No. 02/09

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.


IN THIS ISSUE:

PRODUCTS

  1. Bark cloth makes comeback on international fashion scene
  2. Bushmeat: Health alert over rise in trade
  3. Guarana beverage
  4. Maple syrup industry hopes product sticks
  5. Medicinal Plants: Scientists unveil herbs that treat epilepsy
  6. Moringa oleifera: La Meringa – Experimentan con planta nutritiva
  7. Mushroom Extract Improves Effectiveness of Prostate Cancer Treatment
  8. Rattan in Vietnam: WWF unveils sustainable production plan
  9. Sandalwood: A Critical View of Developments
  10. Truffles: Italian group defends honour of rare white truffles
  11. Vegetable ivory: Sustainable jeweller partners with ethical retailer

COUNTRY INFORMATION

  1. Amazonia: NWFP valued at €40-80/ha per year in new WWF report
  2. Bhutan: Boost for bamboo product makers
  3. India moves to protect traditional medicines from foreign patents
  4. Japan: Denso develops 'organic' radiator tank
  5. Kenya: Rural communities to benefit from plan to market natural plants
  6. Malaysia: Agarwood Research Centre in Melaka
  7. Malaysia: On a quest to revive tradition
  8. Rwanda: Alleviating poverty through silk production
  9. Sri Lanka: Saving cinnamon industry
  10. Sri Lanka: Relief essential to cinnamon industry
  11. Sudan: Ex-official calls for export-ban on Gum Arabic to ICC supporting countries
  12. USA: Honey laundering

NEWS

  1. Albert-Ludwig University Freibrug accepting M.Sc FEM. Applications
  2. Biodiversity International call for submissions
  3. Forest Research Institute University, Dehra Dun, accepting applications
  4. Forests and the global economy: 10 million new jobs
  5. Forestry in a new economic climate
  6. International Year of Natural Fibres 2009 – an update
  7. Launch of new superfruit beverage
  8. New interactive database on indicators of sustainable forest management in Europe
  9. United Nations-Environment Program to protect bees, pollinators

EVENTS

  1. UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)
  2. Towards a Rights-Based Agenda in International Forestry
  3. International Conference on Plants and Environmental Pollution 2009
  4. Tunza International Youth Conference on the Environment
  5. Secondo Congresso Internazionale Construcciones de Cubierta vegetal “Pinolere 2009”
  6. Plant Conservation for the Next Decade: A Celebration of Kew's 250th Anniversary

REQUESTS

  1. Request for information: Shorea robusta

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

  1. The World Resources Institute (WRI) is seeking a Senior Associate

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

  1. Nature-Friendly Land Use Practices at Multiple Scales
  2. Other publications of interest
  3. Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Bigger trees helping fight against climate change
  2. Palm oil may be single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species
  3. Rural depopulation isn’t just a social problem: it affects wildlife too

PRODUCTS

1. Bark cloth makes comeback on international fashion scene

Source: Inter Press Service, Uganda, 12 February 2009

Kampala: Bark cloth, a fabric historically used by the Buganda in central Uganda to wrap their dead before burial, is making a comeback in the form of trendy crafts, clothing and household goods. The cloth, made from Ficus natalensis trees, was supplanted with the introduction of cotton by Arab caravan traders in the 19th century. Now bark cloth crafts such as tablemats, bedcovers, jackets, purses and wide-brimmed hats are finding their way to the international market.

Bark cloth is exported to Germany, Japan, Australia, the US and Canada where significant populations of Ugandans live in the Diaspora. There is also huge demand from neighbouring Kenya. Kenyan traders blend the cloth and export the products to Europe and the US.

Vincent Musubire, chairperson of Mwangwe Rural Development Association, said "when we look at it critically, bark cloth has a big future but not in the traditional sense of burying people. It has value and can generate income, which is where I am putting the emphasis." The Mwangwe Rural Development Association works to raise consciousness among artisans to improve the quality of bark cloth products. He said the prospects for the bark cloth market were promising, especially internationally. "We want to ensure that the crafts from bark cloth produced by women and men meet the quality requirements of the local and international craft market. That is why we are not leaving it to the local community to produce. I'm linking up with skilled young graduates of industrial art and design to work with local craftspeople to produce quality products," he said.

Nuwa Wamala Nyanzi, an artist and owner of a crafts business at the National Theatre in the Ugandan capital of Kampala confirmed that the demand for bark cloth among tourists is high. But it is not being marketed widely enough at international craft expos, he said.

Nyanzi also told IPS that bark cloth production is suffering because fewer craftspeople remain who have the skill to make quality bark cloth. Traditionally, craftspeople of the Ngonge clan have manufactured bark cloth for the Baganda royal family and the rest of the community. Many of these craftspeople have died without passing on their skill.

Maliza Nantambi, who sells crafts to shops in Kampala, described bark cloth an expensive raw material because it is scarce compared to other materials.

Bark cloth is recognized as part of the world's collective heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Head of the Uganda national commission for UNESCO, Augustine Omare Okurut, said "research is being conducted on the making of bark cloth, how to preserve it and how it can be exploited for the benefit of the local and international community."

For full story, please see: www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=4&article_id=99269

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2. Bushmeat: Health alert over rise in trade

Source: The East African, Kenya, 7 March 2009

Large amounts of illegal bushmeat continue to be sold to the public in Kenya and are even shipped to UK markets, a new report says.

The trade is important not only because many of the species killed for their meat are under threat but also because eating illegal bushmeat can leave humans vulnerable to devastating viruses such as Ebola and HIV.

UK-based conservation organisation Born Free says rising food prices, a rash of crop failures and wide-ranging impacts of the global recession have led to a rise in bushmeat trade in Kenya. “Snaring of wild animals and consumption of their meat, known as bushmeat, is one of the most serious threats to wildlife in Kenya today,” Born Free says. “In some areas, commercial trade in bushmeat is threatening to wipe out Kenya’s natural heritage.

“Bushmeat also affects the UK. Latest figures indicate that nearly 7,500 tonnes of illegal meat products enter Britain every year. Some of this is believed to be bushmeat disguised as beef.” Once in the UK, more than half (55 percent) of the illegal meat is distributed through wholesalers or sold at local street markets.

Detective Inspector Brian Stuart, head of the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit, states: “Over the past few years the UK Law Enforcement Agencies have become increasingly aware of the illegal importation of bushmeat. This type of meat can and does from time to time contain parts of endangered species. “Introducing bushmeat into the UK illegally will pose some risk of transmitting disease.”

A new film produced by Born Free Foundation in conjunction with Land Rover has been created to raise awareness on this issue and provide an insight into some of the challenges faced by people in Kenya trying to stop the trade. Wild animals all over Africa, from giraffe to zebra and even to endangered species such as gorilla and elephant, are snared by poachers, butchered and transported to city markets and restaurants across the globe as part of a widespread commercial trade.

For full story, please: www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/542874/-/rjo558z/-/

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3. Guarana beverage

Source: BevNET, USA, 5 March 2009

BAWLS is the brainchild of entrepreneur Hoby Buppert, CEO of Hobarama, LLC, who named the beverage for the caffeinated “bounce” the drink packs. Widely distributed; BAWLS is a premium, non-alcoholic, carbonated beverage made from the guarana berry harvested in the Amazonian Rainforest.

The caffeine found in BAWLS Guarana contains the same amount of caffeine as coffee and nearly three times that of traditional sodas due to a naturally occurring form of the stimulant found in the guarana berry.

For full story, please see: http://www.bevnet.com/news/2009/3-5-2009-bawls_ny_state_distributors

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4. Maple syrup industry hopes product sticks

Source: NECN, USA, 8 March 2009

At the annual Maple Syrup Days in Milton, Massachusetts, USA, kids learned how trees are tapped and syrup is made. But the state's maple syrup industry faces a sticky problem -- most maple farms have not recovered from last December's ice storm, which ripped down trees in the northern part of Massachusetts.

In fact, the head of the Maple Producers Association said, this year's production could be off between 30 and 40 percent. The industry will be effected for decades to come, as new trees must be planted, then grow to maturity.

In addition to bringing down maple trees and branches, the ice storm also damaged this plastic tubing that farmers run between trees to collect the sap. It brought the tubing down and buried it under ice and snow, and now miles of it needs to be replaced.

For now, production in Vermont and Quebec is making up for the shortage in Massachusetts. But fans of "real" maple syrup said, even if the storm leads to higher prices, they will not turn to the artificial stuff.

For full story please see: www.necn.com/Boston/Business/2009/03/08/Syrup-industry-hopes-product/1236549196.html

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5. Medicinal Plants: Scientists unveil herbs that treat epilepsy

Source: Nigerian Tribune, Nigeria, 29 January 2009

In Africa, up to 80 per cent of the population uses traditional medicine for primary health care and several efforts are ongoing to find the most effective medicinal plants through ethnopharmacological studies. Epilepsy is one of such ailments.

Most of the drugs currently in use to combat epilepsy (called “farfadiya” in Hausa and “Warapa” in Yoruba) have undesirable effects and unpredictable pharmacological action. This has led to the need to search for newer drugs with fewer or no side effects and predictable ways that they work in the body since epilepsy treatment is for a long term (at least two years after the last fit). Also, the drug would be withdrawn gradually for about six months.

One effort to search for newer sources of effective drugs from traditional plants used in the treatment epilepsy was done by Dr. J. Muazu from the Department of Pharmaceutical Services, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Nigeria and Dr. A. H Kaita from the Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria.

