No. 08/08

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:

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1. Acai: The amazing benefits of the acai berry

Source: American Chronicle, USA, 25 November 2008

The Acai fruit is believed to have many health benefits, and is therefore gaining prominence very quickly. Although many people are still learning about the health benefits of the Acai berry, the fact is, Central and South Americans have long known about these benefits.

The Acai berry fruit is commonly found in central and south American countries such as Peru and Brazil. They come from the Acai palm, which grows in swarm lands. Perhaps that's why they have been largely ignored by urban dwellers until now.

The berry itself is a small little fruit, the size of an ordinary grape. It is dark purple in colour, and has a large seed. In fact, the seed is so large that it makes up 80% of the berry. But like all berries, the Acai berry is pulpy and juicy.

The Acai palm bears fruit twice and year, and the fruit is harvested by people as food. When consumed, the berry leaves a slight hint of bitter after taste, which resembles that of chocolate. It can be prepared in many different ways before consumption. Mostly, the Acai berry is prepared as drinks such as fruit sodas, fruit juices, smoothies, and so on. Therefore, it is very convenient for consumption.

When consumed on a regular basis, the Acai berry offers many health benefits. The Acai fruit is good for the body mainly because of its antioxidant properties: it is able to rid the body of harmful toxins in a relatively short period of time. As a result, shortly after consumption of Acai berries, an individual may start to feel a boost in energy levels. Lethargy will be removed, leaving more energy for other daily activities. It improves mental clarity and promotes sound sleep. It even helps with digestive functions.

But perhaps the greatest benefit that has been given the most attention is that the Acai berry helps in the weight loss process. Blood circulation is improved when the toxins are removed. Improved blood circulation eventually leads to slowing down of the aging process. Skin will look healthier, and cholesterol levels are regulated. The heart also starts to become stronger. If the body is currently suffering from any physical injuries, the improved blood circulation and the strong heart will certainly help speed up the healing process.

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo fibers fortify plant-based auto materials

Source: Tech-On English, Japan, 1 December 2008

Mitsubishi Motors Corp has developed resin composite materials that are reinforced by bamboo fibers and can be used in automotive interiors.

This announcement was made at the 17th Polymer Material Forum, which was organized by the Society of Polymer Science, Japan and ran from 27 to 28 November 2008 in Hiroshima City, Japan.

This is the first time that bamboo fibers have been used as automotive materials. Mitsubishi Motors aims to reduce CO2 emissions by using the plant-based materials. It has been considering mass-producing the materials and "intends to reduce the cost to a level 1.5 times higher than existing materials," according to the company.

In order to process bamboos into fibers, they are longitudinally split into four strips, their joints are removed, and then they are crushed and fibrillated using a special (undisclosed) machine.

The existing fibrillating method involves blasting or steaming (hot steam is used to loosen the fibers). But the fibers processed by these methods were not applicable to automobiles because they produced acetic acid, formic acid, aldehyde and VOC (volatile organic compound). Meanwhile, the fibers processed by the new method are free from those problems, according to the company.

Mitsubishi Motors produced composite compounds using the bamboo fiber made by the new method and two kinds of resins, (1) PBS (polybutylene succinate) resin and (2) polyurethane resin. Both of the resins contain a substantial amount of plant-based materials.

The material is intended for use as door trim base material, seatback board and ceiling board.

In respect to the reduction of CO2 emissions, the composite material made from the bamboo fibers and the PBS resin has achieved a reduction of 51% in lifecycle CO2 emissions (from the collection of raw materials to disposal) compared with existing petroleum-based PP resins. As for the material made from the bamboo fibers and the plant-based urethane resin, it achieved a reduction of about 28%, according to calculations made by Mitsubishi Motors.

For full story, please see:


3. Bamboo Laptop to debut

Source: PC World, USA, 26 November 2008

Asustek Computer plans to debut a nature-friendly laptop PC with a casing made of bamboo on Saturday at Taiwan's IT Month exhibition.

The laptop, first announced last year, is part of Asus's efforts to use renewable materials in products. The shell of the laptop is made of real bamboo, which grows fast and is used widely throughout Asia in furniture, as well as construction scaffolding, food for pandas, and in artworks.

The company on Thursday displayed the first bamboo laptop that's ready for the market. The device is part of Asus's U6V series of notebook PCs and sports a 12.1-inch screen, Intel Core 2 Duo microprocessor, and Microsoft's Windows Vista OS.

The company will launch the bamboo laptops in the U.S. and Europe at a later date, but has not decided exactly when, an Asustek representative said.

For full story, please see:


4. Bamboo in India: Year of Capacity Building enhances bamboo products

Source: MorungExpress, India, 30 November 2008

Dimapur (MExN): The Nagaland Bamboo Development Agency (NBDA) and the Department of Planning & Co-ordination co-sponsored four day training on Bamboo Toy Making and Screen Printing Technology on bamboo products from 26 to 29 November 2008 to mark the Year of Capacity Building.

In all, 37 craftsmen from the State attended the training, which was conducted by four master trainers from Zynorique, an architectural and design consultancy group.

For full story, please see:


5. Bamboo in Rwanda: KIE to research bamboo as an alternative energy source

Source:, Washington, USA

Kigali. The Kigali Institute of Education [KIE] is going to be jointly involved in research efforts with the University of Antwerpen in Belgium on bamboo plants as an alternative energy source.

The researchers will try to ascertain whether bamboo could be a dependable alternative source of energy to fossil fuel in order to reduce pollution.

James Vuningoma, KIE Vice Rector, said that the relationship with the University of Antwerpen was sealed with a Memorandum of Understanding signed with it in June this year.

Dr. Geert Potters, a Bioscience Engineer and lecturer at the Belgian University, said that preliminary findings from a research started two years ago proved that bamboo is a potential alternative energy. "Bamboo is chipped, then fermented and it produces biogas. It also reduces soil pollution," he explained in his lecture at KIE. "The rate of energy consumption in the world is always 3 percent more than the year before and the shortage of oil is going to come much sooner. This therefore requires alternatives," Potters noted.

Vuningoma said that currently in the country, bamboo is used to manufacture baskets and furniture but the research could lead to another commercial benefit to the country. The lecture follows a workshop held last week at KIE to emphasise the significance of research to its teaching staff.

He also revealed that in a bid to make KIE a renowned centre of teaching, learning and research, it has initiated partnerships with Kenyatta University [Kenya] and a South African university (he did not disclose).

For full story, please see:


6. Camu camu and its role in preventing gum disease

Source: Natural, USA, 1 December 2008

Camu Camu (Myrciaria dubia) is one of the best super foods for preventing gum disease. This amazing super food provides our bodies with endless benefits. It is the food with the highest amount of vitamin C in the world, and it also contains bioflavonoids. Studies show that a low immune system is one of the main reasons for unhealthy gums...and camu camu boosts the immune system like no other food.

For full story, please see:


7. Cork: Portugal fighting screw-cap trend to save cork forests

Source: Portugal News, Algarve, Portugal, 6 December 2008

It has recently emerged that falling demand for authentic cork stoppers is gradually forcing farmers to replace cork trees with alternative crops, such as eucalyptus trees.

At present, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) website, Portugal is the world’s largest cork producer, followed by Spain, Algeria, Morocco, Italy, Tunisia and France.

The majority of cork harvested in Iberia is used to produce bottle stoppers, which represents an estimated 70 percent of the income from harvest. However, traditional cork stoppers are being replaced with synthetic closures or screw caps, which now account for around 20 per cent of the market.

It is said that problems with bottles of wine becoming ‘corked’ (in layman terms, where the wine develops a musty smell and becomes undrinkable due to contamination with a chemical known as Trichloroanisol), have lead many wine connoisseurs to opt for bottles with synthetic cork or screw tops instead.

In a nutshell, this shift in traditional bottle stopping to using modern-day products is threatening to wipe out cork forests, along with the species that reside therein.

Cork oak forests in Portugal cover an estimated 33 per cent of land mass and are home to a number of rare and endangered species, particularly in Southern Portugal. These include black storks and booted eagles, which are already disappearing in some areas, and the Iberian Lynx, which over the past few years has been the subject of extensive reporting and campaigning.

A study by WWF, which was recently reported in The Telegraph newspaper, estimated that up to three quarters of the Mediterranean’s cork forests could be lost within 10 years. Over the past ten years in the Algarve, cork forests have declined by 28 percent.

In an attempt to boost productivity, Portuguese cork producers have introduced new sterilisation and purification methods to ensure corks are not contaminated with Trichloroanisol.

