No. 06/09

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:

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 also appreciate any comments or feedback.

A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information and also to Adam DeHeer for his help with this issue.


  1. Agarwood: Looking for a faster way to produce gaharu in Malaysia
  2. Bamboo: 18 September to be declared World Bamboo Day
  3. Bamboo in Bhutan: Exhibition boon to artisans
  4. Broom grass (thysonalaena maxima) can play pivotal role in generating employment in India
  5. Buddleja saligna: Medicinal potentials in extracts of leaves and stems
  6. Cinnamon: antioxidant superpower with huge health benefits
  7. Cork: Synthetic corks and aluminum screw tops may spell the end for Portugal’s cork-oak forests
  8. Medicinal plants: Calophyllum spp. potentially provide anti-HIV drugs
  9. Neem: A centuries-old remedy for problem skin & hair
  10. Shea nut and other beauty products get fairtrade makeover
  11. Wattle and myrtle beers
  12. Wattle plants wanted by NASA for clean air in space


  1. Bhutan: Training workshop on NWFPs
  2. Brazil: Deforestation "boom and bust" leaves humans no better off
  3. Cambodia signs deal to save forests and yield carbon offsets
  4. Canada group looking to diversify forest industries
  5. Canada: New funding for northern agriculture/NWFP expansion
  6. China suspends reforestation project over food shortage fears
  7. Indonesia: Rattan trade
  8. India: Timber smugglers find alternative means of livelihood
  9. India: Traditional knowledge should not be overlooked
  10. Turkey: Nut producing pines in Muğla’s mountains
  11. USA: NTFPs weaving traditions


  1. AfricaAdapt launches new fund for innovative knowledge sharing
  2. Beer brewed with NTFP promotes forestry certification
  3. NWFP fight Diabetes
  4. Rainforests more fragile than estimated


  1. IPROMO Course on "Developing economic opportunities for mountain areas"
  2. Asociación Costarricense de Bambú (ACOBAMBU) Simposio: “El bambú en Costa Rica: una perspectiva para el desarrollo”
  3. Community Forestry International Workshop
  4. INBAR-UBFDB International training workshop on 'bamboo as a modern construction material'
  5. Forest Communities Conference 2009: Trends and Opportunities
  6. Sixth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability


  1. FAO accepting applications for Forest Resources Officer
  2. Professor on international nature conservation at the Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation


  1. New publication from FAO’s NWFP programme
  2. Other publications of interest
  3. Web sites and e-zines


  1. Predatory dingoes promote diversity
  2. Tiny monkey species discovered in the Amazon rainforest



1. Agarwood: Looking for a faster way to produce gaharu in Malaysia

Source: New Straits Times, 2 July 2009

Kuala Terengganu – The state Forestry Department of Malaysia is on the hunt for a local form of inoculation to boost the production and industry of gaharu, the resin harvested from agarwood trees (Aquilaria malaccensis)

Inoculation of the agarwood or karas tree helps accelerate the process of infection which in turn leads to better yield of the aromatic resin. Traditionally, harvesters slash the tree for it to become infected.

It is estimated that a karas tree takes between 10 and 15 years to produce gaharu, but with inoculation, it takes only between two and three years.

State Forestry Department director Nor Akhirruddin Mahmud said the current vaccines used were costly as they were imported from the United States and Thailand, and could only be used selectively.

This has slowed the production of gaharu, which is mainly used in the perfume trade. Two years ago, the price ranged between RM8 000 and RM10 000 per kg. While the economic value of an adult tree is still being researched here, on average, it can yield up to RM18 000 a kg after harvesting in Thailand and Indonesia.

The New Straits Times reported in 2007 that the state is sitting on a goldmine, because in four years time, it stands to earn more than RM500 million in revenue from a 47ha site at the Merchang forestry station holding 40 000 seedlings.

It is also used medicinally as a remedy for nervous disorders such as neurosis, obsessive behavior and exhaustion.

"Despite the state's huge potential to become a hub for gaharu production, we are still lagging behind other countries like Thailand and Singapore as we have overlooked its economic value. But this does not mean we cannot be part of the industry. That is why we want to come up with a local inoculation which could encourage more participants in the industry," Nor Akhirruddin told the NST recently.

Currently, the department is working closely with the Malaysian Nuclear Institution for a local substance but is open to other solutions. Nor Akhirruddin said the department was hoping to come up with its own form of vaccine in the next two years.

The department was also trying to encourage people to grow agarwood.

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo: 18 September to be declared World Bamboo Day

Source:, 2 June 2009

Bamboo's sustainable properties, environmentally-conscious product applications and relevance within a changing climate are the intertwined themes of the VIII World Bamboo Congress to be held from 16 to 18 September at Bangkok.

The three-day conference and expo is a World Bamboo Organization event and will coincide with the 113th anniversary of Thailand's Royal Forest on September 18. The celebration will also mark the declaration of 18 September as World Bamboo Day.

The largest gathering of professionals in the bamboo industry to date, the program will feature three days of lectures, presentations and demonstrations related to bamboo propagation, product application, sustainability and environmental properties and economic development. Topics covered will include architecture, construction, plantation management, landscape design, regional reports and other presentations in development.

During the afternoon of Friday, September 18, the declaration of World Bamboo Day will be celebrated with traditional Thai music and dance as well as a ceremonial bamboo planting in a Bangkok park.

For full story, please see:


3. Bamboo in Bhutan: Exhibition boon to artisans

Source: Kuensel Online, 29 June 2009

Rinchen Wangchuk and Tshering Lham, who were recently in Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu, were all smiles as the two-day cane and bamboo exhibition wrapped up. The artisan couple from Zhemgang, representing their fellow artisans, not only marketed bamboo products but also sold about Nu 50,000 worth of their products during the event.

“We’re very grateful to the government for providing us this opportunity to display our products and find potential buyers,” said Rinchen, adding that back home it was really difficult to sell their products, the market being so small. Income from their products is the only means to meet their food, health and children’s education needs.

“Until now our monthly income was about Nu 7,000 per month and we’re only able to break even. But, now, we hope things will change.” Just to sell their products at their local market in Zhemgang, they have to walk almost three days from their village.

The event was organized by Bhutan’s Department of Industry (DoI), with funds from UNDP and technical assistance from The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).

Craft items, encompassing an array of cane and bamboo products, included not only traditional products like bangchung, zem and tser dhop, but also modern products such as cane wine holder, tser tissue box, penholder, bamboo tray and hangers, etc. Live demonstrations of various craft work were also presented.

SNV’s Galey Tenzin said that prices of bamboo products are set to come down by almost 20-30 percent in the future. He added that, through the technical assistance they provide, bamboo artisans are encouraged to create group-based business and educated on proper price fixation of their products.

“We’re encouraging artisans to use bamboo rather than cane, because cane has become scarce with extensive and unsuitable use in the past, which has even led to a sharp decline in production,” he said. “With most communities far from the road point, motivation is much needed for the artisans.”

Pema Letho, 24, from Mongar, said that assistance from various organizations in developing their skills and training them to make new products has really improved his living standards and has provided opportunities for others to take the same path.

For full story, please see:


4. Broom grass (Thysonalaena maxima) can play pivotal role in generating employment in India

Source: The Morunge Express, 7 June 2009

Kohima, India Viewing the potential of broom grass (Thysonalaena maxima) in generating employment and enhancing rural economy, the state’s department of Land Resources Development (LRD) is promoting the use of this plant for various purposes. During the State Road Show in Longleng, the LRD department has displayed the products and the value of this plant, which has attracted the attention of many visitors.

