Untitled Document

No. 9/09

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 and also to Agnese Bazzucchi for her help with this issue.

PRODUCTS
1.  Bamboo in India: New livelihood for youths in the Bodo belt
2.  Bamboo in Rwanda: Farmers to benefit from bamboo fraternity
3.  Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola) effective remedy against respiratory diseases
4.  Bushmeat: Trade threatens rare lemurs in Madagascar
5.  Honey is both a superfood and medicine
6.  Honey: Is the honey you just purchased really honey?
7.  Medicinal Plants: Herbal preparations may reduce risk of breast cancer
8.  Medicinal Plants: Plans to raise awareness in the Philippines

COUNTRY INFORMATION
9.  Bhutan: More wild mushroom victims
10.  Cameroon: National management plan for Prunus africana
11.  Canada to enhance NTFP research and production
12.  Ecuador: Amazon jungle lodge reveals its indigenous Spa
13.  Fiji’s forests as carbon factories
14.  Guatemala: Ramon Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) - a little nut with big possibilities
15.  India: Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) - time for Himachal to explore commercial aspects
16.  Malaysia’s Indigenous tribe ups anti-logging campaign
17.  Philippines: Tree for alternative fuel found in Cordillera
18.  Thailand: From honey to fragrant soap
19.  Thailand: Indigenous traditions derailed
20.  Uganda: Charcoal burning threatens Shea Tree (Butyrospermum parkii)
21.  USA: First National Honey Bee Awareness Day

NEWS
22.  Acacia tree can boost crops across Africa
23.  Africa needs agroforestry to cut forest emissions
24.  Conservation Leadership Programme Awards: Call for Applications 2010
25.  Ecotourism: Drought, poaching kill 100 elephants in Kenya
26.  Launch of FAO’s ACP-FLEGT Support Programme
27.  Non-wood News
28.  World's last great forest under threat

REQUESTS
29.  Request for contributions to the next issue of Non-wood News
30.  Request for information on Seabuckthorn

EVENTS
31. 2009 NTFR Forum

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES
32.  Other publications of interest
33.  Web sites and e-zines

MISCELLANEOUS
34.  Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea
35.  Orangutans use leaves to mislead predators

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PRODUCTS

1. Bamboo in India: New livelihood for youths in the Bodo belt
Source: The Telegrapgh, Calcutta, 17 September 2009

Incense sticks may stretch the possibilities of employment in the Bodo belt where the administration is opening centres to train youths to make the most of the abundant bamboo in the region.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) executive member Mitaram Basumatary inaugurated an agarbatti stick-making training centre in Kokrajhar yesterday.
The National Bamboo Mission and Bodoland Bamboo Development Board are the primary investors. Technology partner Andhra Pradesh Technology Development and Promotion Centre will help with the marketing.

The centre can accommodate 35 trainees at a time for the 35-day programme. “We hope youths will come and join this new endeavour and make a new livelihood out of it,” mission director of Bodoland Bamboo Development Board J.D. Brahma said.

Brahma said the training programme would incorporate all the latest techniques in bamboo agarbatti-stick making so that the participants are equipped to make the best available products.

Emphasizing the vast potential of bamboo-based industry, Brahma said the BTC has around 40,000 hectares of bamboo groves. Another 12,000 hectares can be brought under bamboo cultivation. “If we do not make the most of it now, we will be losing out on a golden opportunity. This is such a wonderful resource it should not be lost,” Brahma said.

Bamboo, which grows abundantly in the state, is being pegged as the source of economic revival in the region. BTC executive member and chairman of the Bamboo Board, Mitaram Basumatary, said the administration is trying to tap the bamboo’s potential to the fullest.  He said the BTC has already tied up with neighbouring countries like China and other states in this mission.

The Bodoland Bamboo Development Board and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, a Beijing-based organization, have signed an MoU to build a bamboo shoot processing centre in Kokrajhar.

For full story, please see: www.telegraphindia.com/1090917/jsp/northeast/story_11500484.jsp

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2. Bamboo in Rwanda: Farmers to benefit from bamboo fraternity
Source: AllAfrica.com, 23 August 2009

Kigali — Rwandan farmers have been fronted as a priority group to benefit from a bamboo planting fraternity spearheaded by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR). This was revealed early last week by the visiting INBAR Director General, J. Coosje Hoogendoorn, who said that Rwanda has all it takes to gain from the immense environmental and economic benefits of bamboo trees. "I am struck by the tremendous potential in this country. The soil and weather are favourable for the growth of bamboo trees and I am impressed that people here have realized the importance of bamboo trees," Hoogendoorn said.

Bamboo is one of the most productive and fastest growing plants on earth and it offers the possibility of annual selective harvesting and removal of about 15-20 percent of the total stock productivity. Over 90 percent of bamboo carbon can be sequestered in durable products such as boards, floors, furniture, buildings, cloth, paper and charcoal.

"We did a production to consumption study with the private sector federation, trying to identify opportunities and projects where people can economically benefit from bamboo."
Bamboo trees play an important role in controlling soil erosion, which is one of the most outstanding problems faced by farmers in Rwanda. According to Hoogendoorn, INBAR is partnering with China to provide the capacity for bamboo processing. She said INBAR is looking at conserving the already existing bamboo trees as well as introducing new species. INBAR has a membership of 34 countries and Rwanda is its current chairman.

Fredrick Munyansonga, the official charged with bamboo planting in the forestry department, revealed that this partnership is likely to change lives of many people especially farmers. "Bamboo planting has two inherently important causes, conserving the soil and alleviating poverty. This cause should be taken seriously because it's a total win-win undertaking," he said.

Around 1.5 billion people around the world depend on bamboo in some way. INBAR is an inter-governmental organization established in 1997 with a role of finding and demonstrating innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to alleviate poverty and protect environments.

China is one of the world's leading countries benefiting from bamboo production and processing. It's also consumed as food sometimes.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200908240165.html

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3. Bitter Kola (Garcinia kola) effective remedy against respiratory diseases
Source: The Guardian (Nigeria), 20 August 2009

Nigerian researchers have described as promising the use of Bitter kola (Garcinia kola)  in the management of respiratory problems, particularly asthma, raising hopes of a possible formulation of the extracts or active constituents as medicines.

Though there are various orthodox drugs for the treatment of respiratory tract diseases in the country, the search for cost effective local herbal remedies have always excited researchers.

In fact, the seeds of Bitter kola also called Garcinia kola which forms a major part of the herbal preparation used in traditional African medicine practice for the treatment of various respiratory tract diseases, including asthma, have attracted scientific scrutiny in the last decade.

In a report published recently in The Internet Journal of Pulmonary Medicine. 2009: Volume 11 Number 1, the researchers: A.K. Okojie ,I. Ebomoyi,C.N. Ekhator,O. Emeri,J. Okosun, G. Onyesu, O. Uhuonrenren, and J. Atima from the Department of Physiology, University of Benin and Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, in a holistic review decided to find out the physiological mechanism(s) underlying the use of Garcina kola for the treatment of asthma. Specifically they were interested in finding out the function(s) of its phytochemical contents and how they are beneficial in the treatment of asthma.

At the end, they said: "Garcinia kola appears to be very promising in the treatment and management of asthma, our review showed that xanthone and flavonoid, which are its major phytochemical contents inhibit calcium influx and histamine release stimulated by IgE dependent ligands respectively."

Used in folklore remedies for the treatment of ailment such as liver disorders, hepatitis, diarrhea, laryngitis, bronchitis and gonorrhoea, Garcinia kola belongs to the family Guittiferae and it is commonly called Orogbo in Yoruba language and Aki ilu in Igbo while the English name is bitter kola. Although valued because of its edible nut, the plant exhibits very potent pharmacological activities such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-oxidant property of Garcina kola  is attributed to its very high content of ascorbic acid. It is usually found in the tropical rain forest region of West Africa. It prevails as a multi-purpose tree crop in the home gardens of southern Nigeria.

For full story, please see: www.ngrguardiannews.com/natural_health/article01/indexn2_html?pdate=200809&ptitle=Researchers%20affirm%20efficacy%20of%20bitter%20kola%20in%20respiratory%20diseases

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4. Bushmeat: Trade threatens rare lemurs in Madagascar
Source: Reuters India, 21 August 2009

Endangered lemur species found only in Madagascar are being slaughtered and served up in local restaurants as poachers take advantage of a security vacuum on the island after a coup earlier this year.