Over the years Portugal’s cork industry has not been without turmoil. In August this year environment protection agency Quercus considered the felling of 1,200 cork trees in Vale da Rosa a “glaring disregard” of the law. The trees were felled to make space for a mega residential development. Legal action was instigated by Quercus to stop the felling, the Association alleging the trees are of a species protected by Portuguese law.

Back in 2001 there were political moves to defend Portugal’s cork oaks when delegates from the Socialist Party-run council of Montijo met with officials representing the then President Jorge Sampaio with the initiation of a national petition to be presented to Parliament.

Motivated by the perceived weakening of legal protection for cork and Holm oak trees, environmental groups such as Quercus voiced their concern over the proposed changes to the law since it was first drafted in the year 2000.

The felling of 66 hectares of cork forest for the controversial Alqueva Dam project, in the northern Alentejo, also highlighted threats posed by development projects to existing oak woodland.

For full story, please see:


8. Devil's claw – a promising remedy for pain

Source: Irish Times, Ireland, 2 December 2008

Devil's claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a ground-trailing plant which gets its name from its strange-looking fruit. After the flowers die, they leave a woody fruit which has long, barbed spines.

The plant is native to many parts of southern Africa, where it is also called the grapple plant or wood spider. The part used medicinally, however, is underground. The roots grow tubers which look like sweet potatoes and have been used traditionally to relieve inflammation, pain and stomach problems.

The herbal remedy was studied extensively in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Recent interest has focused on its potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic and debilitating condition that affects many people. The best approach to managing the condition involves a suitable combination of exercise, weight-loss, physiotherapy and various medications.

While many dietary supplements and herbal remedies are now being marketed for osteoarthritis, few have been tested rigorously or extensively.

Devil's claw is a herbal remedy that shows promise in this area. While very few clinical trials have been conducted, it has been shown to be as effective as some other conventional medications used for osteoarthritis.

However, since the symptoms of osteoarthritis vary a lot, it will be important to test devil's claw in larger and longer-lasting studies.

In general, devil's claw does not have serious adverse effects. However, in one clinical trial almost one in 10 participants had diarrhoea. Some others had problems such as nausea and vomiting. Traditionally, devil's claw was said to help stimulate the appetite by increasing the production of stomach acid.

While this has not been studied in clinical trials, anyone with stomach irritation or gastric ulcer would probably be best to avoid devil's claw. Pregnant women should not take devil's claw as it contains plant steroids which allegedly can stimulate the uterus.

If you are considering a trial period with devil's claw, discuss with your healthcare professionals. Your symptoms should be carefully monitored to ensure maximum benefit from all your interventions.

For full story, please see:


9. Devil's Claw in Namibia: Devil's claw fruit for forest community livelihoods

Source: All (Namibia), 30 October 2008

Four community forests in the Caprivi have earned more than N$200 000 from devil's claw (Harpagophytum) sales. Devil's claw, a plant that grows mainly in the Kalahari sands of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Angola and to a lesser extent in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, has medicinal properties for the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and other ailments, and was recognised by 'western medicine' only in the last 50 years.

Devil's claw needs to be harvested with special techniques to conserve the plant for future use. These techniques were taught in workshops organised by the community forest committees, which also organised the Ministry of Environment and Tourism permit necessary for harvesting.

Only community members who participated in the training were registered for harvesting and were given the necessary permit to ensure that the harvesting is done under controlled conditions. In addition, the four community forestry committees carried out an effective law enforcement exercise to stop illegal harvesting and sales to illegal buyers. As the harvesters, the buyers need to be registered with Ministry as well.

For full story please see:


10. Essential oils: Himalayan oregano effective against MRSA

Source: Medical News Today, UK, 24 November 2008

A team comprising researchers from a UK university and members of local businesses and an NGO in India has discovered that the essential oil of Himalayan oregano has strong antibacterial properties and even kills the hospital superbug MRSA. They hope these findings will lead to the development of handsoaps and surface disinfectants in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

The UK researchers are from the University of the West of England, Bristol, who teamed up with, among others, India-based Biolaya Organics, a company that develops projects aimed at conserving endangered medicinal herbs, for example by cultivating them using sustainable methods and providing alternatives such as more common species.

The team is working on a project to give rural communities the means to generate income from sustainable collection of non-timber forest products in the Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. Earlier this year, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) gave the project the SEED award. SEED is an international programme with UN backing that supports entrepreneurial partnerships that develop creative, locally led solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development.

The creative and innovative part of the project is that it potentially gives a sustainable source of income to the people of the Himalayas while at the same time providing UK hospitals with an environmentally friendly way of preventing the spread of MRSA. The Himalayan Oregano project was one of five SEED 2008 winners who this year were selected from over 400 entries worldwide.

Himalayan oregano is just common Origanum vulgare that grows in the Himalayas. In fact the local people in Kullu don't regard it as having any culinary or medicinal value and treat it as a weed: they call it "bekaar gahaas" or "useless grass" because even the cows and goats don't eat it.

Ben Heron from Biolaya Organics said they started working with oregano because it is a plant that can be gathered year after year without depleting the population in the wild. He said the project aims to pay local herb collectors the same amount they would get if they collected endangered herbs so they become less dependent on the latter.

Scientists already knew that Mediterranean oregano oil was a powerful antimicrobial, because of an essential compound called carvacol. But nobody had tested the Himalayan oregano oil before, said Heron, so they teamed up with SGS who run a lab in Delhi and found it contained as much carvacol as the Mediterranean one.

At SGS they ran further tests and found that the Himalayan oregano oil was more effective at killing MRSA than 18 antibiotics. The microbiologists at UWE are now carrying out further tests, and hope to publish the results in a scientific journal.

Professor Vyv Salisbury, who leads the UWE arm of the project, and co-investigator Dr Shona Nelson, also from UWE, said they were very excited to have this opportunity to help the community. Salisbury said: "We have done a few preliminary tests and have found that the essential oil from the oregano kills MRSA at a dilution 1 to 1,000. The tests show that the oil kills MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapour and its antimicrobial activity is not diminished by heating in boiling water," she added.

Salisbury said the oil could perhaps be used to develop disinfectant washing powders because it's so strong. The next stage, she said, which has already begun, is to set up an academic study in partnership with the SGS labs in Delhi to give the project the academic credibility needed to market the oil.

"Once we are able to start providing a sustainable income for villages in Kullu, the scope for up-scaling and replication in other parts of the Himalayan region is enormous," said Salisbury.

For full story, please see:


11. Ginseng found highly effective for weight loss and diabetes control

Source: Natural, USA, 1 December 2008

Ginseng has long been one of the foundations of healing in Chinese medicine, and is probably the world’s best known herb. The botanical name panax means ‘all curing’ in Greek. This 5000 year old healer has traditionally been used as a restorative tonic to increase energy, stamina, and well being. Western scientists have confirmed the efficacy of ginseng for many of the traditional uses. Now researchers are adding to the traditional list, documenting ginseng as highly effective in weight loss and diabetes control.

Phytotherapy Research Journal reports an investigation of the molecular basis of ginsenoside Rg3, a red ginseng constituent, focusing on its ability to inhibit differentiation in the cells that store energy as fat. The data showed that ginsenoside Rg3 effectively inhibited this differentiation making the cells less able to complete the fat storage process.

Phytotherapy Research Journal also reports an evaluation of the anti-obesity effect of wild ginseng in obese leptin-deficient mice. Wild ginseng was administered orally to the mice at 100mg/kg and 200m/kg for 4 weeks. The mice showed a loss of body weight and a decrease in blood glucose levels when compared to the control mice. A follow up study by the same research team reported results suggesting that the anti-obesity effect of identified saponins from ginseng may result from inhibiting energy gain, normalizing hypothalamic neuropeptides and serum biochemcials related to the control of weight gain.

A study reported in Phytomedicine was performed to clarify whether the crude saponins from stems and leaves of panax quinquefolium inhibited lipase activity in vitro and prevented obesity induced in mice. For the in vivo experiments, female mice were fed a fattening diet with or without saponins for 8 weeks. The researchers found that the crude saponins inhibited pancreatic lipase activity. Furthermore, crude saponins inhibited the elevations of plasma triacylglycerol in rats administered the oral lipid emulsion tolerance test. With long-term administration of crude saponins, fat tissue weight was decreased in those fed the fattening diet as compared to the controls.

In a randomized clinical study reported in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers sought to provide evidence of efficacy and safety in the use of ginseng for diabetes. Their research generated a mounting body of evidence to support the claim that American Ginseng is useful in improving diabetes control, reducing associated risk factors such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension, and ameliorating insulin resistance. American ginseng acts in the digestive tract to increase insulin secretion.

