No. 4/10

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 also to Giulia Muir for her help with this issue.

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IN THIS ISSUE:

PRODUCTS

COUNTRY INFORMATION

NEWS

EVENTS

Multi-Stakeholder Approach within the UNFF

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

MISCELLANEOUS

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PRODUCTS

  • Açaí ‑ global super fruit ‑ is dinner in the Amazon

Source: The New York Times in Amazon News, 24 February 2010

Clustered high up in the slender, tilting palms of the eastern Amazon, the little purple orbs known as açaí look mighty. Virtually unknown outside the Amazon two decades ago, and until 2000 not exported from Brazil — its major producer — açaí is now an international celebrity, riding the wave of the antioxidant craze and rain-forest chic.
But for families who live here along the winding, interlaced rivers at the hub of açaí production, the fruit has long been a vital part of their diet, a cheap way to fill up and a taste of home.  And now, for some, it is a source of newfound prosperity.
In places like Cametá, a town of about 117 000, and Belém, the capital of Pará State, a bowl of açaí pulp is a filling side dish especially valued by poorer families.
Unlike the pulp used in Rio’s smoothies, the kind here is not presweetened or frozen, but fresh from cylindrical machines known as batedores de açaí, “açaí beaters,” that remove the thin layer of fruit from the pit.  Most every neighborhood has stands or small stores where customers get a daily or weekly supply. Belém’s most famous açaí market, the Feira do Açaí bustles before dawn as wholesalers stack baskets of the fruit on the cobblestone square.
Açaí’s international reputation as an energy booster and diet aid tickles those who grew up with it as a caloric side dish.
While the old ways of eating açaí continue in the Amazon, increased demand elsewhere in the world has driven up prices and made life easier for people like 53-year-old Orisvaldo Ferreira de Souza; his younger brother, Josivaldo; and their elderly parents.
The de Souzas live in a battered wooden home on stilts on Itanduba Island, about an hour by boat from Cametá’s town center.  Like the families who live up and down the river from them, they make much of their living off the açaí harvest from what they calculate is 8 000 açaí palms on 35 acres.
“Two or three years ago, we had a lot of trouble selling the product,” Orisvaldo Ferreira de Souza said.  “We had to bring it to town, and sometimes we came back without selling it.” Back then, he said, a standard “lata,” or 14 kg basket, brought about two or three Brazilian reais, or roughly five cents a pound at today’s exchange rates.  But now, the harvesters don’t even have to leave their land: buyers ply the river right up to their rickety wooden pier offering 10 reais or more.  “Just yesterday, six buyers came by,” he said.  “We sold 10 baskets each to two of them.”
Exact export figures are hard to come by, but in Pará, which produces almost 90 percent of Brazil’s açaí, the export category that essentially refers to açaí pulp surged from 380 metric tons in 2000 to 1 700 metric tons in 2005 — to 9 400 metric tons last year.
For the de Souzas and families around them, added income has meant that they can buy meat and chicken in town, attach motors to their boats, purchase power generators or solar panels and afford parabolic antennas and televisions.
The fruit was traditionally collected from wild palms. Now companies have açaí plantations, and collectors are raising more açaí palms on their land, according to Antônio Cordeiro de Santana, an agricultural economist at the Rural Federal University of the Amazon.  With cultivation more concentrated, resistance to disease and productivity have decreased, he said, even as the number of açaí palms in Pará has exploded.
For full story, please see: www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=345918

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  • Bamboo: Racing green on bamboo bikes

Source: Discovery News, 5 March 2010

If you’re a serious cyclist or know someone who is, you probably know that over the years, the stuff really good bikes are made of has changed. From steel and aluminum to exotic alloys and carbon fibre. Some engineers are taking the search for the best bicycle material the other way. All the way back to bamboo.
This sounds like green technology gone crazy. Except for one thing. It works. If you’ve ever watched a construction worker in Shanghai swing a bamboo-handled sledge hammer, you know. Bamboo is tough. And it’s light. Bamboo bike frames weigh about four-pounds. Features you need in a bike built for serious riding or racing. Bamboo frames also absorb vibration better than carbon fibre, absorb impacts better, and are less likely to break.
Like many other good things, good bamboo bike frames don’t come cheap. Some cost more than US$2 500. Which, compared to top carbon fibre frames, isn’t bad.
Not all bamboo bikes are expensive or aimed at riding the Tour de France. One engineer has come up with a bamboo bike that people can build at home with basic tools. It’s intended for folks in Africa and other developing areas who need cheap, durable transportation.
For full story, please see: http://news.discovery.com/tech/bamboo-bike.html

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  • Berries: Don't forget to eat blueberries: scientists find they help memory