“Nagaland is endowed with many natural multi-species of non-timber forest produce, out of which broom grass can play a pivotal role in generating employment and enhancing rural economy. Broom grass raw materials are widely available and have direct uses in every household as a broom, stool/morah, furniture, decorative items, fuel, and fodder” the LRD department said. It can also be effectively used as a soil conservation measure in fragile and degraded lands and for the paper and pulp industry.

Broom grass belongs to the family of poaceae. It is widely distributed all over the state at an elevation of 1 500 m. It grows in tussocks. The culms arise centrifugally during the peak growing season (April to July) and bear inflorescence (panicle) on shoot apex at the end of vegetative growth. The inflorescence, that is about 30 to 90cm long, resembles a foxtail and is used as a broom.

The Department has undertaken a series of studies in all the districts and wishes “to present for the first time this invasive plant as a resource for various economic applications through technology transfer.” The Department hopes that the findings will lead to a new era in the development of better technologies to utilize the said plant and gainfully employ and improve the life of the rural people.

For full story, please see:


5. Buddleja saligna: Medicinal potentials in extracts of leaves and stems

Source: 7th Space Interactive, 6 July 2009

Buddleja saligna of the Loganiaceae family, also known as the African false olive, is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree with a short trunk that is often gnarled and crooked, a dense crown, rounded or domed-shaped; foliage grayish green. The wild olives are traditionally used to lower blood pressures in many parts of the world.

In southern Africa, bark and leaf decoctions are used to treat colic, coughs, colds, sore eyes, urinary problems and as purgatives.

A recent study indicates that the leaves and stem extracts of Buddleja saligna possess antioxidant properties and could serve as free radical inhibitors or scavenger, acting possibly as primary antioxidants.

Although, the antibacterial properties of Buddleja saligna are not as effective as the standard drugs-Chloramphenicol and Streptomycin, they still possess some activity against bacterial strains used in the study. Buddleja saligna may therefore be a good candidate for functional foods as well as pharmaceutical plant-based products.

For full story, please see:


6. Cinnamon: antioxidant superpower with huge health benefits

Source: The, 18 June 2009

Recent, surprising studies show that some herbs and spices are antioxidant powerhouses -- and that cinnamon is the second highest.

In addition to being high in antioxidants, cinnamon has huge anti-inflammatory power commonly described as helping arthritis sufferers and people with other types of pain. However, the bigger picture of this antioxidants’ anti-inflammatory power is its ability to reduce inflammation of the inner lining of arteries.

One teaspoon of cinnamon taken daily helps to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, and may help prevent type-2 diabetes and atherosclerosis as a result. Studies even show that just ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol plus have beneficial effects on regulating blood sugar. This makes it beneficial for everyone, especially people with Type 2 diabetes.

In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. In another study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder every morning with breakfast had significant relief in arthritis and other joint pain. And yet another study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

Finally, cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

For full story, please see:


7. Cork: Synthetic corks and aluminum screw tops may spell the end for Portugal’s cork-oak forests

Source:, 25 June 2009

Grape variety, place of origin and price, these are likely the main factors that determine which wine bottle you choose. But perhaps one more item is worth your consideration: the bottle’s cork, or lack thereof.

That Is because the wine industry’s rapid shift toward alternative means of bottle closures, like screw caps and synthetic plugs, has cast a cloud over the cork forests of Mediterranean Europe and North Africa.

There, the picturesque cork oak (Quercus suber) has been an integral part of the landscape and of the winemaking industry for centuries. But times are changing. While the stately trees still grow across some 5 million acres of arid countryside, the forests could become commercially obsolete within a decade, according to a report by World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Clearly, plastic and aluminum are shaping up to take over the market. People watching the industry report that natural corks still plug 70 percent of wine bottles globally, but WWF has predicted that by 2015 natural corks might seal as few as 5 percent of all wine bottles.

The negative socioeconomic effects will be felt most intensely in Portugal, where WWF launched its cork-oak landscapes program in 2005. Portugal produces 55 percent of the world’s corks and the industry employs more than 100 000 people, directly and indirectly.

The forests, which grow in relatively wild and remote regions of the south, provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. The Iberian lynx, Barbary deer and several raptors could suffer if the forests are allowed to go by the wayside. The trees also provide a natural barrier against desertification, already a problem in arid Mediterranean countries, and expected to grow worse with global warming and the simultaneous loss of protective vegetation.

In fact, experts predict desertification could spread south to north at a rate of 1km/year in southern Portugal. On the other hand, by protecting and even expanding Portugal’s cork forests, which currently total about one third of the world’s acreage, desertification in Portugal could be halted by 2020, according to WWF.

Angela Morgado, director of fundraising for WWF in Lisbon, says the organization has pleaded with the wine industry to support the cork economy and, in turn, help preserve the Mediterranean’s cork oaks.

The wine industry is not entirely convinced. Though corks have been the primary means for stopping wine bottles since the 1700s, synthetic stoppers and screw caps are cheaper. These products also preclude all risk of cork taint, a musty condition caused by improperly sterilized corks. Cork taint is detectable even by amateur wine tasters and can make an infected wine virtually undrinkable, though the condition is relatively uncommon. The Forest Stewardship Council, which guards forests worldwide from abuse, has partnered with WWF to launch its own campaign for improved cork quality. By stamping all properly harvested and sterilized corks with an FSC seal of approval, winemakers and consumers could be better assured of an untainted wine while lending support to a sustainable future for the cork trade.

For full story, please see:


8. Medicinal plants: Calophyllum spp. potentially provide anti-HIV drugs

Source:, 29 June 2009

Two drugs derived from rainforest plants in Sarawk (Malaysian Borneo) are now in their final stages of development, reports Malaysian state media, Bernama.

Calanolide, an anti-HIV drug derived from the Bintangor or Calophyllum tree, is now in the clinical trial stage.

Rainforest plants have long been recognized for their potential to provide healing compounds. Indigenous peoples of the rainforest have used medicinal plants for treating a wide variety of health conditions while western pharmacologists have derived a number of drugs from such plants.

However, as forests around the world continue to fall -- the Brazilian Amazon and Indonesia together have lost more than 120 000 square miles of forest in the past decade -- there is a real risk that pharmaceutically-useful plants will disappear before they are examined for their chemical properties. Increasingly, it is becoming a race against time to collect and screen plants before their native habitats are destroyed. One near miss occurred recently with a compound that has shown significant anti-HIV effects: Calanolide A.

Calanolide A is derived from Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum, an exceedingly rare member of the Guttiferae or mangosteen family. Samples of Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum were first collected in 1987 on a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-sponsored expedition in Sarawak. Once scientists determined that Calophyllum lanigerum var austrocoriaceum showed activity against HIV, researchers returned to the original kerangas forest near Lundu (Sarawak, Malaysia) to gather more plant matter for isolating the active compound. The tree was gone -- likely felled by locals for fuelwood or building material. The disappearance of the tree led to a mad search by botanists for further specimens. Good news finally came from the Singapore's Botanical Garden which had in its possession several plants collected by the British over 100 years earlier. Sarawak banned the felling and export of Calophyllum shortly thereafter.

A related species, Calophyllum teysmannii var. inophylloide, produces a compound (Costatolide) that also exhibits activity against HIV. Costatolide, now known as (-)-Calanolide B, is present in the latex so that tree need not be felled in order to collect the compound. Calanolide B is in preclinical testing with the National Cancer Institute.

Should either drug prove a commercial success, it would bolster the argument that standing rainforests have the potential to generate benefits beyond timber and agricultural land.