The review of these traditional plants used in the treatment of epilepsy among the Hausa/Fulani tribes of northern Nigeria was published in 2008 edition of the African Journal of Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines.

Five prescriptions used in the treatment of epilepsy among the Hausa/Fulani tribe were collected from traditional healers. These five prescriptions containing eight plants were assessed based on previous scientific studies that had tried to ascertain a scientific basis for their use in the treatment of epilepsy.

The review found that the commonly used plants included Securidaca longipedunculata, Mitragyna inermis, Celtis integrefolia and Parkia clappertonianna. Securidaca longipedunculata, a medicinal herb commonly used is various parts of Africa, is known as “uwar maganigunar” in Hausa and “ezeogwu” in Ibo. Its English common name is violet tree. The plant is a savannah shrub with twisted bole or slender erect branches. In herbal medicine practice, it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, boils, gonorrhoea, and coughs. In the Nsukka community of Enugu State, a poultice of its root bark is used for the treatment of rheumatic conditions such as arthritis. Some chew the root as a stimulant or to relieve toothache.

According to H.M. Burkill, in the book, “The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa,” Mitragyna inermis is commonly called false abura. In many African countries like Senegal, the decoction of Mitragyna inermis is used traditionally to treat medical problems like hypertension, diabetes, menstrual cycle, arthritis, rheumatism, diarrhoea, dysentery and some veneral diseases.

Celtis sinensis is known as Zuwo in Hausa and as Nguzo in Kanuri. According to Burkill, it has such English names as African nettle tree: African false elm and hackberry. The tree that is found in Sahel savannah and fringing forest across the region from Senegal to North and Southern Nigeria is used for many medicinal purposes, including small pox, measles, worm expeller, arthritis, epilepsy and convulsions.

The result of the review of these plants showed that Violet tree and Mitragyna inermis have substances in them that are able to prevent convulsions. In addition, African nettle tree was reported to contain a chemical substance called gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) whose deficiency may lead to convulsions. While the remaining plants were helpful in alleviation of associated symptoms of epilepsy, only the use of Centaurea praecox (Star thistle) and referred to as fula-Fulfulde in Adamawa, was reported to have neurotoxic substances that may damage the nerves of the brain, and as such worsen the disease.

For full story, please see: www.tribune.com.ng/30012009/thr/natural_health1.html

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6. Moringa oleifera: La Meringa – Experimentan con planta nutritiva

Source: Noroeste, Mexico, 1 February 2009

El árbol de moringa podría ser el alimento del futuro, ya que de esta planta se pueden elaborar diversos alimentos nutritivos, aseguró Leopoldo Martínez Velarde, presidente de la Red de Inventores Sinaloenses.

Informó que este árbol regularmente crece en los panteones, pero que con el apoyo del Instituto Sinaloense de Desarrollo Social se ha logrado tener un campo experimental de 400 de estos árboles, ubicado en la colonia Loma de Rodriguera. "Éste podría ser un complemento alimenticio que le dé a las madres y a los lactantes todos los nutrientes básicos que se requieren para un sano desarrollo, porque éste es un nutriente de rápido aprovechamiento y sumamente económico".

La hoja verde de la moringa gramo por gramo contiene siete veces más nutrientes y más vitamina C que la naranja, así como más calcio que la leche y el queso, detalló. Martínez Velarde explicó que además con esta planta se puede producir aceite de calidad similar al aceite de oliva, así como a través del mismo aceite se puede producir biodiesel y hasta etanol.

"Esto no lo estamos inventando, si no que lo estamos redescubriendo, porque en el mundo el aceite de Moringa se comercializa, por eso digo que nosotros en Sinaloa, estamos comenzando a hacer lo que otros países ya han desarrollado con este árbol".

For full story, please see: www.noroeste.com.mx/publicaciones.php?id=446269

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7. Mushroom extract improves effectiveness of prostate cancer treatment

Source: Cancer Monthly, USA, 20 February 2009

Adding a mushroom extract to interferon therapy for prostate cancer significantly improves the treatment’s effectiveness, and may help reduce both its cost and side effects, according to a study published in the Journal of Hematology and Oncology.

Prostate cancer is the second deadliest cancer among elderly men in the United States. Although treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone therapy are available, their benefits aren’t always long-lasting, they can have significant side effects, and the disease can return. Another treatment option is immunotherapy with a class of drugs known as interferons. These drugs provoke the body’s immune system to respond against the cancer, and they are thought to inhibit the cancer cells’ ability to grow and differentiate. However, studies on interferons have shown mixed results.

“The efficacy of these interferons has not been as good as we expected and also they are rather expensive,” says study author Sensuke Konno, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Urology at New York Medical College.

To improve the effectiveness of interferons and reduce the cost of treatment, researchers have been looking at combining these drugs with other substances. Dr. Konno investigated a treatment combining interferon-alpha with D-fraction (PDF), an extract from the maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). Past studies have shown that this extract can stimulate an immune response against cancer cells. Dr. Konno and his team wanted to find out if the two substances combined might have a synergistic effect on prostate cancer cells.

The authors tested out the two substances, first alone and then together, on prostate cancer cells in the laboratory. Individually the interferon and mushroom extract had no real effects on the cancer, except in very high doses. However, when the two substances were combined, they slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells by up to 65 percent. The combination of the two substances effectively halted the cancer cell cycle, preventing the prostate cancer cells from dividing and multiplying.

Combining interferon-alpha and PDF also reduced the amount of each drug that was needed. Interferon was reduced to one-fifth of its original dose. “It is thus plausible that PDF may not only help potentiate the interferon activity, but also help cut the cost down,” says Dr. Konno.

For full story, please see: www.cancermonthly.com/iNP/view.asp?ID=240

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8. Rattan in Vietnam: WWF unveils sustainable production plan

Source: Vietnam News, Vietnam 9 March 2009

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched a programme in Ha Noi last week to sustainably manage rattan production in Indochina. The US$3.1 million project will involve 100 villages in three Indochinese countries by 2010. It follows the success of a pilot programme carried out from 2006 to 2009 in six villages in Laos and Cambodia.

"The project aims to limit the negative impacts of rattan production on humans and the environment by getting stakeholders in these three countries to work together transparently," said a representative of the European Commission’s delegation in Ha Noi, which will contribute 80 percent of the total cost.

The project will also receive financial support from international home-products retailer IKEA and the German development finance institution (DEG).

The global rattan market is worth around $4 billion and involves more than 50 species of rattan grown in Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam. Viet Nam exports almost 60 percent of all its finished rattan products to the European Union.

But much of the pre-processing in Cambodia and Laos poses serious health risks to workers and the methods they use leave the products at a disadvantage in the global market.

Many villages rely on the rattan trade which accounts for 50 percent of their total income, making this a major contributor to poverty alleviation in rural areas.

"Rattan resources are decreasing because of over-exploitation. The implementation of sustainable harvesting and cleaner production will provide long-term livelihood security to local people," said Thibault Ledecq, rattan programme manager at the WWF’s Greater Mekong Programme.

By the end of the project, at least 40 percent of targeted small and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain will be actively engaged in the clean and safe manufacture of rattan products, and 15 percent will export sustainable and environment-friendly products to European and global markets.

Around 800ha of forest are under sustainable management with more than 60 households gaining economic benefit from the project.

The first phase of the project helped increase knowledge of rattan and strengthen research capacity at national university level.

For full story, please see: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=03ECO090309

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9. Sandalwood: A Critical View of Developments

From: Cropwatch Newsletter January 2009

The fact that some sandalwood species are under threat is an inconvenient truth ignored by many cosmetic companies and essential oil traders. Four Santalum (sandalwood) species are present in the IUCN Red List 2008, including the extinct Santalum fernandezianum. The more familiar Santalum album L. is one of the remaining three, being assessed as Vulnerable in 1998, but a more detailed breakdown of the eco-status of individual Santalum species from various geographical locations, with ancillary notes, is available on the Cropwatch's website (www.cropwatch.org).

The shortage of sandalwood oil East Indian has been caused by the ravages of spike disease over many decades, and to a lesser extent by fire, vandalism, animal damage and other factors, on the existing Indian Sandalwood forests in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, not to mention the ruthless over-exploitation of this declining resource by illegal distillers, smugglers and corrupt officials. Arguably the over-exploitation of sandalwood only came about because of the persistent market demand for sandalwood logs for incense, wood carving & furniture making, to continue the supply of sandalwood-based attars, and of course the demand for sandalwood oil itself (which some have estimated at 250 tons/annum), despite warnings of serious resource depletion from eco-aware groups.

A few years back, some aromatherapy profession officials and certain aromatherapy essential oil trading representatives belittled the threat to Sandalwood (see Cropwatch sandalwood bibliography), and inferred that if any blame was to be apportioned at all, it should be laid at the door of the major users, the fragrance industry. Even now, within the EU, nationally-run aromatherapy vocational courses still feature sandalwood oil for study. The incense trade, of course, have ignored their obligations almost completely, and as far as we can tell, many parts of the conventional perfumery trade have done the same.

Cropwatch is persuaded that with proper policies and investments, some sandalwood sources can be made truly sustainable, and we believe this may well be the case in Vanuatu. However, taking pure sandalwood oil East Indian as a benchmark, the odour profiles of sandalwood oils from other geographical locations and/or other species are usually different in character, and lack fine notes, and may be over-sweet (as with East African Sandalwood oil) or predominantly woody-camphoraceous (as with Chinese Sandalwood oil), or just plain lacking in impact & character (as with Indonesian Sandalwood oil). From here, the future looks difficult for Sandalwood.