Source: NaturalNews, 12 February 2010

For the very first time, a study has found evidence that blueberry juice improves memory in humans. For the research project, a team of scientists from the University of Cincinnati, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Canadian Department of Agriculture worked with a group of volunteers in their 70s who suffered from early memory decline. Half the group drank the equivalent of two to two and 1/2 cups of blueberry juice every day for two months. As a control, a second group drank a different beverage that did not contain any blueberry juice.
After about eight weeks, the scientists conducted learning and memory tests to see if the research participants' cognitive abilities had undergone any measurable changes. The results, which were recently published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that the elders who had been regularly drinking blueberry juice demonstrated significant improvement in their mental faculties.
Lead researcher Robert Krikorian and colleagues concluded that eating blueberries, which are a rich source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, may help boost memory in the aged.
"These preliminary memory findings are encouraging and suggest that consistent supplementation with blueberries may offer an approach to forestall or mitigate neurodegeneration," the researchers stated.
For full story, please see:www.naturalnews.com/028152_blueberries_memory.html

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  • Bushmeat: Beyond the ecological crisis

Source: IUFRO News, Volume 29, Issue 2, 2010

Contemporary African societies are a mix of modernized, western society and traditional African roots. Those traditions mean that people - rural and urban - still consume bushmeat for reasons linked to culture, taste and attachment to healthy, natural products.
However, the scale of hunting occurring in Central Africa poses a threat to many tropical forest species. The response to this has typically been legal: ban the trade in bushmeat and criminalize the hunters and consumers.
This, said Nathalie Van Vliet, bushmeat strategic advisor for TRAFFIC, has not been terribly effective. The trade continues to flourish but in a hidden economy that makes it more difficult to manage or control.
"Those in the bushmeat trade who make money out of the commercialization of rare species for the healthy urban markets need to be strictly controlled. However, those who eat bushmeat for their own nutrition or sell bushmeat to pay for medicines or school fees, should not be presented as criminals," she says.
Dr. Van Vliet will coordinate a session dealing with the hunting of bushmeat in Central Africa at the 2010 IUFRO World Congress in Seoul.
She hopes her session will reach beyond conservationists to also integrate the input of social, health and economic stakeholders to help develop more integrated bushmeat strategies and policies.
For more information, please see: www.iufro.org/publications/news/electronic-news/

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  • Cork (Quercus suber): How that cork in your wine bottle helps forests and biodiversity

Source: mongabay.com , 1 March 2010

Although it is not widely known, the cork industry is helping to sustain one of the world’s most biodiverse forests, including a number of endangered species such as the Iberian lynx and the Barbary deer. Spreading across 6.6 million acres in southern Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy) and northern Africa (Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia) oak cork trees Quercus suber are actually preserved and protected by the industry.
"First and foremost, the trees are not cut down; the outer bark is harvested, by hand, every 9 years. This allows the tree to consume 10 tons more carbon dioxide," explains Patrick Spencer, director of an organization called Cork ReHarvest. "The trees in these managed forests live 250-300 years. In maintaining sustainable farming practices, farmers ensure the health of the cork tress in this fragile eco-system."
Cork is also recyclable. "Cork is a natural, environmentally friendly product," Spencer says. "By recycling cork, we reduce the amount of product going into landfills and create 'green jobs'. The recycling also brings awareness to the Mediterranean cork forests and their importance to the planet’s ecological health."
If cork stoppers are replaced by aluminium or plastic caps it will place the rich ecosystems of the cork forests in jeopardy: without providing jobs and income, the forests would likely be converted in many areas. Currently, the cork industry employs 100 000 people across the Mediterranean.
In addition, according to Spencer, cork is far and away the 'greenest' option for wine bottles. For example, aluminium screw-caps cannot be recycled like cork because "the plastic closure in the top of the cap and the size of the screw-cap make it almost impossible to recycle."
Spencer adds that "the mining for Bauxite, from which aluminium is made, remains one of the most environmentally harmful mining practices in the world. The production of screw-caps gives off 24 times more greenhouse gasses than producing one cork as well as using 10 times more energy."
Plastic is little better: its greenhouse gas emissions are 10 times that of cork and plastic is hardly biodegradable or sustainable like cork.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0228-hance_cork.html

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  • Medicinal Plants: Africa considers equitable access to genetic resources 