For full story, please see:


9. Neem: A centuries-old remedy for problem skin and hair

Source: Health News Digest, 6 July 2009

A tree native to Southeast Asia, Neem (Azadirachta indica) is known as “the village pharmacy” in tropical regions where it is grown. It is a cornerstone of Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medical systems, and has been used as a medicinal herb for nearly 5 000 years. Neem oil, leaf and bark are used externally for skin, scalp and hair; only the leaf and bark are used for internal supplementation.

With more than 180 separate compounds, neem has multiple properties that help rejuvenate hair and scalp while protecting them from ongoing damage. With extraordinarily high levels of antioxidants – up to hundreds of times more concentrated than those found in blueberries or broccoli – neem helps protect the skin from environmental damage.

Neem oil is rich in essential fatty acids, like those found in sea buckthorn oil, that nourish and balance problem skin. The natural oils and glycerides quickly and easily penetrate outer layers of skin to soothe even chronically dry, itchy or flaking areas like psoriasis and eczema. It has been traditionally used to even out skin tone irregularities, helping to balance and restore proper skin pigmentation for issues such as vitiligo or age spots.

Neem is an ideal herb for acne-prone skin because it can help to soothe irritation and inflammation, clear up pimples and remove undesired levels of bacteria on the skin that can cause more break-outs.

Neem leaf, bark and oil are also packed with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Neem leaf is rich in naturally occurring Quercetin, which is well known as a compound that supports the body’s ability to respond to inflammation. Neem leaf and bark are also well documented for their immune-boosting compounds that protect against noncystic acne without drying skin – a particularly important consideration for older women.

While neem is often used for problematic skin and scalp, it also has potent anti-aging properties that help revitalize skin, restore a youthful glow to dry or rough skin, reduce fine lines and balance skin tone. Neem cream and lotion also are great for sunburns, after-snow treatments and for general skin and facial care.

Some of the constituents in Neem that are important to healthy skin, scalp and hair include:

  • Catechin: anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory
  • Cyclic tetrasulfide: anti-fungal
  • Epicatechin: anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory
  • Gallic acid: anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory
  • Gedunin: anti-fungal
  • Margolone: anti-bacterial
  • Mahmoodin: anti-bacterial
  • Nimbin: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-histamine
  • Nimbidin: anti-fungal, analgesic
  • Polysaccharides: anti-inflammatory
  • Quercetin: exerts strong anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting both the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators.
  • Sodium nimbinate: anti-inflammatory

Certified-organic and ethically wild-crafted Neem oil and Neem leaf extracts are commonly likened to tea tree essential oil for their broad-spectrum actions. However Neem oil is cold-pressed and not distilled, so it is not as drying or irritating as tea tree oil can be. All forms of Neem are soothing and nourishing to the skin and scalp. Neem leaf has a mild aroma and can be taken internally as a dietary supplement or applied topically. Neem bark has even more antioxidants than the leaf and oil.

For full story, please see:


10. Shea nut and other beauty products get fairtrade makeover

Source:, 6 July 2009

Five companies recently released the first line of Fairtrade-certified beauty products in the United Kingdom. Consumers can now buy lip balm, lotion, shower gel, and face masks made in a way that benefits small farmers and the environment.

"It's great news that now the beauty industry will get a Fairtrade makeover and the farmers who grow the natural ingredients will get a fairer deal," said Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation. The new lip balms, face masks, body butters, and shower gels were introduced by five companies -- Boots, Bubble & Balm, Essential Care, Lush, and Neal's Yard -- and each product contains at least one Fairtrade certified ingredient.

The Fairtrade label guarantees that the producer of the product on sale was paid a living wage for his or her work, the product was made in an environmentally sustainable manner, and the product was not made using child labor or other forms of exploitation.

"Most importantly, Fairtrade enables us to help ourselves and to support each other," said Nana Yago, a Fairtrade shea nut producer from Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world. Many disadvantaged producers of beauty product components like cocoa butter, shea nut butter, and brazil nut oil will be able to grow their markets and invest greater resources in the well-being of their families and communities. Meanwhile, consumers will have a greater ability to vote with their wallets for goods produced in a socially and environmentally just manner.

For full story, please see:


11. Wattle and myrtle beers

Source: Lehrman Beverage Law, Australia, 29 June 2009

For over 6000 years, Australian Aborigines in different clans around the country parched and milled wattle seeds (Acacia spp.) from around 100 of the 900 plus species of Acacia, then used the coarse flour in baked seed cakes. Wattleseed has an unusually low glycaemic index which means that the carbohydrates in it are slowly absorbed and therefore better for ones health than sugary, quick release alternatives.

Wikipedia explains that "Wattleseed is a term used to describe the edible seeds from around 120 species of Australian Acacia that were traditionally used as food by Australian Aborigines and they were eaten either green (and cooked) or dried (and milled to a flour) to make a type of bush bread."

Wattleseed is now being used by Barons, an Australian brewery, in one of its ales, Barons Black Wattle. The same brewer uses another little-known NWFP in its Witbier: lemon myrtle leaves. Lemon myrtle is a flowering plant native to the subtropical rainforests of Queensland, Australia. It is considered to have a "cleaner and sweeter" aroma than comparable sources of citral (such as lemongrass). Lemon myrtle is one of the well known bushfood flavours and is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of the lemon herbs", with the new growth preferred for its sweetness.

For full story, please see:


12. Wattle plants wanted by NASA for clean air in space

Source: The Daily Telegraph, 30 June 2009

Astronauts exploring the far reaches of our solar system could in the future be breathing clean air from Australian plants such as wattles.

The plants are a step closer to aiding deep space probes after the seeds of four types of Australian flora survived six months aboard the International Space Station. The wollemi pine, golden wattle, flannel flower and waratah seeds were exposed to microgravity - almost weightlessness - and low-level ionising radiation. Canadian-born NASA astronaut Gregory Chamitoff, who was on that mission aboard the shuttle Discovery last May, said the seeds completed more than 2800 orbits of the Earth with no signs of "space fatigue or damage".

"From NASA's perspective, we are interested in seeds that might be hardy enough to survive long duration exposure to the space environment and then germinate in greenhouses in space or on other planets," said Chamitoff. "Ultimately, this will be essential to support self-sustaining outposts or colonies with food and oxygen."

Dr Tim Entwistle, Executive Director of the Botanic Gardens Trust, which asked NASA to take the seeds into space, said wattle in particular held promise because of the long journeys needed for deep space exploration.

For full story, please see:,22049,25709058-5001021,00.html



13. Bhutan: Training workshop on NWFPs

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Bhutan, 11 June 2009

A Central region training workshop on the interim framework for the collection and management of NWFPs was organized jointly by The Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) and the Social Forestry Division (SFD) of the Department of Forest at Tsirang Dzongkhag. The workshop for the central region covered Tsirang, Sarpang and Zhemgang Dzongkhags. The overall objective of the training was to strengthen the sustainable harvesting/collection, management, marketing and trade of NWFPs.

A start has to be made for sustainable use and harvesting of these NWFPs, while at the same time resource assessments must be initiated to provide collection and harvesting guidelines for the forestry field personnel and the collectors. This framework is being developed for the collection/harvesting of NWFPs from Government Reserved Forests (GRF) and from Private Registered Land (PRL). The framework for collection of NWFPs from GRF is an interim measure for a period of three years maximum. During this time period a Community Forest Management Plan for the collection/harvesting of NWFPs should be prepared, wherever feasible.

The framework is being developed to guide NWFP collection using a system of permits and to guide forestry personnel in the field in order to strengthen the sustainable harvesting, collection, management, marketing and trading of NWFPs.

