No. 07/08

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.

You can take part in contributing to the continued success of this newsletter by sharing with the NWFP community any news that you may have regarding research, events, publications and projects. Kindly send such information to NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org:We also appreciate any comments or feedback.

A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information.


PRODUCTS

1. Acai has gone from staple of the Amazon to global wonder-berry

2. Argan oil: L'arganier et l'olivier au cœur du Sahara

3. Agarwood: AFM scents fragrant success

4. Bamboo: Invest in bamboo production, Philippine farmers are told

5. Bark: Pine bark reduces knee osteoarthritis

6. Bushmeat: African hunting ban 'disastrous'

7. 'Bushmeat a threat to Britain’

8. Bushmeat: Two African nations team up to protect world's rarest ape

9. Butterflies: How butterflies save forests

10. Cork comes unscrewed

11. Cork: Abandoning wine corks risks screwing up landscape in Portugal

12. Devil’s claw: San devil's claw is an international hit

13. Honey: Prevention and treatment of MRSA with manuka honey

14. Honey: Brazil becomes world's 5th largest honey exporter

15. Lac wax shield set for business debut - Technology to increase shelf life of fruits

16. Medicinal plants: How medicinal plants can promote agri business

17. Mulberries hailed as new superfruit

18. Truffles: Record truffle haul is black gold for Manjimup (W. Australia)

19. Truffles: Soggy summer yields bumper British truffle harvest

COUNTRY INFORMATION

20. Bangladesh: Utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants

21. Bangladesh: Boosting nursery brings prosperity to rural economy in N-districts

22. Cameroon: Varying views on how to curb bushmeat trade in Cameroon

23. Canada: Mountain Pine Beetle Funding to Benefit Cook's Ferry Indian Band

24. Finland: Lichen from the north is collected until October

25. Ghana: Resource management policy out soon

26. India: 50,000 tribals apply for forest land

27. India to cut tobacco area by promoting medicinal plants

28. India: Loss of wildlife is threatening biodiverse forests in northeastern India

29. Myanmar: Researchers map Myanmar forests for wildlife

30. Namibia: NC Discusses Plant Protection

31. Nigeria: Study unveils medicinal plants for skin problems

32. Philippines: Aguilar leads Moringa drive

33. Sri Lanka: Rs. 7 mn to expand cinnamon trade

34. Uganda: Wildlife body in ecotourism venture

35. Vietnam: Bamboo reserve promotes conservation, relaxation

NEWS

36. Herbal way to combat mosquito

37. La medicina occidental 'puede convivir con saber local'

38. Norway joins fight to save Amazon

39. Rainforest conversion to oil palm causes 83% of wildlife to disappear

40. World’s First Biodiversity Law Center in Malaysia

EVENTS

41. Honey – the sweet stuff becoming a sour issue – International Conference

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

42. Other publications of interest

43. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS

44. Deforestation Escalates in Brazilian Amazon

45. Orangutan from non-conserved forests can only survive three years

46. Threatened plants emit ‘aspirin’

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L


PRODUCTS

1. Acai has gone from staple of the Amazon to global wonder-berry

Source: Los Angeles Times, USA, 21 September 2008

Belem, Brazil. A frenzy overtakes the teeming harbor here as a wooden-hulled riverboat chugs into port. "It's here!" cries an expectant buyer, one of many shoving his way toward the craft in a sweaty mercantile crush. "The gold! The purple gold!"

The cargo is acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE), the unassuming fruit of a jungle palm that has gone from Amazonian staple to global wonder-berry: a much-hyped ingredient in smoothies, sorbets, nutrition bars and countless trendy treats from L.A. to London to Tokyo.

Acai's cachet derives not only from the berry's antioxidant traits and supposed Viagra-like powers of vitality, but from its green pedigree: It has been acclaimed as a renewable resource that provides a sustainable livelihood for tens of thousands of subsistence harvesters without damaging the expanses of the Amazon. Because of acai, the jungle is more valuable standing than felled.

With acai a global sensation, however, some fear the berry's runaway success may spell trouble for the rainforest – a prospect that dismays even the Southern California brothers who are credited with launching the craze in the U.S.

International conglomerates are elbowing their way into the acai trade, while traditional cultivators are intensifying production at the expense of other trees. Conservationists worry that acai could succumb to the destructive agribusiness model: clear-cut lands, sprawling plantations and liberal application of pesticides and fertilizer.

"There's a kind of 'green deforestation' to plant acai," says Alfredo Homma, agronomist with the Brazilian Company for Agricultural Research, a publicly funded institute. "They don't bring down all the trees and leave the area deforested. They bring down diverse forests and replace them with one single culture – acai."

In the stifling Amazon delta, acai is less a hip superfood than a poor man's staple: Downtown Belem even features an acai drive-in. Many people here eat acai every day, typically as an accompaniment to river fish or sprinkled with toasted cassava, a widely consumed tuber. Fresh acai, served at room temperature, is a tart, earthier version of the frozen, pasteurized and inevitably sweetened incarnation marketed abroad. "It makes you grow," says Vital Vieira, who owns one of the many retail storefronts where acai berries are shelled, separating the large, inedible seed from the prized pulp and purple skin.

The slender acai palm typically thrives on the margins of the forest -- along rivers and streams, where some sunlight filters through the canopy.

For generations, men such as Domingos Bravo Rosa have harvested the berry in the dense forests across the river from downtown Belem, a onetime rubber boomtown that is now the capital of the Amazonian state of Para. "We don't destroy the forest," says Rosa, 44, a lifetime acai harvester like his father before him, as he maneuvers his boat to his home on nearby Combu island. Rosa knows where to find the acai; a single palm is often hidden among a score or more of other trees. He hires two harvesters, who must shimmy up and down palms sometimes 60 feet or more in height, a dangerous job.

A different model of acai harvesting is found on neighboring Murutucu island. Here, Ben-Hur Borges, a forest engineer turned acai entrepreneur, proudly displays the 1,350 acres of elegant groves that supply his firm, Amazon Fruit, a major exporter of acai to the United States and Europe.

The rows of acai trees stand in sharp contrast to the occasional palms that Rosa and others seek out in the jungle. Here, small rail cars carry harvested acai on wooden tracks to Amazon Fruit's processing and freezing plant.

The sprawling plantation resembles the kind of acai "mono-culture" that is anathema to conservationists. But Borges argues that his success demonstrates how more than one version of acai production can thrive, with both environmental and social benefits. He says his hard work draining and reshaping the island brought back a "degraded" forest -- the fate of much of the Amazon, which has been ravaged by loggers, developers and cattle ranchers.

Acai might not be such a global sensation today were it not for a pair of Southern California brothers, Ryan and Jeremy Black, who co-founded Sambazon, based in San Clemente. The company now boasts sales of $25 million a year in juices, powders and other acai products. But it all started with a surfing trip. This year, Black says, Sambazon plans to process 11,000 tons of acai from its Brazilian production base, making it the world's leading supplier.

All of it comes from individuals such as Rosa picking the fruit from wild acai palms, according to the Black brothers, who have won praise internationally as "green" business pioneers.

"The whole idea is to protect the biodiversity of the forest," Ryan Black says. "The idea is not to clear-cut everything on the land and plant acai trees." But a growing concentration of acai plantings amid rising demand has Black worried about a "dangerous cycle": transformation of bio-diverse forests into proliferating stretches of acai palms. That means removing other tree species to make way for acai. His hope is that consumer preference for certified organic acai, picked in the wild, will help preserve the forest and support harvesting families.

For full story, please see: www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-acai21-2008sep21,0,5946602.story

BACK TO TOP

2. Argan oil: L'arganier et l'olivier au cœur du Sahara

Source : Le Maghreb, Alger, 11 September

La wilaya de Tindouf a connu, au cours des quatre dernières années, la concrétisation de plusieurs projets inscrits au titre de la politique nationale forestière qui vise le développement des zones sahariennes, a indiqué à l'APS le Conservateur des forêts de cette collectivité locale. Des projets de développement, programmés pour l'année 2008 ou à brève échéance, permettront d'améliorer le couvert végétal et le patrimoine sylvicole et de développer les zones pastorales qui ont subi un lourd préjudice en raison de la sécheresse.

Parmi les projets à concrétiser, l'extension de la ceinture verte de la wilaya de Tindouf qui s'étend sur une superficie de 30 ha, dont 20 ha plantés d'oliviers et 10 autres de variétés d'arbres sylvicoles à l'image de l'arganier (Argania spinosa). Ce projet, qui vise à augmenter la superficie de la ceinture verte de 20 ha, vise également à développer les capacités de production de la pépinière sylvicole de Oued Djezz, qui avait produit, au cours des exercices 2007-2008, près de 400 000 plants. Les résultats encourageants réalisés dans la culture de l'arganier, à titre expérimental, ont poussé les services concernés à envisager la poursuite d'expériences de mise en terre de plants de cette variété d'arbres dans la région de Oued El-Ma.

L'arganier est en effet un arbre qui résiste aux rudes conditions climatiques et à la sécheresse. Si  la culture de ce dernier s'avère possible, toute la région en tirera le plus gros bénéfice surtout quand on sait que c'est de  l'arganier qu'est extraite l'huile d'argan. Un produit qui fait fureur aujourd'hui sur les marchés européen et américain. Tous les produits cosmétiques sont  faits à base de l'huile d'argan. Notre voisin de l'ouest, le Maroc, en est parmi les plus grands producteurs dans le monde. L'huile d'argan est utilisée depuis des siècles par les femmes berbères du sud du Maroc tant pour la cuisine que pour les produits de beauté.

For full story, please see: http://www.lemaghrebdz.com/lire.php?id=13033

BACK TO TOP

3. Agarwood: AFM scents fragrant success

Source: Bangkok Post, Thailand, 16 September 2008

Asia Forestry Management Co (AFM), Thailand's largest agarwood producer, plans to build its brand overseas, aiming for growth at the same blistering pace as Red Bull. AFM founder Chokechai Lavichant aims to follow in the Red Bull founder footsteps by developing a presence in the export rather than domestic market. However, his company's production will be based in Thailand along with its agarwood plantations.

Overseas demand for agar oil extract is already on the rise, especially in the Middle East, where clients will pay almost any price for this oil, considered one of the best for making perfumes and fragrances in cosmetics.

Beyond the Middle East, South Asia and Japan are also prominent markets, said Mr Chokechai, who adds that agarwood extract is a luxury product because of its limited availability.

Agarwood products are widely known as oud, the term used in the Middle East, where agarwood has been highly prized for centuries. The oil is also a base for fragrance production in Europe and is used in Japan's pharmaceutical industry. Agarwood residue is the main raw material for scented joss sticks.

In the global market, premium agar oil extract is priced between 5,000 and 8,000 baht per tora (12cc) or 400,000 to 700,000 baht per litre.

AFM started to build its agarwood plantation four years ago after gathering financial support from private investors. It has just refined the first production of oil from the first crop of its agarwood plantation early this year. Mr Chokechai said AFM has its factory on a 500-rai agarwood plantation in Trat, which it plans to expand to double capacity to 1,000 tora a month.

Commercial production of agar was prohibited in Thailand for centuries. The trees that produce the valuable oil remained on a list of protected plants until seven years ago, when the country recognised the product's economic potential.