Source: www.newera.com.na, 9 March 2010

Namibia is hosting a continental conference in preparation for the finalization of an international regime on access and benefit-sharing of the world’s biodiversity and genetic resources later in the year at Nagoya, Japan.
This week, environmental ministers from 38 African States and three European countries – Denmark, Germany and Norway – are in Windhoek, Namibia to finalize Africa’s position before the negotiations continue in Japan later in the year.
African leaders have said that without effective and wide-ranging benefit sharing to drive sustainable use, the cost of conservation may simply be too high for many poor rural communities, who in Africa are the real custodians of biodiversity.
The consequences for biodiversity, said Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), will be dire because there will be no incentive and justification for poor people to conserve it. In fact, added Dr Bakary Kante of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), this issue is more important than the Kyoto Protocol because it is at the heart for the sustainability of the earth.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba said in Namibia, efforts are being made to ensure that indigenous communities can share in the benefits of the exploitation of indigenous plants like devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and hoodia from the plant family Apocynaceae.
The CBD secretariat stated that species are disappearing 50 to 100 more than what they would have naturally. An estimated 34 000 plants face extinction.
About 45 percent of the forests, home to most of the world’s known terrestrial biodiversity, are gone, and while there are some re-growths, the world’s total forests are shrinking at an alarming rate, particularly in the tropical regions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said 80 percent of the world’s population depends on healthcare provided by medicinal plants and the associated traditional knowledge of indigenous communities forms up to 70 percent of the basis of modern pharmaceuticals.
Namibian Minister of the Environment and Tourism Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said 90 percent of medicinal plants are found in developing countries on the lands of the indigenous communities.
A further aspect to the loss of biodiversity, said Nandi-Ndaitwah, is the loss of cultural diversity because culture is tied to resource-dependent ways of life.
“Indigenous people represent the largest portion of cultural diversity on earth. Linguistic diversity can be considered a measure of cultural diversity; nearly 5 000 of the over 6 000 languages in the world are spoken by indigenous peoples and 90 percent of the world’s languages will be extinct in the next 100 years,” enumerated Nandi-Ndaitwah, concluding: “Lack of secure rights to sustainable livelihoods is rendering many African communities extinct.”
Lucy Mulenkei of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) said there is a strong need to accord indigenous communities full and effective participation within the convention of biodiversity process to ensure that their rights and concerns are fully taken into account in the ongoing negotiations – and beyond.
For full story, please see: www.newera.com.na/article.php?articleid=9866&sid=c398375573a399fa3984d5d1a97567f1

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  • Medicinal plants: Helping African farmers to help themselves

Source: The Gazette (Canada), 2 March, 2010

Carole Robert may not fit the stereotype of a humanitarian aid worker, but the Blainville entrepreneur has just won an international award for her program to help poor African farmers learn to sustainably cultivate and market medicinal plants.
Until just a few years ago, Robert was a prominent businesswoman running her own construction materials export company. Robert realized there was great potential for commerce in some developing countries, but the people needed education and connections.
While doing her MBA, she learned about the flourishing global trade in medicinal, plant-based products that were coming into vogue for use in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and foods. There was already a US$60-billion global market in these products in 2004, and that market was growing by about 10 percent a year. Yet sub-Saharan Africa, where 43 percent of the world's medicinal plants grow naturally, was only participating in 0.01 percent of this market.
Robert then launched a foundation called “Biotechnology for Sustainable Development in Africa Foundation”(BDA). BDA's first project is Plant Action, a three-year educational program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This pilot project will train 30 farmers in sustainable planting and harvesting of medicinal plants and trees, and turn them into entrepreneurs.
"I believe developing countries will flourish through commerce, not charity.”
In the first year, the "ecopreneurs-in-training," as Robert calls them, learn about sustainable cultivation practices in the industrial production of medicinal plants. The students will learn to grow plants such as moringa or neem trees to international standards of quality control. They will have access to a phytochemistry laboratory, built and financed by a local Jesuit group.
The second year consists of practical training in the equatorial forest and savanna of the Luki Man of the Biosphere Reserve, a 30 000-hectare conservation area managed by the World Wildlife Fund.
Students from the Université du Québec's École de technologie supérieure helped build a plant-processing centre in the reserve, which will serve as a prototype for other such centres that the BDA Foundation hopes to build across Congo, Robert said.
In the third year of the program, the students will return to their land to start their businesses. BDA will create funds for micro-credit so the ecopreneurs can hire employees.
The Foundation has raised and committed US$3 million to the program so far.
"Africans can exploit their own natural resources," Robert said, "but we wanted to help them embark on international trade in a responsible way, because that is essential. We wanted to show them how to protect these plants from over-exploitation so they can protect their resources for the future," and make a living at the same time, she said.
For full story, please see:
www.montrealgazette.com/business/Helping+African+farmers+help+themselves/2629777/story.html

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  • Medicinal Plants: World Cup players face herbal medicine tests