Pictures of the blackened remains of scores of crowned lemurs and golden crowned sifakas, smoked in preparation for transport, have been released by the environmental protection group Conservation International. James Mackinnon, technical director at the group's Madagascar office, said gangs were pillaging the forests of precious hardwoods and trapping rare animals for Asia's pet market, unwinding hard-fought conservation gains on the island. "Lemurs have always been hunted on a small, subsistence scale. This is bigger, more organized and systematic and it's typical of what we've been seeing with the breakdown in law and order," he told Reuters on Friday.

Conservationists say biodiversity on the world's fourth largest island is being wiped out on a shocking scale. Foreign donors, who provided the bulk of funding for the country's national parks and environmental programs, suspended aid after Andry Rajoelina toppled the island's president with the help of renegade troops in March. Operating on a shoestring budget, the authorities have been unable to control the surge in criminal activity.
The Indian Ocean island, isolated from other land masses for more than 160 million years, is a biodiversity "hotspot" home to hundreds of exotic species found nowhere else in the world.

Poachers are using slingshots and traps to hunt the lemurs in Daraina, a newly-protected region in the far north of Madagascar. Only 8,000 golden crowned sifaka, found only in Daraina, remain in the wild and risk being wiped out in weeks. "More than anything else, these poachers are killing the goose that laid the golden egg," said Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International. "(They are) wiping out the very animals that people most want to see and undercutting the country and especially local communities by robbing them of future eco-tourism revenue."

Eco-tourism is the backbone of Madagascar's $390 million-a-year tourism industry, which has been wrecked by months of political turmoil. Decades of logging, mining and slash-and-burn farming have destroyed up to 90 percent of the island's natural ecology.

Ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana was credited by conservationists with increasing the number of national parks and protected areas, backed by donors including the World Bank and the United States. Conservation International described the move to cut environmental aid as a "knee-jerk reaction." To deny conservation funding was counter-productive, it said, as it simply encouraged poor governance of natural resources.

Mackinnon warned of impending environmental catastrophe, saying there was a real danger parks would be forced to lay off rangers and cease to function before the end of the year.
"It's very hard to turn the clock back once criminal activities have become ingrained," he said.

For full story, please see: http://in.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idINTRE57K27620090821?sp=true

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5. Honey is both a superfood and medicine
Source: Examiner.com, USA, 2 September 2009

Honey is the partially digested flower nectar regurgitated from a bee’s stomach. It’s also one of the most diverse and delicious foods on earth.

Honey has been used as food and medicine for perhaps 10,000 years and has been cultivated by humans for at least 3,000 years. We know it today as a substitute for white granulated sugar but for most of history, honey was the basic source of food sweetening, and sugar only recently became more popular as a low cost alternative. However, when you consider the benefits of honey, the cost should be no object.

In addition to its many culinary uses, honey has a long and impressive resume as a medicinal healer. In traditional medicine it has been used for treating gastric ulcers, burns, high blood pressure, sore throat and dry cough.

Modern medicine is also now recognizing the medicinal benefits of honey. In 2007, research out of Penn State College of Medicine (USA) concluded that a small amount of buckwheat honey before bed was more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants for children over two years of age. Also in 2007, the FDA approved a line of wound care dressings lined in honey produced by Derma Sciences, Inc. Because honey is high in sugar and low in moisture it has been traditionally used to fight bacterial growth, producing hydrogen peroxide as it draws moisture from wounds. It also contributes to reduced swelling and inflammation.

In addition, honey has been shown to aid digestion, and an Oklahoma allergist even claims that one teaspoon of raw honey every day is effective to treat 90% of allergies.

The best honey to buy is raw organic straight from the hive. Most honey is pasteurized and the heating process destroys some of the beneficial properties of the honey, including some of the phytonutrients. Raw honey is a creamy solid, not liquid, and contains propolis, sometimes called "bee glue," that honeybees use to seal the hive and make it safe from bacteria. Propolis has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. Raw honey also contains other phytonutrients which have cancer-preventing and anti-tumour properties and may help prevent colon cancer.

Children under the age of 12 months should not use honey since their immature digestive systems cannot process botulism spores that can be present in honey, maple syrup and corn syrup but which older systems can handle.

Honeybees are in danger of disappearing from the U.S. due to colony collapse disorder and this, combined with other factors, will continue to raise the price of honey. But pay up. This is pure gold.
For full story, please see: www.examiner.com/x-6753-Philadelphia-Nutrition-Examiner~y2009m9d2-Honey-is-both-a-superfood-and-medicine

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6. Honey: Is the honey you just purchased really honey?
Source: The Examiner.com, USA, 31 August 2009

Florida, USA, recently passed a honey standard. Florida is the first, and only, state to have done so. The standard is the first step toward getting adulterated honey off the store shelves.  The standard sets limits for, among other things, the amount of fructose, glucose, sucrose, and moisture content defining honey.  Anyone selling honey in the state of Florida that violates this standard is subject to a $500 fine.

There are a few simple tests to determine if honey has been adulterated.(1) Drop a spoonful of honey into milk. If the honey dissolves, it may be adulterated. (2) Dip a cotton candle wick into honey.  Light a match to it.  If it doesn't burn, it may be adulterated.(3) Honey should have a pleasant floral aroma. Corn syrup, on the other hand, has no smell. If your honey has no scent, it may not be honey.

The Florida Department of Agriculture is depending on consumers to help enforce their new honey standard. 
For full story, please see: www.examiner.com/x-11243-Orlando-Beekeeping-Examiner~y2009m8d31-Is-the-honey-you-just-purchased-really-honey

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7. Medicinal Plants: Herbal preparations may reduce risk of breast cancer
Source: CancerConsultants.com, 19 August 2009

Researchers from Germany have reported that herbal preparations given to alleviate menopausal symptoms may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. The details of this study appeared in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Herbs are plants that do not have woody stems and usually die back at the end of each growing season. Their historical use as medicine and as culinary seasonings arises from their aromatic properties. As defined here, herbal/plant therapies include therapies using the whole plant or the parts of a plant valued for medicinal purposes. It also involves therapies that have maximized the optimal ratios of a whole product (for example, the most effective ratio of the main constituents within an herb or plant). In contrast, isolated components of herbs or plants that are used alone are categorized under biologic/orthomolecular therapies. Herbal/plant therapies may be consumed for internal use, applied externally, or used as aromatherapy.

Herbal preparations in this study contained phytoestrogens and black cohosh that were taken to alleviate menopausal symptoms. Phytoestrogens are plant-derived non-steroidal compounds found in soy products, unrefined grain products, carrots, spinach, broccoli, and other fruits and vegetables. Phytoestrogens have a weak estrogen-like effect and are protective against various cancers. The best documentation appears to be for the prevention of breast and prostate cancer, which are hormone-dependent cancers. Researchers from the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have reported that diets rich in phytoestrogens are associated with a lower incidence of lung cancer than in diets low in phytoestrogens.

Black cohosh (known as both Actaea racemosa and Cimicifuga racemosa) is a member of the buttercup family. Medicinal preparations are made from the root and taken for a variety of reasons, including the relief of menopausal symptoms. Randomized trials have given conflicting results about the effects of black cohosh in relieving menopausal symptoms.

The current study looked at the incidence of breast cancer in over 10,000 postmenopausal women with (N=3,464) and without breast cancer (n=6,637). Approximately 10% of these women had used herbal preparations for relief of menopausal symptoms. Ever use of herbal preparations was associated with a 26% reduction in the risk of breast cancer. The effect appeared to be dose-dependent with a 4% reduction in risk for every year of herbal preparation use. The effect appeared to be present across a spectrum of herbal preparations. Risk reduction was observed for invasive ductal and combined lobular/mixed/tubular tumours but not for in situ carcinomas. Interestingly, there was a reduction in risk of both estrogen-positive and estrogen-negative breast cancers. The authors concluded: “Our findings support the hypothesis that [herbal preparation] use protects from invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Among conceivable modes of action, those independent of estrogen receptor-mediated pathways seem to be involved (i.e., cytotoxicity, apoptosis).”

For full story, please see: http://professional.cancerconsultants.com/oncology_main_news.aspx?id=43928

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8. Medicinal Plants: Plans to raise awareness in the Philippines
Source: Buisness Mirror (Philippines), 7 September 2009

The Philippines should undertake initiatives to conserve native medicinal plants amid the increasing global trade in herbals now estimated at $120 billion. In a statement released by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., BiomartAsia-Philippines noted that the increasing demand for local medicinal plants could result in over-harvesting.

