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.
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A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information and to Giulia Muir for her help with this issue.
Cameroon regulates trade of bushmeat Guatemala: Revalorization of indigenous knowledge India: Mining project threatens forest livelihoods Indonesia: Government plans forest land giveaway to help the poor
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Source: Cane and Bamboo 2009 Annual Issue, January 2010
Rightly christened as the “timber of the 21st century,” bamboo is today poised to replace wood for almost all practical purposes. An invaluable gift of nature to the people of the Northeastern region of India, bamboo has come a long way from being treated as the “poor man’s timber,” where its uses were confined to household utilities to being considered as the “green gold” for the value we can derive from this resources through its umpteen uses.
The application of bamboo in the housing sector and structure making is not new to the people of the North East. Traditionally it is and always has been one of the indispensable materials in housing and other construction. However, the application of bamboo in the modern setting takes on renewed importance.
Today, when forest cover is fast depleting and availability of wood is increasingly becoming scarce, research and development undertaken in past few decades have established and amply demonstrated that bamboo could be a viable substitute of wood and several other traditional materials for housing and building construction and other infrastructure work. Its use through industrial processing has demonstrated a high potential for production of composite materials and components which are cost-effective and can be successfully utilized for structural and non-structural applications in construction.
One of the main characteristics, which makes bamboo a highly potential building material, is its high tensile strength and very good weight to strength ratio. This supports
its use as a highly resilient material against forces created by high velocity winds and earthquakes. Above all bamboo is a renewable raw material resource and if properly treated and industrially processed, components made by bamboo can have a highly durable life of 30 to 40 years.
For more information, please see:
- Malaysia: Oil palms threaten survival of tribal arts
Source: Reuters Online, 5 February 2010
Their artworks have been recognized as part of the world's heritage and can fetch thousands of dollars in auctions, but the Mah Meri tribe, and their wood carving tradition, are increasingly falling victim to Malaysia's lucrative palm oil industry.
Any hope for the Mah Meri, who are known as the "people of the forest", to create their prized wood carvings lies with them getting access to a few mangrove swamps that still stand within the oil palm estates on the 32,000-acre Carey island in central Malaysia -- an area twice the size of Manhattan.
But guards patrolling the estates do not always let them in, threatening a tradition that the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has lauded as well as stemming the development of larger works that can fetch up to US$100,000 at art auctions.
"Palm oil has given us development but it should not change our way of life," woodcarver Gali Adam said as he etched out an elaborate figurine from a block of the rare nyireh batu wood at his small workshop on the island.
"In the past, we would go in to the mangroves and make offerings to the spirits and get their permission to cut down just one tree. Now we have to get written permission from the estate manager before we can do anything."
One of 18 tribes collectively referred to as "Orang Asli" or Original Peoples in mainland Malaysia, the Mah Meri have lived on the island for more than 400 years, long before plantations came in the late 19th century.
The tribe amounts to about 3,000 of Malaysia's 28 million population. Of that, just 30 Mah Meri woodcarvers in a rustic village of thatched houses ply their trade in figurines, which are modelled after ancestral spirits.
Art collectors prize the larger wooden statues that show off the rich reddish-brown colouring and fine grain of the batu nyireh, a species of mahogany tree that is already listed as endangered in Singapore.
One plantation firm on the island, Sime Darby has stepped up to conserve the tree species that takes more than 15 years to mature. The firm has tried to replant seedlings grown by tissue culture, officials say.
"We are not an evil palm oil company. There are some plantations that have not been sustainable but we do believe in helping to keep these traditions alive," a Sime Darby official who declined to be named due to company policy, said.
For full story, please see: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6140IP20100205
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Source: Yale Environment News 360, 19 February 2010
Petroleum companies have leased 41 percent of the Peruvian Amazon for oil and gas drilling and could soon hold drilling concessions on 70 percent of the highly diverse rainforest, according to a new study.