Source: Independent (UK), 23 February 2010

FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) officials believe the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) should address concerns that World Cup players may try to gain an unfair advantage by using traditional African herbal medicines that are not currently banned.
The medical committee of football's governing body want WADA to look at claims that some African plants could give athletes an unfair advantage.
The matter was discussed during a pre-World Cup Team Workshop at Sun City in South Africa, a conference attended by national coaches and medical staff.
Professor Jiri Dvorak, FIFA's chief medical officer, said: "We had an interesting presentation about African plants and herbs and learned that some of them have diuretic properties and some can be stimulants.
"That is an issue for WADA, but I am really not worried about people using them at the World Cup. Do you think that the 32 medical chiefs who have signed up to our anti-doping declaration will be using products that they don't even know?"
He added: "We are all fighting together against the threat of cheating by doping. We have asked the medical chiefs of all 32 competing teams to fight with us and to sign a joint declaration. This they have done.”
For full story, please see: www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/world-cup-players-face-herbal-medicine-tests-1907424.html

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  • Moringa oleifera: Don't throw away malunggay stalks, they are nutritious

Source: The Philippine Star, 28 February 2010

More often than not, when we refer to malunggay (Moringa oleifera), we only mean the leaves or immature greed pods which we use for cooking and other nutritional and medicinal purposes. Leaf stalks are often thrown away, even though they are just as nutritious as the leaves.
According to a report released by a unit of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), the stalks, like the malunggay leaves, contain substantial amounts of valuable macro- and micro-nutrients.
In terms of macronutrients, potassium (K) is highest in malunggay stalks. Ten kilograms (kg) of dried malunggay stalks contain 293 gams (g) of potassium. Other macronutrients present are calcium (191g/10kg), nitrogen (185g/10kg), chloride (65g/10kg), sulphur (45 g/10kg), magnesium (23g/10kg), phosporus (19 g/10kg), and sodium (7g/10kg).
In terms of micronutrients, the stalk is rich in iron, boron, zinc, manganese, and copper. Ten kilos of dried malunggay stalks contain 436 milligrams (mg) of iron, 170 mg of boron, 112 mg of zinc, 100 mg of manganese, and 37 mg of copper.
The nutritional values of malunggay are discussed in a study titled “Mineral Macronutrients, Micronutrients and Other Elements in Leaves of Malunggay Plant Sampled in Some Locations in the Philippines.”
The group analyzed the nutrient contents of the leaves (leaf blades) and leaf stalks of the malunggay for the purpose of optimizing its nutritional and medicinal uses and also to understand the other elements present in malunggay which may be beneficial or toxic at high concentrations.
According to Dr. Severino S. Magat of the Crop Agronomy, Nutrition and Farming Systems of the Philippine Coconut Authority, malunggay has been well recognized as a practical and highly nutritional plant and food source and yet vital information on its macro- and micro-nutrient contents is scarcely found and identified.
For full story, please see:
www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=553502&publicationSubCategoryId=77

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  • Mushrooms: Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) prevents and may cure Cancer

Source: NaturalNews, 11 March 2010

There is a buzz stirring about a mushroom from Siberia, which was relatively unknown until Russian novelist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn brought it up in his 1968 novel Cancer Ward. In that novel, the protagonist was cured of his cancer mostly by using a Russian folk remedy, a tea brewed from the Chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus. Since then, there has been a good deal of curiosity and lab research done on this mushroom.
The research has shown cancer fighting promise, but the research in the West thus far has been mostly in-vitro, or lab research without living organisms. Chaga also promotes several other powerful health benefits.
Chaga mushrooms are polypore fungi that grow wild off certain trees, usually birch and elm, as a parasite. These spore bearing fungi will grow and stay on a tree for 15 years or more, absorbing the nutrients from the tree. When they are ready to scrape off, the outer surface bulges out considerably and has the appearance of coal. As one digs into it, the appearance, colour, and texture become cork like. Unlike soil grown mushrooms, chaga mushrooms are relatively dry.
Chaga has the highest ORAC rating (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of any known natural food. ORAC numbers measure the antioxidant power of foods. Though ORAC ratings will vary as much as 10 to 15 percent depending on the type of testing or the region of the food tested, chaga mushrooms are twice as high or more as the previously highest ORAC rated foods such as Acai berries or Chinese Wolfberries. And those two berries have much higher ORAC ratings then all the other antioxidant foods.
In Russia, Poland, Korea, China, Japan, and Australia, chaga teas and extracts have proven to boost the immune system, reduce hypertension, stop tumour growth and inhibit cancer, especially breast, liver, uterine and gastric cancers. When used along with conventional cancer treatments, it alleviated most of the side effects from those treatments and enhanced the immune system. One has a better chance of surviving chemo with chaga. Chaga even looks promising for treating AIDS.
Chaga mushrooms are high in betulinic acid, which inhibits tumors and cancer cells. Triterpenes that detoxify the liver and also inhibit cancer cell growth and polysaccharides that enhance the immune system and fight viral infections as well as cancer are also abundant in chaga mushrooms.
There are many other phytonutrients and minerals that have improved and sustained good health for chaga tea drinkers for over 500 years. It can also be taken as tinctures and extracts.
Currently, the abundance and reputation of Siberian chaga mushrooms prevail. But chaga are also found in the woods of North America and other cold, northern climates. There is no need to be concerned about organic since they are harvested wild.
For full story, please see: www.naturalnews.com/028344_folk_remedies_cancer.html