“Recognizing that our medicinal plants are so important, we must protect them, especially the endemic plants. The commercial demand for local medicinal plants may cause over harvesting from the wild,” said Gina Mangalindan  of BiomartAsia-Philippines. Biomart, a firm specializing in herbal skin-care products, makes use of locally grown natural herbs known for their unique properties. 

Mangalindan said the creation of a Medicinal Plant Working Group, which may include representatives from industry, government, academia, tribes and environmental organizations is needed. Its goal should be to create a framework action on behalf of medicinal plants. She said the group must raise awareness of native medicinal plant issues and needs among partner agencies and cooperating organizations to also promote the sustainable production of native medicinal plant products.

Mangalindan said those who want to go into the medicinal plant industry could also take note of a number of trends that include the rising demand for certified “organic” raw material and value-added products such as teas, soaps, juices, cosmetics and extracts. “The health food sector is also increasing, so natural alternatives to artificial flavours, sugar and salt are being looked at,” she said.

Mangalindan said the global herbal market comprises pharmaceuticals, spices and herbs and cosmetics. The global market today is mainly divided among Germany (28 percent), Asia (19 percent), Japan (17 percent), France (13 percent), rest of Europe (12 percent) and North America (11 percent). The major suppliers of crude medicinal products to European markets are China, United States, Germany, Singapore, India, Chile, Egypt, Albania, Bulgaria, Morocco, Mexico and Pakistan.

For full story, please see: http://businessmirror.com.ph/component/content/article/53-agri-commodities/15671-rp-urged-to-conserve-native-medicinal-plants.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

9. Bhutan: More wild mushroom victims
Source: Kuensel Online, Bhutan, 31 August 2009

Despite awareness messages on the dangers of eating wild mushrooms in Bhutan, at least three people have died and more than fifteen were hospitalised in referral and district hospitals around the country between May and August this year.

“We’ve been telling people and sending awareness messages to the villages through gewog centres not to pick mushrooms, which they cannot identify,” said the national mushroom centre’s program director, Dawa Penjor.

Three men in the thirties were treated in Thimphu referral hospital this month, after they consumed a poisonous mushroom collected from an area near Dechencholing. They told health officials that they mistook the mushroom to be the edible and local delicacy, Sisi Shamu. Six men in Pemagatshel were also treated in the district hospital after they had consumed a wild mushroom on 21 August.

Mushroom collectors often overestimate their ability to distinguish deadly mushrooms from the edible ones, sometimes with tragic results, said officials of the mushroom centre. “Some poisonous mushrooms can be identical to non-poisonous ones,” said an official.

Seasonal rain has become more frequent, which will promote the growth of wild mushrooms, said officials. There are about 250-300 species of mushrooms in Bhutan, of which around 30 or more could be poisonous.

For full story, please see: www.kuenselonline.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=13318

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10. Cameroon: National management plan for Prunus africana
Source: Thinking Beyond the Canopy, 2 September 2009

The government of Cameroon has approved a national management plan for Prunus africana, a threatened, internationally protected medicinal tree. Its bark is used in drugs that treat prostate disorders, which afflict many men over the age of 50.

Prunus africana is an important export product for Cameroon,’ said Verina Ingram, a Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) scientist based in Yaoundé. ‘By adopting this plan, the government has taken an important first step towards bringing back international trade in the bark.’

In 1995, growing demand and unsustainable harvesting methods helped include this species in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). CITES is an agreement between governments that aims to ensure that global trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Appendix II lists species that may become endangered if trade is left unregulated.

CITES recommended in 2006 that trade in the valued bark be banned until exporting countries could develop management plans, together with tree inventories, to ensure that the tree was sustainably grown and harvested. The European Union, the largest importing market for Cameroon, voluntarily suspended trade.

Since the 1970s Cameroon has been one of the major exporters of Prunus worldwide. It accounts for 48 percent of the country’s gross exports since trade records began in 1995, about 2000 tonnes a year. The EU suspension has led to stocks in many pharmaceutical companies producing the drugs to drop to dangerously low levels.

The detailed, 150-page management plan was developed over two years by CIFOR researchers, FAO, the Netherlands Development Organization and the World Agroforestry Centre. The plan was part of a larger community-based forest enterprise project that the EU funded.

In late 2008, the Cameroonian Minister of Forestry and Wildlife asked the project to develop a management plan for the tree specifically for Cameroon. ‘Government representatives aim to present the plan to CITES in Geneva by the end of the year,’ Ingram said. ‘Once CITES approves the plan, Cameroon can begin to implement it, and hopefully exports can start soon afterward.’

Ingram believes that CITES will view the management plan in a favourable light.
‘It balances conservation needs with local livelihoods and international health needs, and it addresses all of CITES’ concerns and recommendations. It also shows that the vulnerability of this species is not as acute as CITES originally believed.’

Prunus africana is a slow-growing evergreen that takes 15 to 20 years to mature. It grows at high altitudes—1000 metres above sea level and higher. It inhabits pockets of moist highland in a handful of countries, including Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar and Uganda.

Sustainable harvesting of the bark is simple. Harvesters can remove two opposite panels of the trunk, and then wait eight years for the bark to regenerate before harvesting the other two quarters. CIFOR researchers are verifying the sustainability of this system with a study of bark regrowth on harvested trees, to feed into a new harvesting standard.

Another way to ensure that the species survives is to bring it into wider cultivation by domesticating it: growing it in farmers’ fields, in community nurseries or on larger plantations. Some of the tree’s characteristics favour cultivation but others make cultivation challenging.
CIFOR researchers recommend that communities and forestry experts join together to increase the potential for domestication in Cameroon.

More than 1.5 million Prunus trees have been planted across northwest and southwest Cameroon between 1976 and 2008. These tree stands cover about 625 hectares.
For full story, please see: www.cifor.cgiar.org/Headlines/prunus-africana.htm

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11. Canada to enhance NTFP research and production
Source: Canada News Centre, 21 September 2009

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, today announced the awarding of $49,826 in non-repayable funding to the Syndicat des producteurs de bois de la Mauricie (SPBM) (Mauricie Wood Producers Trade
Union) to carry out research aimed at identifying ways to enhance Mauricie non-timber forest products.

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are native or naturalized plants other than timber (fibre). They are gathered in the forest, idle land, underbrush, natural forests or managed plantations. The contribution from Canada Economic Development will help generate a data bank and set of tools aimed at mapping out effective land development and supply strategies. In addition, the setting up of a network of stakeholders should attract processing firms to the region, while creating sustainable jobs in this sector of activity.

“Wise use of our forest resources is an attractive economic development and diversification opportunity for the region. The SPBM’s project will make it possible to develop the NTFP industry in a concerted and coherent manner, so as to maximize the positive economic impacts,” said Minister Lebel.

Since 1967, the Syndicat des producteurs de bois de la Mauricie has supported the 5,700 or so private woodlot owners in their efforts to harness and market their unique forest products by providing advisory services and training related to forestry operations.

Canada Economic Development’s funding of this project has been awarded through the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality, a measure aimed at supporting slow-growth communities, encouraging diversification of the local economic base and reducing reliance on single-industry economies.

For full story, please see: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?m=/index&nid=483859

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12. Ecuador: Amazon jungle lodge reveals its indigenous Spa
Source: eMediaWire, 1 September 2009

La Selva Jungle Lodge, located in the heart of the pristine Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador has created what they call The Indigenous Spa. Two native Quichua Indian women who reside deep in the forest but near the remote lodge walk barefoot for an hour through the jungle from their huts to give their spiritual version of the spa experience in the attractive spa rooms on the lodge grounds. For $69 the participant is treated to a magical dusting away of evil spirits with special leaves brought fresh for each guest, next a footbath and foot massage with special scented plants also from the forest sets the mood. Trays of local fruit products are also prepared from the lodge kitchen and an energy drink also fruit based which among other fresh juices, contains Noni (Morinda citrifolia) and acai.

La Selva Jungle Lodge began this project as yet another way to find sustainable work for its rainforest dwelling neighbors. Since women are in short supply for work outside the home the labor pool was small. Three groups of two have now been established and the women work in tandem for the $69.
La Selva Jungle Lodge (http://www.laselvajunglelodge. com) hopes to develop more Spa options for their female neighbours to develop and are considering a line of rainforest products like those used in the spa. La Selva shares the wealth as broadly as it can with most profits from The Indigenous Spa returning to the community as donations through their foundation, Helping Hands In The Forest.

La Selva has accommodated more than 50 000 guests from almost 40 countries and was a pioneer in Ecotourism. The company has won many ecotourism awards and is always at the vanguard of the industry in jungle tourism.