Conducted by researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the conservation group Save America’s Forests, the study said that a second wave of oil and gas drilling is spreading so rapidly through the Peruvian Amazon that roughly 20 percent of officially protected areas, as well as more than half of reserves set aside for indigenous people, are now leased for drilling.
The oil and gas boom is so intensive that it now extends to many of the remotest corners of the Peruvian Amazon, including an area deep in the rainforest — known as Block 67 — that may sit atop 300 million barrels of oil. The study was conducted by amassing official drilling information from the Peruvian government and using Geographical Information Systems data to overlay the concessions on detailed maps.
The study said that the drilling boom poses a major threat to the well-documented biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon, which contains the second largest area of rainforest in the Amazon outside of Brazil. The current oil and gas exploration boom is the second major one to hit the Peruvian Amazon, following an initial surge of exploration in the 1970s and 1980s.
For full story, please see: http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=2282
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Source: allafrica.com, 20 February 2010
Fruit is an important food security commodity. Not only does it provide the necessary nutrients for both rural and urban households, it also is a source of extra income through sales conducted almost all year round.
Zambia is endowed with different varieties of fruit trees, both exotic and indigenous. The tropical climatic conditions in Zambia provide opportunities for the cultivation of various types of fruit species such as mango, papaya, bananas, guava, passion fruit, loquat, pineapple, avocado, citrus, apple, pear, peach, pomegranate, apricot, plum and grapes.
Beyond the cultivated species, there are a large number of indigenous fruit species like masuku, mabungo, monsoso, cashew nuts, masau and mpundu which if exploited could contribute to the economic development of the country and reduce poverty mainly in rural areas.
These fruits, especially indigenous species are well adapted and can ensure household food security during periods of natural disasters such as droughts.
The production and processing of fruits are labour intensive and therefore provide employment to a large segment of the population.
According to the FAO paper on Non-Wood Forest Products in Zambia, exotic fruit trees such as mangoes, guavas, papaya, avocado and mulberry have been a permanent feature in homesteads and some even grow naturally in open areas without any human interference.
These, together with a number of wild fruits form a nutritious supplementary food in seasons when agricultural crops become scarce.
Species like Anisophyllea and Uapaca are common features along main roads and at markets between October to January, when they are offered for sale.
The other species that are offered for sale include Annona senegalensis, Azanza garckeana, Diosphyros mesipiliformis, Flacourtia indica, Strychnos cocculoides, Strychnos spinosa, Tamarindus indica and syzygiums.
Almost all exotic fruits have been on the market and still continue to command a place in almost every market countrywide.
With the present harsh economic conditions, many more fruits are entering into the trade market and are gaining importance as major household income and food security commodities.
Trade in fruits and fruit trees could, therefore, create employment for many Zambians and offering a potential commodity that could break into international markets if well-researched on.
Many of these are highly consumed in many rural and some urban settings but have not been offered for sale previously because of the great abundance in the past years when they could not fetch a good price.
However, most fruit trees are becoming significant trade commodities as many species continue to become scarce at the local level due to deforestation brought about by the demand for wood fuel and agricultural expansion.
The future trend is, therefore, expected to be an upward trend in sales of many fruit trees both exotic and indigenous as the population rises and alternative income sources become scarce.
The Government does not have a specific policy on the promotion of the horticulture in any of its programme but it is adequately covered in the national agriculture policy under the vision for the agriculture sector up to 2015. The policy states that the Government will promote horticultural products and expected that the products will double by 2015.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201002220350.html
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Source: allafrica.com 18 February 2010
The declining momentum of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) in southern Africa is threatening to erode major gains registered over the past two decades unless urgent steps are taken to revive this critical livelihood strategy for poverty alleviation and a sustainable environment.
Environmental experts who met in Harare recently to review community-based natural resources management programmes, said the decline in the momentum of the implementation of the CBNRM programmes is accelerating the rapid loss of biodiversity and wildlife.
They expressed concern over the rapid loss of biodiversity; wildlife and other natural resources as rural communities are increasingly being sidelined by the rural district councils from benefiting from the natural resources.