Since then, agarwood has become an industry. However, plantations require huge capital. ''We managed to raise funds from investors last year by offering two options – a return of 21.4% for two years' investment and 168% for four years' investment,'' said Mr Chokechai. As a result, the company gained its first capital of 20 million baht, which helped it start manufacturing last year. Next year it plans to raise an additional 50 million baht for the next stage.

Mr Chokechai said that in natural conditions, agarwood takes from 10 to 40 years to be productive, and that less than 5% of plants produce oil, depending on soil quality and humidity. But with artificial cultivation oil can be extracted within three years, making the business commercially viable.

The company has an agar oil export licence from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which guarantees its production will not cause deforestation.

Exim Bank's research division reported that the agarwood industry has risen to an export value of 20 billion baht for Thailand during 2006-07.

For full story, please see: www.bangkokpost.com/160908_Business/16Sep2008_biz39.php

BACK TO TOP

4. Bamboo: Invest in bamboo production, Philippine farmers are told

Source: PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria, 5 September 2008

China is running out of bamboo within five years, opening a huge opportunity for Filipino farmers nationwide to tap the US$8 billion global market for bamboo products.

Edgardo Manda, general manager of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) told regional planners, stakeholders and traders in Davao recently that the Philippines can be the world's second biggest bamboo exporter next to China which is the global top exporter of bamboo products. "Let's take advantage of this opportunity. Soon China will run out of bamboos in five years and will turn to us for help," Manda said.

Manda has been going around the country since 2004, enticing hundreds of farmers and big growers to start big plantations of bamboo, noting that the country's bamboo industry has hardly made a dent in the Philippine economy.

Despite the big dollar potentials for the stagnant industry, many farmers and private firms remained cool and unimpressed to the idea of investing so much time and money growing bamboos as a business venture, said Manda who was also a former undersecretary and presidential assistant for Southern Tagalog.

The Philippines has only about 52,000 hectares of land planted to bamboos today with hardly any replanting, according to the Philippine Bamboo Foundation (PBF). During the last four years, the PBF have been rallying many towns and provinces nationwide thru Rotary Club meetings in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, to put up commercial bamboo forests or big bamboo plantations.

Full government support for financing and technical help was assured by Manda, if and when organized farmers' groups and agro-industrial firms decide to invest in the commercial farm production of bamboos.

Trade Undersecretary Merly Cruz said the export potentials for bamboo-based products like handicrafts, furniture and furnishings in global markets remained strong as ever in developed countries like the US and Europe whose up scale markets are more inclined to go for the exotic, Oriental-type products.

Philippine bamboo handicrafts averaged about $368 million while bamboo furniture turns in about $2 million in annual export earnings.

For full story, please see: www.pr-inside.com/invest-in-bamboo-production-philippine-farmers-r789844.htm

BACK TO TOP

5. Bark: Pine bark reduces knee osteoarthritis

Source: United Press International, USA, 4 September 2008

Bratislava, Slovakia (UPI). A third clinical trial in Slovakia confirms evidence that the antioxidant pycnogenol lowers joint pain, researchers said.

A study, published in the August Journal of Phytotherapy Research, said Pycnogenol – a bark extract from the French maritime pine tree -- reduced overall knee osteoarthritis symptoms by 20.9 percent and lowered pain by 40.3 percent.

Researchers in Comenius University School of Medicine in Bratislava said 100 patients with stage I or II osteoarthritis were included in the study and were randomly allocated to either a Pycnogenol or a placebo. Patients were supplemented with 150 mg Pycnogenol or placebo per day for three months. They were allowed to continue taking pain medication prescribed before the study but had to record every pill taken.

For full story, please see: www.upi.com/Health_News/2008/09/04/Pine_bark_reduces_knee_osteoarthritis/UPI-47631220555692/

BACK TO TOP

6. Bushmeat: African hunting ban 'disastrous'

Source: BBC News, 16 September 2008

A complete ban on hunting wild animals for their meat would be a disaster for people living in Central Africa, researchers say. The practice needs to be legalised, regulated and controlled, argues a report from the Centre for International Forestry Research. Otherwise, some large wildlife species, such as elephants and gorillas, will be extinct within 50 years, it says.

Bushmeat is a key part of the diet for many in Central Africa. In some areas it provides 80% of the protein and fat consumed. But these nutritional benefits come at a high price.

Researchers estimate that more than a million tonnes of bushmeat is killed every year. If large mammals are hunted to extinction, this will pose a serious threat to food security for millions of people, the report warns. "If current levels of hunting persist in Central Africa, bush meat protein supplies will fall dramatically, and a significant number of forest mammals will become extinct in less than 50 years," said Robert Nasi, one of the report's authors.

But the report argues it is important to distinguish between the rural poor, who hunt to survive, and those who engage in the activity purely as a commercial venture.

The report – Conservation and Use of Wildlife-Based Resources: The Bushmeat Crisis – says that many attempts to crack down on the hunting of bushmeat are misguided and a blanket ban on sales of bush meat simply would not work.

The authors argue that only by giving rights to local hunters to decide on what they want to hunt will they be encouraged to adopt sustainable practices – such as hunting for fast reproducing species like rodents instead of larger mammals.

Consumption of bushmeat in Europe and elsewhere is often blamed for driving up demand but this report points out that the most of it is consumed in local village areas.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7618023.stm

BACK TO TOP

7. 'Bushmeat a threat to Britain’

Source: The Voice, UK, 18 August 2008

The illegal trafficking of West African bushmeat is posing a serious threat to Britain, claims a Tory MP. Jim Paice, Tory spokesman for agriculture and rural affairs, says that the recent cutting back of Customs officials, who patrol the UK borders, is to blame for the high volumes of illegal meat being smuggled into the U.K. "Why I find this so worrying an issue is that illegal meat does not just bring in animal disease, it brings in human diseases as well”, said Paice. "Bushmeat from west Africa has the huge potential for tropical diseases, such as the Ebola virus to come in, which could pose a serious public health issue”.

New figures in a Government report have shown that there have been no prosecutions for illegal meat smuggling this year.

However between 2006 and 2007, when there were increased patrols to tackle the threat of Bird Flu, more than 35,000 seizures were made. The Conservative Party are now proposing plans for tackling illegal meat imports, which would include an x-ray system to scan all bags coming into Britain. Over the past 12 months both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Customs have been running awareness-raising campaigns. Last week Defra launched a short film, Don't Bring Me Back, to spread the message about the serious effects that importing meat illegally could bring.

For full story, please see: www.voice-online.co.uk/content.php?show=14124

BACK TO TOP

8. Bushmeat: Two African nations team up to protect world's rarest ape

Source: Plenty Magazine, NY, USA, 9 September 2008

Just 300 Cross River gorillas remain in the wild, making it the world's most endangered ape, if not the world's most endangered primate.

Now, the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon have agreed to work together to help save the Cross River gorilla, which only exists within their borders. At a meeting held last week, the two nations agreed to "improve trans-boundary cooperation to protect the critically endangered species, as well as other endangered wildlife," according to a report from the Environment News Service.

Participating in the agreement were representatives of state parks from each country, who will now work to "reduce the bushmeat trade and illegal logging, strengthen field monitoring, increase community involvement and conservation education, and improve law enforcement within the parks."

The meeting to hammer out this agreement was made possible through the financial support of the WWF, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Great Apes Conservation Fund.

The critically endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) is a sub-species of the Western gorilla (Gorilla gorilla). The Cross River gorilla's population is extremely fragmented, with 8-11 groups separated by extensive local farmlands.

For full story, please see: www.plentymag.com/blogs/extinction/2008/09/two_african_nations_team_up_to.php

BACK TO TOP

9. Butterflies: How butterflies save forests

Source: Daily News & Analysis - Mumbai, India, 18 September 2008

The Bombay Natural History Society gave After Hrs a peek into its prized collection of butterflies collected over 125 years; some of the species even help in conservation. Some of these specimens can fetch between Rs. 23,169-27,803 each

Issac Kehimkar, general manager programmes, BNHS tells about a path-breaking project involving such butterflies that has preserved the forests of Kenya.

He says, “There is a huge demand for butterflies in US, UK, Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan. These countries have huge butterfly parks which attract lots of tourists. Because the life of a butterfly is about a couple of weeks, the supply has to be replenished continuously. Farmers in Kenya breed and export them for Rs. 46-278 each to these countries. Butterflies always lay eggs on forest plants and thus the conservation of forest automatically becomes mandatory. Today the forest has become the livelihood of these farmers.”

When asked why we can’t have such an arrangement in India, he says, “Things are always difficult here. The Indian government doesn’t understand things easily. As per the law, export of biodiversity related items is illegal. Therefore poor farmers find ways of earning money by helping the poachers. If such projects are encouraged, poaching will be eradicated.”

For full story, please see: www.dnaindia.com/slideshow.asp?newsid=1191587&sldid=5

BACK TO TOP

10. Cork comes unscrewed

Source: New Zealand Herald, New Zealand, 7 September 2008

Is the corkscrew destined to join the garter, snuff box and cassette tape in that dusty drawer of obsolete accessories? Given about 90 percent of New Zealand wines are now under screwcap and even the French are starting to convert, it certainly looks likely that in the future far fewer corks will be pulled.

Cork has been used as a stopper since the 1600s, when it was adopted by Dom Perignon to replace the cloth-wrapped wooden plugs that kept popping out of his Champagne containers.

However, as a natural product cork has an inherent variability, with some corks providing the tight seal required, while others allow some oxygen to sneak past. Even more of a concern has been a nasty mould called TCA that imparts musty aromas and flavours. But cork's monopoly created complacency and producers were seen to be doing little to sort out this stinky issue.

That was until new closures, such as synthetic corks and screwcaps, came on to the scene and were embraced by winemakers frustrated that up to 10 percent of their product could be spoiled by its packaging.

Of these it's the screwcap that's really taken off. The practicality of the cap and reassurance that the wine will be taint-free, has meant that drinkers are now sending back wines if they're not under screwcap!

Caps have not been without their critics, some blaming their near-hermetic seal for the creation of eggy smelling hydrogen sulphides in wine. This was a problem in the early days, but appears to have been largely rectified through more appropriate winemaking.

For full story, please see: www.nzherald.co.nz/wine/news/article.cfm?c_id=365&objectid=10530412

BACK TO TOP

11. Cork: Abandoning wine corks risks screwing up landscape in Portugal

Source: WWF-Canon / Sebastian Rich, 16 September 2008

Abandoning wine corks for screw tops and plastic substitutes is not only flying in the face of tradition, it is also damaging to the environment.

It is a point being made in “Save Miguel”, an online campaign by the world’s leading cork maker Amorim Corticeira, which follows a WWF report detailing how traditional cork forests are holding back desertification in Portugal. In the campaign video American comedian Rob Schneider travels to Portugal on a mission to “Save Miguel”, an oak tree in the heart of the cork-growing region.

The WWF report, “The Cork Oak, a Barrier Against Desertification”, urges Portugal to expand its cork forests to prevent growing desertification caused by global warming. “Portuguese forests may face an environmental and economic crisis that will move the desertification border in Portugal north, unless we act now and adapt to the climate changes,” said WWF Forest Officer Luis Silva.

Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork used in wine bottles but the density of trees in cork forests has fallen in recent years.