For full story, please see: www.emediawire.com/releases/2009/9/prweb2807394.htm

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13. Fiji’s forests as carbon factories
Source: Fiji Times Online, 31 August 2009

Protecting, growing and managing Fiji's forestry will help address environmental challenges such as climate change, says Forestry Ministry permanent secretary Viliame Naupoto.

However, the aim was to create a roadmap that would help manage the forest sector climate change, he said at the REDD (Reducing emission from deforestation and degradation) policy scoping workshop.

"It has been known for centuries that forests are factories that provide countless economic, ecosystem and social service. The services include timber, water catchment protection, water production for agriculture, NWFP, biological diversity, fuel wood, and social recreation," Mr Naupoto said. Forests are large storehouses for carbon that is captured from the atmosphere. "We can lock the carbon by forest protection."

For full story, please see: www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=128470

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14. Guatemala: Ramon Nut (Brosimum alicastrum) - a little nut with big possibilities
Source: Rainforest Alliance, 28 August 2009

Planted by the ancient Maya in their forest gardens and once found throughout Central America, the ramón tree (Brosimum alicastrum) towers above its neighbouring trees in Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, providing habitat for spider and howler monkeys, retaining soils and water and helping to regulate the climate. But it’s the fruit of the ramón that holds the greatest potential for communities within the reserve and could provide them with a key to alleviating poverty, conserving forests, improving health and nourishing their children.

Locals have long-collected the chocolate-flavored ramón or Maya nut, roasting it over an open flame (or drying it with heaters) before grinding it into flour that acts as the base for an assortment of popular foods. While its nutritious properties are widely known throughout the region, until recently no clearly defined strategy existed for incorporating the nuts into the diets of Guatemala’s rural and indigenous children, 49 percent of whom suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Thanks to Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests -- a program launched by the Rainforest Alliance, the Equilibrium Fund, the Guatemalan Ministry of Education, the Banco de Desarrollo Rural S. A., the National Forest Service of Guatemala, Alimentos Nutri-Naturales and the Association of Community Forestry Concessionaires of Petén -- communities throughout the reserve will now be able to capitalize on the nut’s many benefits. The world’s first ramón nut-based school lunch program, this program is helping to feed more than 8,000 children from 46 rural communities, while providing jobs for women and offering a real incentive for forest conservation.

The enterprising kids -- and the adults who accompany them into the forest -- deliver their hauls to the local bakery, where they receive one quetzal (about 12 cents) for every pound of ramón gathered. An all-female staff removes the skins from the nuts before roasting them. "Before I had no job," says Lubia Flores Rodriguez, who works in the Ixlú bakery removing the nut’s tender skins. "Now I come to work and I am able to make a living," she says.  Once they have been roasted, the nuts are ground into flour and distributed to teachers and school boards in nearly fifty communities throughout the Petén. The flour is used to make wholesome food (the ramón is a naturally complete protein, high in calcium, fiber and potassium) for school lunches.

"Worried about poverty and the struggle to feed our children adequately, we found in the ramón nut a nutritious food and a source of work for rural woman," said Gladis Rodriguez, president of the Association for the Development of Women of Ixlú. "Thanks to the support of the Rainforest Alliance (and other organizations) who helped us start this project, we look forward to a better future for all our families."

"Little by little, with projects like Healthy Forests, Healthy Children, we are halting the high levels of deforestation in the Petén," reflects Ramon Zetina of the Rainforest Alliance. "Working with communities (here), the Rainforest Alliance is beginning to change the mindsets of people who realize the importance of the rainforests and the need to conserve them, so that future generations can sustainably harvest from them."

For full story, please see: www.rainforest-alliance.org/forestry.cfm?id=ramon_nut

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15. India: Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) - time for Himachal to explore commercial aspects
Source: myHimachal – Sirmour. Himachal Pradesh (India), 22 August 2009

Palampur (India): Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), locally known as Charma, has attracted global attention of scientists, environmentalists, industrialists and various other agencies due to the presence of vitamins and many other substances in its fruits, leaves and bark. The medicinal values of this plant were discovered by the Tibetan doctors in early 8th century in Tibet. However, the industrial utilization of this important plant was started in former Soviet Union, when Russian scientists discovered its rich vitamins values in 1940.

With the opening of Soviet Union in early 1980, the Chinese discovered in USSR that seabuckthorn food products and drugs help in improving the immunities of astronauts. Later a Chinese scientist translated a Russian book on seabuckthorn into Chinese and consequently active research work on various aspects of seabuckthorn began in several universities and other institutions of China. Developing its own indigenous technology as well as transferring the Russian “know how” today, China has established over 300 industries based on seabuckthorn in 19 states, producing a range of health protection food products, life-saving drugs and cosmetics. Learning from the experiences of Russia and China, active research and plantation of seabuckthorn orchards was initiated in more than 40 countries in Europe, Asia and America with short duration of four-five years. A number of other small countries have also taken up research on this plant.

In India, the anti-cancer activity on seabuckthorn was discovered in early 1971 by an Indian scientist. It is unfortunate that since then there has been no follow up despite the fact that this plant is available in India in abundance. Seabuckthorn grows naturally in river sides and slopes in Lahual and Spiti, Chamba , Kinnaur districts and other parts of the state. There is also wild growth of this plant in Ladhak and U.P. hills.

It was only in January 1994 that India came to know about the great importance of this medicinal plant when a Chinese scientist delivered a note on the importance and high medical values of seabuckthorn in the first consultation meeting organized by the State Council for Science, Technology and Environment at Simla. Thereafter the state council created lot of awareness about the potential of the Seabuckthorn in the tribal areas of the state.

With an aim to develop and protect the seabuckthorn, the State Council of Science and Technology has set up a task force on this plant involving the scientists of the universities of the state. Later the research work on various aspects of the SBT was also taken up in the Regional Research Station of HPKVV at Kukamserri in Lahual and Spiti. Nursery and plantation of Seabuckthorn was developed by the scientist here.

It is a high time that the state government and both the universities of the state encourage and give special attention to the scientists working on the research and development of seabuckthorn. State government in consultation with the Vice Chancellors of HPKVV, Palampur and Dr. Y. S. Parmar University for Forestry and Horticulture, Solan, should constitute a high level team of scientists to work on the various aspects of seabuckthorn. There should also be study for the economic utilization of this plant and greening the wild deserts of tribal areas of the state
For full story, please see: http://himachal.us/2009/08/22/seabuckthorn-time-for-himachal-to-explore-commercial-aspects/15176/agriculture/rsood

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16. Malaysia’s Indigenous tribe ups anti-logging campaign
Source: Enviornmental Development in Malaysia, 24 August 2009

LONG BELOK, Malaysia — Hundreds of Penan tribespeople armed with spears and blowpipes have set up new blockades deep in the Borneo jungles, escalating their campaign against logging and palm oil plantations. Three new barricades, guarded by Penan men and women who challenged approaching timber trucks, have been established in recent days. There are now seven in the interior of Malaysia’s Sarawak state.

“They are staging this protest now because most of their land is already gone, destroyed by logging and grabbed by the plantation companies,” said Jok Jau Evong from Friends of the Earth in Sarawak. “This is the last chance for them to protect their territory. If they don’t succeed, there will be no life for them, no chance for them to survive.”

Penan chiefs said that after enduring decades of logging which has decimated the jungles they rely on for food and shelter, they now face the new threat of clear-felling to make way for crops of palm oil and planted timber.

“Since these companies came in, life has been very hard for us. Before it was easy to find animals in the forest and hunt them with blowpipes,” said Alah Beling, headman of Long Belok where one of the barricades has been built.

“The forest was once our supermarket, but now it’s hard to find food, the wild boar have gone,” he said in his settlement, a scenic cluster of wooden dwellings home to 298 people and reachable only by a long suspension bridge. Alah Beling said he fears that plans to establish plantations for palm oil — which is used in food and for biofuel — on their ancestral territory, will threaten their lifestyle and further pollute the village river with pesticide run-off.

“Once our river was so clear you could see fish swimming six feet deep,” he said as he gestured at the waterway, which like most others in the region has been turned reddish-brown by the soil that cascades from eroded hillsides.

Indigenous rights group Survival International said the blockades are the most extensive since the late 1980s and early 1990s when the Penan’s campaign to protect their forests shot to world attention. “It’s amazing they’re still struggling on after all these years, more than 20 years after they began to try to fight off these powerful companies,” said Miriam Ross from the London-based group.