Dr David Mazambani, a consultant for the Zimbabwe CBNRM stock taking exercise and community development expert told participants that the extent and quality of community participation has declined sharply in recent years in most Campfire sites as powerful local elites and Rural District Councils (RDCs) capture all the benefits at the expense of local communities.
This, he said, has contributed significantly to the decline in community participation in CBNRM activities in Zimbabwe and in other countries within the South African Development Community (SADC).
In Zimbabwe, for example, he said, rural district councils who retained authority to make and break contracts with hunting and tourism operators tended to siphon off a huge chunk of the proceeds through various taxes and levies.
Lack of full devolution and continuing interference by RDCs made it difficult for local communities to actively participate in CBNRM activities. As a result, Dr Mazambani said, poaching and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources were now rampant, as communities saw no benefit from engaging in CBNRM activities.
The rationale for community involvement in the management of natural resources stems from the fact that local communities that derive direct benefits from managing natural resources are better motivated to protect those resources.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201002180025.html
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Source: BBC News Online, 16 February 2010
Consumers around the globe are not aware that they are "eating" rainforests, says Andrew Mitchell. In this week's Green Room, he explains how many everyday purchases are driving the destruction of the vital tropical ecosystems.
“Burning tropical forests drives global warming faster than the world's entire transport sector; there will be no solution to climate change without stopping deforestation.”
Next time you are in a supermarket picking up a chicken sandwich for lunch, or fancy tucking in to a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage and bacon before setting off for work, spare a thought for the Amazon.
A new report by Forest Footprint Disclosure reveals for the first time how global business is driving rainforests to destruction in order to provide things for you and me to eat.
But it does also reveal what companies are doing to try to lighten their forest footprint. Sadly, however, the answer is: not much, at least not yet.
Consumers "eat" rainforests each day - in the form of beef-burgers, bacon and beauty products - but without knowing it. The delivery mechanism is a global supply chain with its feet in the forests and its hands in the till. Because of growing demand for beef, soy and palm oil, which are in much of what we consume, as well as timber and biofuels, rainforests are worth more cut down than standing up.
The report shows that the EU is the largest importer of soy in the world, much of it coming from Brazil. It also shows that after China, the EU is the biggest importer of palm oil in the world. Soy provides cheap food to fatten our pigs and chickens, while palm oil is in everything from cakes and cookies, to that fine moisturiser you gently rubbed into your cheeks this morning.
The gargantuan farms of Brazil's Mato Grosso State can boast 50 combines abreast at harvest time, marching across monoculture prairies where once the most diverse ecosystem on Earth stood, albeit in some cases many years ago.
Further north, thousands of square miles of rainforest natural capital is going up in smoke each year, often illegally, to provide pastureland for just one cow per hectare to supply beef hungry Brazilians or more prosperous mouths in China and India.
Losing forests may undermine food, energy and climate security. Yet saving them could, according to UN special adviser Pavan Sukhdev's forthcoming review on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), reduce environmental costs by US$3-5 trillion per year.
Oh yes, let us not forget the 1.4bn people, many of them the world's poorest, who depend on these forests for their survival and who cannot afford to lose them, even if we can.
So what can be done? The first thing is to encourage business to mind its "forest footprint." The impact global business has on deforestation will be a key factor in halting deforestation in the future. No amount of hand-wringing in the UN climate talks will alter action on the ground unless the drivers of global deforestation are also tackled.
Whilst poverty is possibly the largest of these drivers, so is the way in which business drives the conversion of cheap forest land to feed their global commodity supply chains - all the way to you and me.
For full story, please see: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/8516931.stm
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Source: Washington Post, 20 February, 2010
In the woods of Anne Arundel County (USA), Parker, a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Institution, throws his arms around tulip poplars, oaks and American beeches, and holds them so tightly that his cheek presses into their bark. This is not some hiker on a lark: anybody, hopped up on campfire coffee and exercise endorphins, might hug a tree once. This is science. Parker has done it about 50,000 times.