Because cork trees are not cut down and water is retained in the forests because of falling leaves they are uniquely environmentally sustainable. The bark of individual trees is cut for cork only every nine years.

The report finds that if Portugal were to expand its current cork forests by just 20 percent, desertification could be effectively stopped by the year 2020.

The Amorim Corticeira campaign is aimed at young users of popular websites such as Facebook and YouTube. It also blends pro-environment and sustainability ideas with humour.

“The cork industry in general is under attack from alternative wine bottle closures,” said Carlos de Jesus, Amorim marketing director. “If cork growers lose the cash interest, they will plant something else, jeopardizing the sustainability chain.”

For full story, please see: www.panda.org/news_facts/newsroom/index.cfm?uNewsID=145344

BACK TO TOP

12. Devil’s claw: San devil's claw is an international hit

Source: The Namibian (Windhoek), 10 September 2008

Conservancies produce 95% of global trade in the plant San communities from the Nyae Nyae and Nâ‰a-Jaqna conservancies generated more than N$400 000 during 2007 from the harvesting and sale of plant products.

Similar or even better results are expected for 2008, as more than 1 000 harvesters are registered in both conservancies, researcher Dave Cole said recently.

In a paper titled 'Botanical resources increasingly contributing to income generation for conservancies and its members' issued last month, Cole indicated that to date, conservancies had collected an income of N$288 561, with several more months of harvesting to go.

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy was formed in 1998, and the Nâ‰a-Jaqna Conservancy in 2003.

The medicinal value of Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum) for the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and other ailments of this type has been recognised by "Western medicine" only in the last 50 years.

The first major exports from Namibia started in the early 1960s, and today the country is the largest exporter in the world, accounting for about 95 percent of the trade. Namibia currently exports on average about 400 tons of dried Devil's Claw per year, which represents a significant income for the country.

According to Cole, up until recently, Devil's Claw was harvested and traded but was characterized by unsustainable harvesting practices, exploitative prices paid to harvesters, and inferior quality. However, in the last two years, funding from the Integrated Community-Based Ecosystem Management Project and the US Agency for International Development, as well as the Life for Relief and Development programmes, have enabled the Working Group on Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa and the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation Namibia to work with the Centre for Research Information Action in Africa, Southern Africa Development and Consulting and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to implement a sustainable harvesting programme, benefiting both the conservancies and individual harvesters.

Harvesters are now organised into groups, and receive training on sustainable harvesting and processing by using appropriate equipment and have a purchase contract with a solid buyer. Ecoso Dynamics, owned by Gero Diekmann, makes regular buying trips to both conservancies.

It provides a small shopping service to harvesters who live far from any shops, and where transport is severely lacking.

Organic certification allows for the product to be traced back to the area in which it was harvested, and by whom. The costs of covering the expenses related to organic certification have also been made provision for, and the conservancies will be able to cover these costs themselves in the future.

Added Cole: "Not only do harvesters benefit from cash income, but the organised harvesting and sale of Devil's Claw in these conservancies also contributes to empowering people to develop a sense of ownership and to take responsibility for the management of their resources.

Clearly, however, given the extent of poverty in rural areas, the challenge is to identify additional products that can also contribute to income generation in these conservancies."

Meanwhile, Maria Shikongo said on behalf of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy that many Namibians lack awareness of the San people in terms of the challenges ahead of them and ways of integrating the San into conservancies and community forests.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200809100678.html

BACK TO TOP

13. Honey: Prevention and treatment of MRSA with manuka honey

Source: PR-Inside.com (Pressemitteilung), Austria, 5 September 2008

In many randomized controlled trials, scientists have concluded that Manuka Honey is capable of killing MRSA and healing Staph infections.

MRSA related Staph infections are the cause of concern in many hospitals across the world. It is not an uncommon occurrence that a patient is admitted into a hospital with one ailment and leaves with a Staph infection. Although, hospital patients aren't the only ones concerned about MRSA, doctors and other medical professionals have grown increasingly more fearful that they may be exposed to this deadly bacteria.

MRSA is a mutated form of bacteria that has developed a resistance to antibiotics. If gone untreated, a MRSA-Staph infection can be fatal. Amidst all the hysteria, scientists are beginning to recognize that a particular type of honey, known as Manuka Honey, is actually effective against this notoriously resilient superbug.

Researchers have examined MRSA that has come in contact with Manuka Honey and have determined that MRSA cannot survive in the healing environment created by Manuka Honey. MRSA is a bacterium that grows and divides into 2 similar cells every half hour. Studies have shown that Manuka Honey interferes with the cell cycle of MRSA by affecting the separation of new cells, so that cells unable to complete division are disabled at that point in the cell cycle.

All types of honey contain hydrogen peroxide, which is a known antiseptic and disinfectant. However, scientists have discovered that there is an additional antibacterial component in Manuka Honey, making it much more effective for therapeutic use. This additional component, known as UMF, is unaffected by enzymes that dilutes the effectiveness of regular honey. It remains active when used as a wound dressing and diffuses deeper into skin tissues.

In addition to its unparalleled antibacterial properties, Manuka Honey is also considered to be antimicrobial and, therefore, capable of treating both bacterial and fungal infections. Another advantage to utilizing Manuka Honey for medical purposes is that its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce pain in damaged tissue.

Manuka Honey is made by bees that use the nectar from the flower that grows on the Manuka bush, which is indigenous to New Zealand. It's this unique nectar that provides Manuka Honey with its impressive healing qualities.

For full story, please see: www.pr-inside.com/prevention-and-treatment-of-mrsa-with-r789659.htm

BACK TO TOP

14. Honey: Brazil becomes world's 5th largest honey exporter

Source: Brazzil Magazine, Los Angeles, USA, 15 September 1008

Honey exports from Brazil totalled US$18.2 million in the first half of 2008, representing growth of 70% over the same period last year. The sum placed Brazil in the fifth position in the world exporter ranking. The figures were disclosed on September 12 by the Sectoral Chamber for the Honey Production Chain.

According to organization's president, José Gomercindo da Cunha, the main reason for the expansion of sales was the resumption of exports to the European Union. In the last two years, Brazil exported only to the United States. Now, the aim of the Sectoral Chamber is to maintain its sales to Europe and, at the same time, seek new markets such as Japan and the Arab countries.

Brazil is the world's 11th honey producer, with an annual output of 36,100 tons of the product. The state of Rio Grande do Sul ranks first, with 7,820 tons, followed by Paraná, with 7,800 tons.

For 2009, the sector expects for domestic honey consumption to rise in Brazil. "To that extent, we are working with the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae), and 25 states are already willing to contribute to nationwide promotional work. The proposal is to raise per capita consumption from 100 to 120 grams," stated the president.

Another goal of the sector is to reduce non-conformities with the regulation for industrial inspection of the product, so as to conquer a larger share of the foreign market. Production of honey and its derivatives, such as propolis, wax and jelly in Brazil is a source of family income in several regions, including the semiarid.

Currently, 350,000 beekeepers in Brazil answer to 16,000 direct jobs in the industrial sector, as well as 450,000 direct jobs in farms.

For full story, please see: www.brazzilmag.com/content/view/9909/1/

BACK TO TOP

15. Lac wax shield set for business debut - Technology to increase shelf life of fruits

Source: Calcutta Telegraph, India, 25 September 2008

Ranchi: Scientists in the state have discovered an eco-friendly and economic preservative — lac wax coating — to use for commercial purposes. “We were aware of the fact that lac wax coating on fruits could help preserve them for long, but now we are planning to use the technology for commercial purpose,” said K.K. Sharma, principal scientist at the Indian Institute of Natural Resins and Gums.

The annual lac production in India is around 25,000 tonnes of which the state’s share is about 40 percent, Sharma added. Till now, the produce of the state was being used mainly to manufacture electrical insulators and dye-fixtures, Sharma added.

Lac is a natural polymer derived from insects and it has high adhesive strength.

It has high electrical insulation, is waterproof and resistant to moisture and corrosion. It is also highly plastic.

The institute has been conducting research on lac since 1930 and has earned a worldwide reputation on the subject. “We have found that shelf life of certain fruits and vegetables could be increased by three months using a thin coating of lac wax,” said Sharma.

Research on fruits such as apple and orange and vegetables such as pointed gourd and capsicum have given encouraging results, the scientist said. “The lac wax coating allows the oxygen to pass but prevents water and moisture permeability to keep the fruits fresh,” said Sharma, adding that a thick coating of lac wax could result in fermentation.

To develop a flawless technology of wax coating, the institute has recently tied up with the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana. The scientists here are also going to do a collaborative research on lac with Nabard to improve its production. “Some of our scientists have undergone training in Vietnam and China in lac cultivation,” Sharma said.

For full story, please see: www.telegraphindia.com/1080926/jsp/jharkhand/story_9888814.jsp

BACK TO TOP

16. Medicinal plants: How medicinal plants can promote agri business

Source: Commodity Online, Kerala, India, 15 September 2008

The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) set up in the Department of AYUSH in November 2000 has been responsible for supporting initiatives for the conservation and cultivation of medicinal plants, both in-situ and ex-situ in India.

During the 9th and 10th Plans, the Board provided assistance to State Forest Departments and voluntary agencies for the conservation of medicinal plants over an area of about 30,000 hectares. Financial assistance was also provided to over 5,000 farmers for cultivation of medicinal plants over 40,000 hectares.

In addition, a number of R&D institutions and universities were provided assistance for development of agro-techniques, training of farmers, primary collectors, tribals and others. Organisation of awareness camps, workshops and creation of school and home herbal gardens have created a large amount of interest in all sections of society towards the conservation of medicinal plants and their role in healthcare.

A study of demand and supply of medicinal plants in India carried out by the Board during 2007-08 brought out alarming shortages of some of the plants used by the Ayurvedic industry. The Board, thereafter, launched a special drive to invite proposals for the conservation and plantation of some of the rare and endangered species in high demand from states.

Of particular interest were the tree species like Sita Ashoka (Saraca asoca) – the main ingredient of Ahsokaristha (a key Ayurvedic formulation for gynaecological disorders), Guggal (Commiphora wightii) – a thorny bush which yields gum resin and is used in more than 100 Ayurvedic preparations, and the Dashmools – used in the most widely used Ayurvedic preparation – Dashmoolarishta. The estimated demand of Sita Ashoka bark is in excess of 2,000 MT, however, the availability in the wild is extremely rare. Likewise, though more than 1,000 MT of gum resin of Guggal is used by the Ayurvedic industry, more than 90% of this is imported.

The Board, therefore, sanctioned conservation/ plantation of Guggal over 4,000 hectares of forest areas in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Sita Ashoka over 800 hectares in the States of Karnataka, Orissa and Kerala, and Dashmool trees over 1,100 hectares in the States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh.

A special drive was also launched to conserve and propagate high altitude plants like Atees, Kuth, Kutki through the non-government organization working at the grass root level in the Himalayas. The Task Force on High Altitude Medicinal Plants, under the Chairmanship of Sh. Chandi Prakash Bhatt, set up by the Board has been the main driver behind the conservation efforts through mobilization of civil society in the hills.

Awareness programmes like the School and Home Herbal Gardens have been extremely popular in mobilizing civil society around medicinal plants conservation. Under the School Herbal Garden programme, more than 1,000 schools have been covered in different parts of the country creating awareness among citizens of tomorrow about the health promoting role of our biodiversity.