Official figures say there are more than 16,000 Penan in Sarawak, including about 300 who still roam the jungle and are among the last truly nomadic people on Earth. The blockades, which Friends of the Earth said involve 13 Penan communities home to up to 3,000 people, are aimed at several Malaysian timber and plantation companies including Samling, KTS, Shin Yang and Rimbunan Hijau.

After clearing much of the valuable timber from Sarawak, a vast state which lies on Malaysia’s half of Borneo island, some of these companies are now converting their logging concessions into palm oil and acacia plantations. “They told us earlier this month they were coming to plant palm oil, and I said if you do we will blockade,” said Alah Beling.

“They told us we don’t have any rights to the land, that they have the licence to plant here. I felt very angry — how can they say we have no right to this land where our ancestors have lived for generations?”

Even on land that has been logged in the past, Penan can still forage for sago which is their staple food, medicinal plants, and rattan and precious aromatic woods which are sold to buy essential goods. “Oil palm is worse because nothing is left. If they take all our land, we will not be able to survive,” the Long Belok headman said.

Sarawak’s Rural Development Minister James Masing admitted some logging companies had behaved badly and “caused extensive damage” but said the Penan were “good storytellers” and their claims should be treated with caution. “The Penan are the darlings of the West, they can’t do any wrong in the eyes of the West,” he said.

Masing said disputes were often aimed at wringing more compensation from companies, or stemmed from conflicts between Penan and other indigenous tribes including the Kenyah and Kayan about overlapping territorial claims. He said the current surge in plantation activity was triggered by Sarawak’s goal to double its palm oil coverage to one million hectares (2.47 million acres) — an area 14 times bigger than Singapore. “The time we have been given to do this is running short. 2010 is next year so we want to make that target and that is why there may be a push to do it now, to fulfil our goal established 10 years ago,” he said.

“In some areas the logging has not been done in accordance with the rules and some of the loggers have caused extensive damage. That does happen and I do sympathise with the Penan along those lines,” he said. “But the forest has become a source of income for the state government so we have to exploit it”.

Driving through the unsealed roads that reach deep into the Borneo interior, evidence of the new activity is clear with whole valleys stripped of vegetation and crude terraces carved into the hills ready for seedlings.

Most of the companies declined to comment on the allegations made by the Penan, but Samling said it “regrets to learn about the blockades”. “We have long worked with communities in areas we operate to ensure they lead better lives,” it said in a statement.
Its website says its acacia timber plantations in Sarawak will “enhance the health of the forests” and that it uses “only the most sensitive ways to clear the land”.

The Penan allegations could discredit Malaysia’s claims that it produces sustainable palm oil, particularly in Europe and the US where activists blame the industry for deforestation and driving orangutans towards extinction.

Indigenous campaigners say that past blockades have seen violence and arrests against tribespeople, but village chiefs — some of whom were detained during the 1980s blockades — said they did not fear retribution. “We’re not afraid. They’re the ones destroying my property. Last time we didn’t know the law and how to protect ourselves, but now we know our rights,” said Ngau Luin, the chief of Long Nen where another barricade was set up.

The plight of the Penan was made famous in the 1980s by environmental activist Bruno Manser, who waged a crusade to protect their way of life and fend off the loggers. He vanished in 2000 — many suspect foul play.

For full story, please see: http://envdevmalaysia.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/malaysias-penan-tribe-ups-anti-logging-campaign/

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17. Philippines: tree for alternative fuel found in Cordillera
Source: Philippine Star - Manila, Philippines, 23 August 2009

MANILA, Philippines - An indigenous tree, the petroleum nut (Pittosporum resiniferum), abundant in the highland Cordilleras (Northern Philippines) was found as an alternative fuel source.

Pine Tree, a non-government organization (NGO) in the province of Benguet (part of the Cordillera region), is paving the way for the mass propagation of the petroleum nut whose fruit is a good source of biofuel.

Petroleum nut grows abundantly in Benguet and the borders of Mountain Province, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya area. The tree is called apisang or abkel in Benguet; dael or dingo in Mountain Province and sagaga in Abra. Dr. Michael Bengwayan, director of Pine Tree, said about 30,000 petroleum nut seedlings have been produced and are ready for distribution.

Pine Tree initiated the mass propagation of the petroleum nut to benefit farmers and help address the global problem on climate change through the production of alternative fuel resources.

The fruit of the petroleum nut, Bengwayan said, has an octane rating of 54, which is higher than that of India’s jatropha (Jatropha curcas). The oil produced by the petroleum nut fruits is intended for lighting and cooking purposes. When mixed with kerosene on a 3:1 ratio, 20 centiliters of the petroleum nut oil could burn for up to four hours.

A study by the Forest Research Institute of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) claimed petroleum nut oil contains 46 percent of gasoline-type components such as heptane (45 percent) and dihydroterpene. Bengwayan said one petroleum nut tree could yield 15 kilograms of fruits, which could produce up to 80 cubic centiliters of oil.

Bengwayan also said 23 farmers from Kapangan and Kibungan have been trained to propagate the tree. Pine Tree now maintains a nursery at Longlong, La Trinidad where petroleum nut seedlings were first mass propagated after years of research.

Bengwayan though urges farmers to also learn to store the petroleum nut seeds because it is endemic only to some areas in the country. “Seed banking is important so that the indigenous peoples in the region could protect the plant from biopiracy,” said Bengwayan.

The petroleum nut is on the list of protected species of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
For full story, please see: www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=498583&publicationSubCategoryId=473

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18. Thailand: From honey to fragrant soap
Source: Thai News Agency MCOT, 26 August 2009

Once flooded with a honey oversupply, local beekeepers in Thailand’s northern province of Phitsanulok have come up with innovative way to turn the amber nectar into new value-added consumer products to generate extra income.

Here in this picturesque, flower-filled countryside, the quantity of honey that can be collected amounts to as much as 4.5 tonnes every year. But as sales volumes have dropped and raising prices was not a way out, the apiarists or honey farmers of Baan Naam Ab Community Enterprise Group in the provincial seat have added value to their commodity, moving from selling only bottled honey to other goods which require more processing.

Thanks to the knowledge provided by Phitsanulok’s Naresuan University, local beekeepers have been trained to make honey soap for additional income without wasting the sometime overabundance of pure honey received from over 200 local beehives, painstakingly collected from the nectar of longan flowers, a product which is considered as being top world quality.

The apiarists have succeeded in developing natural honey soap bars with a special formula using pure honey as a 30 per cent of the total soap substance. To make a different product, they add bee pollen and powdered turmeric so the soap becomes a skin moisturiser as well. Liquid honey soap using a formula of 40 per cent honey was also created with a delicate texture and a pure honey aroma. This product alone triples the value of the sweet liquid, a value-added plus.

"Pure honey can be sold to a wholesale company at around 70 baht per kilo. So that means, you’ll be getting 70,000 baht from a tonne of honey. But If you bottle it and process it yourself, then your value-added goods, made out of a tonne of honey, will be worth around 200,000 baht”.

"A bottle of honey can produce up to around 200 honey soap bars. A solid soap bar is sold at 25 baht to wholesalers and 35 baht to retailers”, said Dao Ganget, chairperson of the Beekeepers at Baan Naam Ab Community Enterprise Group. The honey farmers here are determined to keep developing their commodities. They believe there are still a lot of marketing channels out there for their goods, as bee products, namely honey, royal jelly, and bee pollen, have long been well-known and accepted for their medicinal, nutritional and moisturizing properties.

Local residents are currently experimenting with bee pollen soap, as its main property is to help cure asthma. Despite the fact that people may consume less pure honey, but when it comes to processed honey with many properties, at least those loving to pamper themselves, will find these honey products simply irresistible.
For full story, please see: http://enews.mcot.net/view.php?id=11503

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19. Thailand: Indigenous traditions derailed
Source: Bangkok Post, 26 August 2009

To the casual observer Isaranun Wongprapassorn seemed happy and care free, decked out in traditional Mien dress adorned with silver ornaments and smiling as she marched in a parade celebrating the International Day of the World's Indigenous People held in Chiang Mai recently. But afterward when she was asked about the role of indigenous women in forest management, her eyes became moist and her face showed her distress. "We have no more forest to manage, they [forestry officers] cut all of our trees, including the coffee trees which are our major source of income,'' said Ms Isaranun, biting her lip to fight back the tears.

Tribal people and officials in Thailand have long been in conflict over forest management. While officials believe this should rest squarely in their hands, indigenous people assert their right to access the forest and its natural resources. Indigenous people are adamant that they are custodians and not destroyers of the forests, and that the damage is being done by outside intervention which they have no control over.