For full story, please see: www.cropwatch.org/sandalcrit.pdf

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10. Truffles: Italian group defends honour of rare white truffle

Source: The Independent, UK, 18 February 2009

The Alba white truffle association, based in the heart of Italy’s truffle country, is campaigning to defend the image of the rare fungus as a dispute involving a restaurant bill heads for the courts.

The association is reacting to media reports that an unnamed top executive refused to pay a €4,000 (£3,530) bill after dining on white truffles with five guests at Milan’s Michelin-starred Cracco Peck restaurant.

Chef Carlo Cracco – author of White Truffle Utopia – said that his restaurant refused to accept the anonymous businessman’s offer to foot half the bill or that there was any confusion over the weight or price of the truffles before the diners began eating. Cracco said the party of six consumed about 300g of truffle, which cost €10.90 per gram.

“They did not want to see the menus. They just said: ‘We want the truffles’,” he said, adding that they picked two large ones and were duly informed of the weight. The diner said the truffle had not been weighed, newspapers reported, without giving details on his identity.

The media attention comes at a time when the economic downturn threatens luxury spending and the purveyors of the expensive truffle are keen to keep their customers.

“All the media hype about this dinner is damaging for the truffle,” said Roberto Ponzio, the Alba truffle association’s lawyer. “It has created a link in people’s minds between truffles and nasty surprises at the end of a dinner.”

Located in Langhe, the hilly southern area of the Piedmont region, Alba is the main area for white truffles – the most prized variety of the underground fungus. The town, which has a population of 30,000, has held an annual truffle fair in autumn for nearly 80 years.

“We are comfortable with the price the restaurant charged,” said Alberto Cirio, head of the Association for the International Fair of the Alba White Truffle, which organises the annual event. “But we want to make sure we avoid misunderstandings in the future.”

Mr Cirio said the association would encourage restaurants to agree on a set of rules to make sure truffles are weighed and grated on the dishes in front of the clients, with the price on display.

For full story, please see: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/tempers-ruffled-as-italian-group-defends-honour-of-rare-white-truffles-1624891.html

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11. Vegetable ivory: Sustainable jeweller partners with ethical retailer

Source: Fashion United, USA, 21 January 2009

LeJu for Adili is an exclusive capsule range featuring LeJu's trademark colourful vegetable ivory jewellery. The collection is comprised of brightly hued short and long necklaces made of big, bold vegetable ivory seeds; geometric carved rings; and chunky bangles.

LeJu's specialty is the use of a seed known as vegetable ivory. The seed is harvested from a palm tree species called Hyphaene phytelephas, found in the Amazonian rain forest.

For full story, please see: www.fashionunited.com/News/Leads/Leju_partners_with_Adili_200901211414/

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

12. Amazonia: NTFPs valued at €40-80/ha per year in new WWF report

Source: International Forest Industries, 6 March 2009

WWF Netherlands Keeping the Amazon forests standing: a matter of values valued the avoided emissions from deforestation or degradation over large areas of the Amazon at between €55/ha and €78/ha per year. These include erosion protection (up to €185/ha/y), pollination services by rainforest insects in Ecuadorian coffee plantations (€38/ha/y), NTFPssuch as honey, fruits and mushrooms (€40-80) and ecotourism (€2.5 -5.5).

This compares to the returns from the production of commodities such as beef and soya - the main Amazonian products imported by Europe. Soya generates €230 to 470/ha annually and cattle breeding adds up €40 to 115/ha/y. The study states that while the major areas of Brazilian soya production are outside the Amazon, the economic interest for this commodity is adding to pressure in the region.

The WWF Netherlands report shows that the revenue currently received from economic activities in which the natural environment remains intact is not high enough to offset the non-sustainable activities, but finding mechanisms to secure global payments for the forest’s ecological services would be a major impetus to both preserving the forest and paying for and providing for proper management.

As the fourth-largest trade partner of Brazil, the Netherlands is the largest importer of soya in the world after China. “Especially because of its large contribution to the Brazilian economy, the Netherlands can play a leading role in stimulating a sustainable economic development of the Amazon region by choosing to import sustainable produced goods - such as FSC certified timber – only,” said Johan van de Gronden, General Manager of WWF-Netherlands.

WWF Netherlands commissioned the Copernicus Institute of the University of Utrecht and the Institute for Environmental studies (IVM) to carry out the study.

For full story, please see: www.internationalforestindustries.com/2009/03/06/new-wwf-report-values-price-of-amazons-ecological-services-recommends-fsc-certification/

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13. Bhutan: Boost for bamboo product makers

Source: Kuensel Online, Bhutan, 22 February 2009

With a crash course in cane furniture making from Guwahati under his belt and a renewed spring in his step, Ap Sangay Wangdi from Thrimshing, not long ago, set out for Thimphu with two freshly built bamboo chairs and a table - hoping to sell it all. But he returned home, his furniture on the back of a bus, his demeanour anything but jaunty.

He never imagined it would turn out this way. For years, Ap Sangay, 64, had been selling Kangpar and Thrimshing bamboo products in Thimphu. He sold, among others, bangchungs, ara palangs, quivers, mats, hats, and dalas (bichap) to Thimphu residents. His was a modest business.

Ap Sangay found out that cheaper and better furniture - made of wood - had broken into his market. It was not that he had not been aware of them in the past. But bamboo products still ruled the roost. Discovering that wooden ones had nudged him out of the market was, indeed, a bitter pill to swallow. It was his main source of income.

But he did not want to switch to wooden products. Moreover, Thrimshing Kangpar farmers, from whom he bought bamboo products, depended on his business doing well. For them too, bamboo meant money.

The need of the hour was some interesting, new designs, not to mention marketing skills. It was with this realization that 70 people jumped at the opportunity to participate in a ten-day bamboo product development training, sponsored by UNDP and SNV recently. They were taught to make new designs by blending traditional weaving styles, but using treated material for longer life of the products.

When Kuensel visited their villages recently, Dorji Tshomo, 56, was hard at work on the new designs picked up at the training. “It involves hard work. However, we have better tools,” she said, displaying a set of tools provided free from the training program. A Thrimshing farmer said, however, that they would still continue to produce traditional products besides the new ones, which include lampshades, hangers, ladels, tissue paper holders, trays, and other utility products.

The government has assured them of good marketing, at least in the beginning. Meanwhile, Ap Sangay has got back the spring in his step and can be seen in Thimphu’s vegetable market vending his wares.

For full story, please see: www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=12032

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14. India moves to protect traditional medicines from foreign patents

Source: Guardian. Co. UK, 22 February 2009

In the first step by a developing country to stop multinational companies patenting traditional remedies from local plants and animals, the Indian government has effectively licensed 200,000 local treatments as "public property" free for anyone to use but no one to sell as a "brand".

The move comes after scientists in Delhi noticed an alarming trend – the "bio-prospecting" of natural remedies by companies abroad. After trawling through the records of the global trademark offices, officials found 5,000 patents had been issued — at a cost of at least $150m (£104m) — for "medical plants and traditional systems".

"More than 2,000 of these belong to the Indian systems of medicine … We began to ask why multinational companies were spending millions of dollars to patent treatments that so many lobbies in Europe deny work at all," said Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta, who heads the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, which lists in encyclopaedic detail the 200,000 treatments. The database, which took 200 researchers eight years to compile by meticulously translating ancient Indian texts, will now be used by the European Patent Office to check against "bio-prospectors".

Gupta points out that in Brussels alone there had been 285 patents for medicinal plants whose uses had long been known in the three principal Indian systems: ayurveda, India's traditional medical treatment; unani, a system believed to have come to India via ancient Greece; and siddha, one of India's oldest health therapies, from the south.

In the past India has had to go to court to get patents revoked. Officials say that to lift patents from medicines created from turmeric and neem, an Indian tree, it spent more than $5m. In the case of the neem patent, the legal battle took almost 10 years. "We won because we proved these were part of traditional Indian knowledge. There was no innovation and therefore no patent should be granted," said Gupta.

India's battle to protect its traditional treatments is rooted in the belief that the developing world's rich biodiversity is a potential treasure trove of starting material for new drugs and crops. Gupta said that it costs the west $15bn and 15 years to produce a "blockbuster drug". A patent lasts for 20 years, so a pharmaceutical company has just five years to recover its costs — which makes conventional treatments expensive.

"If you can take a natural remedy and isolate the active ingredient then you just need drug trials and the marketing. Traditional medicine could herald a new age of cheap drugs."

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library can be found at: www.tkdl.res.in/tkdl/langdefault/common/home.asp?GL=Eng

For the full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/22/india-protect-traditional-medicines

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15. Japan: Denso develops 'organic' radiator tank

Source: Just-Auto.com, Japan, 20 February 2009

Denso says it has developed a plant derived resin radiator tank using an organic compound derived from castor-oil tree. The company says it will start mass-producing this new product in the spring of 2009 for vehicles sold worldwide.

The plant-derived resin, which Denso jointly developed with DuPont Kabushiki Kaisha, is produced by a chemical reaction between two organic compounds that are derived from the castor-oil tree and petroleum. An additive, such as glass fibre, is then added to the substance to produce the resin. The plant-derived ingredient comprises about 40 percent of the eco-friendly resin.