The Board is making new strides during the 11th Plan. Against a 10th Plan expenditure of Rs. 142 crores, the outlay during the 11th Plan is Rs. 990 crores – a seven fold increase.

A new initiative in the form of National Mission on Medicinal Plants has been approved by the Government which seeks to promote market driven cultivation, focus on development of selected clusters with potential for inclusive growth in agri-business through medicinal plants and thereby improve the market access of growers/farmers for more remunerative prices for their produce and better quality of raw material for the Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani industry.

For full story, please see: www.commodityonline.com/news/How-medicinal-plants-can-promote-agri-business-11646-3-1.html

BACK TO TOP

17. Mulberries hailed as new superfruit

Source: Easier (press release), UK, 25 September 2008

All hail the new superfruit sensation to reach these shores and stand out from the crowd with the highest levels of antioxidants of any red berry fruits. The mulberry, which resembles a raspberry, boasts an impressive nutritional CV outperforming cranberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

The mulberry’s levels of antioxidants are 79% higher than blueberries and 24% more than those found in cranberries. It is packed full of vitamins and fibre and contains high levels of resveratrol, the antioxidant super hero which helps combat heart disease, cancer and helps lower cholesterol and other diseases associated with chronic inflammation.

Amazingly this antioxidant appears to fool cancer cells into believing DNA has already been damaged and so possibly help prevent the spreading of the disease. It’s early days but scientists at Harvard University are excited about another insight into how cancer may be tackled.

And mulberries can help to keep you fighting fit throughout the winter too - a recent report in the Journal of Infectious Diseases states that resveratrol decreased the reproduction of the influenza virus, in other words it may be useful in preventing or treating the flu.

For full story, please see: www.easier.com/view/Lifestyle/Health_and_Fitness/Diet/article-206316.html

BACK TO TOP

18. Truffles: Record truffle haul is black gold for Manjimup (W. Australia)

Source: The West Australian, Australia, 2 September 2008

WA truffle growers are jumping with joy after harvesting a record crop of the rare fungus this season — and they’re predicting even bigger things next year. A Manjimup grower has claimed the biggest crop of “black gold” in the southern hemisphere, beating truffle producers in Tasmania and New Zealand.

A warm, dry August cut short the truffle season in the timber town but not before the Wine and Truffle Company dug up more than 600kg of truffles, a big increase on last year’s crop of about 320kg.

At a retail price of $3000 a kilogram, it is a $1.8 million harvest on 30ha and comes a decade after former CSIRO scientist Nicholas Malajczuk and former Australian Test cricketer Wally Edwards came up with the idea for WA’s first truffle farm. Dr Malajczuk said the Hazel Hill property, just south of Manjimup, was now a “truffle pumping” operation, having practically doubled its crop in the past year.

A handful of small operators in the region had each produced up to 50kg this year he estimated, while producers in Tasmania and New Zealand remained tight-lipped on their yields.

The French black truffles are grown on the roots of 13,000 oak and hazelnut trees at Hazel Hill and found by trained sniffer dogs, before being sold to restaurants worldwide.

Wine and Truffle Company operations manager Damon Boorman attributed the bumper crop to the trees’ maturity, but said that it was cut short by a dry August. “More and more trees are coming on line. Next year we might get 1000kg.”

Australians now expected gourmet delights when eating out at restaurants, Mr Boorman said. “This year, we’ve actually increased our sales into Australia tenfold.”

International buyers include Japan, the US, Hong Kong Singapore, Italy, France and Indonesia.

Tourism WA chairwoman Kate Lamont said the truffle industry set the timber town up for tourism. “People will travel for truffles, it broadens the appeal of the region,” she said.

For full story, please see: www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=77&ContentID=95451

BACK TO TOP

19. Truffles: Soggy summer yields bumper British truffle harvest

Source: Daily Mail, UK, 10 September 2008

Our long lamented soggy summer is cause for celebration in some circles. Those in the truffle business can’t believe their luck. This year’s wet weather has produced a bumper crop.

Truffle harvests have doubled year on year since 2005 thanks to our rainy summers and experts believe this year’s harvest will be even bigger.

Nigel Hadden-Paton, who runs Truffle UK Ltd, Britain’s first commercial truffle-growing company, said: ‘The wet weather has been a godsend for us, and it’s very nearly time to harvest our native British summer truffle.

‘The ones we have seen so far this year bubbling to the surface are looking bigger and they are in greater number.

‘We harvested 77-88lbs in 2005, 176lbs in 2006 and an amazing 396lbs in 2007 but we expect to exceed that this year.’

Truffles can command prices of up to £2,500 a kilogram for the most highly prized specimens.

For full story, please see: www.dailymail.co.uk/home/gardening/article-1054076/Soggy-summer-yields-bumper-British-truffle-harvest.html

BACK TO TOP

COUNTRY INFORMATION

20. Bangladesh: Utilization of medicinal and aromatic plants

Source: The New Nation, Bangladesh, 14 September 2008

In developing countries, remedies prepared by a traditional healer from plants of the local flora are available for the majority of the people. Although the bulk of synthetic preparations and chemical drugs are available as proprietary and prescription products with high price, there are millions of people in all walks of life in these countries, who have faith only in the Traditional System of Medicine and this trend is growing. They think that it is a safe and dependable system because it have evolved, developed and perfected in our own communities and areas, and has been tried over a period of thousand years with uniform results, under our own climatic and living condition. This trend has also taken its current ascent due to the toxic and adverse reactions of synthetic and chemical medicines being observed round the globe. There are available data as regards the therapeutic efficacy of modern drugs which the experts feel are not applicable to our conditions, especially to the South Asian and Pacific Regions.

In Bangladesh, there are several thousand traditional healers of whom many are practising in rural areas. They practice the traditional system of medicine, dispensing mostly herbal remedies and well over 60% of the country's population attend their clinics.

A correct approach to investigation of such plants would therefore be for trained physicians and pharmacologists to cooperate with healers, first acting as observers by establishing proper diagnosis and evaluating whether the treatment given by the healer is likely to be effective. In this way a number of plants might be selected, extracts of which could then be subjected to more detailed clinical trials, provided that the preliminary observations and a reasonable extensive toxicological evaluation have shown an acceptable therapeutic ratio. Further investigation of these plants could then be performed in the laboratory.

For full story, please see: http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/09/14/news0524.htm

BACK TO TOP

21. Bangladesh: Boosting nursery brings prosperity to rural economy in N-districts

Source: The New Nation, Bangladesh, 20 September 2008

Boosting of nurseries in the private sector has brought prosperity to the rural people and it has been contributing positively in alleviating poverty in the northern region in recent years.

The expanding private sector nursery business has now become one of the most profitable ventures with over 50,000 private sector nurseries of different sizes have grown spreading over the entire region, officials said.

The growth of nurseries has been making the government's participatory social afforestation programme successful on the one hand and alleviating poverty and empowering women on the other during the last one and a half decades.

Officials said the highest ever number of saplings including fruits and medicinal plants and timber grown in the nurseries are expected to be selling this year as the tree plantation drive has been nearing completion with the maximum achievements. According to an estimate, over 40,000 families have changed their lot by achieving self-reliance through nursery business and, in most cases, women of the economically backward families are involved with the business. Concerned sources said the tree plantation drive has turned into one of the most successful social movements in the region following implementation of various steps by the government, NGOs, and professional bodies in recent years. They said over four crore fruit-bearing and medicinal plants and timber saplings are being planted annually in the region, resulting in faster growth of nurseries in the private sector.

Some 22,000 families, who collected high-valued fruit saplings from the private sector nursery owners, also achieved their complete economic self-reliance during the period and their number has been increasing satisfactorily.

They said an estimated number of about five crore saplings of different variety plants including timber, fruit, medicinal trees are expected to be planted this year in the region under the extensive tree plantation programme this year.

Besides the private sector initiatives, different government departments and NGOs are also planting a huge number of saplings including Neem, coconut, plum and cane.

The Forest Department and the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) have been distributing huge amount of saplings among the people and different institutions every year.

For full story, please see: http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/09/20/news0975.htm

BACK TO TOP

22. Cameroon: Varying views on how to curb bushmeat trade in Cameroon

Source: The South African Star, South Africa, 17 September 2008

Yaounde - An acrid stench of burning hair hangs in the air as a whole monkey roasts over an open fire, a victim of the trade in tropical bushmeat that conservationists agree must be curbed, though they disagree on how to do it.

Around 25 diners sit on bamboo chairs at the open-air restaurant on the outskirts of Cameroon's capital Yaounde, waiting for a plate of monkey, pangolin or bush pig washed down with red wine, beer or aromatic freshly tapped palm wine.

Environmentalists say the hunting and trade of endangered animals from the world's tropical forests must be reduced if rare primates and other species are to be saved from extinction.

Some campaigners want a total ban on bushmeat or at least on its commercial trade. This would allow local people to hunt only fast-breeding, non-endangered species to feed their families.

But a report published yesterday said such blanket bans would fail and, if enforced, deprive poor families living in forest regions of much-needed nutrition and cash earnings.

The report by the secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity said legalising parts of the bushmeat trade could dispel the stigma attached to it, aid regulation and help efforts to save endangered species.

"Bushmeat, in particular, offers a number of benefits to forest-dwelling populations. It is an easily traded resource as it is transportable, has a high value/weight ratio and is easily preserved at low cost," the report said.

A survey a few years ago estimated that between 70 and 90 tons of bushmeat a month was being sold in Yaounde's four main markets. Across west and central Africa, the trade is worth as much as $200-million (R1,6-billion), and $175-million in Latin America's Amazon basin.

Supporters of a more general ban say regulating sales of some animals but not others would be too complicated.

"Hunting and trade that is sustainable for a cane rat is not necessarily sustainable for an ape," Heather Eves, director of the Washington-based Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, said.

The international trade in bushmeat is small but there is growing expatriate African and Asian demand, the report said. Often it is linked to the lucrative global trade in animal body parts believed to have secret powers or employed in medicines, such as gorilla meat or rhino horn - long used as aphrodisiacs.

Smart cars parked outside an exclusive restaurant in Yaounde bear witness to the bushmeat trade's wealthy connections. Elegant waitresses offer patrons a menu of mainly common game – pangolin, antelope, bush pig, monkey, cane rat and viper. But in a fridge outside were two arms of what appeared to be a gorilla or a chimpanzee – thick black fur and hands still attached - together with a piece of what a restaurant employee said was elephant meat.

Cameroon has some of the region's strictest anti-hunting laws. Critics say that, as elsewhere, they are rarely applied.

"It is outrageous that the majority of these countries do not even have a single prosecution," said Ofir Drori, founder of the Last Great Ape Organisation Cameroon.

For full story, please see: www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4614120

BACK TO TOP

23. Canada: Mountain Pine Beetle Funding to Benefit Cook's Ferry Indian Band

Source: Government of Canada Newsroom (press release), 20 August 2008

The Cook's Ferry Indian Band will build a First Nations interpretive centre and conduct an economic feasibility study, thanks to investments by the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Federal funding of $350,000 was announced today by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and is provided under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative (CEDI), a component of the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program.

Funding of $200,000 will help the Cook's Ferry Indian Band construct an open-air structure based on the traditional pit-house of the Nlaka'pamux people, to serve as a regional First Nations cultural interpretive centre. Once built, the centre will be a tourism attraction drawing additional visitors to the region.