Mien people, like other ethnic groups, have their own ways to manage the forest. ``My parents told me that the place where we cannot cultivate is the head of the water [watershed area]. We must conserve such areas, which we call kemmengdeer,'' said Ms Isaranun, adding that the Mien classify forests into 13 types, each with its own functions. She said the knowledge of forest, soil and animals in the forest is passed from generation to generation. ``But unfortunately, I cannot tell my child about the guardians of the sky, forest, earth, water, trees and so on. I have no chance to worship those guardians, as we were uprooted,'' said the young mother, adding that the place they were relocated to is non-arable land and ``hardly yields a grain of rice''.

Ms Isaranun and her neighbours were evicted from Doi Luang National Park, in Chiang Rai province, and resettled on land in Wang Mai village in Lampang provided by the government. At first the forestry officials allowed them to cultivate and harvest their coffee trees at their old homeland. They traversed the 15 km on foot. But after two years more groups of people encroached into the forests around their old homelands and the government, feeling that things were getting out of control, banned all activities in this part of the forest. What's more, they cut down the coffee trees.

Traditional forest management by indigenous peoples has been derailed by disruptions from the outside world in the form of state policies and regulations, modern development, new modes of production and so on, all of which put the way of life of indigenous peoples in jeopardy. Aaeri Tungmuangthong, a Karen from Mae Wang district in Chiang Mai, told of the capital-oriented market mechanisms that have led many tribal people to practice mono-crop culture, something which was rare or nonexistent in the past.

The Karen's forest management methods are well known among the different indigenous groups, and their culture and traditions are being studied by many academics. The studies reveal the Karen's ability to live in harmony with the forest. But Ms Aaeri told about changes which are troubling her people. ``Many of us have left our traditional way of self-sufficiency behind and started growing mono crops because they bring more money. Certainly many of us need cash,'' she said, ``especially young people.'' She expressed her concern that the younger generation is losing touch with the forest management ways of the Karen people.

A number of women interviewed expressed concern that if they are prevented from accessing the land and other natural resources it will make it very difficult to pass on their traditions to the younger generation. ``If we cannot commit fully to our traditions, such as worshiping the guardians of the forest or the mountains, this will affect our young. How can they learn and fully appreciate who we are?'' said Wipa Srilimpanon, a Lisu women's leader from Chiang Mai.

For full story, please see: www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/152715/indigenous-traditions-derailed

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20. Uganda: Charcoal burning threatens Shea Tree (Butyrospermum parkii)
Source: AllAfrica.com, 30 August 2009

Kampala — Cultural law protects it. Village elders forbid their people from cutting it. Locals say if the tree is cut, a drought will descend upon the land and a curse unto the cutter. But, today, despite all the efforts of the local leaders, the much adored tree in this northern part of the country is under threat. Yet, with its natural ability to yield nuts for up to 300 years and produce oil, the shea nut tree is but a godsend to the locals here.

When people lived in Internally Displaced People's camps (IDP) camps, the bylaw protecting the shea nut tree was disregarded. Elders were dispersed, diluting their power, and rebels made searching for firewood highly dangerous. As a result, people in IDPs cut down the trees closest to the camp, and the much honoured shea nut tree was not spared. Today, the land around camps is alarmingly dry and treeless.

Adding to this pressure, the charcoal trade is booming as peace reigns and people return to their homes. "Before the camps, people were going for agriculture, but now they need immediate money so they turn to charcoal burning and selling," says Samuel Abwola, the district forestry officer in Gulu.

In the past, charcoal burning was considered a lowly job but as harvests fail under the scorching sun, for many it has become the only source of livelihood. "Women, men, young, old, anyone can charcoal. It just needs energy," says Abwola.

Hardwoods, like the shea nut tree, are especially popular because they produce heavy charcoal that burns for a long time and produces strong heat. Despite the booming charcoal trade and the desirable charcoaling qualities of the shea nut tree, some village elders are trying to implement the cultural law protecting the tree once more.

Akena John Bosco has been burning charcoal in his village of Loyoajong for the past three months. He does the charcoal burning all by himself, from cutting the tree, to heating it in the traditional kiln to packing it in plastic sacks. He does not cut down the shea nut trees for charcoal because of the strong leadership in his village. "When you cut a shea nut tree, the local leaders demand a fine of sh50,000 or ask you to slaughter a goat," he says, as he covers his charcoal sack with dry grass.

The shea nut oil is central to the northern way of life. Most women in Loyoajong make shea oil, which is used for cooking and moisturising babies' skin. Mothers send their children out to collect the nuts, which they then dry, pound, and cook to obtain the oil. According to a village elder, Nyeko Livingstone, 69, the oil is also used in many traditional ceremonies. "When someone dies of an illness, the surviving family members are smeared with shea," he says.

Despite the growing protection of certain species, trees are turning to charcoal. According to Abwola, local leaders should be supported in their efforts but tree protection is not enough. "We want to have people come together to replant the area where they cut trees for charcoaling," he says, adding that without replanting, the trees will disappear, and so will the charcoal trade.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200908310835.html

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21. USA: First National Honey Bee Awareness Day
Source: USDA.gov, 20 August 2009

In recognition of the crucial role that honey bees play in pollinating agricultural crops, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has declared Saturday 22 August as the first National Honey Bee Awareness Day. Bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value and is an essential component of the production of more than 90 food crops - particularly specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, fruits and vegetables. At the same time the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently working to address challenges impacting U.S. honeybees, which could have a reverberating impact across the agricultural industry.

"Honey bees are critical to the process of pollination of our crops throughout our country and an important part of maintaining a stable and sustainable ecosystem," Vilsack said. "Honey Bee Awareness Day will help highlight this important role, as well as the significant threat honey bees now face from the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder."

As early as October 2006, some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. While colony losses are not unexpected during winter weather, the magnitude of loss suffered by some beekeepers was highly unusual. This phenomenon, which currently does not have a recognizable underlying cause, has been termed colony collapse disorder. The main symptom is simply no or a low number of adult honey bees present, a live queen and no dead honey bees in the hive. Often there is still honey in the hive.

Given the impact that colony collapse disorder could have on the agricultural industry, Congress legislated that USDA develop an annual report about its ongoing efforts on this subject as part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

For full story, please see:
www.usda.gov/wps/portal/!ut/p/_s.7_0_A/7_0_1OB?contentidonly=true&contentid=2009/08/0394.xml

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NEWS

22. Acacia tree can boost crops across Africa
Source: AllAfrica.com, 27 August 2009

Nairobi — African farmers could triple yields by planting a type of acacia tree that sheds its nitrogen-rich leaves in time for the growing season alongside their crops.

The fast-growing, hardy species, Faidherbia albida, which has common names including apple-ring acacia and ana tree, also has a wide range of other benefits, according to Dennis Garrity, director general of the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. "Besides organic fertiliser and livestock fodder for farmers, it also acts as a windbreak, provides wood for fuel and construction and cuts erosion by loosening the soil to absorb water during the rainy season," he said at the 2nd World Congress of Agroforestry in Nairobi this week (24 August). "The tree becomes dormant and sheds its leaves during the early rainy season at the time when seeds need fertiliser and regrows them at the beginning of the dry season, so not competing with crops for light," Garrity told SciDev.Net. Planting the trees can nearly triple yields, he says. In Malawi, maize yields under the acacia canopy are 280 per cent higher than outside it.

The acacia variety is already grown on farms in western Africa, as well as in Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania. But uptake has been minimal in other parts of Africa. Despite 60 years of research and more than 700 scientific publications on F. albida, few farmers - especially in parts of eastern and central Africa - know of its potential.

As Garrity notes, the tree can thrive in a wide range of conditions and is suitable for planting across the continent. He says the lack of knowledge about the acacia highlights a need for research agencies to find more effective ways to reach farmers. Governments must also invest in generating and communicating research, he adds.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, says that the lack of extension services that tap into agroforestry science from research institutions and universities and then pass information to smallholders is a great disservice to the quest for food security in Africa. There is a pressing need to communicate research findings to farmers in languages they can understand, Maathai says.

For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/200908280924.html

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23. Africa needs agroforestry to cut forest emissions
Source: Africa Sustainable Development (AFRICASD), 27 August 2009

The conflict between conserving environments and improving livelihoods is constricting efforts for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) in Sub-Saharan Africa. But agroforestry — managing trees with agricultural production — could help.