Since engine compartment components, such as the radiator tank need to be extremely heat resistant and durable, it was previously difficult to develop a resin with a high percentage of plant-derived ingredients.

Denso says that compared to conventional products, the new radiator tank releases less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere during its life cycle because it is partially made from material extracted from plants, which absorb CO2 through the photosynthesis process.

The new product also helps conserve oil, Denso says.

There is also a cold weather advantage. Generally, the cost increases for on-board devices that need to be resistant to calcium-chloride, which is contained in large amounts in snow-melting agents dispensed on the road in many colder regions. The newly developed radiator tank is more than seven times more resistant to calcium chloride and can be produced at lower cost compared to conventional products designed for cold regions, Denso says.

For full story, please see: www.just-auto.com/article.aspx?id=98139

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16. Kenya: Rural communities to benefit from plan to market natural plants

Source: Business Daily, Nairobi, 16 January 2009

Rural communities are set to benefit from research firms and the University of Nairobi’s plan to market natural plants. The move is aimed at boosting the living standards of rural communities and preserving the environment.

The initiative involves looking for special genes or plants that can be used to manufacture medicine, industrial products and food supplements for commercial purposes.

Kenya has not tapped into this market that now stands at about $600 billion globally. This is despite its richness in biodiversity. International researchers and multinational drug manufacturing companies are now looking for ways to exploit the country’s biodiversity, bearing in mind its potential to contribute towards discovery of medicine extracts.

For example, the strain used to manufacture a drug used for treating diabetes known as Acarbose came from Ruiru. However, the community around there has not benefited much from its discovery.

Bioprospecting —exploring and sampling the ecosystem for commercial purposes— is not common in Kenya due to lack of research and product development, poor technology, uncoordinated information gathering, lack of skills and awareness. Dr Wilbur Lwande, a researcher at International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), says bioprospecting can be a tool of economic development, but only if products are developed and proceeds from the sale of the products shared among locals and some of it used for natural resources conservation.

For full story, please see: www.bdafrica.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12321&Itemid=5813

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17. Malaysia: Agarwood Research Centre in Melaka

Source: Bernama, Malaysia, 17 February 2009

Melaka. An agarwood research centre will be set up by the Melaka Biotechnology Corporation (PBM) to carry out research on the various uses and development of the fragrant wood in the country.

PBM chief executive officer Professor Dr Ramli Hitam said the research, among others, would be used to create a profile of agarwood and perfume and for marking the agarwood trees. “It is also to find the best technology to produce agarwood resin," he told Bernama here today.

Recently, Malaysian Agarwood Association president Datuk Seri Syed Razlan Jamalullail had suggested that a Aquilaria research centre be set up to do a study on agarwood, which is useful in the making of perfumery and cosmetic products, as well as medicine.

Dr Ramli said there were various species of agarwood and that the research would be useful to determine which of them could produce the most and high quality resin. He said that for research and development purposes, the corporation had planted agarwood in a 40 hectare area in the state, adding that the Forestry Department also had its own agarwood farm. He said the proposed setting up of the centre was part of the efforts by PBM to restore Melaka's glory as a trading centre for agarwood during the era of the Melaka Sultanate.

For full story, please see: www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=390366

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18. Malaysia: On a quest to revive tradition

Source: New Straits Times, Malaysia, 9 March 2009

One of Sabah's most versatile musicians, Giansing Lakansa, is embarking on a mission to popularise traditional musical instruments. Lakansa, 53, is giving free music lessons in traditional music to schools in the state. "My intention is to help schools to form their own traditional music orchestra." He has performed in London, Tokyo and Sydney, courtesy of Sabah Tourism.

A self-taught traditional musician, Lakansa is also good at making handicrafts. His products have been acknowledged as among the best, with numerous orders from as far as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore, as well as from the locals. Luckily for Lakansa, his wife and six children also help in the handicraft industry.

Besides catering to handicraft outlets in Sabah, Lakansa does his own marketing by selling his wares at weekly tamu or open markets in Tamparuli, Tuaran, Penampang and Kota Belud. He has also opened a stall at the Tuaran Farmers Association building.

Among his products are various types of baskets in different sizes and traditional musical instruments such as the ever-popular sompoton made from dried gourd and eight bamboo pipes arranged in a double-layered raft.

Other traditional musical instruments he makes are the angklong (bamboo tubes which produce a resonant pitch when struck), suling (bamboo flute) and bungkau (jaw harp).

Innovative and creative, Lakansa has also come up with a unique musical instrument called nirus made from bamboo.

For full story, please see: www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Monday/National/2499774/Article/index_html

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19. Rwanda: Alleviating poverty through silk production

Source: The New Times, Rwanda, 27 February 2009

Kigali City Council (KCC) and a local textiles company, UTEXRWA, Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will put in place mechanisms meant to alleviate poverty through silk production. The three year MoU which is subject for renewal, outlines the process of setting up a silk industry in the City through cooperatives to produce value-added finished silk products.

According to the MoU, UTEXRWA will provide training and the necessary support in the three districts that make up Kigali City; Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro. Through these cooperatives, city residents will engage in sericulture by mulberry cultivation, silk worm rearing and cocoon production.

After signing the MoU, City Mayor Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said that KCC would mobilize, sensitize and select the appropriate people to participate in training of trainers in the chosen fields. "We shall be charged with research and dissemination of related information to ensure market for silk worm cocoons in the first phase and subsequently the market for silk finished products to be produced in the cooperatives," Kacyira said. She promised some technical support to sustain the project by ensuring that the training benefits the beneficiaries. She added: "We will specifically pay attention to inclusion of the unemployed categories of people in our society especially women and youth cooperatives."

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200902270193.html

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20. Sri Lanka: Saving cinnamon industry

Source: The Daily News, 10 January 2009

Sri Lanka is the No. 1 cinnamon exporter in the world market. Its share is 80 percent of the market. The financial crisis that has engulfed the world has resulted in the decrease of demand due to economic difficulties in Mexico and other cinnamon importing countries.

There is also a threat, at times like the present, from artificial products that claim to be substitutes for natural cinnamon. Therefore, it is imperative that our cinnamon industry has to be safeguarded. Unlike other plantation crops, the cinnamon industry is largely in the hands of small and medium producers. The technology used is quite primitive.

It is sad to say that no government has made any serious attempt to upgrade the cinnamon production technology and to train producers in modern methods of peeling the bark off cinnamon branches. Nor has there been any considerable technological improvement in the extraction of cinnamon oil or in the production of other by-products.

While relief packages in the form of subsidies may help to overcome temporary problems, they would not be adequate. The only remedy against drop in prices is to improve the productivity by introducing new and better technology. It is not within the capabilities of the small and medium entrepreneurs and small peasant producers to fund such large capital out

For full story, please see: www.dailynews.lk/2009/01/10/main_Editorial.asp

For related article please see: www.island.lk/2009/01/13/business1.html

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21. Sri Lanka: Relief essential to cinnamon industry

Source: The Sunday Observer, 18 January 2009

The Export Development Board (EDB) has proposed a low interest loan repayment scheme to support the cinnamon industry which is facing a major crisis due to the global financial melt down.

The EDB proposed a 12 percent interest scheme for small- holders who comprise over 80 percent of the country’s cinnamon industry which is the fourth largest foreign income earner.

Chairman, EDB, Anil Koswatte said that the EDB will initially bear 90 per cent of the cost of the machinery used for value addition for cinnamon and thereafter will bear 60 per cent of the cost.  Around 5 per cent of the annual export income from the cinnamon industry will be allocated as an incentive for those who have been exporting cinnamon since last year.

Cinnamon producers said that they are unable to sell their produce due to the sharp reduction in prices which were around Rs. 800-900/kg for fine grades. Prices have slid to around Rs. 350-400. Smallholders are finding it difficult to meet their daily expenses and pay the peelers and other workers. Buyers have cancelled or delayed orders until the world crisis eases off.

Experts said that over 400,000 people depending on the cinnamon industry would lose their livelihood if speedy measures are not taken to support the industry. The United Union of the Cinnamon Producers said at a recent meeting that if the government fails to address the issue the families depending on the cinnamon industry will have no alternative but to take to the streets.

The cinnamon industry has called upon the Government to commence a minimum price support scheme for producers, a low interest repayment scheme, grant a subsidy for fertilizer and incentives for exporters.

Sri Lanka has been exporting cinnamon since the colonial era and the Ceylon cinnamon brand is known as the best product world over.

For full story, please see: www.sundayobserver.lk/2009/01/18/bus01.asp

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22. Sudan: Ex-official calls for export-ban on Gum Arabic to ICC supporting countries

Source: Sudan Tribune, Sudan, 8 March 2009

A former Sudanese official said today that Sudan should stop all exports of Gum Arabic to countries which supported the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision against president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. Esam Sideeg who was Bashir’s former economic adviser told official news agency (SUNA) that the Sudanese government should immediately order a ban on Gum Arabic exports to these countries.

The ICC judges will issue their decision on the application submitted last July by prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo in which he requested the issuance of an arrest warrant for Bashir on three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder.

Sideeg also said that Sudan “must implement the US imposed sanctions” by not allowing the US to receive any Gum Arabic. The US, which buys about one-fourth of Sudan’s annual production of the commodity, has exempted it from its comprehensive economic sanctions that it imposed since 1997 for national security reasons.

The ex-official accused the ICC prosecutor of seeking to stop the flow of Arabic Gum to world countries “after it was recently discovered that it is a cure to contemporary diseases”. He further said that Ocampo is doing this on behalf of multi-national food and drug companies.

