Mario Monzoni of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, who helped to coordinate the extensive consultation process in Brazil say: "The Brazilians we consulted said a global forest partnership is needed to raise the overall profile of forests, to curb the drivers of deforestation, and to support those who wish to practice sustainable forest management. It must be globally-designed, but country-driven – a partnership for the world, not the World Bank.”

Welcoming the report, the World Bank's Forest Advisor, Gerhard Dieterle says: “The World Bank is happy to hear there is consensus on a new approach from a broad variety of forest stakeholders from around the world.”

“We have listened to the advice of the hundreds of people consulted and will be following IIED’s recommendation that the World Bank support an independent process of a global partnership growing from the ‘bottom up’,” he says. “We are convinced that this is a lasting way to have forests contribute to economic growth, to the livelihoods of forest-dependent people and poverty reduction as a whole, as well as preserving the global services forests deliver.”

To request an embargoed copy of the report, email IIED's press officer, Mike Shanahan at: mike.shanahan@iied.org or call +44 207 388 2117

PDF downloadable components on website will be as follows:

• Full report including annexes

• Each annex to be downloadable as stand alone document

• Executive summary to be downloadable as stand alone document

• French, Spanish, Portuguese versions of Executive Summary

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EVENTS

40. “Trees Connecting People: In Action Together”

29 July 2008 - 1 August 2008

Bogotá, Colombia

FAO International Meeting on Urban Forestry.

For more information, please contact:

Michelle Gauthier, Forestry Officer (FOMC)

FAO, Rome, Italy
Tel.: (+39) 06 570 53692
E-mail: michelle.gauthier@fao.org; urban-forestry@fao.org

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41. BfD Beekeepers' Safaris – latest dates

Tanzania: 13-27 November 2008

This Safari will be organized in co-operation with our local partners, Njiro Wildlife Research Centre based in Arusha, East Tanzania

42. Trinidad & Tobago: 2-12 February 2009

Organized in co-operation with our partner of 14 years, Gladstone Solomon

For more information, please contact:

Helen Jackson

Bees for Development

PO Box 105, Monmouth

NP25 9AA, UK

Tel +44 (0) 16007 13648

e-mail: safari@beesfordevelopment.org

www.beesfordevelopment.org

http://www.beesfordevelopment.org/info/activities/safaris/index.shtml

Bees for Development Trust Charity No 1078803

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43. "Poplars, willows and people's wellbeing" - 23rd Session of the International Poplar Commission Conference

26 to 30 October 2008

Beijing, China

For more information, please contact:

http://www.fao.org/forestry/media/14681/1/0/.

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44. Cultivated Agarwood in Vietnam; A guided field tour of successful Agarwood production in the Mekong Delta.

1-4 November 2008

Vietnam

Organized by Seven Mountain Co. Ltd. Vietnam, this will be an exclusive field trip and seminar in An Giang province on Agarwood inducement technology, plantation management, processing, markets, yields and products.

For over 14 years The Seven Mountains Region in An Giang province has been the research site for Cultivated Agarwood Development. Seven Mountains Co. Ltd. has now started Cultivated Agarwood commercial operations in this area. It is at this beautiful rural location in the heart of the Aquilaria plantations that we are conducting an exclusive Agarwood seminar and plantation fieldtrip to provide in-depth information on the latest results and trends in Cultivated Agarwood development.

This will include a technical presentation by Prof. Robert Blanchette regarding his work and successful results on Cultivated Agarwood (CA) inducement and Aquilaria tree physiology. A presentation by Henry Heuveling van Beek will focus on CA tree application, commercialization and expected future markets. Ample time will be set aside during the entire four-day trip for discussions with the researchers, Aquilaria farmers at this Seven Mountain site located in the Mekong Delta. The trip will include a walk up Giai Mountain to view Aquilaria crassna plantations and see all stages of Agarwood development. Several trees will be harvested and evaluated at the site for the participants to get a hands on experience.

Organizers:

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Huynh Yen, Director Seven Mountain Co. Ltd.