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  • Wildlife: Call to overhaul wildlife trade regime

Source: The Peninsula (Qatar) 14 March 2010

The 15th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) began with a call for new wildlife trade rules. Opening the nearly two-week summit in Doha, the Minister of Environment H E Abdullah bin Mubarak bin Aboud Al Ma’dhadi cautioned that the rampant illegitimate trade of Earth’s precious flora and fauna is posing a great threat to the world’s biodiversity.
“In the past, trade was made irregularly and illegitimately, constituting a main threat against the biological variety, subjecting some species to extinction, and causing loss of many different plant and animal species. CITES meetings has had a considerable influence in keeping these species that are endangered from being extinct, by organizing their trade in, holding conferences, enacting laws, and applying the strategy generated by the Convention to achieve the balance between environment and development,” he said.
“The ranking of the State of Qatar within Category (A) in the International Classification of the Member States in (CITES) Convention puts on our shoulders the responsibility for keeping such a distinction and continuity of support that started a long time ago. “
Underscoring the growing importance of CITES in the protection of the world’s wild flora and fauna, the Convention’s Secretary-General Willem Wijnstekers said: “The Convention had just 150 parties in 2000. Today, 175 countries are implementing CITES and a number of countries are about to join. This brings the convention close to one of my personal goals and to that of a full global membership.”
In this Year of International Biodiversity, we should have significantly reduced the loss of biodiversity. “Though we didn’t do that I firmly believe that CITES did pull its weight and did contribute in a major way to achieving the overall goal of reducing biodiversity loss and continues to do so with proven success, by making international trade of a great many species legal and sustainable”.
For full story, please see:
www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Local_News&month=March2010&file=Local_News2010031462221.xml

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  • Wildlife: Asia’s endangered delicacies

Source: CNN Online, 16 March 2010

All eyes are on Doha, Qatar this month as delegates meet at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to hash over the future of the world’s most endangered species. Here’s a look at what endangered species are served on a plate in Asia, and why we should stop eating them. 
Wild elephant

  • Dished up in: Elephants are mostly poached for their ivory tusks and raw hide. But they are also served as bushmeat in many parts of their range, such as north-east India and Thailand, for its alleged aphrodisiac qualities. 
  • Why it needs to be protected: There were 3-5 million African elephants in the 1930s and 1940s, but that number has dropped to between 470 000 and 690 000, WWF estimates.
  • Thanks to a CITES crackdown on the elephant trade in 1989 and increased conservation, African jumbos, which were perilously close to extinction in the 1980s, have maintained more or less secure a population size in well-conserved zones. But these account for less than 20 percent of the elephants’ range.

            However, there is still a sizable black market for elephant parts in Africa, and illegal poaching is thought to be on the rise. Elephant conservation has become a hotbed for debate at this years’ CITES conference, with Tanzania and Zambia arguing that the one-off sale of their stockpile of confiscated ivory, estimated to be worth US$12 million, will help fund conservation efforts. Other African nations, however, stand firm on the trade ban. Meanwhile, there are likely less than 25 600 Asian elephants in the wild, according to WWF. 
Asian bears

  • Dished up in: Bear parts are a highly valued foodstuff in China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Bear gall bladders and bile are used to cure many ailments in traditional Chinese medicine, while the bear paw is a luxurious delicacy in many Asian cultures. 
  • Why it needs to be protected: All five species of Asian bears, including the brown bear and the Asiatic black bear, are in decline due to hunting for medicine and the loss of habitat, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Little is known about the population size of Asian bear species apart from the fact that they are dwindling. The WWF notes that even local conservationists cannot track the Asiatic black bear in Cambodia, which is part of their natural range.

Legislation on banning bear trade is lax and loosely enforced in China, the Humane Society of the United States  says. South Korea and Japan do not regulate the trade in bear parts. 
For full story, please see: www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/asias-endangered-delicacies-029047

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

  • Brazil: has the tide turned on deforestation?