In May 2007 the former Sudanese charge d’Affaires to Washington John Ukec Lueth made similar threats on preventing the US from receiving Gum Arabic exports. “I want you to know that the gum Arabic which runs all the soft drinks all over the world, including the United States, mainly 80 percent is imported from my country” Lueth said after raising a bottle of Coca-Cola.

Gum Arabic is a resin that is used as an emulsifier in soft drinks, a thickener in candies and jellies, a binder in special-purpose inks and drugs, even a foam stabilizer in beer. Its name derives from the fact that the gum was shipped to Europe from Arabic ports.

For full story, please see: www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article30415

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23. USA: Honey laundering

Source: Seattle PI, USA, 30 December 2009

The international honey trade has become increasingly rife with crime and intrigue. In the United States, where bee colonies are dying off and demand for imported honey is soaring, traders of the thick amber liquid are resorting to elaborate schemes to dodge tariffs and health safeguards in order to dump cheap honey on the market, a five-month Seattle P-I investigation has found.

The business is plagued by foreign hucksters and shady importers who rip off conscientious U.S. packers with honey diluted with sugar water or corn syrup -- or worse, tainted with pesticides or antibiotics.

Among the P-I's findings:

Big shipments of contaminated honey from China are frequently laundered in other countries -- an illegal practice called "transhipping" -- in order to avoid U.S. import fees, protective tariffs or taxes imposed on foreign products that intentionally undercut domestic prices. In a series of shipments in the past year, tons of honey produced in China passed through the ports of Tacoma and Long Beach, Calif., after being fraudulently marked as a tariff-free product of Russia.

Tens of thousands of pounds of honey entering the U.S. each year come from countries that raise few bees and have no record of producing honey for export. The government promises intense scrutiny of honey crossing our borders but only a small fraction is inspected, and seizures and arrests remain rare. The feds haven't adopted a legal definition of honey, making it difficult for enforcement agents to keep bad honey off the shelves.

For the Food and Drug Administration, it's all about keeping adulterated and possibly hazardous food off grocery shelves. For years, China has used an animal antibiotic -- chloramphenicol -- to treat diseases ravaging their beehives. The FDA has banned that drug in any food product. Since 2002, FDA has issued three "import alerts" to inspectors at ports and border crossings to detain shipments of tainted Chinese honey. In March 2007, U.S. officials revised the alert when Florida food detectives found two other antibiotics -- iprofloxacin and Enrofloxacin -- in honey and blends of honey syrup that originated from China. Last month, FDA also warned that corn or cane sugar may be adulterated -- loaded with honey to increase its bulk or weight and market value.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement began closely watching honey shipments eight years ago. That's when the Commerce Department's International Trade Commission bowed to pleas from American honey producers and levelled anti-dumping fees on Argentine and Chinese honey being sold for far less than what domestic producers could charge.

Today, Argentine honey entering this country is taxed an additional 2.2 cents a pound. The tariff on Chinese honey is much stiffer at $1.20 a pound and some say it's expected to increase.

Although arrests in such cases remain rare, customs can pursue criminal prosecutions of shippers and importers who launder or falsify the origin of products to avoid paying taxes, duties and other fees.

The Pacific Northwest is a prosperous portal for Asian honey traders. In the fiscal year ending Oct. 1, 60 shipments of foreign honey totalling more than 7.5 million pounds arrived at the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, records show. All but one came from the Far East. Each year, another $42 million worth of honey comes across the Canadian border from Washington State to North Dakota, customs says.

The United States imported 237 million pounds of raw honey last year. But honey brokers, bee experts and foreign customs officials say they're suspicious that seven of the top 12 countries appear to be exporting far more honey than their domestic bees produce or their export agencies acknowledge. These countries include Vietnam, India, Thailand, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Some of the honey laundering is so brazen, it's hard to believe there haven't been more arrests.

Countries that have few if any commercial beekeepers, such as Singapore, are now exporting significant quantities of honey, records show. That includes the Grand Bahamas, which has been listed as the country of origin for honey shipped into Houston, authorities say.

Vietnam is now the No. 2 honey exporter to the U.S., second to Canada. But Vietnamese honey officials say much Chinese honey is being transhipped through their country, citing 24 containers that arrived in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Falsifying records to get honey illegally into the U.S. is a common practice, said a former Shanghai honey shipper. "In Hai Phong (Vietnam), the Chinese honey became Vietnamese and in Pusan (South Korea) the papers were changed to say it came from Russia," said the former shipper, who asked not to be identified.

For full story, please see: www.seattlepi.com/local/394053_honey30.asp

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NEWS

24. Albert-Ludwig University Freiburg accepting M.Sc FEM. Applications

From: Albert-Ludwig University Freiburg

M.Sc. in Forest Ecology And Management

Applcation deadline: 15 May 2009 for Winter semester 2009/10:

Dates of terms:

Winter semester: mid October until mid February

Summer semester: mid April until the end of July

Program Focus:

The sustainable use of natural resources will be one of the key issues of the 21st century. This M.Sc. course focuses on the sustainable management of forested landscapes. In a world, where both the environmental conditions as well as the aspirations of society are highly dynamic, our environment cannot be managed according to fixed recipes. Adaptive management, a fundamental concept of ecosystem management, addresses this uncertainty, and provides the framework for the content of this course.

The study program aims at:

1) an understanding and analysis of the direct and indirect effects of mankind on forests and other terrestrial ecosystems,

2) an in-depth understanding of ecological and environmental processes at various levels: cells, individuals, populations, ecosystems, landscapes and global systems, and

3) the provision of methodological knowledge and competence to design and evaluate management plans and accompanying research for a range of natural resources.

For more Information, please contact::

Esther Muschelknautz (Programme Coordinator)
Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences
Dean's Office
Tennenbacher Strasse 4
D-79106 Freiburg
Germany
Phone +49 (0)761 203 3607
Fax +49 (0)761 203 3600
e-mail: esther.muschelknautz(at)ffu.uni-freiburg.de
www.fem.uni-freiburg.de/application

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25. Biodiversity International call for submissions

From: Ruth D. Raymond in Biodiversity International, and Paul Bordoni and Carolin Bothe-Tews in GFU for Underutilized Species 12 March 2009

In 2008, Bioversity International launched a global campaign - Diversity for Life. The campaign has the goal of making people around the world understand and appreciate that diversity in all of its forms - human, plant, animal - is a critical part of the fabric of life. Agricultural biodiversity in particular is vital for our nutrition, our health and our livelihoods. The campaign targets policymakers, the media and schools. As part of the campaign, an oral history project targeting schools will involve students in Italy, France, the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Peru, and the US.

In connection with the campaign, we are looking for stories about the guardians of diversity--individuals who have devoted their lives to protecting and promoting plant and animal diversity, including safeguarding the diversity of individual species. We are particularly interested in stories about farmers and community organizations in Kenya, Peru, Armenia, the UK and around the Mediterranean.

We are looking for stories about individuals who are devoting their lives to ensuring that agricultural biodiversity is being conserved and used. We are more interested in grassroots stories than in institutions. We want stories about people. The individuals need to have faces and names and voices. Right now we are just gathering ideas. Later on, we might want to follow up on these in more detail.

We will be promoting the stories of the Guardins of Diversity on our website for sure. We are trying to negotiate at large scale, highly illustrated coffee table book about the Guardians as well. We are also in discussion with the BBC to do a documentary or a series of documentaries on selected Guardians.

I don't need a lot of documentation right now, just your story ideas. They can consist of a few bullet points on an email. Photos would be good if you have them. As I said, we will follow up and let you know if and how how we plan to use your ideas. Can you help? If so, please contact Ruth Raymond at Bioversity (r.raymond@cgiar.org) and we will follow up.

Some additional information can be found in the Bioversity International News Section

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26. Forest Research Institute, University Dehra Dun, accepting applications

From: Forest Research Institute University, Dehra Dun, India

Last date for receiving completed application forms: 7 April 2009

Date of admission test: 24th May 2009

MASTER OF SCIENCE, POST MASTERS DIPLOMA & P.G. DIPLOMA COURSES

  • M.Sc. Forestry (33 Seats): Eligibility: Three years Bachelor's degree in science with at least one of the subjects namely Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Zoology or a Bachelor's degree in Agriculture or Forestry.
  • M.Sc. Wood Science & Technology (33 Seats): Eligibility: Three years Bachelor's degree with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry or B.Sc. degree in Forestry.
  • M.Sc. Environment Management (33 seats): Eligibility: Three years Bachelor's degree in any branch of basic or applied Science or Bachelor's Degree in Forestry or Agriculture or B.E./B.Tech in Environment Science.
  • Post Masters Diploma in Natural Resource Management (21 Seats): Eligibility: M.Sc. in any discipline.
  • Post Masters Diploma in Non Wood Forest Products (26 Seats): Eligibility: M.Sc. in Botany, Zoology, Forestry, Chemistry.

For more information, please contact:

Registrar, Forest Research Institute University,
P.O. I.P.E, Kaulagarh Road,
Dehradun - 248 195 (Uttarakhand), India.
Phone: 0135- 2751826
Fax: 0135-2751826, 2756865
PBX Lines: 2757021-28, 2753225-28 (Extension 4439)
E-mail: nautiyaltc@icfre.org
http://friuniversity.icfre.gov.in/

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27. Forests and the global economy: 10 million new jobs

From:  FAO Newsroom, Italy, 10 March 2009

Ten million new “green jobs” can be created by investing in sustainable forest management, according to FAO. “As more jobs are lost due to the current economic downturn, sustainable forest management could become a means of creating millions of green jobs, thus helping to reduce poverty and improve the environment,” said Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Forestry Department. Since forests and trees are vital storehouses of carbon, such an investment could also make a major contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, said Heino.