An additional $150,000 will fund research to explore the feasibility of developing certified wood products and non-timber forest products-such as jams, soaps and teas-made with resources harvested from the forest. The project will examine the potential to create regional certification for trade items and develop strategies to maximize First Nations' trade and marketing opportunities.

"Today's funding for our tourism attraction and trade route projects will benefit our community and the area as a whole," said Chief David Walkem, Cook's Ferry Indian Band. "These projects help us honour our past while ensuring that we can strengthen our economies for the future. When First Nations succeed, everyone succeeds."

Managed by Western Economic Diversification Canada, CEDI will invest more than $33 million over two years towards projects in communities most at risk from the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. The program supports a wide range of projects that further economic growth, job creation and future community sustainability.

For more information on the federal Mountain Pine Beetle Program, please visit: http://mpb.cfs.nrcan.gc.ca

For full story, please see: www.wd.gc.ca/77_10590_ENG_ASP.asp

BACK TO TOP

24. Finland: Lichen from the north is collected until October

Source: Forest.fi website, www.forest.fi,

Sandy, pine-growing heaths are covered with a thick, grey carpet. It is formed by star reindeer lichen, and right now is the season for gathering it.

The lichen-covered heath on the Hailuoto island in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia is a friendly place. Pines of moderate height stand here and there, letting the sun’s rays reach the ground, which is covered with grey star-tipped reindeer lichen, or just star reindeer lichen (Cladonia Stellaris).

At a distance a raven croaks and takes off with a rustle: it would love to be alone in its forest, but is forced to share it with six pickers of lichen.

The pickers are employed by the lichen-exporting company Polar-Moos. Some of them are from Thailand, since it is difficult to get Finns to do this kind of work. The pickers deftly gather the best balls of lichen here and there – taking care not to pick everything. Lichen grows to a suitable size for picking in 5–8 years, which is the time the pickers have to wait before returning to the same area.

Fascinating in appearance, star reindeer lichen resembles a mushroom covered with lace, and it is actually classified as a mushroom. However, to be exact, lichen consists of two species, a fungus and an alga, which grow in a symbiosis that benefits both.

Polar-Moos is the largest supplier of decorative lichen and other lichen products in Europe. Its turnover is some 1.5 million euros per year. The staff is nine persons, but each year from May to October the company also employs some twenty seasonal workers.

The largest clients are florists’ supplies wholesalers. The grey balls are transformed into decorations in the hands of florists, for graves in Hamburg, Munich or mountain villages in the Alps: the main area for the company’s exports is German-speaking Central Europe.

It is during autumn and winter that lichen makes a very popular decorating material in graveyards, because it keeps its light colour even when it is wet, and thus stands out from the dark gravestones.

In addition to this, it withstands frost. This is why the best season for lichen is around All Saints’ Day in the autumn.

Lichen is gathered not only in Hailuoto, but also elsewhere in northern Finnish Ostrobothnia. Suitable places for lichen to grow are the sandy heaths and eskers formed by the continental ice moving to north at the end of the Ice Age.

Collecting lichen is not an everyman’s right, and compensation must be paid to the landowner for each package of lichen. Among the landowners, the most important partner of Polar-Moos is the forest industry company UPM.

A quarter of the lichen sold by Polar-Moos comes from Russia.

Gaining a livelihood from lichen is, however, becoming increasingly difficult, because Swedish producers sell the stuff with 40 percent lower prices. The Finnish producers suspect that the Swedes may not be taking care of all required employment expenses, which is why the association of lichen exporters in Finland has appealed to the EU Commissioner responsible for fair competition.

“But this is a dying tradition,” says executive director and owner of Polar-Moos, Mr. Markku Sipola, with regret. The top year of lichen exports was 1972, when half a million cartons were exported – with 3.5kg lichen in each. Now the amount is some 100,000 boxes.

With no rain the dry lichen easily breaks into small pieces so the forest needs to be watered. After a quarter of an hour of watering, it is possible to start picking the lichen. Some of the pickers collect lichen and different kinds of mosses, the rest make arrangements of what has been picked.

In addition to star reindeer lichen and moss, one small ornamental box also includes with Iceland moss (Cetraria Islandica) as well. These boxes are a new product for Polar-Moos.

For full story, please see: www.forest.fi/smyforest/foresteng.nsf/tiedotteetlookup/527BF5F136CA4471C22574BE00388C56

BACK TO TOP

25. Ghana: Resource management policy out soon

Source: The Statesman Online, Ghana, 2 September 2008

Government, in collaboration with Development Partners and stakeholders in the Forestry and Wildlife sectors, is developing a regulatory framework on community resource management to help protect wildlife and promote biodiversity conservation across the length and breadth of the country.

The framework seeks to involve community people in managing, conserving and adding value to their own natural resources to improve their livelihood and wellbeing. It will also seek to among other things, secure habitats, protect endangered species and enhance security of protected areas, while strengthening local economies and income at community levels.

This was made known at a two-day capacity building workshop organized for stakeholders on community resource management system in Accra last week. The Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, Esther Obeng-Dapaah, indicated at the workshop that Ghana's wildlife resources had come under intense exploitation with about 59 mammals, eight birds, three reptiles, five turtles and 34 plants, being in danger of extinction.

According to the Minister, Cabinet recommended the drafting of a community-based wildlife management policy in the country to devolve responsibility and authority for wildlife management institutions to save endangered species. She noted that the initiative was to enable government create the necessary incentives for responsible use of wildlife with people who live with it, and bear the cost of conservation. If the concept is properly implemented it will contribute to sustainable development of rural economies.

Research conducted in Ghana showed the country's annual bush meat consumption rate as 225,000 tonnes valued at US$350million, with little of the amount trickling down to the local communities.

Experts have indicated that as the wildlife-based economy flounders, thereby pushing major players to desperately put up strategies in place for survival, there was the need for stakeholders to endeavour to implement the system in line with the country’s development strategies

For full story, please see: www.thestatesmanonline.com/pages/news_detail.php?newsid=7164§ion=2

BACK TO TOP

26. India: 50,000 tribals apply for forest land

Source: Times of India, India, 10 September 2008

Gandhinagar: The state government has so far received 53,327 applications for allotting land to tribals under the controversial Forest Rights Act, 2006. This was informed in a high-level Gujarat Tribal Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday, chaired by Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The Forest Rights Act, 2006 Act allows tribals to take possession of the land they had been tilling till December 13, 2005.

Allotment of land to tribals was one of the major poll issues during the December 2007 Assembly elections. Modi blamed the Central government for failing to give a nod to the state government's request to allow allocation of land to tribals. On the contrary, the Opposition said the state government had not shown any inclination to forward tribals' applications.

Post elections, the tribal land issue acquired a new dimension as a result of the death of two adivasis in Vijaynagar forests during a demonstration which turned violent. The government claimed that certain elements had instigated 4,000 tribals to attack forest officials and occupy forest land illegally, while Congress termed the killing of tribals a show of reckless government approach on the tribal land issue.

The advisory council meeting is held every year, which sees participation of tribal MLAs and officials involved in tribal affairs. An official document prepared for the meeting said, "The applications are currently being processed by assessing the claims of the applicants. They will then be passed at the village-level committees before being sent to taluka and district-level offices after checking relevant documents attached with the claims."

Recognising that so far not a single tribal has been allocated land, a senior official said formal claims of 1,730 tribals are being assessed, but a final decision on them has not been taken.

For full story, please see: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/50000_tribals_apply_for_forest_land_/articleshow/3465048.cms

BACK TO TOP

27. India to cut tobacco area by promoting medicinal plants

Source: Reuters India, India, 9 September 200

Mumbai. The Indian government will provide assistance to farmers diverting area under tobacco towards medicinal plants, a government release said on Tuesday.

The government will support tobacco growers to switch to other crops and will use a 6-billion-rupee fund for promotion of medicinal plants, Anbumani Ramadoss, federal health minister, was quoted as saying in the release.

However, higher tobacco prices are prompting Indian farmers to increase area under the leaf. The average price of the premier grade used for cigarette-making, flue cured virginia (FCV), has risen to 84.67 rupees per kg from 47.47 rupees a year ago.

India is the second biggest producer of tobacco after China and the fourth-biggest exporter of unmanufactured tobacco.

For full story, please see: http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINBOM2802320080909

BACK TO TOP

28. India: Loss of wildlife is threatening biodiverse forests in northeastern India

Source: mongabay.com, 15 September 2008

Logging, agricultural expansion, and hunting of large birds and mammals in the tropical forests of northeastern India may be reducing the capacity of the biologically-rich ecosystem to regenerate itself, report researchers writing in the open-access journal Tropical Conservation Science.

Analyzing the dispersal modes and spatial patterns of 128 tree species in the tropical semi-evergreen forest of Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas, Aparajita Datta and G.S. Rawat found that 78 percent of trees are dispersed by animals and that tree species distributions are to an extent limited by dispersal. The results suggest that declines of hornbills, ungulates, bears, and primates — major dispersers for many tree species — as a result of human activity, are "likely to have consequences for the dispersal and recruitment of many tree species in these forests, especially several rare large-seeded tree species."

Population growth in the global biodiversity hotspot is a particular challenge, note the researchers. While the region has the lowest population density in India, a population growth rate of three percent per year has put pressure on community-owned forest reserves for food, timber, and non-timber forest products. However it is this dependence — combined with improved relations between the Forest department and the Nishi, a local tribe — that may help facilitate more effective conservation action in Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary and the surrounding area, say Datta and Rawat.

"The Nishi are mainly dependent on subsistence agriculture; there are few employment opportunities and there are conflicts with the Forest Department over crop-raiding by elephants," the authors write. "The local community has mostly viewed the Forest Department and the presence of a sanctuary with resentment."

"From 2002 onwards, the Forest Department and national conservation organizations have attempted to address the problem faced by local communities, and this has generated greater support for the park. Hunting of wildlife such as hornbills, primates and ungulates in the park appears to have declined since 2002 due to better protection by park authorities and greater awareness and enforcement of hunting bans by the Nishi community."

Datta and Rawat conclude by arguing that efforts to protect forest resources and biodiversity will be in the best interest of local communities.

"Our results stress the ecological and social value of preserving ecological processes that are sustained by plant-animal interactions," they write. "The study has also generated information on the natural history and ecology of several important vertebrate species and improved our understanding of the forests in the area. This knowledge can be used to enhance conservation awareness among local communities in the area."

Aparajita Datta and G.S. Rawat. Dispersal modes and spatial patterns of tree species in a tropical forest in Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 1(3):163-185, September 2008

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0915-aparajita__tcs.html

BACK TO TOP

29. Myanmar: Researchers map Myanmar forests for wildlife

Source: Economic Times, Haryana, India, 10 September 2008

Washington. Wildlife Conservation Society researchers have built up a bank of valuable data on Myanmar's tiger population and other smaller, lesser known carnivores.

These findings will help in the formulation of conservation strategies for the country's wildlife. The data were gathered between December 2002 and May 2004.

Using camera traps survey techniques, researchers from the Society’s Myanmar Programme combed the 3,250-square-km core area of the Hukaung tiger reserve for evidence of the big cats.

Researchers photographed six individual tigers some 21 times in the reserve, and this has allowed the first ever scientific estimate of abundance for these big cats in northern Myanmar.