For full story, please see:


14. Brazil: Deforestation "boom and bust" leaves humans no better off

Soruce: EnvironmentalResearchWeb, 28 June 2009

Although deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been pursued to boost economic development, people in areas that have suffered extensive deforestation are no better off than those in regions that are still forested. That's according to a team from the UK, Portugal, France and Brazil, who discovered a "boom-and-bust" pattern as deforestation proceeds.

"The current boom-and-bust pattern of development seen in the Brazilian Amazon is a lose-lose-lose situation, which destroys habitat for thousands of other species, threatens to cause large-scale climatic damage, and, as we now show, provides no lasting benefit for local people," said Andrew Balmford of the University of Cambridge. "Clearly alternative development pathways are needed, which reward local communities for the global benefits that living forests provide, and which therefore place greater value on trees that are standing rather than felled."

Balmford and colleagues found municipalities in the earlier stages of deforestation had relatively high incomes, life expectancy and literacy, probably because of the newly available natural resources, such as land, timber and minerals, and improved road access to education and medical care. But in areas where deforestation had progressed further, these indicators had returned to levels typical for intact forest regions, perhaps because of the exhaustion of natural resources and an increasing human population.

"We provide the clearest quantitative evidence so far that while deforestation occurs because of people striving to improve their living standards, these increases are transitory and levels of development revert to pre-deforestation levels once the deforestation wave has passed – leaving local people no better off than they were before," said Balmford.

To carry out the analysis, the researchers from the University of Cambridge, UK, Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal, Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, France, Imperial College London, University of East Anglia, UK, and Amazon Institute of People and the Environment, Brazil, examined the United Nations Development Programme human development index for 286 municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon.

The index is the mean of three subindices: life expectancy, literacy and standard of living (based on per capita income). The team classed the municipalities according to their position relative to the deforestation frontier, assessing both deforestation extent and activity. Deforestation activity was at a minimum in the areas with both very low and very high extent of deforestation.

"Addressing the problem of deforestation in the Amazon requires understanding its socioeconomic as well as biological and climatic consequences – so we decided we needed to bring a large dataset on levels of human development together with spatial information on patterns of forest clearance," said Balmford.

Solutions to the problem are likely to take a combined approach, say the researchers, and could include supporting the better use of areas that have already been deforested for ranching and agriculture, restricting further deforestation, promoting reforestation, direct incentives to encourage forest-based livelihoods via the sustainable harvest of timber and NTFPs, and targeted policies to improve literacy, health and land tenure security.

Payments for ecosystem services will play a key role in supporting these initiatives: Brazil is beginning to implement these schemes at a national and state level. The post-Kyoto climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December could see the introduction of the REDD initiative to provide financial incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries. Balmford hopes the team's results will help to inform these negotiations.

The Brazilian Amazon contains 40% of all remaining tropical rainforest but lost forest at an average of 1.8 million hectares per year from 1988 to 2008. Many believe that Brazil is in a key position to benefit from the REDD initiative as it has huge carbon stocks, a high technical capacity for monitoring forest changes and improving governance.

The researchers reported their work in Science.

For full story, please see:


15. Cambodia signs deal to save forests and yield carbon offsets

Source: Reuters, 25 June 2009

Cambodia has signed agreements for a project that aims to protect 60,000 hectares of forest and reward local communities from the sale of carbon credits over several decades, the developers said in a statement.

The project in northwestern Oddar Meanchey province is expected to yield 8.5 million carbon offsets over 30 years and is the first avoided deforestation project in Cambodia for registration under the respected Voluntary Carbon Standard.

U.S.-based Terra Global Capital said in a recent statement it had finalized an agreement with the Cambodian Forestry Administration on marketing the carbon credits. The group has also developed a method to measure and monitor the carbon locked away by the protected forest, which is in an area where the rate of deforestation was 3 percent a year between 2002-2006.

The statement said nine local forestry groups comprising more than 50 villages agreed to protect the forest in return for carbon credit revenue aimed at developing alternative livelihoods.

"The success of the Oddar Meanchey project opens the door to long-term financing for Cambodia's national community forestry program, which could eventually encompass and protect over 2 million hectares of forest," said Mark Poffenberger, head of Community Forestry International, who initiated the project.

For full story, please see:


16. Canada group looking to diversify forest industries

Source: The Western Star, 11 June 2009

Traditional forest industries have been having a tough time in recent years, but the Great Northern Peninsula Forest Network (Newfoundland & Labrador) is looking at ways to expand what the forests can do for local residents.

The network consists of partnerships between the Model Forest of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Red Ochre Regional Board in Parsons Pond and the Nordic Economic Development Corporation in Anchor Point, along with government departments and local stakeholders and residents.

Sean St. George, executive director of the Red Ochre board and member of the network, said the traditional saw-log and pulp-wood industries are in a major transition period. He said newspapers are downsizing or closing across North America and with the housing market declining, there is a slump in demand for timber and timber products.

Non-traditional uses, he said, are the way the keep the forests working for local residents. “One option would be to work with the International Appalachian Trail to expand commercial tourism operations in the forest,” St. George said. “Another thing to do would be ecosystem planning, so you engage people and you create employment.

“The environment is about employment, too. You can employ people to deal with the environment. We want to do environmentally sustainable planning.” He said crafts, recreation, adventure tourism, and NTFPs could be developed.

The Great Northern Peninsula Forest Network is in the final process of being set up and a bio-physical inventory of the resources is being done.

St. George said if you’re going to be helping people with business plans, it’s important you know what’s there. “If you want to harvest birch sap, we’re going to be able to say, ‘yeah there’s birch trees,’ or ‘there’s a limited number of birch trees,’” he said. “We’re basically doing a business plan for the forest.”

For full story, please see:


17. Canada: New funding for northern agriculture/NWFP expansion

Source: Alberta Farmer Express, 29 May 2009

Residents of Manitoba's north can expect funding for expansion of agricultural production, a new provincial agriculture office, and support for harvesting NWFPs.

Traditional production agriculture does not extend much farther north in Manitoba than about 400 km southwest of the northern city of Thompson. But the provincial and federal governments have stated their aim to develop different forms of farming in the north.

The Provincial Agriculture Department and The Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Department each pledged $100,000 for a NTFP program, to be managed by the province's Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF).

The NTFP program's focus will be on encouraging local residents and communities to identify, launch and expand business opportunities based on locally available NWFP. In addition, education and training in sustainable management, harvesting, and product development and marketing will be provided to harvesters.

"Local product lines can include foods, natural medicinal products and harvestable items that can be turned into commercial products using traditional methods, modern technical processes or a combination of the two," Eric Robinson, the province's acting Aboriginal and Northern Affairs minister, said in a release. "These marketable products create jobs and have a positive economic impact on the northern communities and the people who live there."

For full story, please see:


18. China suspends reforestation project over food shortage fears

Source: Guardian.Co.Uk, 23 June 2009

Food shortage fears have prompted the Chinese government to suspend the reforestation of marginal arable land, a senior government official said today .

The sacrifice of a key environmental restoration project for crop production highlights the growing problem of feeding the world's biggest population as cities expand into farmland and urban residents consume more meat and vegetables.

Lu Xinshe, deputy head of the ministry of land and resources, said the country was struggling to hold the 120 million hectare "red line" considered the minimum land areas needed for food self-sufficiency.

With industrialisation eating into the countryside, he said the government would halt plans to restore arable land to nature.

Any change in the balance of food production causes unease in a country where the elderly still remember the devastating famines of the early 1960s that killed between 15 million and 40 million people.

But the decision to halt many environmental restoration programs is likely to have a knock-on effect. The government has been compensating farmers in the north and west of China to give up farmland as a central pillar of its strategy to fight desertification and water shortages. The end of ploughing helps stabilise the soil, while stopping irrigation alleviates water shortages.Tree planting has also helped the country offset the increased emission of carbon dioxide from factories.