Source: Amazon News, 1 March 2010

After years of seemingly unstoppable destruction, Brazil appears to be winning some ground on the Amazon frontier. 
The sheer visible scale of both the destruction, and of what remains, is breathtaking.  It’s one of Brazil’s greatest hopes, and greatest challenges.
Roberto Smeraldi, Founder of Amigos da Terra – Brazilian Amazonia, and one of the most influential of the country’s environmentalists, sums it up: “Brazil ranks third in the list of global contributors to climate change – and two-thirds of its greenhouse gas emissions over the last five years result from land use changes – principally deforestation.”
After energy, the destruction of tropical forests is by far the largest contributor to climate change – emitting ten times as much as aviation. The other side of the coin, though, is that conserving forests is one of our most effective tools for staving off runaway climate change.  And, since it doesn’t involve making major cuts in industrial or transport emissions, it can be one of the simplest, too. 
In Brazil’s case, says Smeraldi: “This means that our past and current emission record is not strongly associated with activities which are essential for jobs and economic growth – at least in comparison to the other ‘greenhouse gas superpowers’.  This is excellent news for anybody struggling [to mitigate] climate change, since it might prove cheaper for us to engage in radical emission reductions [than it will for other countries].”
Some specific good news came with the announcement in November 2009 that Brazil had cut deforestation to its lowest level in more than two decades.  Just 2 705 square miles of the Amazon were lost between August 2008 and July 2009, almost half that of the previous 12 months, and the lowest annual total since reliable records started being kept in 1988.  Among the factors behind the success, officials said, was the 2004 decision to make the Government as a whole responsible for enforcing forest laws, rather than it being ‘ghettoised’ in the Environment Ministry alone.  This led to dramatic improvements in real-time satellite monitoring, which allows forestry police to respond immediately to evidence of logging or burning.
Significant swathes of Amazonia are coming under official federal protection.  In the four years to 2008, some 50 million hectares were turned into forest reserves or national parks, and another ten million became indigenous reservations for Amerindian communities.
The news was welcomed by environmentalists.  “We have to recognize the great efforts of the federal government, together with state governments, that brought about this drop in deforestation”, said Cláudio Maretti, Head of Conservation at WWF-Brasil.  But he warned that there was still a pressing need to firm up the enforcement of forest conservation laws – and to expand other government programmes aimed at offering those living near the forest viable economic alternatives to forest clearance. 
Economic factors may well have played a role in the dramatic drop, says his WWF-Brasil colleague, Conservation Director Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza.  “We have to recognize that it’s related to the [global recession], particularly to the reduction in demand for commodities, which has meant there is less pressure” on standing forest.  As that demand picks up, it will test the Government’s commitment to make further reductions, he warns.
A vital step now, say environmentalists, is for the Government to properly apply – and strengthen – the Forest Code, which dictates that landowners must preserve as forest 80 percent of any Amazon land they hold.  The law is notoriously poorly enforced, and hopes were depressed when the Government recently delayed until 2011 a plan to start prosecutions of those not complying with the law. 
Tasso Azevedo, Senior Adviser to the Minister of the Environment on Forest and Climate Change, agrees that the hard work lies ahead.  “We have actually done most of the cheapest and straightforward things – basic law enforcement, restructuring of the monitoring system, and so forth… Now we’re onto the second level – placing constraints and disincentives in the way of any investment which involve deforestation.”
For full story, please see: www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=346419

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  • Costa Rica: Nacientes Palmichal ‑  rural community tourism

Source: Eco-Index Monthly Update, March 2010

Nacientes Palmichal is located in the Negro and Tabarcia River micro-watershed in one of the last remnants of primary cloud forest in central Costa Rica. This area harbors 20 percent of Costa Rica’s species of flora and fauna and 16 percent of its animal and avian species.
Nacientes Palmichal is set within a lush 42-hectare reserve that shelters centuries-old trees, with the Tabarcia River flowing placidly through the forest.
The mission of the Asociación para el Desarrollo Sostenible de San José Rural (ADESSARU) is to protect the Negro and Tabarcia River watersheds, which provide water to three different towns with more than 40 000 residents. The natural resources of the area have been subjected to a great deal of exploitation due to unsustainable management practices.
The aim of this project is to build a sustainable community that is a local model for micro-watershed development; promote the sustainable management of resources and rural community tourism; Incorporate the efforts of the Acosta, Mora, and Puriscal municipalities with the institutions and organizations that benefit the micro-watershed by carrying out sustainable development activities; make the Nacientes Palmichal micro-watershed a model for the country, region, and world for its water quality and biodiversity, creating an ideal center for rural community tourism, conservation, research, training, environmental awareness, and family recreation; provide a holistic environmental education program for visitors that promotes a sense of responsibility towards all forms of life; and finally, provide a meeting space for courses, field trips, and tourist accommodations with all of the necessary amenities.
For full story, please see: http://eco-index.org/search/results.cfm?projectID=535

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  • Ghana: Achimota Forest to become a world class ecotourism hub in 2012

Source: Ghana News Agency, 25 February 2010

Achimota Forest in Ghana will be adjusted to a world class tourism enclave without destroying the ecosystem but attempts to construct a road through it will nose-dive this objective, Mr Samuel Afari Dartey, Acting Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission has said.
Mr Dartey told the Public Accounts Committee when he appeared before it that the two-year programme, which had already started, would include nature walk in which tourists walking round would see animals in their natural habitat as they trek.
"There will be museums, eco-lodges, picnic sides, safari drives, animal introduction, arboretum for the purpose of research and many attractions that could generate a lot of income much more than the US$60,000 currently generated annually," he said. However, the road passing through the forest could badly affect not only the programme but the environment, he added.
For full story, please see: www.ghananewsagency.org/s_economics/r_12885/