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports a study acknowledging ginseng’s long history as an herbal remedy for diabetes. Researchers investigated the effect and mechanism of Korean red ginseng on stimulation of insulin release in rats. They found that the extract of Korean red ginseng significantly evoked a stimulation of insulin release compared to the controls. Experiments at different glucose concentrations showed that ginseng significantly stimulated on its own, in a glucose-independent manner.

As reported in the Journal of Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, initiating studies have shown that American ginseng increases insulin production and reduces cell death in pancreatic beta-cells. Studies have also revealed American ginseng’s ability to decrease blood glucose in type II diabetes patients as well as in diabetes induced animals. These data suggest that the effects of ginseng in improving hyperglycemia may alter mitochondrial function as well as apoptosis cascades to ensure cell viability in pancreatic islet cells.

For full story, please see:


12. Stevia: FDA may approve stevia-based sweeteners

Source: United Press International, USA, 30 November 2008

CHICAGO. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration may approve zero-calorie sweeteners derived from a shrub called stevia, analysts say.

Major U.S. beverage companies -- PepsiCo Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. -- want to market stevia-sweetened products once the sweetener gets approval, the Chicago Tribune said. Agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. already has a stevia-based sweetener in grocery stores, and Chicago-based Merisant Co., maker of the popular sweetener Equal, soon will do the same, the newspaper said.

But some public watchdogs, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are raising concerns about potential cancer-causing properties of stevia. The center is urging the FDA to do more testing before granting approval, the Tribune said.

Native to South America and already used as a sweetener there, Japan developed stevia-based sweeteners several decades ago, and Australia has recently approved it.

But stevia sweeteners are still banned in much of Europe.

As a sweetener it developed an unpleasant liquorice taste that researchers have had trouble erasing, the Tribune said.

For full story, please see:


13. Truffles: Endangered truffles set to be reared in test tubes

Source: Times Online, UK, 4 December 2008

French scientists will try to create black truffles in test tubes in an attempt to revive an increasingly endangered industry.

The French region of Corrèze is to sign an accord with key organisations in the industry to unlock the secrets of the Périgourd truffle.

Known to connoisseurs as “black diamonds”, the truffles, which are usually found growing on the roots of trees, can sell for up to £860/kg. France produced 1,000 tonnes of Périgourd truffles a year at the start of the last century, but production has fallen to 40-50 tonnes a year.

In the three-year project, scientists will culture cloned truffles with baby trees in test tubes. Once established, tree and truffle will be planted and allowed to mature naturally. The researchers hope to establish which aspects of the environment are linked to truffle growth.

For full story, please see:


14. Truffles: Italian truffle fetches $200,000 at Macau auction

Source: Reuters, USA, 29 November 2008

ROME. Defying the economic downturn, an Italian white truffle weighing just over 1kg sold at an international auction Saturday for $200,000.

The prized tuber went for the second year running to Hong Kong-born casino mogul Stanley Ho after an auction held simultaneously in Rome, London, Abu Dhabi and Macau, auction organizers said.

Last December, Ho bought a 1.5-kg specimen – one of the biggest truffles unearthed in half a century – for a record $330,000.

The 1.08-kg truffle – the biggest found in Italy this year – was flown first class to Macau, with an Italian chef accompanying it, for Saturday's auction after it was picked on November 21 in the central Molise region.

Truffles can vary considerably in size and are prized in Italian cooking for their flavour and aroma.

Output of white truffles -- which are not cultivated and only grow naturally in forests -- has fallen in Italy over the past few years, largely because climate change has brought a damaging mix of drought and torrential rains.

Scarce supply has pushed prices for normal-sized truffles above 4,000 euros ($5,176) for one kg and Italian restaurants have kept purchases to a minimum, although demand from foreign restaurants has remained stable, truffle associations say.

For full story, please see:


15. Vegetable ivory: ‘Green’ alternative ivory jewellery

Source: Eagle & Times, 28 November 2008

Eco-friendly jewellery made from tagua nuts and pumpkin seeds have proven to be a successful artistic venture for Lina O'Connor, a Columbian woman living in California, USA. Tagua is also known as natural ivory, vegetable ivory or ivory nut, but whatever the title, it is an eco-friendly, renewable resource.

The palm trees producing these nuts grow in the rainforests of Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. The nut is hard and durable; its colour resists fading and it is not allergenic. O'Connor said that the nut clusters, which can be as big as 25 pounds each, fall off and natives harvest them. She notes, “The trees don’t need them anymore.”

Tagua has been used to make buttons and chess pieces for years, but its use as jewellery (and even in bagpipes) is a more recent development. The seeds are dyed after they're polished, so they are colour-ready when O'Connor starts designing. After the designing process, most pieces take three to four hours to create. O'Connor believes the market for this kind of green jewellery is growing.

For full story please see:



16. Australia: Wattle seeds and bush tomatoes hot stuff

Source: Courier Mail, Australia, 16 November 2008

ABORIGINES have been called on to impart knowledge that will boost and provide direction to Australia's blooming bush tucker industry.

As demand locally and globally continues to grow, the industry - estimated to be worth up to $16 million a year - needs to assess where it is going and how it is going to get there, says Jenny Cleary, leader of Desert Knowledge CRC's Bush Products program.

The industry, which includes such foods as wattle seeds and bush tomatoes, is based on traditional Aboriginal knowledge about the collection, preparation and uses of desert plants and other food.

Ms Cleary says the aim is to get greater Aboriginal participation in the industry, with culturally appropriate considerations. She says there are challenges the industry needs to resolve to achieve its potential. These include the fragmentary nature of the industry, the small scale of many producers, the lack of capital and highly variable wild harvesting. Also many fruits - such as the bush tomato - have numerous varieties while the markets demand consistency of size, colour and volume.

Because of these factors, Ms Cleary says the industry will develop two supply streams: commercial harvesting in areas where water is reliable and low-volume wild harvesting. "Wild-harvested supply could be branded in such a way to go into the high-value, lower-volume product at the premium end of the market," she says.

''So far there are not many Aboriginal commercial ventures operating successfully in the area. ''Our research aims to find out how to help them participate.

In a historic development known as Hands Across the Desert, Aboriginal gatherers of the Kakadu plum in Broome in Western Australia hosted bush tomato gatherers from Alice Springs. With the aim of making their product more saleable, they discussed issues such as fruit handling, storage, pest management, quality control and traceability.

This was an acknowledgement that global demand was rising for bush and desert foods.

''The outlook for the industry is pretty good,'' Ms Cleary says.

For full story, please see:,23739,24659700-3122,00.html


17. Brazil's Amazontech debates Amazon's self-sustainability

Source: Brazzil Magazine, USA, 25 November 2008

Technological innovation, science in general and entrepreneurial initiatives turned to the Amazon region should be among the highlights of the Amazontech 2008, to take place in São Luís, in Maranhão state, from 25 November to 29 November.

The event, at its sixth edition, opens space for the generation of sustainable business, exchange of scientific and technical knowledge and diffusion of information that may guarantee self-sustainability of the region.

The Access to Innovation and Technology manager at the National Sebrae, Paulo Alvim, pointed out that Amazontech is one of the opportunities for diffusion of adequate technology to the Amazon region, within the logic of sustainable development.

In this year's edition, the expectation is for the audience to reach 30,000 people from several states in the country. Other highlights are the business roundtables that already count on the presence of 100 companies from the Amazon.

These companies offer herbal medication, handicraft, textile products, honey and honey products, as well as wooden products in the areas of sustainable management. Eight anchor companies, interested in the purchase of these products, are also confirmed, among them organizations from Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and Spain.

The Project Roundtables should include six institutions to finance social or entrepreneurial projects capable of creating work posts and generating income for the community in the Amazon. The expectation is that up to 50 projects be financed.

Amazontech has already contributed greatly to the debate regarding the Amazon region. The superintendent of the Sebrae in Rondônia state, Pedro Teixeira, who accompanied the previous events, pointed out that "one of the great feats was the creation of this space to bring together all institutions in the Amazon." "Since the first edition of the event, Embrapa has been presenting solutions for the region," he added.

According to him, an example of solutions is the study of forestry management and of how to work on the non-wood management, which expands opportunities in sectors like pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food. "Standing, a tree is more profitable than lying down. With a tree standing, we can add value to the product," said Teixeira.

Another important point is that the discussions and solutions presented benefit the communities in the region and cooperates for them to work with the potentials of the area in a sustainable manner.

Participation of fostering banks in the Amazontech events also plays an important part as they are responsible for financing to producers. "Due to these resources, we currently have enterprises breeding forest animals, like alligators and turtles, for consumption in the whole country and mainly in the South or Southeast. They are being bread legally and are helping avoid the extinction of these animals. The business sector has been investing in the preservation without leaving trade aside."