But food is the more immediate priority. By the end of last year, the amount of arable land in China had decreased to within 1% of the "red line."

Against the backdrop of rising global food prices, Chinese companies have bought the rights to farm land in the Philippines, Laos, Russia, and Kazakshstan. They have invested in biofuel crops in Zambia and the Congo. By one estimate there are now one million Chinese farmers in Africa.

But the government is committed to self-sufficiency, which requires the production of 500 million tons of grain a year. To maintain this level, prime minister Wen Jiabao has said the state would increase spending on agricultural production by 20%, well above inflation.

For full story, please see:


19. Indonesia: Rattan trade

Source: Antara News, 30 June 2009

Kendari, S.E. Sulawesi – Vice President Jusuf Kalla will invite governors, regents, mayors, businessmen from rattan producing areas and rattan consumers to discuss the trade problems of the forest commodity, a spokesman said.

“The problem between the rattan producers and consumers has been an issue for a long time. Therefore, I will invite governors, regents, mayors and industrial businessmen from the rattan producing regions to discuss the issue," the Vice President said in responding to the Southeast Sulawesi Governor, Nur Alam. Nur Alam has criticized the government’s policy on rattan export restrictions.

Kalla said the need to conduct the meeting is to know the requirements of an automatic rattan quota in the country, especially in Cirebon. A solution must be well organized; producers and consumers must be mutually benefited, especially the rattan businesses as one of the value-added labour industries.

For full story, please see:


20. India: Timber smugglers find alternative means of livelihood

Source: Breaking News 24/7, 13 June 2009

A village of timber smugglers, Kholachand, in Siliguri in West Bengal, has turned to more legal means of livelihood, with the help of the forest department. They are making Sal leaf plates and selling them for a decent price.

Over 200 families with nearly 1000 people altogether inhabit the village. Until recently, most of the adult male members of the families used to cut timber from the adjacent forests and sell it to earn their daily bread.

These villagers, living in poverty, were involved in smuggling, in the absence of other means of livelihood. Being adjacent to the Baikunthpur forest area, with timber in abundance, timber smuggling was a lucrative option.

Forest officials found it difficult to curb illegal smuggling. They decided, therefore, to address the cause that was leading to smuggling. They motivated the people to make Sal leaf plates and provided them with the necessary equipment.

The results have been good, the people have found an alternative occupation and the deforestation has reduced by as much as 80 percent according to the forest officials.

“What we have done is we have motivated them; we have addressed their basic problem of livelihood. We have formed Forest Protection Committees, Joint Forest Management, so we are ready to address their daily livelihood problem by some alternative livelihood,” said forest official K Balamurugan.

The making of Sal leaf plates gives occupation to an entire family with children collecting the leaves, and adults stitching and selling them.

The villagers have also developed a sense of attachment toward the forests, as they depend on it for the leaves.

For full story, please see:


21. India: Traditional knowledge should not be overlooked

Source: The Indian, 29 June 2009

New Delhi – Communities the world over risk losing control over their traditional knowledge because a UN agency insists on using existing intellectual property standards for managing access to the information, a global research organization has warned.

The London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) has done a case-study of the Yanadi community of Chittoor and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh, and suggested immediate recognition for traditional knowledge, ahead of a meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The study was based on participatory research with indigenous and local communities in areas of important biodiversity - including the Lepchas and Limbus in the eastern Himalayas, Yanadi in Andhra Pradesh, and the aivasi in Chattishgarh (besides in Kenya, Peru, Panama and China).

“The Yanadis are recognized as a Scheduled Tribe under the Constitution of India. Through their reliance on forests they have developed extensive knowledge of bio-resources, medicinal and aromatic plants and wild foods - including unique remedies for snake bite, paralysis, skin diseases etc,” said the IIED study, made available to the media Monday.

Yet, it charged, the Yanadis have been relocated to isolated hamlets away from the forests, where they are “marginalized, living as farm labourers, supplemented with minor NTFP collection.

IIED said, in a case study specifically released to the media, that the rich traditional knowledge of the tribe is “on the verge of extinction due to lack of recognition”. It argued that the codified systems - Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani - in India have relatively more recognition and patronage. But Yanadi traditional health knowledge is not recognized by policy makers and is branded as the “superstitious knowledge of illiterates, making the tribes afraid to come out openly asserting their expertise”.

Yanadi traditional health knowledge, in Andhra, is closely linked to availability of bioresources - medicinal plants, knowledge generation depending on a traditional lifestyle.

The study says, “Medicinal knowledge is acquired and transmitted through rituals in sacred forests. Plants for specialized cures are harvested wild through special rituals and are believed that their cultivation will remove their potency.”

IIED’s study argues that maintenance of knowledge systems depends on access to sacred forest flora. Ceremonial visits are traditionally made to the forest to show respect to nature and ancestors, worship health goddesses and revere plants.

Under their community law and practices, forest bioresources are considered to be the common property of the community. Yet, forest protection laws prevent free access to the tribes to collect herbs from the forest, while “the smugglers and multinational companies are let in freely to tap the rich bioresources”, says the IIED study.

The Scheduled Tribe Recognition of Forest Rights Act 2006 “does not seem very useful and though notified is yet to come into force”, it adds.

“Yanadi traditional knowledge is on the verge of extinction. The youth are not interested in learning it, and the status of elders is weakening due to the extension of government control,” says the study.

The WIPO aims to develop rules for protecting rights over traditional knowledge, such as indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants, which conventional intellectual property laws do not cover.

“WIPO’s call for consistency with existing intellectual-property standards is a flawed approach as these have been created on Western commercial lines to limit access to inventions such as drugs developed by private companies,” said IIED’s Krystyna Swiderska who coordinated the research in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

IIED argued that this “is a problem” because traditional communities tend to protect knowledge and resources in entirely the opposite way, meaning that ideas and life-forms cannot be privatized and that access to them remains non-exclusive. It pointed out that this ensures access to knowledge held by others which is essential for survival in often harsh environments.

Researchers warned that the loss of such customary approaches would lead to a loss of biological diversity and traditional knowledge and “would limit the abilities of poor communities to adapt to climate change through, for instance, sharing climate-resilient plant varieties”.

Studying the situation in India, China, Panama, Peru and Kenya, the organization argued for accepting some “key components”. These included: recognizing collective rights and decision-making; finding ways to share benefits equitably among communities; finding means to share benefits equitably among communities; recognizing customary rights over genetic resources; enabling reciprocal access to genetic resources; and managing external access to traditional knowledge with community protocols.

“The UN Convention on Biological Diversity requires member countries to equitably share benefits from the use of genetic resources and related knowledge, and to protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices,” said Ruchi Pant of Ecoserve in India.

“But nearly 20 years after the convention was created it still has no legally binding rules to manage access to biological resources and traditional knowledge, and to govern how the benefits from their use are shared.”

For full story, please see:


22. Turkey: Nut producing pines in Muğla’s mountains

Source: Hurriyet Daily News, 30 June 2009

Mílas - Most locals residing in the 38 villages around the Beşparmak Mountains are forest workers during the fire season between May and November, and collect pine nuts in the winter, said Hasan Yüksel, a 39-year-old forest fire fighter in Milas. "The production of pine nuts is greatly increasing," he said. "The dealers travel all the way to our villagers to pay five to six Turkish Liras for lkg of nuts. The chance to make money here is convincing for those who earlier moved to the cities; they are coming back."

The villagers in Muğla harvest around 70 tons of pine nuts a year, said Muğla Provincial Forestry Director İbrahim Aydın. "Last year, we distributed 1.4 million nut producing pine saplings to villagers. Turkey is now third in pine nut production. We aim to increase production in Muğla to help Turkey take the top spot."