Henry Heuveling van Beek, The Rainforest Project Foundation and CA Companies

Robert Blanchette, University of Minnesota

For more information, please contact: dungnguyen@baynui.com

For additional information on International Cultivated Agarwood development, please see CA Companies updated web site @: http://cultivatedagarwood.com/

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45. Training programme: ‘Governance for forests, nature and people’

24 November–5 December 2008

Bogor, Indonesia

Organized by Wageningen International, Wageningen UR (The Netherlands) and CIFOR (Indonesia).

Managing multi-stakeholder learning in sector programmes and policy processes

Over the last decade ‘governance’ as a term has gained wide currency in a range of contexts. Despite the differences in definitions, there is broad agreement on the broader trend in public and natural resources management which can be described as the development from ‘government’ to ‘governance’. ‘Government’ then indicates a situation in which the central government is steering. ‘Governance’ referring to policy development and execution focuses on cooperation, whereby the representatives of the government, market and civil society participate in mixed public and private networks.

Forest or natural resources governance includes topics relating to how (forest) resources are managed, ranging from how decisions about forest use are made and who is involved in the decision-making process, to the enforcement of forest laws and policy on the ground. In this course we focus on new ways of policy development and its governance implications.

Policy Development to address natural resource management is increasingly a multi-stakeholder process, affected by and influencing broader development strategies such as decentralisation, and poverty reduction.

The need to address multi-sectoral concerns and interests and work with agencies at different levels of government challenges forest and nature management professionals to adopt a broader perspective, looking beyond the forest boundaries, taking into account cross sectoral concerns and working in multi-disciplinary teams.

Forest and nature management policies have entered a new era - one of facilitating dialogue, joint learning and collaborative action among stakeholder groups and organisations. A new breed of professionals is in high demand. Are you ready to be challenged?

Aims and objectives

The course aims to provide participants with insights, knowledge and skills for designing and managing interactive policy processes in forest and nature management.

In particular, the course should enable participants:

• to critically examine different policy processes in the context of sector changes

• to understand and assess the implications of up-scaling participation to working with diverse stakeholder groups at regional and national levels

• to identify the types of institutional change and support, necessary for effective interactive policy facilitation and improved governance

• to assess the impact of your own values and personal learning style and to further develop competences as a process manager.

Application forms can be obtained from the address below. The application deadline is 24 October 2008.

For more information, please contact:

Esther Koopmanschap

Course Coordinator

Wageningen International
Capacity Development and Institutional Change Programme

WUR building 425

P.O. Box 88 (Lawickse Allee 11)

6700 AB Wageningen

The Netherlands

T +31 (0)317 48 68 68 (new!)

F +31 (0)317 48 68 01 (new!)

e-mail: Esther.Koopmanschap@wur.nl
www.wi.wur.nl
, http://www.cdic.wur.nl http://www.wetlandprofessionals.org

www.cdic.wur.nl/UK/Courses

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REQUESTS

46. Request for information: Curaua fiber

From: Aj Balthes, Ajbalthes@Conceptind.com

I’m looking for information on Curaua fiber. Do you have any contact information? I know it grows in Brazil but I haven’t been able to contact any processing mill.

Thank you,

Aj Balthes, Ajbalthes@Conceptind.com

616-745-4314

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

47. Internship: the potential of Non-Timber Forest Products

Source: Oneworld – Netherlands

Agriterra, the Dutch organisation for agricultural development cooperation, wishes to explore the potentials of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) for its current and potential client producer organisations, especially those producer organisations having poor/small farmers as their members, who supplement their farm income with NTFP produce/products (i.e. categories 2 and 3 as mentioned below in "stratification of farmers involved in NTFPs"). This could include support to assist smallholders to capture market opportunities: credit, training, support to social organisation (cooperatives), negotiation of mutual-benefit company-community partnerships, market analysis and information systems, certification schemes, value-adding through e.g. processing of NTFPs, etc

Agriterra is an agri-agency. In other words, it is an organization for international cooperation that was founded by the civil society organizations of rural areas and the agricultural private sector. In 2003, together with agri-agencies from other western countries, amongst these Canada, Sweden and France, Agriterra founded AgriCord: the alliance of agri-agencies

AgriCord coordinates the cooperation amongst all agri-agencies. This means that a request coming from a farmer's organization is able to reach the agri-agency that specializes in the working area related to that specific request

Objectives of the assignment

    1. To provide insight in the opportunities for Agriterra (and other agri-agencies within AgriCord) to support producer organisations in NTFP development

    2. To develop (ingredients of) an NTFP solution (tool/product) to be used by Agriterra (and the agri-agencies) to approach producer organisations

Activities

1. To investigate which agri-agency clients are currently working with NTFPs/agro forestry especially as described for categories 2 and 3 under "stratification of farmers" (start with Agriterra clients).