Pedro Teixeira also pointed out that the debate that began in previous editions of the Amazontech caused universities in the Amazon region to offer courses to those working with the local potential. Courses like Forestry Engineering, Biotechnology, Geology, Veterinary Medicine and Biology were implemented.

Before that, the offer was restricted to Law, Business Administration and Accounting. "This generated awareness in youths and the search for education to provide tools to operate making use of the potential of the Amazon," he explained.

For full story, please see:


18. Brazil moves to protect and restore endangered Atlantic rainforest

Source:, 26 November 2008

Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree to protect and restore critically endangered rainforest along the country's Atlantic coast, reports the Associated Press. The Mata Atlantica has been reduced to less than 7 percent of its original range as a result of logging and conversion for agriculture and cattle ranches.

The decree, signed Friday, "provides financial incentives for local residents to protect and recover forest through green businesses," according to the AP.

Carlos Minc, the country's Environment Minister, said the government aims to restore the Atlantic forest to 20 percent of its original cover.

Earlier this year the Nature Conservancy announced a program to plant a billion native trees in the region, in hopes of restoring the ecosystem. Research published last year suggests that with such efforts the Mata Atlantica may be capable of recovery.

For full story, please see:


19. Brazil triples endangered species list

Source:, 5 November 2008

Brazil has nearly tripled the number of species on its endangered list due to development, overfishing, pollution, wildlife trafficking and deforestation, reports the Associated Press.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc unveiling the new list Tuesday, adding 489 species to the previous tally of 218, which was last updated in 1989. 79 species were removed from the list due to their recovery.

Listing affords a species with legal protection, which affects land use and other policies.

Most of the listed species occur in the Atlantic forest, an ecosystem that has been more than 90 percent cleared for agriculture and urban development, and the cerrado, a grassland that has largely been converted for cattle ranches and industrial soy farms. Few of the endangered species occur in the Amazon — despite its high rate of forest loss — due to its vast extent and the list's focus on conspicuous animal life like birds, mammals, and fish, rather than insects and other invertebrates.

Minc said that 3,000 law enforcement agents would be hired to battle environmental crime in the country. 1,000 of the agents would be assigned to Brazil's environmental protection agency, IBAMA, and the Chico Mendes Institute.

For full story, please see:


20. Cameroon: Bee farmers trained on profitable honey farming

Source: The Post (Buea) 6 October 2008

Some bee farmers in the Southwest Province were recently trained on how to make their venture profitable by processing both honey and its bi-products. The two-day training took place at the Women Empowerment Centre, Kumba. The participants received fresh knowledge on honey quality, good harvest and smoking, pollen, propolis and royal jelly production, bee venom extraction and queen rearing, honey wine and mead, bee-keeping equipment, honey marketing, and access to finances.

According to the Southwest technical adviser of FAO, Irene Manyi Ako, the training is part of mobilisation and capacity building for small and medium size enterprises involved in the value chains of non-wood forest products in Central Africa.

For full story, please see:


21. Cameroon: Village Tree Planting Project

Source: Natural Resource Monitoring Items of Interest (NRMI), 26/10/08

We have been talking much and doing less, can we start from our own small communities to plant trees as to have global benefit? We are inviting donors, technical partners and volunteers to join us in this initiative.

Project Title: Tree planting in thirteen Village communities of Ngoketunjia Division, as a means to fight climate change in Cameroon and the world at large.

Summary of the area: Ngoketunjia Division is one of the seven divisions that make up the North West Province of Cameroon. This division has thirteen Village Communities with lowland plains linking most of the villages. The Division has a population of about two thousand inhabitants. Seventy percent of the total land surface is in the plains and the main activities of this division are farming with swamp rice, maize and groundnuts being their main crops cultivated. Other activities include fishing, hunting of wildlife, woodworks in craft industries, etc.

Problem statements: Increased population that depends of agriculture for survival and the limited farmlands which has lead farmers to destroy patches of forest for farm lands; Unsustainable exploitation of tree barks, roots and leaves for traditional medicines by traditional doctors; High demand for timber for construction of houses and other furniture which has lead to continue cutting down of trees without replacing; Wood is the main raw material for craft industries and the many industries uses a lot of wood; The construction of Bamenjim dam that lead to the destruction of many hectare of lowland forest; High demand for fuel wood for house use and other industries.

Objective: The objective is to plant 65,000 trees in 26 hectares of land within 13 village communities in Ngoketunjia Division, Cameroon.

Activities: The activities will start with sensitization workshops in 13 village communities on the importance of tree planting and management. Each village community will plant 2 hectares each which will be managed by the village after the project.

Expected out put: Village Communities knowledge increased on the importance of tree planting; 26 hectares of land planted with different species of trees in the pilot phase; Vegetation cover increased; the reduction of global warming.

Project duration: 12 months for this pilot phase.

Expected start date: January 2009.

Project budget: 30,800 Euro.

For further information or to provide assistance, please contact:

Jaff Francis Agiamntebom
The Project coordinator
Forest and Agroforestry, Promoters (FAP) Cameroon,
P O Box 21 Ndop Ngoketunjia,
Division North West Province, Cameroon.
Tel: +237 77839843.


22. Finnish mushroom pickers love the forest

Source: Forest-fi, 1 December 2008

“About five percent of Finns like to spend all their available time in forests,” Mr. Kimmo af Ursin estimates on the basis of his 13 years as a mushroom entrepreneur. In fact, the majority of people who pick mushrooms for sale are really out to get some for themselves, but if the catch is big enough, they end up selling some of it.

af Ursin is known in Finland for his cooperation with the Italian entrepreneur Lorenzo Dalla Valle, who exports ceps (Boletus edulis) from Finland to Italy. It is af Ursin’s job to get the pickers out as soon as the first ceps are sighted each autumn.

One person can pick enough mushrooms for the needs of a single restaurant, but when the main crop of ceps emerges in the Finnish forests, a veritable army of pickers is needed. The method of alerting the pickers varies in different parts of the country and includes placing advertisements in newspapers and sending text messages.

af Ursin has toured all of Finland, speaking to about 7,000 people about mushrooms and how to organise the picking. He has the contact information of some 1,500 mushroom pickers. After hearing about the first sighting of ceps, af Ursin forwards the information to Dalla Valle. Dalla Valle organises trucks that run on set routes according to a set timetable to buy the mushrooms, and af Ursin informs the pickers about the routes and timetables by SMS.

Buying ceps is a whirlwind business and, due to the efficiency of the pickers, daily catches can reach five tonnes. A cep of the best quality is hard and firm, the gills are white and the mushroom is clean and whole. The main part of the cep crop is exported. “In 2003, for example, some 1,100 tonnes of ceps were picked in Finland. The domestic use was about 40 tonnes,” says af Ursin

In Finland, 22 mushrooms species can be sold as foodstuffs. In practice, only seven are picked for sale: cep, false morel (Gyromitra esculenta), funnel chanterelle (Chantarellus tubaeformis), chanterelle (Chantarellus cibarius), black chanterelle (Craterellus cornucopioides), northern milk-cap (Lactarius trivialis) and rufus candy milk-cap (Lactarius rufus). “Ceps make up about 70 percent of both the volume and value of the catch,” af Ursin estimates.

But how does one know if a good mushroom crop can be expected? There is no sure way of predicting it, af Ursin says. “There are too many variables in the environment, every moment is unique. The only source of information about the crop are people who regularly move about in Finnish forests.”

For full story, please see:


23. India: 800 kg of forest fruits seized

Source: Times of India, India, 28 November 2008

BANGALORE: The forest department confiscated 800 kg of gooseberries worth around Rs 2 lakh and seized a mini-lorry that was waiting at the edge of the national park in Veeranahosahalli range to smuggle these fruits out on Tuesday night.

Two arrests were made. The accused have been booked under Sections 27, 29 and 51 of Wild Life Protection Act 1972, which prohibits destruction of habitat including plants and trees, and bans entry into the national park without permit. "We had some information and when we started tracking the leads on Tuesday night, we found this vehicle with 78 bags full of gooseberries. The culprits were planning to take the vehicle to Kerala and sell the gooseberries there," said Yatishkumar, deputy conservator of forests, wildlife division, Nagarahole.

Fruit, bark, leaves, resin and other such products are called non-timber forest products. They are an important part of the forest habitat because animal species, both large and small, survive on these food sources.

This incident highlights the fact that the main roads in Nagarahole are used to illegally transport forest products to Kerala. There is a government ban on movement of vehicles at night on the Hosur-Puttu Road where this happened.