Parker has spent the past 22 years on a research project so repetitive, so time-consuming, that it impresses even researchers with the patience to count tree rings.
This year, after about 250,000 hugs between them, the work paid off. Parker's data, which showed the trunks gradually fattening over time, indicated that many of the trees were growing two to four times faster than expected. That raised questions about climate change's impact on the age-old rhythms of U.S. forests.
This month, when Parker and his team published a paper on their work, it was received as a key piece of evidence about the ways that climate change could be having subtle but important effects on forests. Others have found similar growth in different parts of the world, as warmer weather and more carbon dioxide fuel tree growth.
In the tropics, however, some studies have seemed to show trees growing more slowly: It might now be too hot for some trees there.
Last year, when Parker analyzed the mountain of data his team had collected, he found something surprising: Their trees were adding bulk at a surprisingly fast rate.
Parker said the best explanations for this all seemed to relate to climate change. Temperatures in the area have risen by three-tenths of a degree; the growing season has lengthened by 7.8 days; and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen. All of those might speed up photosynthesis, the engine of tree growth.
"The danger of that, of course, is that this can't go on forever," said Kenneth Feeley, a professor at Florida International University. He meant that, even if there was enough carbon dioxide to support more fast growth, the trees would eventually run out of water or plant food. Their growth would slow down, and they would stop absorbing so much carbon.
For full story, please see:
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Source: latimes.com, 21 February, 2010
Deep in the Amazon, in a village accessible only by boat, river dwellers for generations have survived off fish, sparse crops and nuts from the forest. Now they have a new resource: debit cards.
Families in Boa Frente receive US$29 a month to spend in a town upriver. The village also has a new brick walkway, rainwater cisterns and a new school with solar panels and Internet access. In exchange, residents agree to protect the forest surrounding their plots instead of clearing more trees for farming or fuel.
The windfall comes courtesy of Marriott International Inc., the US$12-billion hotel chain. It is part of a complex ‑ and controversial ‑ plan to save the world's rain forests with the help of big business.
Rules for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation ‑or REDD ‑ are being designed under the auspices of the United Nations as part of a global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Around the world, dozens of REDD projects, sponsored by environmental groups and funded by firms including Merrill Lynch & Co., Walt Disney Co., American Electric Power Co., BP and United Parcel Service Inc., are underway.
So far, these REDD projects are voluntary, often funded by firms that want to burnish their green credentials. But eventually these "avoided deforestation" efforts could be included in mandatory carbon cap-and-trade systems, such as one already in place in Europe.
But nowhere has the idea been embraced more keenly than in Brazil, home to 27 percent of the world's tropical rain forests and 18 REDD projects, including the one in Boa Frente. Although 98 percent of the surrounding state of Amazonas remains forested, ranchers, farmers, loggers and miners are rapidly moving in. The state calculates that it could lose a third of its trees by 2050.
Viana now runs a public-private effort known as the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, funded in part by Coca-Cola Co. and Brazil's Bradesco Bank.
The first project is in the Juma Reserve, located 125 miles south of the state capital, Manaus. It is home to 380 families in 43 villages, including Boa Frente.
In exchange for their bolsa floresta ‑or forest allowance ‑villagers also attend two-day workshops on global warming. Their promise not to expand their plots is enforced: The land is mapped and the forest monitored by satellite. If a family reneges, its debit card is cancelled.
Forest dwellers are also trained in sustainable livelihoods, including harvesting seeds, berries, rubber and other products needed by researchers and industry.
So far, 14 villagers have been trained. In coming months, 70 more will learn to gather seeds from dozens of species, including varieties used in medicines and cosmetics.
Downriver, in the village of Fleixal, eight families occupy thatched-roof shacks shaded by 200-foot Brazil nut trees. Villagers attended workshops on how to build wire-mesh, plastic-covered nut dryers. A distributor now pays US$7 for a five-gallon can ‑ up from US$3 ‑ because quality has improved.