2. To ask producer organisations already involved in NTFP what kind of support is further needed to improve their performance in the NTFP sector (probably micro projects)

3. To perform an opportunity analysis in NTFP/agro forestry development support to producer organisations within the mandate of Agriterra and other agri-agencies.

4. To determine the role of Agriterra and other AgriCord members in this support.

5. To provide a list of potential third parties and their role in this support.

Expected results

1. List of clients of Agriterra/AgriCord members (potentially) interested in NTFPs and their specific demands.

2. Tool box/ option box for Agriterra/AgriCord members to pilot with support to (potential) clients in NTFP development.

3. Indication of the potential role of Agriterra and third parties in this support.

Are you interested in this internship? Then send an e-mail with your curriculum vitae and motivation letter to Cees van Rij (vanrij@agriterra.org). You can carry out this internship at the office of Agriterra in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Deadline: 3 September 2008

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

48. “Africa – Atlas of our Changing Environment” now available

From: H. Gyde Lund via Tropicalbiodiversity list

As the age-old adages say, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and “Seeing is believing”, this stunning 390-page “Africa: Atlas of our Changing Environment” is a unique and powerful publication which brings to light stories of environmental change at 104 locations spread across every country in Africa. There are 316 satellite images, 319 ground photographs and 151 maps, along with informative graphs and charts that give a vivid visual portrayal of Africa and its changing environment. Using current and historical satellite images, the Atlas provides scientific evidence of the impact that natural and human activities have had on the continent’s environment over the past several decades. The observations and measurements of environmental change illustrated in this Atlas help gauge the extent of progress made by African countries towards reaching the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. More importantly, this book contributes to the knowledge and understanding that are essential for adaptation and remediation. This UNEP publication should be of immense value to all those who want to know more about Africa and who care about the future of this continent.

This Atlas answers the following questions:

· What is the status and trend of environment in Africa?

· What are transboundary issues which need international cooperation?

· What are important environmental issues in each African country?

· What progress countries have made towards MDG7?

· What is “scientific evidence” of significant local environmental changes in countries?

· What and where are place based early warning of emerging issues?

· What are some interesting facts and figures about African countries?

This Atlas was produced in cooperation with a number of organizations in Africa and the United States and released at the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) meeting in Johannesburg on 10 June 2008. The Atlas is available in both English and French.

For more information and free download go to: www.na.unep.net/AfricaAtlas/

To purchase a hard copy go to: www.earthprint.com/

For a free CD: Order from Ms. Arshia Chander, Principal Administrator in support of UN Environment Programme, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT, Inc.), Contractor to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, 47914 252nd Street, Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57198-0001 USA. Email: achander@usgs.gov. Phone: +1-605-594-6006. Fax: +1-605-594-6119.

Other atlases in this series include:

    • UNEP 2005. One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA). 334 p. http://www.na.unep.net/OnePlanetManyPeople/index.php.

    • UNEP 2006. Africa’s Lakes: Atlas of Our Changing Environment. Nairobi, Kenya: United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) 90 p. http://na.unep.net/AfricaLakes/.

Both may be freely downloaded from the URLs provided or may be purchased from http://www.earthprint.com/

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49. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Boreal Centre for Conservation Enterprise. 2007. Boreal Forest Bounty: A botanical species resource guide for conservation enterprise development. Trafford Publishing, Victoria, Canada. ISBN: 978-1-4251-1426-8

This publication is an attempt to highlight some common forest botanicals found in Canada’s western boreal forest that have either established or emerging commercial value.

Donovan, J. (ed.). 2007. Small and medium enterprise development for poverty reduction. Opportunities and challenges in globalizing markets/Desarrollo de pequeñas y medianas empresas forestales para la reducción de la pobreza. Oportunidades y desafíos en mercados globalizantes. Conference proceedings/Memorias de conferencia. Technical Series. Technical Meetings no. 12/Serie técnica. Reuniones técnicas no. 12. Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)/Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE). Turrialba, Costa Rica.

http://cecoeco.catie.ac.cr/descargas/Memorias_conf_forestal_2007_JD_ing.pdf

Fuentes, M. 2008. Biological conservation and global poverty. Biotropica 40(2):139-140.