For full story, please see:


24. Indonesia: Rinjani Community Push for Forestry Regulations

Source: The Jakarta Post, 16 September 2008 in Community Forestry E-News, September 2008

A community forestry program in Lombok that allows farmers to take part in developing forest areas and in harvesting non-timber forest products does not have farmer-friendly regulations. Farmers are now hoping for legalizing their engagement in forest management.

"A permit for forest management would allow us to become wholeheartedly involved in developing forest areas and prevent us from violating the law. It would also clarify farmers' rights and responsibilities," said Artim, a member of a local farmers' cooperative unit.

The only legal standpoint farmers have for their involvement in the program is the 1999 Forestry Law. The problem remains, however, that regulations related to this law tend to be counterproductive, if not contradictory. The farmer group has therefore requested the local Forestry and Plantation Office, legislative council members, and NGOs get together to produce a regulation on community forestry for the benefit of forest farmers.


25. Senegal: Protecting livelihoods through mangroves

Source: ZIGUINCHOR, 14 October 2008 (IRIN)

Mangroves, one of the world’s richest ecosystems, are declining in Casamance, southern Senegal, and thinning forests spurred the Senegal-based non-profit Oceanium to plant six million mangrove trees in a bid to reverse deforestation, thereby boosting fish stocks and reviving livelihoods.

Up to 15,000 youths from 130 villages helped with the two-month replanting effort, just completed, which was the first of its kind in Africa, according to Binetou Diagne, Oceanium’s spokesperson. The depletion of fish stocks has particularly affected women who sell fish in bulk, according to Sadio Thioune, president of the local non-profit Group to Promote Women (GPF).

For full story, please see:



26. 2009-2010 Kleinhans Fellowship, Rainforest Alliance: Research in Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products

From: Deanna Newsom, Rainforest Alliance,

The Kleinhans Fellowship provides $16,000 per year for 2 years to one individual conducting research to better understand and improve the impacts of non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvest and marketing on rural livelihoods and tropical forest ecosystems. The fellowship area is restricted to Latin America.

Applicants should have at least a master's degree in forestry, ecology, botany, environmental science or an appropriate related field.

Fellowship proposals should be submitted to by December 31, 2008.

For more information about the fellowship including application guidelines, please consult our webpage:


27. 2009 Year of the Gorilla: Jane Goodall named patron

Source: Press@PMDFEXT, 5 December 2008

Arlington, Virginia— Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, will serve as the official patron of the 2009 Year of the Gorilla (YoG), a 12-month campaign aimed at improving conservation of humankind’s closest relatives and their habitats by bettering the livelihoods and incomes of local people. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco launched the YoG initiative December 1 at the opening of a United Nations wildlife conference in Rome, Italy.

The YoG campaign also seeks to improve the management of national and cross-border primate populations, as well as those living in national parks, by strengthening cooperation between range states and providing improved support for rangers and other key personnel.

YoG is a joint initiative of the United Nations Environment Program’s Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP-CMS); the UNEP-United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP); and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

Dr. Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and a UN Messenger of Peace, was in Asia at the time of the YoG launch. In a statement read in her absence, she emphasized the impact of human poverty on the great apes.

“People living in and around the last forested areas are struggling to survive," said Dr. Goodall. “If we can’t help these people find ways of living that do not involve continual destruction of the forest, we shall fail in our efforts to protect these wonderful great apes—our closest living relatives."

Dr. Goodall also underlined the importance of community-centered conservation efforts like those detailed in the YoG action plan and those currently managed by JGI in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). JGI’s TACARE program, which is active in 24 Tanzanian villages around Gombe National Park, involves health care projects, forestry protection, training in sustainable farming methods, forest regeneration, water and sanitation projects, women’s initiatives, microcredit programs and education. As a result of the program, local people have partnered with JGI to put aside land for forest restoration and to protect the remaining forest, which is home to many species including endangered chimpanzees.

“These initiatives benefit more than the great apes," said Dr. Goodall. “They help prevent the spread of contagious disease. They reduce poverty and protect forests. And they help slow global climate change. Finally, in areas where there is competition for diminishing natural resources with potential for violence, programs of this kind add to the security of the region."

For more information, please contact:

Claire Gwatkin Jones
or visit: or


28. Africa’s Rare Species of Flora and Fauna Face Extinction as Poaching Intensifies

Source: The New Times (Kigali), 9 October 2008

The most rare and precious African fauna and flora species are on the verge of extinction, states a recent article, due to increasing demand and the consequent trade of African species.

Game poaching has been singled out as the greatest threat that could lead to the extinction of many wild African animals.

The equatorial forests, which are home to Mountain Gorillas, are targeted by illegal loggers, putting their habitat at risk and threatening a blossoming eco tourism sector.

Demand for aloe vera, cycads, plant succulents and other rare plant species found on the African continent, in the fast growing global cosmetic, food and beverage industries has doubled. This demand without concern for sustainable supplies is threatening to wipe these rare plants off the face of the earth, if African countries do not act fast to avert the situation.

For full story, please see:


29. Benefit-sharing: Laws to protect native knowledge 'are failing'

Source: SciDev, 29 November 2008

Global moves to improve the rights of indigenous communities over their local knowledge have largely failed, say experts.

This has resulted in intellectual property rights (IPR) claims by indigenous people dropping to "barely a trickle", according to the Montreal-based International Expert Group on Biotechnology in their report launched this month (13 November).

In Brazil, for example, only seven phytotherapeutic items have been developed with local resources compared with 700 patents on similar items filed almost entirely by foreigners worldwide.

The authors say attempts to ensure benefit-sharing with numerous indigenous communities have been hindered by an overemphasis on the ownership of intellectual property rights, which has proven a roadblock to progress.

They highlight Brazil's case, where legislation was passed in 2001 with the aim of protecting indigenous rights.

"Our legislation assures property rights to the communities, but there is an overabundance of overlapping rights," says Edson Beas Rodrigues, co-author of the report and a researcher at the Institute of Law on International Trade and Development, Brazil.

"Use of traditional knowledge and local, natural products depends on the consent of several indigenous groups that -- theoretically or actually -- 'own' them, and these groups do not always agree on these questions," he told SciDev.Net. "Research institutes and industries cannot access the knowledge and indigenous groups do not benefit from any research that could have been done.

"We try to protect indigenous rights so hard that our laws are in fact preventing the use of traditional knowledge," said Rodrigues. "We have to find a balance between assuring intellectual property and promoting access to traditional knowledge."

The report also considers case studies from Kenya and northern Canada.

“Most striking is that no matter where we looked, the lack of trust played a vital role in blocking negotiations that could have benefited both sides, as well as the larger public," says Richard Gold, chair of the group from McGill University, Canada.

For full story, please see:


30. CITES rhino task force to tackle rhino poaching

Source: Linkages Update, 28 November 2008

The Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) held a meeting from 18-19 November 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya. Bringing together wildlife law enforcement officials from range, transit and consumer countries to facilitate the exchange of intelligence on rhino-related crimes, the meeting aimed to stop the escalation of rhino poaching and to break up criminal networks involved in the increasing illegal trade in their horns.

In related CITES-enforcement news, Africa’s largest international operation against wildlife crime has resulted in the arrest of 57 suspected illegal wildlife dealers and 1,000 kilos of ivory in coordinated raids across five African countries.

For full story, please see:


31. Crops for the Future — New international organisation announced

Source: Innovations Report, 1 December 2008

A new international organisation dedicated to neglected and underutilised crops will be announced on Sunday 30 November 2008 at the Annual General Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research in Maputo, Mozambique.

‘Crops for the Future’ has evolved from a union of the International Centre for Underutilised Crops (ICUC) and the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species (GFU). It will be hosted in Malaysia by Bioversity International in a joint venture with the University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.

Over half of humanity’s food comes from only three crops — rice, wheat and maize. Thousands of others are also important, but overlooked, as sources of nutrition, food, animal feed, medicines and other resources. Hannah Jaenicke, Interim Global Coordinator of Crops for the Future, said: “In times of changing climates, and economic and social upheavals, it is essential that we promote diversity. These underutilised or orphan crops are vital to support poor peoples’ coping strategies and to encourage sustainability.”

Emile Frison, Director General of Bioversity International said: “Bioversity International has been working on neglected and underutilized species for many years. I am delighted that by hosting and supporting Crops for the Future, we will strengthen the global commitment to the use of a wide range of agricultural biodiversity.”

Sayed Azam-Ali, Professor of Tropical Agronomy and Vice-President (Research) at The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus said: “This partnership has enormous significance for the future of underutilised crops. I am delighted that we can use our excellent facilities and expertise to help carry out studies on a wide range of potentially important crops.”