Approximately 10 000 villagers earned a total of 4.5 million liras last year from pine nuts and related products, said Aydın.

For full story, please see:


23. USA: NTFPs weaving traditions

Source: The Times-Standard, 28 June 2009

For Mary Claw of the Chemehuevi Tribe, basket weaving isn't just an art form. It's also preservation. ”There's nobody left,” Claw said, while weaving strips of willow into an intricate basket, adding that she learned the craft from her grandmother. “It's either me, or let (basketweaving) die. There's nobody else left in my family who does it.”

The California Indian Basketweavers Association was formed in 1992, in part, because more and more people were finding themselves in Claw's shoes, realizing they were the last people with knowledge that had been passed down for generations.

The association formed to preserve, promote and perpetuate the basket weaving traditions of California's Indian tribes. And, the association's annual Basketweavers Gathering -- the 19th of which was held Saturday in Hoopa -- serves to do just that, as it showcases a host of delicately woven baskets and offers a plethora of workshops and training in the cultural art form. The event draws basketweavers from all over the state, who come to teach their craft, learn from each other, and display and sell their works.

Hosted by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, this year's gathering carried the theme: “We with roots will get back to ourselves.”

In addition to trying to promote and preserve the art form of basketweaving, the association also serves an advocacy role. It works with public agencies, museums, and art and environmental organizations to promote traditional fire management, protect native plant habitats, decrease pesticide use in areas used to gather materials and increase access to both public and private lands.

The association's Basketweaver Support Program sponsors weaving classes in tribal communities to ensure that the traditions of basketweaving aren't lost, and instead are passed through the generations. The painstaking process of making a basket -- from gathering the materials to weaving them together -- also teaches a kind of work ethic that is lost in many other aspects of society.

For full story, please see:



24. AfricaAdapt launches new fund for innovative knowledge sharing

Source: Africa Sustainable Development (AFRICASD), 11 July 2009

Africa’s poor and vulnerable communities rarely have the opportunity to share their valuable experience and learn from others in broader or more formal exchanges of knowledge on climate change adaptation. AfricaAdapt is launching its new Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund promoting new ways of sharing knowledge that can help address this problem.

Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund will offer grants of up to US$10 000 to projects that seek to overcome barriers to share knowledge with ’hard to reach’ or marginalized African communities. These barriers may be related to language, access to information and marginalization due to gender or disability. Theatre performances, songs, radio broadcasts, visual arts, videos and comics are just a few ideas about how they could be overcome. The key is to ensure these groups can learn and share.

Ensuring that vulnerable communities are active in the exchange of African knowledge, best practices and know-how on climate change adaptation is a high priority for AfricaAdapt. These communities are the most directly threatened by climactic impacts, however, they also have a wealth of experience in adapting to past changes that could benefit other communities.

African researchers, local and civil society organizations, cooperatives and community networks are encouraged to submit their ideas. First round of submissions open from 1 July to 1 August 2009. Short-listed applicants will be notified by 15 October.

For more information, please contact:

AfricaAdapt Secretariat
C/O Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex
United Kingdom
For full story, please see:


25. Beer brewed with NTFP promotes forestry certification

Source: The Timber Industry Magazine, 1 July 2009

An Italian brewery has become the first to carry the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) label on a beer. Brewer Gino Perisutti’s Blonde PEFC Mountain Pale Lager contains spruce bark, mountain pine buds and Scots pine needles from PEFC-certified forests. It was officially launched at the PEFC National Members’ meeting in Geneva.

“While NWFPs play only a minor role in forest certification, they are testimony to the passion of alpine forest owners, who also distill PEFC-certified Mugolio oil from dwarf pine,” said Antonio Brunori, PEFC Italy’s secretary-general.

“Moreover, such products offer great potential to communicate the value of responsible forestry to the public.”

For full story, please see:


26. NWFPs fight Diabetes

Source: Natural News, 30 June 2009

Finding ways to naturally manage blood sugar and diabetes has become increasingly important as we become more aware of the adverse effects of prescription medications. Lifestyle changes are a crucial step in managing blood sugar levels, but at the same time, it can be difficult to maintain lifestyle habits like eating right and exercising when the blood sugar roller coaster has you under its thumb.

Natural herbs can offer a solution to fluctuating blood sugar levels that can help you regain the control you need to make permanent lifestyle changes and enjoy a better quality of living. Here are six of the top herbs recommended for blood sugar management:

Cinnamon bark: Studies show that less than half a teaspoon of cinnamon each day can help lower blood glucose levels in people with type II diabetes. These benefits seem to only apply to Cassia cinnamon (also known as Chinese cinnamon), which is the form you commonly find on the spice rack. Just a teaspoon of cinnamon is packed with antioxidants and phenols, which fight disease and the inflammation associated with high blood sugar levels. To enjoy this spice's health benefits, you can simply add a dash of cinnamon to your morning oatmeal, or you can take a cinnamon bark supplement if you prefer.

Glucomannan: Derived from Konjac (Amorphophallus konjac) this product has recently received a lot of press as a weight loss supplement, in addition glucomannan is packed with fiber that can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Gymnema sylvestre: The traditional name of this herb means "destroyer of sugar." Gymnema sylvestre was commonly used in ancient ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for diabetes. A study published in Ethnopharmacology in 1990 showed a daily dose of 400 milligrams was effective in lowering blood glucose levels in diabetics over the long term. Some participants were even able to stop using their prescription medications after taking gymnema sylvestre.

Fenugreek: This herb is a popular traditional remedy for high blood sugar, and there have been a number of clinical trials which showed that fenugreek could improve both blood sugar levels and cholesterol profiles.

Stevia: Finally sweeping the nation, the herbal sweetener stevia is more than just a replacement for sugar. Research has shown that stevia can also reduce blood glucose levels in those with type II diabetes. So replacing sugar with stevia in your morning coffee or tea can have a doubly positive effect.

Turmeric: A traditional Indian culinary spice, turmeric may have a positive effect on blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

If you have been medically diagnosed with blood sugar issues or diabetes, then be sure to discuss any herbal supplements you are taking with your physician. This is especially important if you are already on insulin or other medications.

For full story, please see:


27. Rainforests more fragile than estimated

Source: Discovery News, 29 June 2009

The Amazon rainforest, one of the planet's most precious and besieged natural resources, is even more fragile than realized.

If the planet warms even a moderate amount, a new study predicts that as much as 40 percent of it could be condemned to vanish by the end of the century.

A crippled Amazon could hasten global warming. If a significant portion of its trees die off, their vast stores of carbon would be emitted back into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases, pushing the climate further into dangerous levels of warming.

Chris Jones of the United Kingdom's Met Office and a group of researchers ran a computer simulation of Earth's climate that focused on how vegetation reacts to warming. They found that warming doesn't immediately kill off tropical trees -- it can take up to a century for the forests to respond fully.

But even modest warming could have devastating effects. If the planet warmed just 2 degrees Centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, they found that between 20 percent and 40 percent of the forest could die off.

"Our model predicts quite a severe drying in the Amazon, making trees more vulnerable to fire," Jones said. "The additional heat causes stress, too, damaging their ability to grow fully."

For full story, please see:



28. IPROMO Course on "Developing economic opportunities for mountain areas"

17 July-1 August 2009

Rome, Italy

Following the success of last year’s IPROMO summer course, we are happy to announce the second training course on sustainable mountain development for Mountain Partnership members. The program, called IPROMO -- International Program for Education and Training on Sustainable Management of Mountain Areas -- will feature this year a summer course devoted to developing economic opportunities for mountain areas.