"The forest has riches," village leader Aderbal de Oliveira said, thwacking dry leaves with his machete to uncover fallen nuts. "We must be its guardians."
For full story, please see:
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Source Scidev.net, 24 February 2010
Traditional biological knowledge tends to be uncomfortably juxtaposed between two worlds — the ancient, where knowledge was freely shared by all, and the modern, where it is jealously protected through patents.
Last month, the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked a patent for a traditional remedy extracted from the roots of endemic South African plants.
There is a growing trend to incorporate traditional knowledge into modern patent applications. They follow agreements — signed last year by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the EPO — with India to consult its Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) before granting patents.
India's TKDL is a 24 million page, multilingual database on traditional remedies and medicinal plants.
According to Samir Brahmachari, Director-General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Delhi, it was set up partly in response to two expensive and protracted legal battles in the 1990s over widely used traditional medicines.
Raghunath Mashelkar, who led the fight against the EPO patent as Brahmachari's predecessor, was a key player in setting up the TKDL and explains its significance.
"For the first time, traditional knowledge started to be codified in a language and in systems that the patent offices coulduse," he says.
China has a similar database on traditional Chinese medicines that is in use by the EPO.
The availability of such databases, and the willingness of developed nations to consult them during patent applications, are vital to protect the traditional knowledge of countries like China and India.
Not all developing countries have the resources to fight such wars. And doing so eats into budgets that could otherwise be spent using traditional knowledge to develop new and urgently needed treatments for diseases such as malaria.
But by providing access to traditional medicine compounds, they could also open the doors for a new wave of drug discovery.
For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/en/opinions/biomed-analysis-keep-traditional-knowledge-open-but-safe.html
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Source: Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 17 February 2010
The Indigenous Fellowship Programme was launched in 1997 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the context of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The aim of the programme is to give indigenous persons the opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights issues in general and indigenous issues in particular.
This training programme is available in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Russian.
The deadlines to receive applications for the 2011 Indigenous Fellowship Programme are: English speaking programme, 31 May 2010; Spanish speaking programme, 30 June 2010; French speaking programme, 1 October 2010; and Russian speaking programme, 29 October 2010.
For more information, please see: www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/fellowshiprogramme.htm
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From: Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 24 February 2010
The vacancy for the post of Chief of the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has been posted on the UN website. Under the guidance of the Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development, within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the incumbent will provide overall coordination of assistance and support to the mandate and programme of work of the United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNSPFII). He/she will also be responsible for overall direction and management of the Permanent Forum's Secretariat and its programme of work, as well as the promotion of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIPs).
The deadline for applications is 18 April 2010.
For more information, please see: https://jobs.un.org/Galaxy/Release3/vacancy/Display_Vac.aspx?lang=1200&VACID=%7b053e9d07-4266-476f-b2b6-4c02821b6274%7d
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Source: European Forest Institute, 24 February 2010
The Foundation for European Forest Research is offering two PhD scholarships up to 19 000 euros per annum with a travel allowance of 1 000 euros a year. The opportunities are open to all interested persons qualified to proceed with PhD studies at an internationally recognized university.
The grants are the Metsähallitus-Grant 2010 for PhD studies on the topic of “Sustainable use of forests for different purposes, including economical and recreational forest functions and biodiversity values”, and the Ponsse- Grant 2010 for PhD studies on the topic of “Contribution of modern forest management technologies to sustainable and competitive forestry in Europe”.
For more information, please see: www.efi.int/portal/newsevents/press_releases/?id=236
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Source: Nepalese Foresters, 23 January 2010
Responding to current needs of Nepal on bio-diversity conservation and livelihood improvement, Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOl) in collaboration with Nepal Agroforestry Foundation is organizing various training courses during the year 2010. These include: (1) Agroforestry promotion for sustainable rural livelihood, (2) Inventory and management of NTFPs, (3) Alternative energy: Jatropha cultivation and processing for bio diesel production, (4) Introduction to GIS application in natural resource management in Nepal, (5) Access and benefit sharing from genetic resources and traditional knowledge, (6) Livelihood improvement planning and capacity building, (7) Community forestry operational plan preparation and implementation for addressing second generation issues, (8) Introducing community based participatory action research approaches to natural resource management, (9) Advanced GIS application in Nepal (10) Gender and social inclusion; and (11) Climate change.