The Financial Times calls the carbon market the world's fastest growing commodity market — with agriculture, forestry and other land use playing an increasingly important role. The idea behind REDD is simple — pay countries to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and degraded lands. But working out practical solutions that meet key Millennium Development Goals — namely, to end extreme poverty and hunger, and ensure environmental sustainability — remains difficult.

Developing countries' quest for food security through agricultural expansion often leads to deforestation and forest degradation. The main challenge for much of Sub-Saharan Africa is how to design agricultural landscapes to resolve livelihood-environment conflict and maintain forests' ecosystem benefits such as water storage, erosion control, biodiversity conservation and soil rehabilitation.  The way forward is to integrate climate and livelihood, adaptation and mitigation, REDD and agriculture. Agroforestry should be a key component of this approach. Integrating trees into agricultural landscapes on a massive scale would create an effective carbon sink while ensuring sustainable food production, and would help adapt to climate change in other ways too.

Tree-based systems are much better at accumulating carbon, above and below ground, than pure agriculture. A 'green investment' project in India has demonstrated how to harness tree planting for carbon off-setting. Tree and carbon experts from the World Agroforestry Centre suggest that a billion hectares of farmland (much of it in developing countries) could be turned into carbon-rich agricultural landscapes, potentially sequestering 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide — a third of the carbon reduction challenge.

Of course, saving carbon is not usually the top priority for small-holder farmers— but agroforestry can contribute many of the other benefits farmers want too. For example, a meta-analysis of 94 scientific publications — conducted by World Agroforestry Centre researchers and published in Plant and Soil in 2008 — indicates that using 'fertilizer trees' that capture nitrogen from the air and transfer it to the soil can reduce the need for commercial nitrogen fertilizers by 75 per cent while doubling crop yields. If combined with other soil fertility management, such as conservation agriculture, fertiliser trees can significantly boost sustainable soil health and increase food security. A diverse tree cover can also increase agroecosystems' resilience towards drought, pest and disease and other threats on food production induced by climate change.

If REDD — or indeed, any other effort to mitigate climate change — is to succeed, it must recognise rural livelihood priorities and focus on providing a 'stream of benefits'. Agroforestry tree planting offers this, from tree products such as fruits, medicines and wood to ecosystem benefits such as pollination, water storage and erosion control. Deliberately creating opportunities for non-timber tree products is a robust way of reducing risks and diversifying options for agroforestry. But this will require putting the right trees, markets, policies and institutions in place.

Another challenge for local communities in the South is getting paid for the carbon they sequester. Experience shows that qualifying and registering for initiatives such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) — and, more likely than not for REDD — involves technical hurdles that hinder wide participation by land users from the South. Excellent toolkits, such as the EU-funded project for designing CDM forestry projects, ENCOFOR, can help. The World Agroforestry Centre is also helping develop capacity to use satellite data and new hi-tech measurement techniques to remotely calculate carbon stocks across millions of square kilometres of agricultural land and forests. Nevertheless, the challenges remain.

Carbon off-setting schemes such as REDD could both improve the environment and generate income. We believe the sustainable landscape of the future in Sub-Saharan Africa will have to be tree-based to guarantee achieving the dual goals of sustainable livelihoods and environments. However it is essential to urge policymakers to recognise agroforestry as an important win-win solution.

The first steps will be to scale-up existing proven and integrated tree-based practices such as combining conservation agriculture with agroforestry on farmlands — what we now call "evergreen agriculture" — to achieve 'high carbon stock' and sustainable food security and livelihoods. This will need sound decision support mechanisms from researchers — supported by policymakers for effective implementation —that build on knowledge, partnerships and capacity at all scales. It also involves providing start-up inputs of quality seeds, nursery, training and extension materials, product markets, carbon credits, payment for environmental services and other financial stimuli for farmers.
For full story, please see: www.africasd.org/2009/08/africa-needs-agroforestry-to-cut-forest.html

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24. Conservation Leadership Programme Awards: Call for Applications 2010
Source: Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN), 17 September 2009

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is now accepting applications for 2010 Conservation Awards. The CLP aims to promote the development of emerging conservation leaders and equip them with the capacity to address the most pressing conservation issues of our time. We do this by providing small grants, training, mentoring and networking opportunities, where award winners gain practical skills and experience and develop leadership capabilities through the implementation of projects focused on high-priority biodiversity conservation issues.

The CLP is a partnership of four international conservation organizations – Birdlife International, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International and the Wildlife Conservation Society – with support from multinational energy company BP. The CLP has been helping young conservationists to achieve their goals and move into positions of influence within the conservation sector – and 2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of this highly successful program!

This year we are happy to announce that we will be accepting applications from teams working across Africa, Asia, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries that are NOT ELIGIBLE include those countries designated as high-income economies by the World Bank, with the exception of island nations in the Pacific and Caribbean and some countries in the Middle East. If you have any questions about eligible countries, please contact the CLP.

Available awards include:
·  Future Conservationist Awards: Approximately 20 awards of up to $12,500 each
·  Conservation Follow-up Awards: Approximately 5 awards of up to $25,000 each (available only to previous CLP award winners)
·  Conservation Leadership Awards: 2 awards of $50,000 each (available only to previous CLP award winners)

The application deadline is 6 November 2009 for ALL applications, and awards will be announced in March 2010. Please visit the CLP website for detailed eligibility criteria, guidelines and an application form.

All teams submitting an application will receive feedback on their proposal*. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a member of the CLP team well before the application deadline for advice on project eligibility, methods and project activities. The CLP can also put teams in touch with local partner offices or other experts who can provide additional advice.

A representative from each award-winning team will be invited to attend an international training event and the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in June/July 2010 organized by the CLP. These events will allow winners to share ideas and experience, develop new skills and network with their peers and experts.

If you are interested in participating in the application review process, please send an email with your name, contact details, countries and regions where you have worked and taxonomic expertise.

Have additional questions or seeking advice? Email clp@birdlife.org for more information.
For full story, please see: www.conservationleadershipprogramme.org/ApplyNow.asp

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25. Ecotourism: Drought, poaching kill 100 elephants in Kenya
Source: Enviornmental News Network, 10 September 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya - Poaching and drought-related hunger have killed more than 100 of Kenya's famous elephants in the north of the country so far this year, conservationists say.

Zoologist Iain Douglas-Hamilton, who founded Save the Elephants, said the drought is Kenya's worst in 12 years. The dry conditions pose a serious threat to the large and majestic animals, whose striking silhouettes across Kenya's broad savannah draw around one million tourists each year. "When (elephants) do not have enough food they also seem to be vulnerable to disease, their immune system weakens and they catch all sorts of diseases," Douglas-Hamilton said Monday. "Elephants, particularly the young and the old, have begun to die."

Douglas-Hamilton also says poaching has increased and links the surge to last year's decision by international regulatory body CITES to allow Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa to conduct one-off sales of their confiscated ivory stockpiles. The body had previously banned such sales. Conservationists fear illegal ivory may find its way into those stockpiles. Although Kenya was not included in the sale, Douglas-Hamilton said any ivory sales immediately push up global demand, since elephants could be killed in Kenya and their tusks smuggled into a foreign stockpile.

Around 23,000 elephants live in Kenya but populations can be devastated by poaching within a couple of years. A recent survey in Chad showed its elephant population had declined from 3,800 to just over 600 in the past three years. "The drought is one of nature's big events," he said. "It hits all animals, elephants, people and others but the ivory trade is much more serious and could do much more damage if it remains unchecked."

Patrick Omondi, head of conservation at the Kenya Wildlife Service, has said the number of elephants killed for their tusks in Kenya could double this year over last. That follows a doubling in 2008 over 2007, he added.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/40461

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26. Launch of FAO’S ACP-FLEGT Support Programme
From: Robert Simpson, FAO’s  ACP-FLEGT

FAO has announced the first call for proposals and direct assistance to government institutions through the “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme to African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP-FLEGT Support Programme).”  At the same time we have launched our website that provides all necessary information to apply for assistance through the programme www.fao.org/forestry/acp-flegt. The programme will provide support to ACP country stakeholder groups to implement projects that address forest sector FLEGT-related issues and is funded through the European Commission.

The call for proposals is open to the three programme stakeholder groups: government institutions, civil society organizations and private sector organizations working in the forest sector. Proposals may be submitted for pilot projects or for technical assistance up to the deadline on 6 November, 2009.
  Direct assistance requests will be accepted anytime, but are only open to government institutions. 

Please contact Mr Robert Simpson (robert.simpson@fao.org) or Mr. Marc Vandenhaute (marc.vandenhaute@fao.org) with any questions about the programme or the call for proposals and other assistance.