Crops for the Future will support, collect, synthesize and promote knowledge on neglected and underutilised species for the benefit of the poor and the environment. It will do so by complementing and strengthening the efforts of other players active in international agricultural research and development.

The new organization is expected to start operating early in the new year.

Lindsay Brooke | Source: alphagalileo

Further information:

For full story, please see:


32. Forest hotspots pinpointed for climate, animals

Source: Reuters in ENN Daily Newsletter, 5 December 2008

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters) - A UN atlas pinpointed on Friday parts of forests from the Amazon to Madagascar where better protection could give the twin benefits of slowing global warming and preserving rare wildlife.

The atlas, issued at the 1-12 December UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, identified hotspots with a high diversity of animals and plants in forests that were also big stores of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in trees and soils

For full story, please see:


33. Nature’s “medicine chest” discovered

Source: National Geographic, 26 November 2008

Over 25 percent of all contemporary medications originate from moulds, mushrooms and other fungi, including penicillin and cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant that improves the acceptance rate following an organ transplant operation.

A ridge in the highest cloud forest of Belize, at an altitude of over 3,500 feet, has been found to be a “mushroom heaven”. In 2007, fungus scientist Timothy J. Baroni from the State University of New York at Cortland, and others discovered over 40 new species on the ridge in under two weeks. "We have a medicine cabinet at our disposal, and the medicines don't have labels yet," says Baroni, who is a funded by National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.

The great potential of new fungus remains to be explored.

For full story please see:


34. New foundation to promote sustainable collection of wild plants

From: Roland Melisch, TRAFFIC International,, 9 October 2008

Barcelona, Spain —An important agreement was signed today between the four founding institutions of the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) to endorse global implementation of the standard through the FairWild Foundation.

ISSC-MAP is a standard that promotes appropriate management of wild plant populations used in medicines and cosmetics to ensure they are not over-exploited. Under the new agreement, the FairWild Foundation will help develop an industry labelling system so products harvested using the sustainable ISSC-MAP criteria can be readily recognised and certified. Use of the standard will be promoted throughout the herbal products industry.

ISSC-MAP was developed by a partnership including the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the IUCN SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group (MPSG), WWF-Germany, and TRAFFIC, plus industry associations, companies, certifiers and community-based NGOs. The announcement was made at the World Conservation Congress, currently underway in Barcelona.

“This new agreement marks a significant step forward in the sustainable use of wild plants important to human health and well being. Industry adoption of the standard will ensure sustainable use and equitable sharing of the world’s wild plant resources, reinforcing the healthy environments, healthy people theme running throughout the World Conservation Congress,” said IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre signing the agreement on behalf of IUCN.

“A successful wild plant collection standard is essential to ensure sustainable use of medicinal plants not only for purposes of nature conservation but also in a social and economic context. Germany, as one of the major medicinal plant importers worldwide has a special responsibility of acting upon such principles,” said Professor Beate Jessel, President of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

More than 400,000 tonnes of medicinal and aromatic plants are traded annually, with around 80% of the species harvested from the wild. Almost 3,000 species are traded, many of them over-exploited and in danger of extinction through over-collection and habitat loss. Implementation of the standard will stop more plants being over-exploited and becoming threatened with extinction under IUCN’s Red List criteria.

“Worldwide, people depend on medicinal plants and profit from the unique therapeutic effects of medicine from nature’s pharmacy,” said Guillermo Castilleja, Executive Director of Conservation, WWF. “This new agreement is a significant step forward in ensuring the long-term sustainability and supply of these invaluable natural products.”

“Over-harvesting of wild plants is a serious, yet often neglected issue.

This timely agreement is a milestone on the road to seeing sustainability become the norm throughout the herbal products industry.” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC.

For more information, please contact:

Richard Thomas
TRAFFIC International
Tel: +44 752 6646 216.


35. Rainforest fungus may be the future of biofuel

Source: Mongabay 4 November 2008

A recent discovery in the Patagonian rainforest has revealed a most extraordinary fungus that produces gas nearly identical to diesel fuel. Gliocladium roseum, living inside the Ulmo tree in the Patagonian rainforest, not only produces diesel-like fumes but also feeds off of cellulose, hence its potential as a fuel supplier is magnified by the fact that it would not be disruptive to food chains. More research is soon to follow.

For full story, please see:

Related story:



36. Mapping Alaska Communities Workshop: An Introduction to GIS & Community Analysis

8-9 January 2009
Anchorage, Alaska, USA

These are one day workshops. Participants choose which one day to attend.

For more information, please contact:

Gina Clemmer,
New Urban Research
or visit


37. International traditional and designer basketry competition

4-6 September 2009
Tenerife, Canary Islands

For more information, please visit:


38. Second World Congress of Agroforestry (WCA2) [Session topic on NWFP]

23-28 August 2009
Nairobi, Kenya

Session Topic: Forest Farming in Temperate Climates with Non-Timber Forest Products: Opportunities, Challenges, and Solutions

Abstract: Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have long been collected for food, medicine, income and pleasure, and play an important role in rural households. Some have well-established domestic and international markets. Peoples from around the world have been nurturing native plants found in their forest lands for these products. In recent years, concerns have been raised about the sustainability of these resources due to reduced habitat and possible over-harvesting. Today, forest farming is promoted and recommended for ecological and economic reasons, to provide alternative income sources while conserving forested landscapes. This session will explore research and extension activities that promote opportunities and address challenges in producing NTFPs through forest farming in temperate climates. Researchers and technology transfer agents working in temperate environments around the world will benefit greatly from participation in this session.

Organizers: James L. Chamberlain, USDA Forest Service, National Agroforestry Center, IUFRO 5.11 (Non-Timber Forest Products) and Michael Jacobson, School of Forest Resources, The Pennsylvania State University --

For more information, please contact:

Jim Chamberlain, Ph.D.,CF
Research Scientist, Non-Timber Forest Products
Coordinator, Research Group 5.11 (Non-Wood Forest Products), IUFRO
U.S. Forest Service, SRS-4352, National Agroforestry Center
1650 Ramble Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA
Tel: +1-540-231-3611
Fax: +1-540-231-1383
Email: or or or


39. XIIIth World Forestry Congress (Extension of Deadline for Paper and Poster Submissions)

18–25 October 2009
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The XIIIth World Forestry Congress will give the international forestry community the chance to analyze, discuss, and participate in the XIIIth World Forestry Congress. Under the theme “Forests in Development—A Vital Balance” the Congress and participants will address the sustainable development of forests from a global and integral perspective.

The deadline for submission of voluntary papers and posters expressing new ideas and providing information on experiences, theoretical models, and interesting initiatives has been extended to 31 December 2008.

For more information, please contact:

XIIth World Forestry Congress
Forestry Department, FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Roma, Italy



40. Request for information: essential oils

From: Engin Caglar, Turkey,

Our country (Turkey) has plenty of endemic plants. Essential oils obtained from these plants are used in cosmetic, food and many other sectors. We want to get essential oils from these plants and export them to other countries.

We will make an investment to essential oils manufacturing. Therefore we are interested in essential oil markets. At first we try to learn;

  • Which essential oils have highest demand
  • Commodity Prices
  • Market Structures
  • Production Process of Essential Oils
  • Commercialisation of Essential Oils etc. etc.
  • Obtaining Funds for Investment

Please lead us about market analysis of essential oils and recommend us;

  • Reports
  • Statistics
  • Publications
  • Web sites etc.

For more information, please contact:

Çavuşpaşa Caddesi, Sezer Sok, Pekmezci Apt. No:2/13
Tel: +90 212 5040827
GSM: +90 532 3522911



41. NTFP Curriculum Workbook Available Online

From: Eric Jones, Institute for Culture and Ecology, USA,

At long last the Nontimber Forest Product Curriculum Workbook written by Dr. Kathryn Lynch is available through the Institute for Culture and Ecology website.

Despite enthusiastic interest from two publishers it got hung up in their marketing departments because it is so big and expensive to produce that they were concerned they might lose money.

We decided to offer it directly through our website as an electronic download and let people make a donation after deciding what it is worth to them. This approach also has the advantage of letting us view the curriculum as a work in progress and update and expand it into the future.

The workbook was funded the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry and has been extensively peer-reviewed. Hyperlinks in the document were just updated. We welcome feedback from users.

Lastly, "NTFP" is such a big and diverse concept that this curriculum is still just scratches the surface, even for the U.S., our geographic focus. Is there a need and a path forward to create an international repository for curriculum materials? It seems there would need to be a website where lesson plans, syllabi, handouts, could be shared. Royal Roads has the online bibliographic database but would that work? Could it accommodate any language? Who would edit and maintain?