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  • Guyana forests worth more than gold

Source: UK Press Association, 1`March 2010

Anacondas, giant otters and the world's largest bird of prey proved to be worth more than their weight in gold when dredging for the metal was banned in their forest home, conservationists have said.
The ban on gold dredging in the unspoilt region of Guyana follows a campaign by Amerindian villagers, backed by scientists from the Zoological Society of London.
PhD students Rob Pickles and Niall McCann travelled to the Rewa Head in the South American country to study giant otters and tapirs. The pair conducted an extensive assessment of the wildlife in the area and are working with conservationists in a bid to win international support for Guyana's plan to turn its forests into the world's largest carbon sink.
The Guyanan government wants financial incentives to keep its forests standing to prevent the release of greenhouse gases. Conservationists believe the country could be a test case for implementing the "Redd+" initiative which, under an international climate change agreement, would see poor countries paid by rich nations to protect their forests and the carbon locked up in them.
Mr McCann warned that without funding to keep the wildlife-rich forest standing, it could be at risk from industry.
"The Rewa Head currently lies in a logging concession. Unless Guyana is given alternative financial incentives, its government will be forced to lease its land to oil drillers, miners and loggers.”
For more information, please see:
www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jTfNs4c_J2x8sA0AA6eG66CQMn1Q

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  • India: New skills benefit people, park

Source: CEPF E-News, January 2010

Villagers living on the fringe of the Manas Tiger Reserve in northeastern India are learning new skills, boosting their income and changing their relationship with their lush but overtaxed ecosystem.
Traditionally, residents of this portion of the Himalayan foothills have used the forest to hunt and to harvest wood for energy and construction. They also set fires in grasslands to prepare them for livestock grazing and to make hunting easier. Unchecked, these activities could irreparably damage the ability of the reserve’s rich ecosystem to provide its many benefits for people and wildlife.
To help these communities reduce dependency on the forest, CEPF (Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund) supported the Dolphin Foundation to develop sustainable livelihoods for villagers living on the park’s western edge. The Assam-based organization engaged government trainers to instruct representatives of community-based organizations in silk farming, apiculture, handloom weaving and marketing. These leaders then teach the techniques to villagers, help them access financial resources to establish businesses, and promote the alternative livelihood concept.
Interest has exceeded all expectations, with more than 200 residents in 12 indigenous villages now generating income from their chosen new vocations.
“We never thought that these types of livelihoods could put food on the table for our family,” says Lakshmi Bala Ray, a silk farmer from the village of Boulazar. The income she generates, as well as the promise of firewood to be obtained from recently planted community forests, decreases her family’s reliance on the forest.
Looking at the bigger picture, Sujit Bairagi, chairman of the Dolphin Foundation, notes that the villagers associate the project’s benefits with the existence of the park and are now stepping forward to advocate for its protection.
For full story, please see: www.cepf.net/about_cepf/annual_reports/2009/Pages/livelihoods.aspx

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  • Indonesia: Australia pays US$27 million to save Sumatra’s trees
    Source: The Rainforest Newsladder, 3 March 2010

 

Indonesia and Australia launched a A$30 million (US$27million) project on Tuesday to fight deforestation in Sumatra as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost a planned forest-carbon trading scheme, reported Reuters.
The project, to target Sumatra's Jambi province that has suffered rapid deforestation, is the second joint venture between the neighbouring countries keen to learn how to save forests by giving local communities incentives to keep the trees standing.
Australia and Indonesia are major supporters of a UN-backed scheme that could potentially channel billions of dollars to developing nations that preserve and enhance their forests.
Under the Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership, the money will be used to develop a project that will address the causes of deforestation in Jambi and to help rehabilitate deforested or degraded land.
Jambi, covering an area larger than the Netherlands, has lost more than two-thirds of its forests to illegal loggers, slash-and-burn farming as well as palm oil and pulp plantations. Fires are common, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases.
Central design themes will be developing alternative livelihood and incentive payment schemes for local communities, such as switching to different cash crops, to drive long-term efforts to keep trees standing.
The Sumatra project is designed to help Indonesia and Australia learn how to design REDD programmes to prepare for future international trading of forest carbon offsets. Each offset would represent a tonne of CO2-equivalent saved from being emitted.
For full story, please see:
www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/sci-tech/30-australia-pays-indonesia-27-million-to-save-trees-so-02

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  • Madagascar: What will you do when the trees are gone?