According to a recent study by the International Labour Organization, unemployment worldwide could increase from 179 million in 2007 to 198 million in 2009 under the best case scenario; under the worst case scenario, it could go as high as 230 million.

Increased investment in forestry could provide jobs in forest management, agroforestry and farm forestry, improved fire management, development and management of trails and recreation sites, expansion of urban green spaces, restoring degraded forests and planting new ones. Activities can be tailored to local circumstances, including availability of labour, skill levels and local social, economic and ecological conditions.

A number of countries, for example the United States and the Republic of Korea, have included forestry in their economic stimulus plans. Similarly afforestation is an important component of India’s rural employment guarantee programme. According to FAO, the global potential is at least 10 million new jobs through national investments.

At the same time, improved forest management and new tree planting could significantly reduce the downward trend in forest cover reported by many countries. This would help to reduce carbon emissions from land-use change and could potentially have a larger positive impact on climate change than any other initiative currently being planned or considered by world leaders.

How sustainable forest management can help build a green future and meet society’s changing demand for forest-derived goods and services will be the main thrust of World Forest Week, to be held in conjunction with FAO’s Committee on Forestry, 16 to 20 March in Rome. Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, will deliver the keynote address. She will emphasize the critical role of forests in society’s response to the challenges posed by climate change.

For full story, please see: www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/10442/icode/

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28. Forestry in a new economic climate

From:  FAO Newsroom, Italy, 16 March 2009

The dual challenges of economic turmoil and climate change are bringing the management of forests to the forefront of global interest. The need to reform forestry institutions and increase investments in science and technology are key to the better management of forests, notes the State of the World’s Forests 2009 launched today.

A highly mixed situation is expected, with gains in forest area in some regions and losses in others, notes the report. Countries in the early stages of development in particular tend to struggle with immense pressures on their forests. The trade-offs between immediate economic compulsions and long term benefits are challenging. Institutional weaknesses remain the most important problem, but also the most difficult to solve.

“Adapting forestry institutions to rapid changes in the larger environment is a major challenge”, says Jan Heino, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Forestry Department.  Of particular importance is the need to re-invent public sector forestry agencies that have been slow in adapting to changing customer needs, said Mr. Heino.

Global demand for products and environmental services is expected to increase in the coming decades, notes the report. Energy and climate change policies are increasing the use of wood as a source of energy, although this trend may be affected by the recent economic down-turn.

In the short term forests and forestry are greatly impacted by the global economic crisis, notes the report. Reduced demand for wood and wood products as a result of the collapse in the housing sector and the credit crunch are having a severe negative impact on investments in industries and also on forest management.

A general concern is that some governments may dilute previously ambitious green goals or defer key policy decisions related to climate change mitigation and adaptation as they focus on reversing the economic downturn, the report said. Initiatives such as those for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation that are dependent on international financial transfers could also face problems.

Furthermore, contraction of formal economic sectors often opens opportunities for expansion of the informal sector and could lead to more illegal logging.

But there are also opportunities stemming from the current crisis. Increased attention on “green development” could provide a new direction to the development of the forest sector. Planting trees, increased investments in sustainable forest management, and active promotion of wood in green building practices and renewable energy will all become integral parts of “green development,” notes the report.

For full story, please see: www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/10554/icode/

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29. International Year of Natural Fibres 2009 – an update

From: Brian Moir FAO, Trade and Markets Division

The Website

There is now a downloadable poster on the website of the International Year of Natural Fibres and we expect to design another one and make it available in a number of languages. We also plan to add detail on more fibres, and more fibre stories and fact sheets.

Events

There have been a number of additions to the events calendar, keep an eye on this page. March and particularly April are busy months. While many of the events are of local or national interest, note the international events in China (International Natural Fibres Forum) and in India (International seminar: "Emerging trends in production, processing and utilisation of natural fibres”) both in April.

We can add your events to the list if they are presented as events of the International Year of Natural Fibres – if you state this in your advertising, use the IYNF logo, display the poster, etc.

DVD / Video

We have been promising the DVD for a while now, and it is still not actually available. But within a week or two we hope to have the IYNF video in various languages available on DVD in PAL and NTSC formats. Send an email if you would like us to send you the DVD.

Funding is STILL desperately needed

We are struggling to keep going with a tiny level of support from within FAO. This will be exhausted by the end of March. Your success in this International Year, and the success of the IYNF in total, will depend largely on FAO providing support – information materials such as leaflets, posters, booklets and factsheets; the video; press kits; access to an up-to-date website; etc. We desperately need funding to support you in your activities, to coordinate, to disseminate information and to run an end-of-year event. Past international years (note the very successful International Year of the Potato 2008, www.potato2008.org ) have been operated with donations totalling $500,000 to $1,000,000, mainly from governments. If you have access to government agencies or industry sources that might be inclined to fund the International Year of Natural Fibres please use your influence to help ensure the success of this Year.

For more information, please contact:

Brian Moir, Trade and Markets Division, FAO
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00153, Italy
All feedback please to: IYNF-2009@fao.org
www.naturalfibres2009.org/

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30. Launch of new superfruit beverage

Source: Natural News, USA, 5 February 2009

The Amazon Herb Company has launched an extraordinary new beverage called Zamu. Unlike most super fruit juices sold by network marketing companies (which are made mostly with cheap filler juices), Zamu is authentic and nutritionally superior. The nutrients in Zamu are derived solely from real foods and herbs: camu camu, acai, cacao, cinnamon and sangre de drago. Many of these are wildcrafted, too.

Proceeds from the drink help support the ACEER Foundation (the Amazon Centre for Environmental Education and Research), a pioneering, progressive organization that helps indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest live sustainable lives in harmony with the rainforests they have inhabited for thousands of years. You can read more about ACEER at: www.wcupa.edu/aceer/

For full story, please see: www.naturalnews.com/025537.html

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31. New interactive database on indicators of sustainable forest management in Europe

Source: UNECE, Geneva, 19 January 2009

The Timber and Forestry programme of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and FAO announced today the release of a new web-based resource tool designed by the international community to enable researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the general public to access data on Europe’s forests. The database is a comprehensive research tool based on the report State of Europe’s Forests 2007, and includes data which have so far not been published.

This is the first time that such a comprehensive set of information pertinent to sustainable forest management and forest resources assessment in Europe is being published via an online data management system. It provides an unprecedented scope of information, collected by hundreds of individuals and dozens of agencies, and is accessible through a user-friendly interface which enables users to extract all the data for a single country, or to compare indicators across several countries.

This new database offers a tremendous resource for anyone interested in learning more about Europe’s forest data and activities pertaining to sustainable forest management in Europe. It makes information available for 27 quantitative indicators, structured by six criteria for sustainable forest management endorsed by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. In addition to characteristics of European forests and forestry data in general, the user also has access to information on the balance of carbon in forest ecosystems, forest health condition and status of forest biodiversity.

Aspects of production, including wood and non-wood products and services, are presented along with information on protected forest areas. The database also provides information on social and economic aspects of the forestry sector. In line with the structure of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, the data are presented in a way that illustrates trends of chosen variables for the years 1990, 2000 and 2005. It is expected that this series will be continued (reporting for 2010 has started). The interface enables online review and simple analysis, but also allows selective extraction of the requested data in different formats.

These data are presented alongside other statistical data from different parts of the UNECE work programme. The UNECE/FAO Timber Section encourages the international community to take advantage of this resource, and to make suggestions for further improvement.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Roman Michalak
Forest Resources Officer
UNECE/FAO Timber Section
UNECE Trade and Timber Division
Palais des Nations CH 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2879
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0041
E-mail: fra.timber@unece.org
www.unece.org/timber
Database: http://w3.unece.org/pxweb/Dialog/.

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32. United Nations Environment Program to protect bees, pollinators

Source: Farming UK, UK, 9 January 2009

The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) announced that it will implement a new initiative, to better protect bees, bats, birds and others that are vital to crop development, production and biodiversity.

The plan is for five years and is costing US$26 million, it will reintroduce natural pollination, that has been killed off, by the use of insecticides and fertilizers.

The scheme is being financed, by the Global Environmental Facility(GEF) and coordinated by FAO. This is good news for Argentina, who is the world’s largest producer of honey.

For full story, please see: www.farminguk.com/news/United-Nations-Environment-Program.9879.asp

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EVENTS

33. UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)

20 April to 1 May 2009

UN Headquarters, New York, USA

UNFF8 discussions will be centred on two themes: Forests in a Changing Environment and Means of Implementation for Sustainable Forest Management. The first theme covers issues such as desertification, forest degradation, climate change, biodiversity; while the second includes a decision by the Forum on a voluntary global financial mechanism/ portfolio approach/forest financing framework.