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27. Non-wood News
From: Tina Etherington, FAO’s NWFP Programme

FAO's NWFP programme has just published the latest issue of Non-Wood News (no. 19), our annual bulletin covering all aspects of NWFP. The two Special Features in this issue highlight “Marketing of traditional NWFPs” and “Berries”.

Copies are being sent to everybody on our mailing list. If you are not on our list and would like to receive a hard copy, please send an Email to: non-wood-news@fao.org

An electronic version will shortly be available from our NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/FOP/FOPW/NWFP/newsle-e.stm

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28. World's last great forest under threat
Source: Science Daily, 25 August 2009

The world's last remaining "pristine" forest -- the boreal forest across large stretches of Russia, Canada and other northern countries -- is under increasing threat, a team of international researchers has found.

The researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia, Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada and the National University of Singapore have called for the urgent preservation of existing boreal forests in order to secure biodiversity and prevent the loss of this major global carbon sink.

The boreal forest comprises about one-third of the world's forested area and one-third of the world's stored carbon, covering a large proportion of Russia, Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia. To date it has remained largely intact because of the typically sparse human populations in boreal regions. That is now changing says researchers and co-authors Associate Professor Corey Bradshaw, University of Adelaide, Associate Professor Ian Warkentin, Memorial University, and Professor Navjot Sodhi, National University of Singapore. "Much world attention has focused on the loss and degradation of tropical forests over the past three decades, but now the boreal forest is poised to become the next Amazon," says Associate Professor Bradshaw, from the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute.

"Historically, fire and insects have driven the natural dynamics of boreal ecosystems," says Associate Professor Warkentin. "But with rising demand for resources, human disturbances caused by logging, mining and urban development have increased in these forests during recent years, with extensive forest loss for some regions and others facing heavy fragmentation and exploitation."

The findings have been published online in Trends in Ecology and Evolution in a paper called "Urgent preservation of boreal carbon stocks and biodiversity". The findings include:

  • Fire is the main driver of change and increased human activity is leading to more fires. There is also evidence that climate change is increasing the frequency and possibly the extent of fires in the boreal zone.
  • Few countries are reporting an overall change in the coverage by boreal forest but the degree of fragmentation is increasing with only about 40% of the total forested area remaining "intact".
  • Russian boreal forest is the most degraded and least "intact" and has suffered the greatest decline in the last few decades.
  • Countries with boreal forest are protecting less than 10% of their forests from timber exploitation, except for Sweden where the figure is about 20%.

For full story, please see: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090825090755.htm

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REQUESTS

29. Request for contributions to the next issue of Non-wood News
From: Tina Etherington, FAO’s NWFP Programme

We are seeking contributions on any aspect of NWFP for inclusion in the next issue of Non-wood News. We would be particularly interested in receiving information and articles covering: (a) NWFPs and food security; and (b) NWFPs and health.

Articles can be in French, Spanish or English and should be no longer than 500 words. Please send your contributions to non-wood-news@fao.org by  15 October 2009.

Past issues of Non-wood News are available from the NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/FOP/FOPW/NWFP/nwfp-e.stm

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30. Request for information: on Seabuckthorn
From: Arshad Khan, arshad_samk@hotmail.com

I am looking for a journal on physio-chemical and antimicrobial properties of seabuckthorn.
If you can help, please contact me at arshad_samk@hotmail.com

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EVENTS

2009 NTFR Forum
6 November 2009
Nanaimo, Canada
Please join us for a day of learning and information sharing, linking research, policy and economic opportunities to build a stronger, sustainable non-timber forest resources sector.

Workshop themes will explore:
• The values of working together;
• Collaborative community based research;
• Models for NTFR-based community development; and
• Policy and resource management.

The Forum connects people from across Canada to discuss emerging issues and sets the stage for informed approaches to developing a sustainable wild products sector. There is something for everyone: whether you are new to the sector or a seasoned practitioner, come discover a future beneath the trees. 
For more information, please contact:
E-mail: bcwild@royalroads.ca
http://buybcwild.com/2009-ntfr-forum

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

32. Other publications of interest
From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

Marshall Elaine, Chandrasekharan Cherukat. 2009. Non-Farm income from NWFP FAO Diversification Booklets Vol 12 2009
Farm or non-farm enterprises that can increase income and enhance livelihoods is the subject of an FAO booklet series. This booklet aims to raise awareness and provide information to support decision-making about local-level opportunities to diversify income sources of small-scale farmers. It focuses on non-farm income from NWFPs.
To access this and other booklets in the series, please see: www.fao.org/Ag/AGS/publications/en/diversification.html

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33. Web sites and e-zines
From:  FAO’s NWFP Programme

CLIM-FO Climate Change and Forestry
CLIM-FO-L is a monthly e-newsletter on forests and climate change.
For more information on CLIM-FO, including copies of all past issues, please visit www.fao.org/forestry/54538/en/.

Thinking Beyond the Canopy
Thinking beyond the canopy is a bulletin of news and commentary from CIFOR delivered direct to your inbox. Our research spans governance, poverty and environmental issues. You will receive new issues of Thinking beyond the canopy whenever we have an important story to tell.

If you are interested in receiving this e-letter in French or Spanish, please contact CIFOR-newsletter@cgiar.org
For more information, please contact:
James Clarke, Media Liaison and Outreach mMnager, at j.clarke@cgiar.org.

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MISCELLANEOUS

34. Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea
Source: Envioronmental News Network, 9 September 2009

A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.

The discoveries are being seen as fresh evidence of the richness of the world's rainforests and the explorers hope their finds will add weight to calls for international action to prevent the demise of similar ecosystems. They said Papua New Guinea's rainforest is currently being destroyed at the rate of 3.5% a year. "It was mind-blowing to be there and it is clearly time we pulled our finger out and decided these habitats are worth us saving," said Dr George McGavin who headed the expedition.

The team of biologists included experts from Oxford University, the London Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution and are believed to be the first scientists to enter the mountainous Bosavi crater. They were joined by members of the BBC Natural History Unit which filmed the expedition for a three-part documentary which starts tomorrow night.

They found the three-kilometre wide crater populated by spectacular birds of paradise and in the absence of big cats and monkeys, which are found in the remote jungles of the Amazon and Sumatra, the main predators are giant monitor lizards while kangaroos have evolved to live in trees. New species include a camouflaged gecko, a fanged frog and a fish called the Henamo grunter, named because it makes grunting noises from its swim bladder.

"These discoveries are really significant," said Steve Backshall, a climber and naturalist who became so friendly with the never-before seen Bosavi silky cuscus, a marsupial that lives up trees and feeds on fruits and leaves, that it sat on his shoulder. "The world is getting an awful lot smaller and it is getting very hard to find places that are so far off the beaten track."
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/40455

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35. Orangutans use leaves to mislead predators
Source: Times of India, 6 August 2009

Wild orangutans in Borneo hold leaves to their mouths to make their voices sound deeper than they actually are, a new study shows, making them the only animal apart from humans known to use tools to manipulate sound.

The orangutan’s music, if you can call it that, is actually an alarm call known as a ‘kiss squeak’. “When you’re walking the forest and you meet an orang-utan that not habituated to humans, they’ll start giving kiss squeaks and breaking branches,” says Madeleine Hardus, a primatologist at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, who has spent years documenting the practice among wild apes in Indonesian Borneo.

She contends that orang-utans use leaves to make ‘kiss squeaks’ to deceive predators, such as leopards, snakes and tigers, as to their actual size — a deeper call indicating a larger animal.

Orangutans also produce ‘kiss squeaks’ with their lips alone or with their hands. To determine if the leaves make a difference, Hardus’s team recorded a total of 813 calls produced by nine apes, and then measured the pitch of the different kinds of ‘kiss squeaks’ made by each animal, the Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday.

Across all nine orangutans, the unaided ‘kiss squeaks’ came out with the highest pitch, followed by calls produced when the apes put their hands over their mouths. But leaves lowered the high-pitched calls the most, Hardus’ team found. What’s more, the orang-utans that were unaccustomed to Hardus’ team produced leaf calls at far higher rates than apes that were used to humans.

“It looks like orang-utans try to deceive the predator when using the ‘kiss squeaks’ on leaves, because orangutans only use it when they’re highly distressed,” she says
For full story, please see: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/news/science/Orangutans-only-musicians-in-the-animal-world/articleshow/4861517.cms

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last updated:  Thursday, September 24, 2009