Gonwouo, N.L., Lebreton, M., Chirio, L., Ineich, I., Tchamba, N.M., Ngassam, P., Dzikouk, G., and Diffo, I.L. 2007. Biodiversity and conservation of the reptiles of the Mount Cameroon area. Afr. J. Herpetol. 56(2):149-161.

Gratwicke, B., Bennett, E.L., Broad, S., Christie, S., Dutton, A., Gabriel, G., Kirkpatrick, C., and Nowell, K. 2008. The world can't have wild tigers and eat them, too. Conserv. Biol. 22(1):222-223.

Hawkins, B. 2008. Plants for life: Medicinal plant conservation and botanic gardens. Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Richmond, UK

BGCI has published the findings of a year-long investigation into the state of medicinal plants around the world. Medicinal plants harvested from the wild remain of immense importance for the well-being of millions of people around the world. Providing both a relief from illness and a source of income, over 70 000 plant species are thought to be medicinal. Loss of habitat combined with over-harvesting threatens the survival of many of these plant species. Botanic gardens are important agencies for ensuring their conservation.

Herrera, M., and Hennessey, B. 2007. Quantifying the illegal parrot trade in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with emphasis on threatened species. Bird Conserv. Int. 17(4):295-300.

Hoare, Alison L. 2007. The use of non-timber forest products in the Congo Basin: Constraints and opportunities. The Rainforest Foundation. ISBN: 978-1-906131-03-6

Download: www.rainforestfoundationuk.org/files/Forest%20Products%20Low%20PDF.pdf

Inogwabini, B.I., Matungila, B., Mbende, L., Abokome, M., and Tshimanga, T.W. 2007. Great apes in the Lake Tumba landscape, Democratic Republic of Congo: newly described populations. Oryx 41(4):532-538.

Johnson, K.N.; Gordon, S.; Duncan, S.; Lach, D.; McComb, B.; Reynolds, K. 2007. Conserving creatures of the forest: A guide to decision making and decision models for forest biodiversity. Corvallis, OR : Oregon State University, College of Forestry. 88 pp.

http://ncseonline.org/ncssf/dss

Kim, S., Sasaki, N., and Koike. 2008. Assessment of non-timber forest products in Phnom Kok community forest, Cambodia. Asia Europe Journal. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg.

Our study focused on the potential revenues of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in the Phnom Kok forest community in Cambodia. Questionnaires were administered at the beginning of 2007, and results showed that people collected plant- and animal-based NTFPs seasonally. Plant-based NTFPs collected included fodder, food, medicines, resin, construction materials, and ingredients for cosmetics. Animal-based NTFPs collected included honey and beeswax, live animals, bushmeat, medicines, and hides (skins). NTFPs are important economic and natural resources in community forests, and they are used for both family consumption and commercial trade. Resin products represented the largest source of income, followed by honey and beeswax and live animals. Overexploitation of NTFPs, forest degradation, and anarchic forest clearing through fire pose great threats to the continued production of NTFPs. Therefore, sustainable management techniques must be implemented and harvesting should be regulated.

To request a paper, use this link http://www.kimsas.com => click on "Contact Us"

Kunte, K. 2008. The Wildlife (Protection) Act and conservation prioritization of butterflies of the Western Ghats, southwestern India. Curr. Sci. 94(6):729-735.

Larson, Anne M. and Ribot, Jesse C. 2007. The poverty of forestry policy: double standards on an uneven playing field. Sustainability Science, Volume 2, Number 2 / October, 2007. The article is available at http://pdf.wri.org/sustainability_science_poverty_of_forestry_policy.pdf

Leonard, David Bruce. 2008. Medicine at Your Feet: Healing Plants of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Exhaustively researched, this book contains cross-cultural uses for 49 different Hawaiian plant medicines. Included is information on medicinal properties, food uses, chemical constituents. herbal combinations, plant gathering protocols, possible drug interactions, scientific research and much more.

http://www.medicineatyourfeet.com/buythebook.html

Linkie, M., and Christie, S. 2007. The value of wild tiger conservation. Oryx 41(4):415-416.