Nontimber Forest Products Curriculum Workbook Website:

For more information, please contact:

Eric T Jones, Ph.D.
Environmental Anthropologist
Institute for Culture and Ecology (501c3)
Post Office Box 6688
Portland, Oregon 97228-6688. USA
Telephone: 541-683-1846


42. First issue of 'Journal of Wetlands Ecology' published

Source: Mohanraj Kafle [], 12 November 2008

The first issue of 'Journal of Wetlands Ecology' has been published. The current issue of the journal is available at the Journal website at

'Journal of Wetlands Ecology' is a half-yearly online journal of Wetland Friends of Nepal (WFN) dedicated to the exchange and dissemination of information related to wetland issues connecting wetlands, human and wildlife. The journal publishes peer-reviewed research papers, review papers, project papers, short notes, news and any relevant information related to wetland issues. This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. The journal can be accessed via its website


43. New from Rights and Resources Initiative - local rights and community forest tenure

Source: Megan Liddle [] in Forest Policy Info Mailing List

Rights and Resources Initiative is pleased to announce the release of five new reports looking at local rights and community forest tenure in the context of the global challenges of climate change, conflict, and conservation. Click on the links below or visit for free access to these reports.

This week RRI Partners and collaborators took part in the international conference on Rights, Forests and Climate Change, held in Oslo and organized by RRI and Rainforest Foundation Norway. Learn about the outcomes and discussions from the conference and explore resources and presentations at

For more information, please visit or write to us at


44. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Akhter, T. 2008. The Role of Social Forestry in Poverty Alleviation of Rural Women: A Sociological Study. Dhaka, Bangladesh, Academic Press and Publishers Library.

ISBN: 984-08-0235-6

This book examines the role of social forestry in reducing poverty of women in rural Bangladesh. Addressing a major gap in Bangladeshi development and natural resource management research, it provides a useful reference for policy makers, practitioners, and scholars.

Akinnifesi, F.K., Leakey, R.R.B., Ajayi, O.C., Sileshi, G., Tchoundjeu, Z., Matakala, P. and Kwesiga, F.R. (Eds.). 2008. Indigenous Fruit Trees in the Tropics: Domestication, Utilization and Commercialization. CAB International, Wallingford, England, 438p.

Bikram Singh; Pushpinder Kaur; Gopichand; Singh, RD; Ahuja, PS. 2008. Biology and chemistry of Ginkgo biloba. In Fitoterapia. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands: 2008. 79: 6, 401-418. 113.


Ginkgo biloba has been existing on earth since 200 million years and is considered as a "living fossil". It is among the most sold medicinal plants in the world. A number of secondary metabolites representing terpenoids, polyphenols, allyl phenols, organic acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids and lipids, inorganic salts and amino acids have been isolated from the plant. However, the main bioactive constituents are terpene trilactones and flavonoid glycosides which are considered responsible for the pharmacological activities of its standardized leaf extract. Scattered information is available on the extraction and analysis of these pharmacologically important constituents which have been compiled in the present review.

BfN. 2008. Nature Data 2008. Bonn, Germany, Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).ISBN: 978-3-7843-3859-0.

Bioversity International. 2007. Bioversity International in Focus. Maccarese, Rome, Italy, Bioversity International.

New pamphlet by Bioversity International displays key Focus Areas of their work on conservation of agricultural biodiversity to improve the lives of poor people. Focus Areas on diversity conservation include Demonstration, Promoting, Conserving, Expanding, Collaborating and Monitoring.

Bunt, C. and Leakey, R.R.B. 2008. Domestication potential and marketing of Canarium indicum nuts in the Pacific: Commercialization and market development. Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 18: 271-289.

Clason, A.J., Lindgren, P.M.F. & Sullivan, T.P. 2008. Comparison of potential non-timber forest products in intensively managed young stands and mature/old-growth forests in south-central British Columbia. Forest ecology and management, 256(11): 1897-1909.

Available at:

ISSN 0378-1127.

Colfer, C.J.P., Dahal, G.R. & Capistrano, D. (eds.). 2008. Lessons from Forest Decentralization: Money, Justice and the Quest for Good Governance in Asia-Pacific. London,Earthscan.

ISBN: 978-1-844075553

This book presents new research results on decentralization from a number of Asia-Pacific countries and provides important lessons for other regions. Research findings stress rights, roles and responsibilities on the one hand, and organizational, capacity-building, infrastructure and legal aspects on the other. With these overarching themes in mind, the authors take on many controversial topics and address practical challenges related to financing in sustainable forest management under decentralized governance. Particular efforts have been made to examine decentralization at different scales, and to address gender issues.

COMFORPTS INDIA. 2008. Committed to development of non timber forest products (NTFP)) oriented need based sustainable forest management. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management January-June, 9(1). Dehradun, India, Centre of Minor Forest Products (COMFORPTS).

FAO & ESSC. 2008. Forest Faces: Hopes and Regrets in Philippine Forestry. RAP Publication - 2008/06. Rome, Italy, FAO; the Philippines, Environmental Science for Social Change.

Forest Faces provides personal experiences and reflections enabling better comprehension of the struggles, dramas and tragedies associated with the changes and loss of Philippine forests. These stories are about the prevailing poverty in the uplands, the search for pragmatic adaptations and mitigation mechanisms in the lowlands, well-intentioned policies with no serious implementation, the continuing illegal and “illegal” legal activities—painful realizations of past wrong decisions made.

Fisher, R., Stewart, M., William, J., Edmund, B. & Jeanrenaud, S. 2008. Linking Conservation and Poverty Reduction Landscapes, People and Power. London, UK, Earthscan. ISBN: 9781844076369

Gubbi, S. & MacMillan, D.C. 2008. Can non-timber forest products solve livelihood problems? A case study from Periyar Tiger Reserve, India. Oryx (42): 222-228.

Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.

Leakey, R.R.B., Fuller, S., Treloar, T., Stevenson, L., Hunter, D., Nevenimo, T., Binifa, J. and Moxon, J. 2008. Characterization of tree-to-tree variation in morphological, nutritional and chemical properties of Canarium indicum nuts. Agroforestry Systems 73: 77-87.

Leakey, R.R.B., et al. 2008. Impacts of AKST on development and sustainability goals. In: International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development: Global Report. (McIntyre, B.D.; Herren, H.; Wakhungu, J. and Watson, R. (Eds.)). Island Press, New York, USA.

Lynch, Kathryn A. 2006. NontimberForest Products Curriculum Workbook. Portland, Oregon: Institute for Culture and Ecology. 451 p.

Available for download from:

Mathew, P.J. & Thomas, M.T. 2008. Medicinal plant resources of Kerala: Towards harnessing its potential. Part I- Introduction. Kerala, India,Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute.

McIntyre, B.D.; Herren, H.; Wakhungu, J. and Watson, R. (Eds.). 2008. International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development: Global Report. Island Press, New York, USA

Mulliken, T. & Crofton, P. 2008. Review of the Status, Harvest, Trade and Management of Seven Asian CITES-listed Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Species. Bonn, Germany, Bundesamt für Naturschutz.

Nevenimo, T., Moxon, J., Wemin, J., Johnston, M., Bunt, C. and Leakey, R.R.B. 2007. Domestication potential and marketing of Canarium indicum nuts in the Pacific: 1. A literature review. Agroforestry Systems 69: 117-134

Nevenimo, T., Johnston , M., Binifa, J., Gwabu, C., Anjen, J. and Leakey, R.R.B. 2008. Domestication potential and marketing of Canarium indicum nuts in the Pacific: Producer and consumer surveys in Papua New Guinea (East New Britain). Forests, Trees and Livelihoods 18: 253-269.

Ninan, K. N. 2008. Conserving and Valuing Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity Economic, Institutional and Social Challenges. London, U.K., Earthscan.

ISBN: 9781844076512

Non Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme. 2008. From Seeds to Beads. Tales, Tips and Tools for Building a Community-Based NTFP Enterprise. Yasmin Arquiza (ed). Quezon City, the Philippines, NTFP-EP.

From the Blue Mountains of India to the islands of Indonesia, the experiences of local communities that depend on non-timber resources from forests for their livelihood come alive. Part manual and part storybook, this publication aims to share insights as well as lessons learned by the partners of the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme that are engaged in NTFP enterprise development.

This compilation of stories from NTFP-EP partners reflects their journey in pursuing strategies for building and maintaining sustainable livelihood enterprises. Furthermore, the most helpful and commonly used tools by NTFP-EP partners are presented. These practical methods aim to enable local partners to systematically and professionally design and implement NTFP development strategies using available resources.