"We know there are tigers here, but previously we were not able to put some numbers to the population," said Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) researcher, U Than Myint, co-author of the study that was published in the journal Population Ecology. We have collected the first real data needed to determine how many tigers are here. From the analyses of this data, it is estimated that there are at least seven and potentially up to 70 tigers living in the core area.

"Estimating numbers of prey animals such as gaur and sambar may give an indication of how many tigers can be supported over this vast habitat, but any further ecological monitoring will likely need to be done at the same time as efforts are increased to protect tigers and their key prey species from illegal hunting and trade," Myint said.

Researchers have also confirmed the continued existence of 18 smaller carnivores in a variety of habitats across Myanmar, according to another study by WCS's Myanmar Programme.

For full story, please see:

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Flora__Fauna/Researchers_map_Myanmar_forests_for_wildlife/articleshow/3467235.cms

BACK TO TOP

30. Namibia: NC Discusses Plant Protection

Source: The Namibian (Windhoek), 15 September 2008

Seeds of Namibia's Hoodia gordonii plant have been exported clandestinely to foreign countries, a Swapo MP claimed in the National Council last week. However, Willem Appollus said the seeds did not grow in those foreign countries. Speaking during debate on the third reading of the Plant Quarantine Bill in the National Council, Appollus said Namibia should protect its flora and fauna.

Hoodia is a succulent plant found in parts of southern Namibia, South Africa and Botswana. The Hoodia gordonii species is now in high demand in the US and Europe because of its appetite-suppressing qualities. The plant is listed on Appendix II of the United Nations Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) – a list of species that are not currently endangered but are at risk if trade in them is not controlled.

Swapo's Bartholomeus Shangheta said many of the legal frameworks for exporting and importing plant products are outdated and no longer match the economic realities and challenges that Namibia is facing today. Therefore, he said, it is high time that these instruments are replaced with ones that will help Namibia address new challenges.

Namibia has ratified a number of international agreements such as the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and should abide by them, he pointed out.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200809151147.html

BACK TO TOP

31. Nigeria: Study unveils medicinal plants for skin problems

Source: Nigerian Tribune, Nigeria, 25 September 2008

Medicinal plants in Nigeria were considered by several researchers to form an important component of the natural wealth of the country, considering that the tropical rainforest of which Nigeria is a reservoir of chemical substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes.

Some of their ancient indigenous uses were discovered by a series of “trial and error” which then could not be proven by scientific theories though the results have been beneficial and efficient compared to conventional modern medicines.

However, these ancient indigenous uses of the plants vary from one community to another, necessitating that such plants be identified and documented according to the ailments cured, preparations and administrations of the herbs as well as local and common names for easy communication.

One of such efforts was that by researchers from the University of Benin that studied medicinal plants used in treating skin diseases by healers in Ovia North- East local government area of Edo State. The study titled: “Ethno-Medicinal Uses of Plants in the Treatment of Various Skin Diseases in Ovia North-East, Edo State, Nigeria” was carried out by Dr. R.K.A. Egharevba of the Department of Crop Science and Dr. M.I. Ikhatua in the Department of Forestry and Wildlife.

This study was investigated in nine rural communities in Ovia North -East local government area council of Edo State and was published in the latest edition of the Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences.

The investigation included names and plant parts used, ailments cured, preparations and administrations of these herbs through the use of questionnaires and interviews of old and experienced rural people as well as herbalists.

In the survey, 41 plant species from 29 families were identified. These plants include some wild and uncultivated ones Xylopia aethopica (Guinea pepper) Plukenetia conophorum (African walnut), Monodora myristica (African nutmeg) Afromomium melequenta (Alligator pepper) and some semi-wild plants such as Dacryodis edulis. They also include ornamental plants like Lawsonia inermis (Dye) and herbs.

A total of 57 commonly used prescriptions for skin diseases were noted. Mixtures of plants were used in some cases. Several medicinal plant parts were used in herbal preparations such as leaves, stem and barks, fruits, seeds and roots of all these, the leaf was found to be used in about 70 to 75 per cent of the cases.

For full story, please see: http://www.tribune.com.ng/25092008/thr/hlt2.html

BACK TO TOP

32. Philippines: Aguilar leads Moringa drive

Source: Manila Standard Today, Philippines, 2 September 2008

Las Piñas City is embarking on a massive planting of malunggay trees to boost the source of nutritional food and medicine to residents while protecting the environment. Mayor Vergel Aguilar said as more people experience hunger and poverty due to the high cost of food and health care, the local government must provide economic relief. Mobilized in the city-wide campaign are officials down to the 20 barangays and various urban poor groups that serve as partners in the local ecological program.

Moringa (Moringa oleifera) or malunggay (kalamungan in the Visayans, kalamunge to Pampangueños, marunggay to Ilocanos and kalunggay to Bicolanos), is considered one of the world’s most nutritious plants with versatile use in agriculture, medicine and industry.

Aguilar urged residents to plant malunggay to tap its nutritional potential especially for the children, encouraging them to nurture trees amid the threat of global warming.

Food analysis shows malunggay leaves contain 26 percent ”crude protein” and are rich in vitamins A, C, iron and potassium. It also has medicinal value to treat arthritis, rheumatism, gout, cramp, boils, and sexually transmitted disease.

Mature seeds also produce high-value oil, called oleic acid, widely used in the food industry. The edible oil can lower cholesterol levels in the blood, improve lipid profiles and modify harmful inflammation. It also serves as lubricant for fine machinery, and its antioxidant properties are useful in the manufacture of perfumes, personal care and therapeutic products and cosmetics.

Aguilar added it is not hard to grow malunggay as it can be planted in well-drained sandy loam or loam soil and can survive clayish soil.

For full story, please see: www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=police4_sept2_2008

BACK TO TOP

33. Sri Lanka: Rs. 7 mn to expand cinnamon trade

Source: The Island (subscription), Sri Lanka, 22 September 2008

The Agriculture and Agrarian Services Ministry has devised a long-term economic strategy to capture lucrative export markets for indigenous subsidiary food crops. Under the "Api Wawamu- Rata Nagamu" concept the Ministry expects to increase cinnamon exports up to 3000 MT by 2010.

The Ministry has allocated Rs.7 million for Export Agriculture Department to expand cinnamon cultivation which could attract potentially more export markets, the Agriculture and Agrarian Services Ministry said.

The Agriculture and Agrarian Services Ministry Advisor A.H.L. Somathilika told The Island Financial Review that Sri Lankan cinnamon had been rated as the best quality cinnamon in the World Market as Sri Lanka had been able to supply 90 percent of cinnamon requirements to the World Market. In the World Market the supply of quality cinnamon was about 15 per cent and the supply of Cassia cinnamon which was the substitute for cinnamon was around 85 per cent at the World Market.

He said that Sri Lanka had been ahead of supplying quality cinnamon to the World Market and China, Indonesia and Vietnam had been exporting Cassia cinnamon. The Ministry was positive that Sri Lanka would be able to increase cinnamon exports by 5 per cent in 2010.

Somathilaka outlined that cinnamon had been cultivated in 25,413 hectares and one hectare was yielding around 500 kg of cinnamon annually. Of this amount around 5,350 MT was being exported and Sri Lanka had been earning Rs.2229.2 million from cinnamon exports annually. The future plans in cinnamon cultivation would include export of 3,000 MT by 2010, enhancement of quality, increase of revenue, increase of production, increase of profits.

For full story, please see: www.island.lk/2008/09/22/business4.html

BACK TO TOP

34. Uganda: Wildlife body in ecotourism venture

Source: New Vision (Kampala), 8 September 2008

THE Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has signed an agreement worth $3m (about sh4b) with a Germany investor to manage wildlife which is not in gazetted parks.

Lillian Nsubuga, the UWA publicist, said in a statement that the investor, Christian Weth, would invest in ecotourism and game farming in Luweero and Nakaseke districts. "There is huge potential for tourism, sport-hunting and game farming in this area. We will bring tourists to see the animals," Weth said. He owns the Uganda Wildlife Safaris, a tour and travel agency, which would work closely with the districts officials.

Luweero and Nakaseke have animals such as warthogs, leopards, bushbucks, hyenas and Uganda kobs.

The UWA executive director, Moses Mapesa, said Weth's task would be to attract people who are interested in vermin animals to hunt the animals. UWA is planning to extend the programme to other parts of Uganda, the statement added.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200809090134.html

BACK TO TOP

35. Vietnam: Bamboo reserve promotes conservation, relaxation

Source: Thanh Nien Daily, Vietnam, 1 September 2008

The Phu An Ecological Bamboo Museum and Botanical Reserve, also known as the Phu An Bamboo Village, is a multipurpose center promoting scientific research and ecosystem conservation while educating the local community about environmental protection and the value of ecotourism, said project head Dr. Diep Thi My Hanh, a lecturer at the HCMC University of Natural Sciences.

In addition to providing a research center and laboratory for students and academics, the reserve is also an ecotourism site, located in Binh Duong Province’s Ben Cat Commune, some 30km from Ho Chi Minh City.

The vast ecological reserve with its 130 bamboo species, including many rare varieties collected from every corner of the nation, is open for tourists.

Phu An Bamboo Village’s botanical garden is known for its gorgeous landscaping, brought to life with lush bamboo clusters and brilliantly coloured flowers.

The reserve also features a museum displaying tools, musical instruments and art made out of bamboo.

The museum houses an endangered species room where rare plants and insects are kept. There is also a small theatre where visitors can watch documentaries about bamboo.

The site also features a bamboo maze made of rare species.

The VND11 billion (US$665,100) reserve, 12km from the provincial capital of Thu Dau Mot, opened to the public last April and covers nearly 10 hectares.

The project is a collaboration between the HCMC University of Natural Sciences, the Binh Duong Province administration and authorities from France’s Rhone Alpes region and the Pilat Natural Reserve.

For full story, please see: www.thanhniennews.com/travel/?catid=7&newsid=41638

BACK TO TOP

NEWS

36. Herbal way to combat mosquito

Source: Bernama, Malaysia, 24 September 2008

Kuala Lumpur. Despite rapid advances in medical sciences during the past decades, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue, Japanese encephalitis (JE), 'filiarisis', malaria and chikungunya continue to haunt mankind. This is due to the fact that the mosquito vectors as well as causative agents like bacteria and fungi have developed resistance against the pesticides and anti-microbial drugs.

"Dengue, which has spread across the globe, is caused by the breeding and adaptation of the Aedes aegyptii and Aedes albopictus mosquito.”This is the reason why dengue is still rampaging in Asia," Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) Dr Nor Azah Mohamad Ali told Bernama here recently. Dr Nor Azah is a senior researcher with medicinal plants programme at FRIM's Forest Biotechnology Division.

According Dr Nor Azah the best move to curb the breeding of the mosquito is to destroy its larva or through the use of insect repellents. "At the moment, the control of the mosquito vectors depends on the chemical-based and synthetic repellents like dimethyl phthalate, malathion and dimethyl-m-toluamide (DEET). She said even though the chemicals are effective, some could be hazardous apart from being ozone-depleting and continuous use could turn the mosquito vectors resistant to insecticides.