Mathew, P.J. and Thomas, M.T. 2007. Medicinal plant resource of Kerala. Towards harnessing its potential. Part 1 – Introduction. Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute. Kerala, India. ISBN 81-900397-7-6

Machado, Frederico Soares. 2008. Manejo Comunitario de Productos Forestales No Maderables: un manual con sugerencias para el manejo participativo en comunidades de Amazonía. ISBN: 978–85–908217–0–0

Oudhia, P. (2008). Series on Wilderness medicines (Expedition medicines) of Indian state Chhattisgarh. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Traditional Shurbut (Sherbet) based 365 days schedule for Heart patients (at initial stage) suggested by Traditional Healers of Indian state Chhattisgarh. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Two Decades with Parthenium hysterophorus. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). The Indian experiences on organic farming of medicinal and aromatic crops useful for African herb growers. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Traditional Formulations based 365 days schedule (I) for Heart patients (at initial stage) suggested by Traditional Healers of Indian state Chhattisgarh. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). New record of Aspidomorpha miliaris F. (Coleoptera ; Chrysomelidae) on Shorea robusta in Gariaband region of Indian state Chhattisgarh. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). One summer day with Traditional healers, Herb Collectors and forest of Gariaband and Rajim regions of Indian state Chhattisgarh. Part-I. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). One summer day with Traditional healers, Herb Collectors and forest of Gariaband and Rajim regions of Indian state Chhattisgarh. Part-II. http://www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). One summer day with Traditional healers, Herb Collectors and forest of Gariaband and Rajim regions of Indian state Chhattisgarh. Part-III. http://www.Ecoport.org

Sunderland, T.C.H., Ehringhaus, C., and Campbell, B.M. 2007. Conservation and development in tropical forest landscapes: a time to face the trade-offs? Environ. Conserv. 34(4):276-279.

Tieguhong, J.C.; Ndoye, O. 2007. The impact of timber harvesting on the availability of non-wood forest products in the Congo Basin. Forest Harvesting Case-Study (FAO). 1014-9945, no. 23. FAO, Rome.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a1105e/a1105e00.htm

WHO. 2007. WHO guidelines for assessing quality of herbal medicines with reference to contaminants and residues. Geneva, Switzerland. ISBN 978 92 4 159444 8

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50. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Forestry Nepal

Contains information on forest and non-wood forest resources of Nepal.

http://www.forestrynepal.org

Fruitipedia

Fruitipedia is an online encyclopaedia on edible fruits. It contains information on 200 fruits. Contribute articles to Fruitipedia and let your knowledge benefit others

www.fruitipedia.com

Livelihoods Connect

The purpose of Livelihoods Connect is to facilitate the practical implementation of sustainable livelihoods approaches.

To subscribe: send a blank email message with the words "subscribe livelihoods-update" in the subject field to: lyris@lyris.ids.ac.uk

or subscribe online at http://www.livelihoods.org/emailupdate/emailupdate.html#2

www.livelihoods.org/index.html

Traditional Knowledge Bulletin

Subscribe: http://tkbulletin.wordpress.com/

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MISCELLANEOUS

51. African 'wall of trees' gets underway

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update (7-13 July 2008)

Three years after it was first proposed, preparations for an African 'wall of trees' to slow down the southwards spread of the Sahara desert are finally getting underway. The 'Great Green Wall' will involve several stretches of trees from Mauritania in the west to Djibouti in the east, to protect the semi-arid savannah region of the Sahel — and its agricultural land — from desertification.

A plan for the proposed US$3 million, two-year initial phase of the project — involving a belt of trees 7,000km long and 15km wide — was formally adopted at the Community of Sahel–Saharan States (Cen-Sad) summit on rural development and food security in Cotonou, Benin, last month (17–18 June).

North African nations have been promoting the idea of a Green Belt since 2005. The project has been scaled down to reinforce and then expand on existing efforts, and will not be a continent-wide wall of trees, despite the name of the project.

The Green Wall will involve two planting projects on the east and west sides of Africa.

The Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel region (CILSS) is working with scientific consultants and representatives from the arid nations of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal to launch pilot planting projects planned for September.

Another planting programme, including Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, should be finalised within two months under the auspices of six states in the Horn of Africa, linked through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Mariam Aladji Boni Diallo, the Benin-based president of the Cen-Sad summit organising committee, says she hopes the Green Wall will consist of more than just trees. Diallo told SciDev.Net that "reforestation, restoration of natural resources and the eventual development of fishing and livestock breeding" were priorities for the project. However, she said that funding for the project was still tentative.

The UNESCO-linked non-profit Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel has prepared a report on the project, saying the labour-intensive project should be used to create employment but advising that payments be partly withheld for two years until the trees were established, and that payment be based on plant growth.

The project will be monitored from Tripoli by Cen-Sad, and Senegal will provide 'close technical cooperation' because of its success in fighting desertification.

Joséa Dossou Bodjrènou, head of the Nature Tropicale environmental education organisation at the Museum of Natural Science in Benin, warned that the project can only be assessed once it stops being words on paper and becomes action. "The population needs to be sensitised to the importance of planting trees and taking care of them. Otherwise, they would destroy them without knowing it's dangerous for the ecosystem. All this work would lead to nothing," Bodjrènou, told SciDev.Net. "It's really important for the work to be done with local experts in each country because they know which species can grow on their soil. And we have to use local species, not imported ones."

Link to Observatory of the Sahara and the Sahel Great Green Wall report [2.44MB]

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52. Mexico plants 8 million trees in latest green project

Source: Reuters – USA, 5 July 2008

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexicans went out and planted more than 8 million trees across the country on Saturday as part of a government push to shed its reputation for environmental mismanagement and rampant illegal logging.

Packs of volunteers, including oil workers and schoolchildren, trekked into fields and forests up and down Mexico wielding shovels and wheelbarrows full of government-supplied saplings. They planted 8.3 million trees, the environment ministry said. "We are repairing just a little of the enormous damage that we are doing" to the environment, President Felipe Calderon said at a tree planting event just north of the capital.

Illegal logging destroys some 64,000 acres (26,000 hectares) of Mexican forest each year, the government says, putting Mexico near the top of a U.N. list of nations losing primary forest fastest. Environmental activists say the figure is much higher. “Everybody needs to help out a little to keep the world green," said volunteer Marcela Lopez as she patted down soil around a sapling on the west side of Mexico City.

Environmental group Greenpeace called the government-led effort a publicity stunt, saying a better way to keep forests healthy would be to cut back on logging, which is often controlled by the country's powerful organized crime gangs. "This program is a fraud. Only 10 percent of what is planted survives, which means they are throwing the federal budget for reforestation straight into the garbage," the group said in a statement.

Calderon regularly speaks out against global warming, and the leftwing Mexico City mayor has launched a number of green initiatives to curb rampant pollution in the city, where government fuel subsidies and a lack of public transport mean the roads are permanently choked with cars.

Mexican Environment Minister Juan Rafael Elvira said the point of the tree planting was to raise environmental consciousness in Mexico, which ecologists also criticize for allowing the oil industry to contaminate many rural states. "We don't just want a green country. We want to plant trees to nurture environmental conscience," he said.

(Reporting by Mariano Castillo, Rodolfo Pena and Jason Lange, editing by Todd Eastham)

For full story, please see: www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSN0536957020080706?sp=true

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53. Papua New Guinea’s forests all but gone in 13 years

Source: The Australian, 3 June 2008 via Community Forestry E-News, June 2008

A five-year study by experts from the Australian National University and the University of Papua New Guinea Remote Sensing Centre has found PNG is losing its forests to logging and subsistence farming so rapidly that over 80% will be destroyed in the next 13 years. Even areas labelled nature reserves have been open to exploitation. The report and its lead author, Phil Shearman, raised questions about the effectiveness of programs funded under Australia’s $200 million forest carbon initiative to reduce deforestation, as well as about the fairness of PNG’s compensation for forests that “are physically inaccessible to exploitation and would never had been logged anyway.” The study concluded that the lack of sustainable forest management and effective forest governance meant that “PNG is a long way from being able to meaningfully participate in the carbon economy.”

For full story, please see: www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23800906-2702,00.html

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009