During its first week, the course will provide an overview of traditional and innovative tools for the sustainability of mountain economies. Three separate topics will be the object of the second week: a) mountain eco-tourism b) mountain agriculture; c) mountain forestry.

The course will be held in research institutes in Monte Rosa and in the University campus in Grugliasco (Piedmont region of Italy). Field activities will be held in the Alta Valsesia Natural Park, Monte Avic Natural Park, and Montmars Natural Reserve.

The IPROMO Program has been jointly organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat at FAO, the UNESCO decade on Education for Sustainable Development and the University of Turin, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Protection of Agroforestry Resources. It benefits from the patronage of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Main funding sources include the Piedmont Region, the Alta Valsesia Natural Park, the Vercelli Province, the Alagna town council, and CAI Varallo Sesia.

For more information, please contact:

Rosalaura Romeo, Program Officer,
Mountain Partnership Secretariat,
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy


29. Asociación Costarricense de Bambú (ACOBAMBU) Simposio: “El bambú en Costa Rica: una perspectiva para el desarrollo”

31 de Julio y 1 de Agosto del 2009

Colegio Ingenieros Agrónomos, en Los Colegios de Moravia, Costa Rica.


· Los bambúes en Costa Rica y el mundo.

· Generalidades y usos del bambú.

· El bambú en asocio con sistemas productivos.

· Bambúes en la recuperación de cuencas hidrográficas.

· Eco construcciones con bambú.

Gira: Colección de bambúes de altura y de bajura de la UCR.

Más información del simposio puede accesar a


30. Community Forestry International Workshop

15 - 18 September 2009

Pokhara, Nepal

This will be the first International Community Forestry Workshop ever held in Nepal.

The Community Forestry International Workshop is an ideal opportunity to meet new colleagues and to learn from the experiences of others engaged at local, national and international levels in community forestry. The workshop theme reminds us of the responsibility we have to take both individual and collective action on issues that affect the whole globe. The workshop will be of interest for scientists, researchers, people utilizing natural resources, other civil society leaders, and professionals working in the field of participatory forestry.

The workshop theme emphasizes the need for urgency in the worldwide response to community rights, poverty alleviation, and climate change and for action on the part of all stakeholders at the global, national, regional and local levels. It serves as a rallying call, reminding us that it is only through individual and collective action that we can effectively tackle climate change, address poverty and establish the democratic rights of local communities to sustainably use their natural resources across the world. It is also an important reminder that action on climate change does not exist in a vacuum. Strengthening community forestry systems and addressing the underlying social injustice that contributes to forest degradation and the vulnerability of poor people – such as unsustainable economic growth, poverty, gender inequality, weak governance and social exclusion – are all essential strategies in the international response to addressing climate change and natural resource scarcity.

For more information, please contact:

Bala Ram Kandel
Member Secretary, Management Committee
Department of Forests,
Babar Mahal
Kathmandu, Nepal
Fax: + 977 1 4229013


31. INBAR-UBFDB International training workshop on 'bamboo as a modern construction material'

5 - 14 October 2009

Dehradun, Uttarakhand State, India

Registration closes on 15 September 2009

The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and the Uttarakhand Bamboo and Fiber Development Board (UBFDB) are jointly organizing this International Training Workshop.

This International Training Workshop aims to impart knowledge and skill sets to people involved in the bamboo sector, in the field of housing and other structural development. The objective of the training program is to produce experts in building bamboo houses, and who are knowledgeable in the nuances of bamboo-based housing, by providing theoretical and more of practical training.

Broadly, the topics covered in the training will include species selection, foundation, roof, wall, treatment methodologies, harvesting methods, bamboo connections, bamboo stitching with other construction material, design and structural applications including seismic considerations for bamboo houses, etc. In order to make course more meaningful, the training will focus more on Hands-on sessions.

As part of the event, a one-day sightseeing trip to Mussourie (a hill resort) near Dehradun is being planned.

For more information, please contact:

Mr T.P. Subramony, Regional Coordinator (South Asia),
INBAR, South Asia Regional Office, A-408, Defence Colony, New Delhi-110 024, India.
Fax: +91-11-2433 4804


32. Forest Communities Conference 2009: Trends and Opportunities

4 - 7 November 2009

Vancouver Island, Canada

Join municipal and Aboriginal leaders, government agencies, industry partners, economic development officers, community groups and researchers to hear their success stories and help chart the course for your forest-based community for the 21st century.

Whether you are interested in bioenergy, ecotourism, new business models and markets, NTFPs, innovative forest tenures, environmental goods and services, economic infrastructure or community engagement and adaptation, you will have the opportunity to share experiences and explore new ideas and strategies with colleagues from across the country.

The two days of plenary sessions and workshops will explore various themes, followed by an evening Shop the Wild event (to see and sample products from BC forests) and a special NTFPs day on 6 November.

Several field trips will build on conference topics while taking advantage of the natural beauty and breathtaking scenery of Vancouver Island.

For more information, please see:


33. Sixth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability

5-7 January 2010

Cuenca, Ecuador

The Conference will work in a multidisciplinary way across the various fields and perspectives through which we can address the fundamental and related questions of sustainability.

Plenary speakers include some of the leading thinkers in these areas, as well as numerous paper, colloquium and workshop presentations.

If you would like to know more about this Conference, bookmark the Sustainability Conference site and return for further information - the site is regularly updated. You may also wish to subscribe to the Conference and Journal Newsletter.

For more information, please contact:

Common Ground Publishing
University of Illinois Research Park
2004 S. Wright Street
Urbana, Illinois 61802-1000 USA
Fax: +1 217 328 0435



34. FAO accepting applications for Forest Resources Officer

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Deadline for application: 20 July 2009

Position Title: Forest Resource Officer

Duty Station: Bangkok, Thailand

Grade Level: P-4

Duration: Fixed Term 3 years

Minimum Requirements:

  1. Advanced university degree in forestry or a related field
  2. Seven years of relevant experience related to forest resources development, management or conservation
  3. Working knowledge of English

The FAO Regional Office for Asia and Pacific is seeking a Forest Resources Officer. Among other duties, s/he will provide technical support and policy advice to member countries on matters related to forest management, conservation, and resource information, and will contribute to the development and implementation of national programs and projects to improve the management and conservation of forest resources. Essential qualifications include an advanced university degree in forestry or a related field, seven years of relevant experience related to forest resources development, management or conservation, and a working knowledge of English.

For more information, please contact:

Forest Management Division, Forestry Department
FAO Via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome ITALY
Fax No: +39 06 5705 5137


35. Professor on international nature conservation at the Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation

From: Pieter Zuidema, Utrecht University

An appointment as visiting professor at the Faculty of Science, Utrecht University for a period of 5 years, starting 1 January 2010; is being offered. The closing date is 15 September 2009.

The Professor will be asked to carry out the following tasks:

1. Contribute to research on international conservation and wise use of natural resources;

2. Lecture for one month per year at BSc, MSc and PhD level in the Biology curriculum;

3. Contribute to the supervision of MSc and PhD thesis work;

4. Lecture on international nature conservation at seminars and meetings in the Netherlands;

5. Be actively involved in designing proposals for research projects;

6. Establish institutional links between Faculty of Science, main employer and conservation organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Dr. Marinus J.A.Werger, professor on Plant Ecology & Biodiversity and Chairman of the selection committee, Department of Biology, Utrecht University




36. New publication from FAO’s NWFP programme

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Bees and their role in forest livelihoods. A guide to the services provided by bees and the sustainable harvesting, processing and marketing of their products

This volume – no. 19 in our NWFP series – provides basic information about managing wild bees and on the use of their products. It identifies and describes major bee species and their importance for nature conservation and for sustaining the livelihoods of rural people. Bee products are considered at both subsistence and commercial levels, and particular attention is given to the potential for further development of managing wild bee species in developing countries. The role of bees for pollination of crops and the impact of managing bees on forestry and farming are presented. Wild beekeeping techniques, honey production and marketing, and the international trade in bee products are described with further references and sources of additional information given. Using this publication, readers will understand better the complexities and opportunities for developing apiculture by rural livelihoods.