Dr Nor Azah suggested the possibility of using herbs and spices, whose essential oils are able to repel insects, be used in insecticides. This is due to the presence of monoterpenoids like limonene, citronellol, geraniol and citronellal that have been reported as having insect repellent properties. "As aroma play an important role towards controlling the insects behaviour, essential oils can be used as insect repellents", she said.

From FRIM's research, a number of essential oils such as Cymbopogon nardus, Litsea eliptica, Melaleuca cajuputi and Cinnamomum spp demonstrate repellent properties against the Aedes agyptii mosquito. She said essential oils from other plants, reported to be able to repel insects are that from geranium (Pelargonium citrosum), sandalwood (Aquilaria malaccensis) and Sweet Basil (Ocimum spp).

"There are other aromatic species that can be found in the Malaysian forest or that cultivated in parks for their medicinal properties and culinary reasons. Essential oils from these species are also preferred by the essential oil industry," said Dr Nor Azah, who has been with FRIM since 1987.

Since the early 1990s, FRIM has carried out research on the potential for their extracts to be used for various purposes. "Our research is focused on the extraction process. We also make trips to the jungle for random sampling of plants that contain essential oils. FRIM's efforts are among the earliest research work on essential oils in Malaysia," she said.

Since 1994, the research centred on the production of essential oils that emit strong aroma. When FRIM set up its medicinal plants division in 1995, the research work is geared towards bioactivity work. Then, dengue was a frequent occurrence, she said.

Dr Nor Azah said the use of various repellents to kill Aedes mosquito could inevitably turn the insect to be resistant to such chemicals. She said the study conducted was on more than 30 plant extracts including that from serai wangi (Cymbopogon nardus), citrus fruits, medang, sandalwood, kemoyang and betel plant.

Further research work is needed on scent-producing plants, which can be utilised for the making of insect repellents and aromatic agents.

She said from studies held at FRIM, it was found that aroma-producing plants like citrus, selasih (Ocimum), serai (Cymbopogon) and medang (Cinnamomum) exhibited their potential in repelling mosquito when tested on Aedes aegyptii via the American Society Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard E951-85.

Dr Nor Azah said the most effective essential oils discovered so far are that from the citrus plants. "Mosquito is repelled by certain aromas from essential oils. Our aim now is to find the essential oils that can kill or knock down this insect," she said.

She said the research conducted at FRIM is to also know more about these therapeutic effects on, among others, the human skin. "All ingredients, no matter how natural they are, would have side effects if excessively used. Essential oils are not ideal for direct use (and) they should be blended in the form of creams or lotions. Dr Nor Azah also cautioned that some essential oils might cause allergies to pregnant women.

Among the success chalked by FRIM on its research over essential oils is the discovery of 'Deesrept' which contains one or a blend of essential oils from the citrus family. "This essential oil can be included in creams and lotions," she said.

FRIM's research showed that this essential oil product is able to repel the mosquito to the extent of killing it," said Dr Nor Azah.

These products could also be used as body sprays or air fresheners, she said, adding that a Bumiputera firm is working on commercialising the product.

Further research is needed to ensure non-toxicity and optimum efficiency of the essential oils. FRIM would carry out more research, as there are still more of the untapped medicinal plants in the country's forests.

Public awareness on alternative products for repelling mosquito is high but there are only few of such products in the market due to limited resources of raw materials, she said. The use of natural herbs as raw products has pushed up the processing costs.

FRIM has set up a sub-station in Maran, Pahang for the cultivation of medicinal herbs like serai wangi for research and commercial purposes. At the same time, FRIM is also taking pro-active measures in maintaining the natural resources. "Our jungles contain numerous herbal treasures that have potential, but if we acquire any species for research, then we will plant it back.”

For full story, please see: www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsfeatures.php?id=360966

BACK TO TOP

37. La medicina occidental 'puede convivir con saber local'

Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update (1 - 7 September 2008)

[BUENOS AIRES] Un estudio realizado sobre los hábitos de un grupo indígena en la Amazonia boliviana muestra cómo es posible la mezcla entre prácticas ancestrales con la medicina científica.

El estudio, realizado por científicas de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (España) y de la Universidad de Georgia (Estados Unidos) y publicado en el Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine el 18 de agosto pasado, evaluó el modo en que los Tsimane, en la selva boliviana, actúa ante la enfermedad.

Detectó que en primer término los indígenas acuden a los tradicionales curanderos locales y sólo en segundo término, o ante casos de particular gravedad, recurren a la medicina occidental, sobre todo si se trata de afecciones gastrointestinales.

Según distintas encuestas y entrevistas realizadas por las investigadoras, existe entre los pobladores locales, que suman unos 8.000, la voluntad de sumar lo mejor de ambas formas de curar enfermedad y llegar a una especie de "sinergia" entre ambas. Según lograron determinar, los médicos y los curanderos locales están de acuerdo en que la tuberculosis debe ser tratada con medicinas occidentales, mientras que otros males, como la diarrea, pueden ser resueltos con remedios basados en la vegetación local.

Para las autoras del estudio, esto es posible pese a ciertas particularidades del acervo cultural local que hacen que no existan nombres de enfermedades sino meramente síntomas, que se encuentre expandida la creencia en la brujería como factor causal de males y que se piense a ambos tipos de "medicinas" como sistemas independientes de conocimiento.

La investigación, según el cardiólogo argentino Daniel Flichtentrei, jefe de contenidos médicos de IntraMed, afirmó a SciDev.Net, "pone en evidencia que las personas encargadas de paliar los sufrimientos no tienen prejuicios académicos ni culturales a la hora de reunir esfuerzos en esa dirección".

Y agregó que "los pueblos originarios no emplean remedios diferentes para tratar las mismas enfermedades que los médicos occidentales sino que la distancia es mucho más compleja: entre ambas culturas las categorías de salud y enfermedad suelen ser completamente distintas".

Por lo tanto, abogó en ese sentido por un tipo de "medicina sincrética en la que se aprendan y enseñen mutuamente los 'médicos' de una y otra cultura".

Enlace al artículo de Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine

For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/es/news/la-medicina-occidental-puede-convivir-con-saber-lo.html

BACK TO TOP

38. Norway joins fight to save Amazon

Source: BBC News, UK, 17 September 2008

Norway has pledged $1bn (£500m) to a new international fund to help Brazil protect the Amazon rainforest. The donation is the first to the fund which Brazil hopes will raise $21bn to protect Amazon nature reserves. Norway's prime minister said the project was important in the fight to reduce global warming.

Brazil is one of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, with three-quarters of its total coming from the burning of trees in the Amazon.

The money will be released over seven years to promote alternatives to forest-clearing for people living in the Amazon, and support conservation and sustainable development.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: "Efforts against deforestation may give us the largest, quickest and cheapest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”Brazilian efforts against deforestation are therefore of vital importance if we shall succeed in our campaign against global warming," he added.

The Brazilian government wants to raise $21bn through foreign donors by 2021, although President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has insisted that the Amazon's preservation is Brazil's responsibility.

He welcomed Norway's pledge, saying: "The day that every developed country has the same attitude as Norway, we'll certainly begin to trust that global warming can be diminished."

Japan, Sweden, Germany, South Korea and Switzerland are said to be considering donating to the fund, which was launched last month.

For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7621179.stm

BACK TO TOP

39. Rainforest conversion to oil palm causes 83% of wildlife to disappear

Source: mongabay.com, September 15, 2008

Conversion of primary rainforest to an oil palm plantation results in a loss of more than 80 percent of species, reports a new comprehensive review of the impacts of growing palm oil production. The research is published in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

"By compiling scientific studies of birds, bats, ants and other species, we were able to show that on average, fewer than one-sixth of the species recorded in primary forest were found in oil palm," said lead author Emily Fitzherbert from the Zoological Society of London and University of East Anglia. "Degraded forest, and even alternative crops such as rubber and cocoa, supported higher numbers of species than oil palm plantations."

The results confirm that oil palm plantations are a poor substitute for natural forests when it comes to conservation of biological diversity.

The study warns that burgeoning demand for palm oil for use in foods, household products, and biodiesel will continue to fuel expansion in the tropics. Because planters can subsidize operations by the initial logging for forest plots, it seems likely that forests will continue to fall for new plantations despite the availability of large tracts of degraded and abandoned land.

"There is enough non-forested land suitable for plantation development to allow large increases in production without large impacts on tropical forests, but as a result of political inertia, competing priorities and lack of capacity and understanding, not to mention high levels of demand for timber and palm oil from wealthy consumers, it is still often cheaper and easier to clear forests. Unless these conditions change quickly, the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity will be substantial," the authors conclude.

CITATION: Emily B. Fitzherbert, Matthew J. Struebig, Alexandra More, Finn Danielsen, Carsten A. Brühl, Paul F. Donald, Ben Phalan. How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 23, Issue 10, October 2008, Pages 538-545

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2008/0915-palm_oil.html

BACK TO TOP

40. World’s First Biodiversity Law Center in Malaysia

Source: Prensa Latina, Cuba, 24 September 2008

Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia on Wednesday opened the world's first center for legal advice on biodiversity development and marketing, for both government and international institutions.

Increasing the country's capacity on the legal aspects of bio-security and biotechnology are among the main objectives of the Center of Excellence for Biodiversity Law (Ceblaw), based at the University of Malaya.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said the center will also give the government legal advice on issues included in international environmental agreements, the World Trade Organization, among others.

CEBLAW emerged from a joint initiative by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and the University of Malaya, to support the Executive in legal affairs benefiting exchange, traditional thinking and copyrighting, the official explained.

For full story, please see: www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7B3BCBACA1-1CD2-44DA-BBEB-05D18977AC7F%7D)&language=EN

BACK TO TOP

EVENTS

41. Honey – the sweet stuff becoming a sour issue – International Conference

26-27th March 2009

Gloucestershire, UK

Honeybee numbers in the world are dropping for understandable reasons: habitat loss and fragmentation, infestation of apiaries by parasites and widespread use of agricultural chemicals, including industrial pollution. Being animal keepers and food producers, beekeepers have to follow the legal prescriptions.

This conference will not only cover the honeybee reductions around the world, pesticide and antibiotics excessive usage issue, guidelines and regulations updates, authenticity and adulteration problems, but will also educate and create awareness of practices in different countries, new developments on the markets, clean labels and sugar substitution, food safety aspects and many more. Our speakers will cover different areas of concern and approaches from the beekeeping farms, factories, processing plants, manufacturing processes, retailers’ perception, legal labelling issues, consumer analysis, laboratories and bee inspectors’ view.

The conference will be filled with real life case studies and guidelines on food safety, sustainability and global sourcing.

For more information, please contact:

Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association

Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6LD, UK.