The overall objective of these training courses is to help NRM professionals and practitioners (i.e. field staff, animators, facilitators, etc), KAFCOL members, students, and CFUG members in the related discipline that ultimately increases the effectiveness and equity of their process and institutions so that they can even better meet the goals of sustainable forests and livelihoods.
For more information, please contact:
Him Lal Shrestha and Shiva Shankar Neupane
Kathmandu Forestry College (KAFCOL)
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Source: www.csd-i.org, 11 February 2010
A module of two courses is being offered online in March, 2010.
(1) From the Ground Up: Designing Community-Centred Projects with Sustainable Solutions.
2 March ‑3 May, 2010:
This course will give you an insight into contemporary methods of developing community-centred, impact-oriented projects. You will leave the course with practical field tools and develop a range of skills: needs assessments, project design, community workshops, and discovering evidence-based activities. The course is designed to be used as a vehicle for you to develop a real project, in real time, during the course.
(2) Project Architecture: Planning for Impact
18 May28 June, 2010
This course involves developing a powerful set of management tools including: Logframes, detailed budgets, schedules and compelling fact sheets. These tools will communicate to donors, staff, and stakeholders exactly what you are going to accomplish, and lead the effective management of the project once funded.
For more information, please contact:
E-mail: Online.Learning@csd-i.org .
Website: www.csd-i.org/online-learning/ .
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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES
Source: www.amazonia.org.br, 10 February 2010
Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) is a special project of the Global Canopy Foundation. Initiated in 2008 the project is designed to improve corporate understanding of a ‘forest footprint’ generated by the use of forest risk commodities: soy, palm oil, timber, cattle products and biofuels.
FFD designed a disclosure request asking about company policy on sustainable supply chains for these products and sent it out to 217 international companies in July 2009. This Annual Review describes the findings of that disclosure request and provides some context on the subject.
For more information, please see: www.forestdisclosure.com/
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Source: Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 17 February 2010
This book provides information material on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries) and its implications for indigenous peoples. It is intended primarily for indigenous peoples as a guide in understanding climate change, REDD and how they relate to the recognition and exercise of the collective rights of indigenous peoples. It includes parts on climate change, REDD, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and how indigenous peoples can use it in relation to REDD programmes. The book addresses several issues of relevance to TK, including: the adverse impacts of climate change on traditional livelihoods, which would also mean loss of traditional knowledge and would undermine the capacity of indigenous women to perform their roles as seed keepers and transmitters of culture and language; adaptation measures based on TK; UN REDD Programme’s plans to raise awareness on TK and to develop tools for assessing co-benefits; REDD’s potential to provide national-level recognition that TK is critical to forest conservation; and using UNDRIP to enhance indigenous peoples’ capacities to mitigate and adopt to climate change by using TK and sustainable forest management practices and by implementing self-determined development.
For more information, please see: www.iwgia.org/sw40375.asp#516_31980
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From: NWFP Programme
Bcerner, J., Mburu, J., Guthiga, P. and Wambua, S. 2009. Assessing opportunity costs of conservation: Ingredients for protected area management in the Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya.Forest policy and economics. 11(7): 459-467.
Bhattacharyya, R., Asokan, A., Bhattacharya, P., and Prasad, R. 2009. The potential of certification for conservation and management of wild MAP resources. Biodivers. Conserv. 18(13):3441-3451. Abstract: www.springerlink.com/content/w7168172v0l541k1/
Brooks, T.M., Wright, S.J., and Sheil, D. 2009. Evaluating the success of conservation actions in safeguarding tropical forest biodiversity. Conserv. Biol. 23(6):1448-1457. Abstract.