Copies of this publication can be purchased from FAO’s Sales and Marketing Group at: An electronic version will shortly be available from FAO’s NWFP home page:


37. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Adedapo, Adeolu, Florence Jimoh, Srinivas Vedic, Patrick Masika, Anthony Afolayan. 2009. Assessment of the medicinal potentials of the methanol extracts of the leaves and stems of Buddleja saligna. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 9:21.

Brugiere, D., and Kormos, R. 2009. Review of the protected area network in Guinea, West Africa, and recommendations for new sites for biodiversity conservation. Biodivers. Conserv. 18(4):847-868.

da Silva, P.M., Aguiar, C.A.S., Niemelä, J., Sousa, J.P., and Serrano, A.R.M. 2009. Cork-oak woodlands as key-habitats for biodiversity conservation in Mediterranean landscapes: a case study using rove and ground beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae, Carabidae). Biodivers. Conserv. 18(3):605-619.

Habrova, H., Cermak, Z., and Paulis, J. 2009. Dragon's blood tree - threatened by overmaturity, not by extinction: dynamics of a Dracaena cinnabari woodland in the mountains of Soqotra. Biol. Conserv. 142(4):772-778

Herrero-Jáuregui, C., García-Fernández, C., Sist, P.L.J., and Casado, M.A. 2009. Conflict of use for multi-purpose tree species in the state of Pará, eastern Amazonia, Brazil. Biodivers. Conserv. 18(4):1019-1044.

López Camachó, René. 2008. Productos forestales no maderables: importancia e impacto de su aprovechamiento. Revista Colombia Forestal Vol. 11 - Diciembre 2008

Se reconoce que los productos forestales no maderables (pfnm) son importantes para el bienestar de muchas comunidades rurales y contribuyen a los procesos de conservación de los bosques tropicales. Como una aproximación al conocimiento del impacto ocasionado por su aprovechamiento, y a partir de la revisión de varios estudios, el presente artículo expone las consecuencias de esta actividad en diferentes niveles ecológicos (individuo, población y ecosistemas) y las formas y los efectos del aprovechamiento, presentando el estado actual y las tendencias de investigación que conlleven a un uso y manejo sostenible de los pfnm. Se concluye que es prioritario el estudio de estos productos de una manera sistémica, que debe ir más allá del contexto ecológico y biológico, donde se involucren los componentes sociales, económicos, culturales y políticos, logrando el desarrollo de modelos predictivos que garanticen el no deterioro de estos recursos.

Mulder, M.B., Schacht, R., Caro, T., Schacht, J., and Caro, B. 2009. Knowledge and attitudes of children of the Rupununi: implications for conservation in Guyana. Biol. Conserv. 142(4):879-887.

Moran, C., Catterall, C.P., and Kanowski, J. 2009. Reduced dispersal of native plant species as a consequence of the reduced abundance of frugivore species in fragmented rainforest. Biol. Conserv. 142(3):541-552.

Rodríguez, J.P., Nassar, J.M., Rodríguez-Clark, K.M., Zager, I., Portillo-Quintero, C.A., Carrasquel, F., and Zambrano, S. 2008. Tropical dry forests in Venezuela: assessing status, threats and future prospects. Environ. Conserv. 35(4):311-318.

Salum, L.A. 2009. Ecotourism and biodiversity conservation in Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park, Zanzibar. Afr. J. Ecol. 47:166-170.

Underwood, E.C., Viers, J.H., Klausmeyer, K.R., Cox, R.L., and Shaw, M.R. 2009. Threats and biodiversity in the Mediterranean biome. Divers. Distrib. 15(2):188-197.

Wang, S.W., and Macdonald, D.W. 2009. The use of camera traps for estimating tiger and leopard populations in the high altitude mountains of Bhutan. Biol. Conserv. 142(3):606-613.

Zisenis, M. 2009. To which extent is the interdisciplinary evaluation approach of the CBD reflected in European and international biodiversity-related regulations? Biodivers. Conserv. 18(3):639-648.


38. Web sites and e-zines

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39. Predatory dingoes promote diversity

Source: Discovery News, 30 June 2009

The world's longest fence stretches for 5,000 kilometers (more than 3,000 miles) from one side of southern Australia to another. The fence was designed to keep sheep-eating dingoes out of a third of the country, but the barrier has had some other surprising consequences.

On the dingo-free side of the fence, according to a new study, overall biodiversity is actually lower than it is on the side where dingoes are free to roam. The research suggests that invasive predators, once they've established themselves, play an important role in the food web and might actually be good for conservation.

The finding could affect efforts to both control and reintroduce predators in other parts of the world, too, including wolves in the western United States.

"There's an idea that introduced predators are altogether bad and cause these catastrophic extinctions," said Mike Letnic, an ecologist at the University of Sydney in Australia. "Our results clearly show that this introduced predator species has a positive ecological role that is contrary to its classification as a pest."

Dingoes were introduced to Australia 5,000 years ago and promptly replaced the Tasmanian wolf, a marsupial, as top predator. From 1900 to the 1960s, the country built a six-foot tall wire fence through deserts and mountains, from the southern coast to the northeast of Brisbane, to keep the dogs away from sheep and other livestock. Since then, ecosystems on either side of the fence have diverged in striking ways.

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40. Tiny monkey species discovered in the Amazon rainforest

Source:, 7 July 2009

A new species of monkey has been discovered in the Brazilian Amazon, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The monkey, a type of saddleback tamarin, has been named Mura's saddleback tamarin (Saguinus fuscicollis mura) after the Mura Indians, the Amerindian ethnic group that lives in the Purus and Madeira river basins where the monkey occurs.

The monkey is mostly gray and dark brown in color, with a distinctly mottled "saddle", and weighs 213 grams (less than three-quarters of a pound). It is 240 millimeters (9 inches) tall with a 320 millimeter (12.6 inch) tail.

"This newly described monkey shows that even today there are still major wildlife discoveries to be made," said Fabio Röhe of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), lead author of a paper that describes the new species. "This discovery should serve as a wake-up call that there is still so much to learn from the world's wild places, yet humans continue to threaten these areas with destruction."

"The increase in human populations resulting from the developmental projects and improved infrastructure will result in widespread loss, degradation, and fragmentation of the forests... threatening not only these tamarins but also the entire fauna and flora of the region," the authors write. "Predictions of deforestation in the Amazon over the next decades indicate that Saguinus fuscicollis mura, even with the most optimistic scenarios, will be confined to small forest patches and close to extinction within the next 50 years."

"We hope that the discovery will draw attention to conservation in this very fragile but biodiverse region," said Dr. Avecita Chicchon, Director of WCS's Latin America Programs.

WCS researchers have discovered several new monkey species in recent years including the Arunachal macaque, discovered in India in late 2004; and the Madidi monkey, discovered in Bolivia in 2005; and the Kipunji, discovered in Tanzania in 2005.

Saddleback tamarins are found in the upper Amazon, west of the Madeira and Mamoré–Guaporé rivers to the Andes. There are currently 13 known species and subspecies in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The discovery was published in the June online edition of the International Journal of Primatology.

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last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009