For more information, please contact:

UN Forum on Forests Secretariat
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
One UN Plaza, DC1-1245
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: +1 212 963 3401
Fax: +1 917 367 3186
www.un.org/esa/forests

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34. Towards a Rights-Based Agenda in International Forestry

30-31 May 2009,

Berkeley, United States

For more information, please contact:

Thomas Sikor
University of East Anglia, UK
e-mail: T.Sikor@uea.ac.uk
or Johannes Stahl
University of California at Berkeley, USA
e-mail: JStahl@nature.berkeley.edu
http://nature.berkeley.edu/rights-based_forestry

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35. International Conference on Plants and Environmental Pollution 2009

6-11 July 2009

Kayserim, Turkey

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Dilek Demirezen Yılmaz
or Dr. Fatih Duman
or Dr. Mehmet Gökhan Halıcı
Erciyes University
Faculty of Arts & Sciences
Biology Department
38039 Kayseri, Turkey
Email: pep2009@erciyes.edu.tr or aksoy@erciyes.edu.tr
http://pep2009.erciyes.edu.tr/index.htm

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36. Tunza International Youth Conference on the Environment

21-26 August 2009

Daejeon, Republic of Korea

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the UNEP National Committee for the Republic of Korea will be organizing its Tunza International Youth Conference on the Environment on the theme of: Climate Change: Our Challenge. It will bring together 200 youths to learn about the environment through plenary sessions, workshops and field trips.

The daily themes include:

  1. Climate change: Limiting the Foot Print
  2. Youth and Green Jobs
  3. Disasters and Conflicts and their Impact on the Environment and Sustainable Lifestyles.

Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme in Cooperation with the UNEP Committee for the Republic of Korea

Nominations must be submitted to UNEP on or before 31 March 2009

For more information on the Conference, and to submit a nomination from your organization:

The Children and Youth Unit
Division of Communications and Public Information
United Nations Environment Programme
P.O Box 30552.
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254 -20-7623937
Fax: 254 -20-7623927/4350
www.unep.org/tunza/youth/conferences_events/TIYC2009/

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37. Secondo Congresso Internazionale Construcciones de Cubierta vegetal “Pinolere 2009”

2nd International Conference on Thatched Buildings “Pinolere 2009”.

Deuxième congrès international sur les constructions à végétale “Pinolere 2009”.

2-5 October 2009.

Tenerife . Canary Islands.

For more information, please contact

Rafael C. Gómez León
Coordinador del Congreso.
Tenerife . Canary Islands.
Calle Germinal nº 36.
PINOLERE. La Orotava. Tenerife. Islas Canarias.
España 38310
e-mail: directorelpajar@pinolere.org
www.congresoconstruccionescubiertavegetal.org

www.pinolere.org

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38. Plant Conservation for the Next Decade: A Celebration of Kew's 250th Anniversary.

12-16 October 2009

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, UK

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is hosting a celebratory scientific conference on 12-16 October 2009, "Plant Conservation for the Next Decade: A Celebration of Kew's 250th Anniversary." The program will include three days of scientific sessions in the Jodrell laboratory, showcasing Kew's conservation research and inviting leading international research scientists to present papers in six sessions - Plant Conservation: Policies and Politics; Plant Conservation: Management and Restoration; Plant Conservation and Human Cultures; Plant Conservation and Agriculture; Frontiers of Plant Conservation Technology; and, Plant Conservation: What Can We Afford to Lose?

Keynote speakers include Dr. Peter Raven, Dr. Judy West, Professor Hongwen Huang, Professor Michael E. Kane, Dr. Saw Leng Guan, Professor Richard Hobbs, Ms. Sara Oldfield, the current Director of Kew Professor Stephen Hopper and previous Directors Professor Sir Peter Crane and Professor Sir Ghillean Prance.

Kew now invites interested parties to submit abstracts for posters and oral presentations, to be considered for inclusion in this exciting conference. Participating authors are also invited to contribute to a special issue of Kew Bulletin, subject to standard scientific review. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words, excluding the title, and the deadline for abstract submission is 9 April 2009.

Deadline for abstract submission is 9 April 2009

For more information, please contact:

Plant Conservation Conference
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Richmond
Surrey TW9 3AB
UK
Email: sciconf@kew.org
www.kew.org/science/anniversary-conference.

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REQUESTS

39. Request for information: Shorea robusta

From: Dr. Madhav Pandey, Canadian Genomics and Conservation Genetics Institute

I am looking for a distribution map of Shorea robusta in Nepal (if possible in digital format). I would appreciate any information regarding the matter.

Dr. Madhav Pandey
Canadian Genomics and Conservation Genetics Institute
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management
University of New Brunswick (UNB)
Lab#107,Tweeddale centre, 1350 Regent Street
Fredericton NB E3C 2G6
CANADA
Tel: +1 506 452 6027 Fax: +1 506 453 3574
Email: mpandey@unb.ca

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

40. The World Resources Institute (WRI) is seeking a Senior Associate

From:  Karen Bennett kbennett@wri.org

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is seeking a Senior Associate to lead WRI’s Forest Initiative and refine and expand its activities. In addition, the position will develop and lead a number of new projects—particularly in the Amazon Basin—that contribute to the success of the Initiative. The ideal candidate for this position is one with expertise in the social and economic dimensions of sustainable forest management, complementing the strong technical expertise (e.g., silviculture, remote sensing) of WRI’s existing forest team.

WRI’s Forest Initiative seeks to increase the ability of governments, businesses, and civil society to act upon better and more widely shared information to protect intact forests, manage working forests more sustainably, and restore deforested lands. Focused on forest-rich regions, the Initiative utilizes spatial and other forest-related information to stimulate, support, and monitor actions that promote more sustainable forest management. The Initiative is currently active in the Congo Basin, Southeast Asia, Russia, and the Amazon Basin.

For a full job description, please see: http://www.wri.org/job/10698

Interested candidates should send their resume or CV and a cover letter to:

Karen Bennett
kbennett@wri.org
World Resources Institute
10 G Street NE Suite 800
Washington, DC 20002, USA
No phone calls please.

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

41. Nature-Friendly Land Use Practices at Multiple Scales

From:  Environmental Law Institute, 24 February 2009

Kihslinger, Rebecca and James McElfish. 2008. Nature-FriendlyLand Use Practices at Multiple Scales. Island Press Covelo.

A new book by scientist Rebecca Kihslinger and environmental lawyer James McElfish, shows that American communities have ways to protect the regional environment.

Land development decisions present the most significant threats to wildlife and functioning ecological systems in the U.S. But there is often a mismatch between the scale at which land development decisions are made and the scale at which conservation must be addressed in order to succeed.

This unique book is organized around eight detailed case studies of private land developers, local governments, and public agencies that have worked across jurisdictional and ecological boundaries to effectively address habitat conservation. The book includes two essays by leading conservation biologists who link planning at scale with sound land use decisions.

The book articulates six lessons or “best practices” for the design and implementation of programs and projects that incorporate effective conservation at multiple scales:

  1. creating and sustaining an independent entity focused on habitat, including regional conservation efforts;
  2. maintaining dynamic access to conservation science
  3. “branding” a project or place as wildlife-supporting;
  4. identifying regional habitat conservation opportunities and funding sources;
  5. educating the community in order to increase citizen involvement;
  6. achieving external certification in order to maintain a project’s continuity as nature-friendly over time.

These key elements provide planners, developers, and government agencies with attainable objectives for the design and implementation of land use programs that incorporate wildlife conservation at multiple scales.

For full review, please see: http://www.enn.com/press_releases/2839

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42. Other publications of interest

From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

Amaral, A. C. F.; Ferreira, J. L. P.; Moura, D. F. de; Carvalho, J. R.; Ohana, D. T.; Echevarria, A.; Rosario, V. E. do; Lopes, D.; Silva, J. R. de A. 2008. Updated studies on Ampelozizyphus amazonicus, a medicinal plant used in the Amazonian region. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2: 4

Anamika Bose; Krishnendu Chakraborty; Koustav Sarkar; Shyamal Goswami; Enamul Haque; Tathagata Chakraborty; Diptendu Ghosh; Soumyabrata Roy; Subrata Laskar; Rathindranath Baral. 2009. Neem leaf glycoprotein directs T-bet-associated type 1 immune commitment. Human Immunology. 70: 1.

Anita Varghese; Ticktin, T. 2008. Regional variation in non-timber forest product harvest strategies, trade, and ecological impacts: the case of black dammar (Canarium strictum Roxb.) use and conservation in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India. Ecology and Society. 2008. 13: 2.

Ballard, H. L.; Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E.; Sturtevant, V. E. 2008. Integration of local ecological knowledge and conventional science: a study of seven community-based forestry organizations in the USA. Ecology and Society. 13: 2.

Bisht, D. S.; Pundir, Y. P. S. 2008. Wild medicinal plants of Jaunsar-Bawar (Western Himalayas), Uttarakhand - II. Indian Forester. Indian Forester, Dehra Dun, India. 134: 5.

Cansian, R. L.; Mossi, A. J.; Mosele, S. H.; Toniazzo, G.; Treichel, H.; Paroul, N.; Oliveira, J. V.; Oliveira, D.; Mazutti, M.; Echeverrigaray, S. 2008. Genetic conservation and medicinal properties of mate (Ilex paraguariensis St Hil.). Pharmacognosy Magazine, Al-Ameen College of Pharmacy. Bangalore, India.

Christensen, G. A.; Campbell, S. J.; Fried, J. S. 2008. California's forest resources, 2001-2005: five-year Forest Inventory and Analysis report. General Technical Report - Pacific Northwest Research Station, USDA Forest Service. PNW-GTR-763.