Tel: +44 (0) 1386 842000

Fax: +44 (0) 1386 842100

e-mail: info@campden.co.uk

BACK TO TOP

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

42. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Herbst, P.; Mekic, F.; Avdibegovic, M.; Schmithüsen, F. [eds.]. 2008. Forstwirtschaft und Forstrecht in den Reformstaaten Mittel- und Osteuropas 1990-2007. ISBN 978-9958-616-07-5 (Forestry and forest legal issues in the Central and Eastern European Countries with economies in transition [1990 – 2007])

Printed copies may be requested from the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Forestry, Prof. Dr. Mersudin Avdibegovic at mavdibegovic@gmail.com

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

Considerando su importancia y la presión sufrida, la Amazonía necesita de modelos de desarrollo con actividades económicas que no presuman la deforestación exagerada. En ese contexto, el manejo de productos forestales no maderables – PFNMs merece atención especial, considerándose que si conducido de manera sostenible al mismo tiempo en que puede tornar las forestas rentables, en muchos casos puede mantener su estructura y biodiversidad prácticamente inalteradas. Los PFNMs, como el proprio nombre indica, son productos advenidos de la foresta que no sean madera, como: hojas, frutos, flores, semillas, nueces, palmitos, raíces y bulbos, ramas, cáscaras, fibras, aceites esenciales, aceites fijos, resinas, lianas, hierbas, bambús, plantas ornamentales, hongos y productos de origen animal. Pensando en la importancia de esos productos, se observa que son cruciales para la subsistencia de muchas personas en todo el mundo, especialmente para aquellas que viven en el interior de forestas o en sus cercanías. Los PFNMs son utilizados para la alimentación, producción de medicamentos, usos cosméticos, construcción de viviendas, tecnologías tradicionales, producción de utensilios y otros usos. De acuerdo con la FAO, cerca de 80% de la población en países en desarrollo utilizan PFNMs para suplir algunas de sus necesidades de vida.

A pesar del grande potencial de la Foresta Amazónica para el manejo de PFNMs, todavía son escasas informaciones que suministren bases para la conducción de trabajos sustentables junto a comunidades. Se considera que, de manera general, las comunidades envueltas en iniciativas de manejo de PFNMs normalmente pueden tener más conocimientos sobre los recursos que los técnicos que por ventura acompañen los trabajos. Se avalúa que todavía no existe un camino o conjunto de actividades que indiquen como realizar de manera adecuada el manejo comunitario de PFNMs.

Este trabajo trata la cuestión a partir de una óptica holística, haciendo el esfuerzo de dividir el trabajo en distintas etapas. Se sugiere la definición de tres etapas para los trabajos: pre-colecta, colecta y pos-colecta. En la fase pre-colecta se evalúa como adecuado el establecimiento de un orden de actividades que deben pasar por: i) inserción de la comunidad en el trabajo, incluyendo discusiones sobre el interés comunitario, cuestiones de propiedad de la tierra, diagnósticos de mercado consumidor y definición de grupos de trabajo; ii) ordenamiento y planificación de actividades, a partir de un cronograma de trabajo comunitario; iii) conformación de un conjunto de instituciones colaboradoras; iv) realización de capacitaciones, v) formulación de un sistema de gestión del manejo en la comunidad; vi) estudio del potencial productivo forestal, a partir de informaciones tradicionales y de levantamientos técnicos; vii) mapeo de la área de colecta y de los individuos productivos; viii) legalización de la actividad de acuerdo a los marcos legales estaduales y nacionales. La siguiente, la fase de colecta, debe también ser dividida en distintos momentos y actividades, siendo ellos: i) establecimiento de principios de conservación de los recursos naturales aprovechados; ii) definición de los procedimientos de colecta, involucrando la seguridad de las personas, la selección adecuada de material colectado y la adopción de prácticas de máxima productividad sostenible; iii) definición de equipamientos y materiales de colecta; iv) estimativa de producción anual; v) establecimiento de ciclo / periodos de extracción; vi) definición de procedimientos de control de colecta; vii) adopción de medidas mitigadoras de impactos. Ya la última fase, la pos-colecta, debe considerar aspectos relacionados con: i) beneficiamiento de la producción; ii) métodos de transporte; iii) maneras de almacenaje; iv) prácticas de monitoreo participativo del manejo, con uso de herramientas para el monitoreo ambiental, sociocultural y económico, v) definición de estrategias de comercialización, con escoja de los productos a ser comercializados, cálculo de los costos de producción, del precio de venta y, en seguida, definiciones cuanto a las formas de inserción del producto comunitario en el mercado y sobre la organización de los procedimientos de comercialización. Se concluye que un trabajo que considere las etapas sugeridas tiene mejores condiciones de alcanzar resultados positivos con el manejo de PFNMs, aunque este trabajo no trate de cuestiones o procedimientos definitivos, siendo el manejo una ciencia a ser descubierta y redescubierta a partir de la interacción armónica entre conocimientos tradicionales, biología y ecología de las especies, y investigación científica de casos particulares.

Para más información, dirigirse a:

Frederico Soares Machado

calle Carneiro Leão, 120, Conj. Bela Vista, Floresta. Código Postal (CEP): 69.906-425. Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil.

Teléfono: 55 68 99720228

E-mail: fredericosm@ufla.br; frederico@pesacre.org.br

Murugesan, S.; Sundararaj, R.; Jacob, JP; Anitha, J.; Karthick, S. 2008. Biopesticidal potential of neem against forest insect pests. Hexapoda. Indian Academy of Entomology, Chennai, India: 2008. 15: 1, 56-60. 2 ref.

Oudhia, P. (2008). One day in Girodpuri-Sonakhan-Pithora forest tract of Indian state Chhattisgarh. www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Living with Psittacula cyanocephala : My experiences. www.Ecoport.org

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

Oudhia, P. (2008). Few words about Leukemia herb, a wonder herb of Chhattisgarh. www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Traditional Medicinal knowledge about herbs and herbal combinations used in treatment of Type II Diabetes in India with special reference to Chhattisgarh. (Scientific Report in progress) www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). My observations and experiences with Parrots of Chhattisgarh with special reference to Barnawapara wildlife Sanctuary region. www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Recent Interactions with Farmers of Barnawapara wildlife sanctuary region, Chhattisgarh, India having traditional knowledge about organic farming. www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Recent interactions with farmers of Chhattisgarh Plains, India facing problem of Monkey nuisance. www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Are urban natives becoming less sensitive and aware of surroundings and Mother Nature? www.Ecoport.org

Oudhia, P. (2008). Improved healthy food and herb based diet schedules for patients having different diseases. www.Ecoport.org

Yan Xiao. 2008. Modern Bamboo Structures: Proceedings of the First International Conference (Hardcover). Taylor & Francis. ISBN-10: 041547597X

Zhang, L., Hua, N., and Sun, S. 2008. Wildlife trade, consumption and conservation awareness in southwest China. Biodivers. Conserv. 17(6):1493-1516

BACK TO TOP

43. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Agroforestería ecológica

La agroforestería ecológica es la agricultura del siglo XXI. Se basa en los sistemas de vida, conservación y producción de las culturas ancestrales tropicales, en especial, de las culturas milenarias del neotrópico, con los aportes de la moderna agroecología.

www.agroforesteriaecologica.com

Species Grids

NASA's Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), based at CIESIN, has gridded nearly 12,000 species distribution maps which were originally in vector format (ESRI shapefile). The original data were developed by a consortium of conservation organizations including NatureServe, IUCN, Conservation International, and World Wildlife Fund-USA. To make these data more useful for modelling and for integration with socioeconomic and other data, SEDAC converted the entire collection of shapefiles to raster format.

This newly released Web site provides a search facility for quickly locating and downloading 1-kilometer (30 arc-second) resolution grids of selected species maps in GeoTIFF format. Data are available for global amphibian distributions, and for birds and mammals in the Americas. The Web site provides access to individual species distribution grids, along with family grids that show the density and distribution of species within a given family.

http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/species/

BACK TO TOP

MISCELLANEOUS

44. Deforestation Escalates in Brazilian Amazon

Source: Worldwatch Institute, 5 September 2008

Satellite imagery released earlier this week provided further evidence that deforestation in Brazil's Amazon region accelerated dramatically this year.

Between August 2007 and July 2008, 8,147 km2 of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared, according to the country's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). This is an area more than twice the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

The expanse of deforested land is about 69 percent greater than last year, when 4,820 km2 were removed. "We're not content," Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc told The Associated Press. "Deforestation has to fall more and the conditions for sustainable development have to improve."

Last year's deforestation numbers, however, were the lowest since recording began in the 1970s. The amount of forest cleared this year, while still substantial, is also less than previous years.

For full story, please see: www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=283655

BACK TO TOP

45. Orangutan from non-conserved forests can only survive three years

Source: TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta, 8 September, 2008

During the next three years, more than 8,000 orangutans face the threat of extinction as palm oil industries are refusing moratorium or spaces when opening up land.

Environmental activist group Greenpeace considers this as one effective way to protect orangutans that live outside protected forests.

Novi Hardianto, manager of the habitat program at the Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) said last week (4/9) that two big palm oil companies, IOI Group and Agro Group, have cut down forests that were known to be the habitat of orangutan. This was despite the fact that these forests were included in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Novi said that this proves RSPO cannot protect the orangutan population. “The population has been reduced by 3,000 per year. If we cannot improve this, we will not see orangutan anymore in the three years’ time,” she said. Edi Suhardi, the public relations manager at Agro Group, denied this. “It is not true that we have cut the forest there,” he said. “We just started our preliminary study to identify areas with high conservation,” said Edi.

Meanwhile, RSPO spokesperson Desi Kusmadewi said that RSPO would check out the area mentioned by Greenpeace. “If it is true, we will give chance for the company to repair what they have done first before being removed from RSPO,” said Desi.

Tonny R. Soehartono, Director for conservation and biological varieties at the Forestry Department, said the reduction of the orangutan and perhaps other species was normal. Government has decided the areas for fauna and the areas for cultivation. “We cannot make all forests only for wild animals,” said Tonny.

He went on to say that the number of orangutan in Indonesia is still 60,000. “This is more than the number of Sumatran tigers,” said Tonny.

For full story, please see: www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2008/09/08/brk,20080908-134352,uk.html

BACK TO TOP

46. Threatened plants emit ‘aspirin’

Source: Times Online, UK, 19 September 2008

Washington. Forest plants subjected to stresses such as drought emit an aspirin-like chemical that can be detected in the air above them, American scientists have discovered.

Thomas Karl, the lead researcher at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, believes that the chemical, methyl salicylate, may be a sort of immune system response. “Plants can produce their own mix of aspirin-like chemicals, triggering the formation of proteins that boost their biochemical defences and reduce injury,” he says in the journal Biogeosciences.

The chemical can be sensed by other plants and may be a means of communication. Previous studies have shown that plants being eaten by animals produce chemicals that are sensed by other plants nearby. (AP)

For full story, please see: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article4783497.ece

BACK TO TOP

QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L

This list is for information related to any aspect of non-wood forest products.

Cross-postings related to non-wood forest products are welcome.

Information on this mailing list can be reproduced and distributed freely as long as they are cited.

Contributions are edited primarily for formatting purposes. Diverse views and materials relevant to NWFPs are encouraged. Submissions usually appear in the next issue. Issues are bi-monthly on average.

To join the list, please send an e-mail to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org with the message: subscribe NWFP-Digest-L

To make a contribution once on the list, please send an e-mail to the following address: NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org

To unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to: mailserv@mailserv.fao.org with the message: unsubscribe NWFP-Digest-L

For technical help or questions contact NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org

Your information is secure--We will never sell, give or distribute your address or subscription information to any third party.

The designations employed and the presentation of materials in the NWFP-Digest-L do not necessarily imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

NWFP-Digest-L Sponsor:

Non-Wood Forest Products Programme
Forestry Department
FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39-06-570-55618
Web site NWFP programme: www.fao.org/forestry/foris/webview/fop/index.jsp?siteId=2301&langId=1

last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009