It is hoped that more forest-based communities across Asia will find the inspiration in this publication to embark on innovative enterprises using the resources sustainably within their locality.

To obtain a copy, email

Oudhia, P. (2008). International and national queries related to medicinal herbs, insects and related products.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Recent Agrohomoeopathic experiments in Indian state Chhattisgarh.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Organic cultivation of Indian medicinal and aromatic crops.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Emergency Herbs used by the Traditional Healers of Indian state Chhattisgarh during rainy season: Some interesting observations.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Treatment of Injuries: An important lesson from Traditional Healers.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Invasive Alien flora of India used in Traditional Healing in Chhattisgarh.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Traditional Medicinal Knowledge about herbs and herbal combinations used in complicated cases of Type II Diabetes in Traditional Healing of Indian state Chhattisgarh.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Traditional Healers of Durg (India) region have much traditional medicinal knowledge to contribute in scientific report on Type II Diabetes.

Oudhia, P. (2008). Ethnobotanical survey in Ghata Rani Forest region of Indian state Chhattisgarh during July. 2008. Part-I; Part-II; Part III; Part IV.

Prasad, P. RC; Reddy, CS; Raza, SH; Dutt, C. BS. 2008. Folklore medicinal plants of North Andaman Islands, India. In Fitoterapia. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands: 2008. 79: 6, 458-464. 13


The rural folk of North Andaman, India use many traditional medicines for their primary health care. Folklore medicinal uses of 72 interesting medicinal plant species along with botanical name, local name, family, habit, part used, disease for which the drug is administrated, mode of administration are presented. These 72 plant species which provide the crude drugs pertain to 67 genera and 43 families of Magnoliophyta from tropical rainforests. These plants are used to cure 40 ailments. Most of the remedies were reported to have been from trees (55.6%) and herb (22.2%) species. The most widely sought after plant parts in the preparation of remedies in the areas are the stem bark (33.8%) and root (23.9%).

Spenceley, A. 2008. Responsible Tourism: Critical Issues for Conservation and Development. London, UK, Earthscan.  ISBN: 9781844076390

Suich, H. & Child, B. 2008. Evolution and Innovation in WildlifeConservationParks and Game Ranches to Transfrontier Conservation Areas. London, U.K., Earthscan.

ISBN: 9781844076345

Wilsey, D.S. & Nelson, K.C. 2008. Conceptualizing multiple nontimber forest product harvest and harvesting motivations among balsam bough pickers in northern Minnesota. Society & natural resources, 9: 812-827.

ISSN 0894-1920.


45. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

International Year of Natural Fibres (IYNF) 2009

Rural Associations and Any Person Interested in Rural Development (Georgia)

The overall objective of the web-site is to popularize rural field especially encourage activities of rural associations, to publish information about their work, initiatives and projects as well. The site was created in 2007 within the project “Strengthening the Role of Rural Associations in Georgia” (STAGE). The web-site is regularly updated with the information related to the events and activities organized within the STAGE project.

The site is available in Georgian and English.



46. Forestry takes on the climate change challenge

Source: FAO Newsroom, 5 December 2008

5 December 2008, Poznàn - To ensure that sustainably managed forests play a key role in mitigating the negative effects of climate change, a new strategic framework is being launched jointly by 14 international organizations known as the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, FAO said today.

Aimed at policy-makers and those involved in the global forest sector, the Strategic Framework emphasizes the importance of assisting countries to take measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Adaptation measures include the conservation of genetic variation, reduced impact logging and policies that ensure effective management responses to ecological change. The new framework supports the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Forests cover nearly one-third of the earth's land surface and account for almost half its terrestrial carbon pool. Total carbon in forests was estimated at 633 giga tonnes in 2005 - equivalent to 160 tonnes of carbon per hectare, according to the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment.

Deforestation, forest degradation and other changes in forests contribute significantly — 17.4 percent — to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mainly in tropical developing countries. Most deforestation is caused by the expansion of agriculture and urban and infrastructure development.

"Sustainable forest management has a significant strategic role in achieving long-term climate change mitigation and it provides a robust framework for effective adaptation. This goes far beyond traditional management and includes conservation of biodiversity, support to livelihoods, provision of a range of forest goods and services, and issues related to governance and financing," says Jan Heino, Chairperson of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry.

Forests make a substantial contribution to the mitigation of climate change through carbon sequestration, carbon substitution, and carbon conservation. The extent to which they do so is a function of their management and the effectiveness of policies at the local, national and global levels.

Wood is a renewable resource and, when obtained from sustainably managed forests, an efficient material for storing carbon. Although wood-harvesting temporarily reduces carbon storage in the forest, a large part of the harvested carbon can be stored in wood products for many decades. When wood is used in long-term products such as housing and furniture, the reduction in green house gas emissions is substantial compared to other, more energy-intensive and carbon-intensive substitutes such as concrete, steel, aluminium and plastics.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests strategic framework lays the groundwork for a coordinated forest-sector response to the global climate change agenda. Its force is in the fact that it has been jointly created and agreed by the world's major forest organizations. It is offered as guidelines to all forest-related policy-makers and practitioners around the world.

For full story, please see:


47. India's tropical agriculture 'can support biodiversity'

Source: SciDeveNet,11 November 2008

[CHENNAI] Researchers have shown that some types of tropical agriculture can sustain biodiversity, contrary to popular belief.

A study by Indian and US scientists reveals that "traditional" plantations of areca nut palm in a 20-kilometre area of the Western Ghats ecosystem in the district of Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India, has helped conserve bird species.

The areca nut palm produces betel nut, a stimulant used by ten per cent of world's population.

Recent research has suggested that certain types of tropical agriculture can support biodiversity, but that the sustainability of this over time was in doubt.

The researchers looked at the biodiversity of bird species in the 20-kilometre area and found that it was home to 90 per cent of species associated with native forests in the region.

Ecological historians believe the region has been under cultivation for more than 2,000 years, suggesting that its ability to harbour diversity is sustainable. Some of the groves have been farmed by the same family for over 250 years, says Ranjit Daniels, director of Chennai-based conservation group Care Earth and an author of the study.

Areca nut plantations such as those in the Western Ghats involve intercropping areca nut with other types of plant, including pepper, cardamom, vanilla, coconut and banana crops. This provides both a complexity that is associated with bird species richness and good revenue for farmers — spices like pepper, vanilla and cardamom are high value crops.

The areca nut palms also intermingle with natural forests, which supply protective leaf litter for the plantations.

K. Venkataraman, member secretary at India's National Biodiversity Authority, told SciDev.Net that similar studies in Latin American countries have shown that relatively high biodiversity occurs in coffee plantations in the shade of big trees. He adds that further studies of agriculture's effects on biodiversity need to be carried out in India.

"We must see how best traditional plantation systems can be integrated into long-term conservation plans," he said.

Link to full paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science [456kB]

For full story, please see:


48. 'Lost' deer species discovered in Sumatra’s rainforests after 78 years

Source:, October 10, 2008

A rare species of deer has been rediscovered in Sumatra 78 years after it was last sighted, reports Fauna & Flora International. The deer, known as the Sumatran muntjac (Muntiacus montanus), was rescued from a snare during an anti-poaching patrol by the Kerinci-Seblat National Park Tiger Protection Team in Kerinci-Seblat National Park. Fauna & Flora International (FFI) subsequently caught two more of the deer on film using camera traps.

For full story, please see:


49. Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'

Source: BBC, 16 October 2008

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.

The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.

It has been discussed during many sessions here at the World Conservation Congress.

Some conservationists see it as a new way of persuading policymakers to fund nature protection rather than allowing the decline in ecosystems and species, highlighted in the release on Monday of the Red List of Threatened Species, to continue.

Capital losses

Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.

"It's not only greater but it's also continuous, it's been happening every year, year after year," he told BBC News.

"So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today's rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year."

The review that Mr Sukhdev leads, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), was initiated by Germany under its recent EU presidency, with the European Commission providing funding.

The first phase concluded in May when the team released its finding that forest decline could be costing about 7% of global GDP. The second phase will expand the scope to other natural systems.

Stern message

Key to understanding his conclusions is that as forests decline, nature stops providing services which it used to provide essentially for free.

So the human economy either has to provide them instead, perhaps through building reservoirs, building facilities to sequester carbon dioxide, or farming foods that were once naturally available.

Or we have to do without them; either way, there is a financial cost.

The Teeb calculations show that the cost falls disproportionately on the poor, because a greater part of their livelihood depends directly on the forest, especially in tropical regions.

The greatest cost to western nations would initially come through losing a natural absorber of the most important greenhouse gas.

For full story, please see:



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