Chukwuone, N. A. 2009. Socioeconomic determinants of cultivation of non-wood forest products in southern Nigeria. Biodiversity and Conservation. 18: 2..

Ebong, P. E.; Atangwho, I. J.; Eyong, E. U.; Egbung, G. E. 2008. The antidiabetic efficacy of combined extracts from two continental plants: Azadirachta indica (A. Juss) (neem) and Vernonia amygdalina (Del.) (African bitter leaf). American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology. 4: 3.

Guimaraes, L. G. L. 2008. Yield evaluation of both the essential oil and the main component of Eucalyptus citriodora Hook. leaves harvested in different seasons in the municipalities of Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Plantas Medicinais. Fundacao do Instituto de Biociencias, Botucatu, Brazil: 2008. 10: 1.

Lian Pin Koh & David S. Wilcove. 2009. Oil palm: disinformation enables deforestation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24: 67-68

Lopez-Feldman, A.; Wilen, J. E. 2008. Poverty and spatial dimensions of non-timber forest extraction. Environment and Development Economics. 13: 5

Narayan Shah; Moin, T. M.; Kibria, M. G.; Mohammed Alamgir; Uddin, M. S. 2008. Present status and potentiality of major Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPS) in Sylhet Forest Division, Bangladesh. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management. 9: 2.

Nasi, R.; Brown, D.; Wilkie, D., Bennett, E., Tutin, C.; Tol, G. van, Christophersen, T. 2008. Conservation and use of wildlife-based resources: the bushmeat crisis. CBD Technical Series. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal, Canada. 33, 50 pp.

Nyaupane, Gyan P.; Chhetri, Netra. 2009. Vulnerability to Climate Change of Nature-Based Tourism in the Nepalese Himalayas. Tourism Geographies 11(1): 95 – 119.

Padoch, C.; Brondizio, E.; Costa, S.; Pinedo-Vasquez, M.; Sears, R. R.; Siqueira, A. 2008. Urban forest and rural cities: multi-sited households, consumption patterns, and forest resources in Amazonia. Ecology and Society. 13: 2.

Pradeep Chaudhry; Srivastava, R. L.; Pramod Kumar; Arvind Apte; Rao, N. S. 2008. Role of non timber forest products in sustaining rural livelihoods: a case study from biggest state of India. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management. 9: 2.

Rout, S. D. 2008. Anthropogenic threats and biodiversity conservation in Similipal Biosphere Reserve, Orissa, India. Tigerpaper, 35. FAO.

Sashidhara, K. V.; Rosaiah, J. N.; Ethika Tyagi; Rakesh Shukla; Ram Raghubir; Rajendran, S. M. 2009. Rare dipeptide and urea derivatives from roots of Moringa oleifera as potential anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive agents. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 44: 1.

Schuch, L. F. D.; Wiest, J. M.; Garcia, E. N.; Prestes, L. S.; Schramm, R. da C.; Coimbra, H.; Meireles, M. C. de A. 2008. Antifungical activity of medicinal plants with traditional used as antibiotic. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae. 36: 3.

Senthilkumar, N.; Barthakur, N. D.; Rao, M. L. 2008. Bioprospecting with reference to medicinal insects and tribes in India: an overview. Indian Forester. 134: 12

Setty, R. S.; Kamal Bawa; Ticktin, T.; Gowda, C. M. 2008. Evaluation of a participatory resource monitoring system for nontimber forest products: the case of amla (Phyllanthus spp.) fruit harvest by Soligas in South India. Ecology and Society. 2008. 13: 2.

Ulman, Y. N.; Mokat, D. N. 2008.  Sacred groves as a potential Minor Forest Products reserve. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management. 9: 2.

Urban, J.; Kokoska, L.; Langrova, I.; Matejkova, J. 2008.In vitro anthelmintic effects of medicinal plants used in Czech Republic. Pharmaceutical Biology. 46: 10-11.

Veena Chandra; Satish Pant. 2008. Wild edible plants of Jaunsar-Bawar (Dehradun) - I: Fruits. International Journal of Forest Usufructs Management. 9: 2.

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43. Web sites and e-zines

From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

Database: Indicators of sustainable forest management in Europe

http://w3.unece.org/pxweb/Dialog/.

Database: Threatened Aromatics Plants

www.cropwatch.org/Threatened%20Aromatic%20Species%20v1.09.pdf

Sustainable Development ListServe

The Sustainable Development (SD) model is based on the notion of a harmonious balance struck between the social, environmental and economic spheres of development. This can lead to a durable, equitable and environmentally sound outcome - one that preserves the promise of prosperity for present and future generations. This paradigm mainstreamed twenty years ago, today offers a most appropriate methodology for addressing the complex of global issues at the fore of policy debate. Assuring that challenges like climate change, rising food insecurity and the unfolding international financial crisis do not undermine the global development agenda, requires a coordinated, cross-sectoral and truly international response. The SD framework addresses this need by offering stakeholders an inclusive and balanced tool for assessing, implementing and monitoring the development process.

To bring together the global community of sustainable development thinkers, planners, and activists, and to highlight and enhance the important work ongoing in the field of Sustainable Development, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in collaboration with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development (UNDESA-DSD) are launching the Sustainable Development ListServe (SD-L).

SD-L is a free and moderated community communications tool for knowledge-sharing on Sustainable Development. It is a grassroots, peer to peer service meant to advance understanding and application of the SD framework by allowing subscribers to post announcements related to contributions and activities with a strong focus on sustainable development. SD-L provides an excellent way to circulate cutting edge information on meetings, policy developments, publications and new initiatives, as well as keep abreast of the latest sustainable development-related issues and events. SD-L offers users a chance to better publicize and coordinate their efforts through virtual knowledge exchange.

For assistance or further information, please contact kimo@iisd.org

http://www.iisd.ca/SD-L

The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

www.tkdl.res.in/tkdl/langdefault/common/home.asp?GL=Eng

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MISCELLANEOUS

44. Bigger trees helping fight against climate change

Source: Guardian.Co.UK, Africa, 19 February 2009

A laborious study of the girth of 70,000 trees across Africa has shown that tropical forests are soaking up more carbon dioxide pollution than originally thought. Almost one-fifth of our fossil fuel emissions are absorbed by forests across Africa, Amazonia and Asia, the research suggests.

Simon Lewis, climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: "We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. Tropical forests are absorbing 18% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels." The study, published tomorrow in Nature, measured trees in 79 areas of intact forest across 10 African countries from Liberia to Tanzania, and compared records going back 40 years. "On average the trees are getting bigger," Lewis said.

Compared to the 1960s, each hectare of intact African forest has trapped an extra 0.6 tonnes of carbon a year. Over the world's tropical forests, this extra "carbon sink" effect adds up to 4.8bn tonnes of CO2 removed each year - close to the total carbon dioxide emissions from the US. Although individual trees are known to soak up carbon as they photosynthesise and grow, large patches of mature forest were once thought to be carbon neutral, with the carbon absorbed by new trees balanced by that released as old trees die. The discovery suggests that increased CO2 in the atmosphere could fertilise extra growth in the mature forests.

Lewis said: "It's good news for now but the effect won't last forever. The trees can't keep on getting bigger and bigger.” The research comes as efforts intensify to include protection for tropical forests in carbon credit schemes, as part of a new climate deal to replace the Kyoto protocol.

For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/19/forests-carbon-emissions

Related story: www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/02/25/carbon-absorbing-tropical-forests-a-potential-gold-mine.html

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45. Palm oil may be single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species

Source: Mongabay, Southeast Asia, 26 January 2009

Efforts to slow the rapid expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of natural forests across Southeast Asia are being hindered by industry-sponsored disinformation campaigns, argue scientists writing in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The authors, Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove, say that palm oil may constitute the "single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species" by driving the conversion of biologically rich ecosystems — including lowland rainforests and peatlands.

"Why have efforts by conservationists failed to halt the expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of tropical forests? We contend that part of the reason could be the aggressive public relations campaigns undertaken by the oil palm industry to promote public acceptance of palm oil and to dismiss the concerns of conservation biologists and environmentalists," Koh and Wilcove write. "It is not unlike the campaign that some energy companies waged against efforts to curb global climate change."

Ultimately, pressure on the industry to improve environmental performance will hinge on whether environmentalists can overcome this propaganda to convince consumers and governments on the merits of eco-friendly palm oil. Until then, biodiversity will continue to be at risk from the palm oil industry, conclude Koh and Wilcove.

For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0125-palm_oil.html

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46. Rural depopulation isn’t just a social problem: it affects wildlife too

Source: The Ecologist, 23 January 2009

When communities are broken apart by migration towards towns and cities, rural life suffers. But now, researchers writing in Tropical Conservation Science journal have revealed that biodiversity can also be affected when humans move away.

Aerin Jacob, a biologist at McGill University in Canada, and her team discovered that as people leave an area, one dominant habitat (usually secondary forest or savannah) comes to take over from the diverse mosaic of human-maintained landscapes.

This ‘ecological homogenisation’ can lead to a decrease in biodiversity at a local level, the scientists concluded, although this will not be the case everywhere.

‘We need to understand the social, biological and economic reasons behind rural depopulation if we want to conserve biodiversity and help rural people deal with declining populations,’ Jacob said. ‘Globally, the situation is complex. Rural depopulation and the resulting environmental changes will not happen everywhere. Nor does a decrease in habitat diversity necessarily imply conservation losses.’

For full story, please see:

www.theecologist.org/pages/archive_detail.asp?content_id=2061

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009