Source: IRIN News, 3 February 2010

Madagascar's transitional government is allowing the export of illegally harvested precious hardwoods as a source of revenue to keep itself afloat. Conservationists say the cost is incalculable, and the huge Indian Ocean Island stands to lose its status as one of the world's biological hotspots.
According to the International Monetary Fund, donor assistance accounted for about 50 percent of the Malagasy budget.
"It is clear that the government needs the money from the export of wood that we know has been cut illegally," Nanie Ratsifandrihamanana, director of conservation at the WWF in Madagascar, told IRIN.
In the absence of rangers to patrol protected areas, the export of precious hardwoods has gone unchecked for months. Armed criminal logging gangs effectively have free rein in Madagascar's national parks.
A government decree in September 2009 legalized the export of unprocessed rosewood, an endangered hardwood, which had previously been illegal. Prime Minister Colonel Camille Vital extended the decree on 31 December 2009.
His decision has been strongly condemned by conservationists. "It takes a very short-term view that does not take into account the long-term sustainability of their actions. The result is the loss of Madagascar's natural heritage," said Ratsifandrihamanana.
James MacKinnon, technical director of CI in Madagascar, told IRIN that extending the decree had already allowed a further 200 containers of timber to leave Madagascar so far this year, which would encourage more trees to be felled in anticipation of similar government decisions in future.
"It is highly unlikely that the logging will stop while the message being sent from the highest level of government is that there will probably be another chance to export illegal wood in future," he said.
Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, lies in the Indian Ocean off the east coast of southern Africa and is renowned for its unique flora and fauna: it is home to five percent of the world's plant and animal species, 80 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
With financial and technical support from foreign donors and conservation NGOs, Madagascar had made significant progress in the past decade, and the protection of wildlife enjoyed significant political backing.
In 2003 Ravalomanana committed to setting aside 10 percent of the island as a wildlife sanctuary, yet MacKinnon noted: "We know that most of this wood is coming from protected areas."
WFF's Ratsifandrihamanana said local communities received scant benefit from the trade. "What the local communities gain from the timber trade simply does not compare with what the people who export the wood are earning. In addition, local people are subjected to threats and intimidation from logging gangs," she said.
Malagasy men earn just a few dollars a day for the back-breaking work of locating and removing trees from the forest. According to GW, a day's wage for a wood-cutter is around US$4, while one cubic metre of rosewood can fetch up to US$5,000 on Asian markets.
The extraction of logs threatens more than just precious trees: loggers hunt endangered lemurs for food, while clearing pathways through the forest encourages the settlement of once-pristine habitats, opening them up to destructive practices like charcoal burning and slash-and-burn agriculture. The cumulative effect could ultimately put Madagascar's ecotourism industry, worth US$390 million a year, at stake.
GW noted that the demand for rosewood furniture in China was a major driver of the illegal timber trade; smaller quantities of precious woods were shipped to Europe and the United States for use in high-end musical instruments.
Left with little recourse in Madagascar, conservationists believe that targeting overseas buyers may now be the only way to help fight illegal logging in the island.
"International buyers should be careful," said MacKinnon. "Anything containing Malagasy rosewood should be considered illegal, even if you are just transporting it."
For full story, please see: www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=87978

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  • Mexico: Forest Pays Dividends for Farmers

Source: CEPF E-News, January 2010

Adalberto “Tito” Vargas Guillen recalls his first meeting with some 30 coffee growers in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. A project coordinator with the AMBIO Cooperative, Vargas was pitching a swap: conservation coffee for carbon offset payments.
Using balloons of carbon dioxide as models, Vargas briefed his audience on the carbon cycle, photosynthesis and global warming. One community elder weighed in. “We already knew that trees clean the air and supply us with oxygen,” said the man, Vargas recounts. “What we didn’t know was that we are the ones who are polluting the air.”
That insight and the chance for income led growers in eight villages to join Scolel Te (“The tree that grows” in the Mayan dialect of Tzeltal), an AMBIO-operated forestry program supported by CEPF.
Participating growers are interplanting their coffee with Inga edulis, a tree that provides edible legumes and nitrogen-fixing bacteria that help fertilize the soil—plus partial shade for the coffee and habitat for birds and other species. Farmers are also planting other species of trees on their plantations and as living fences to control livestock movement. The additional trees absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and companies and other entities looking to offset their emissions purchase carbon credits generated by the project, which in turn results in payments to the growers.
“There’s a great enthusiasm for this program among the people,” Vargas says.
Scolel Te has a strategic role to play in establishing green buffer zones between three protected natural reserves. The program will link the reserves of El Triunfo, La Sepultura and La Frailescana, strengthening biodiversity in the mountains of Chiapas.
Twelve other villages have joined the original eight and Vargas now counts upwards of 300 participants, thanks to additional support from Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas.
For full story, please see: www.cepf.net/about_cepf/annual_reports/2009/Pages/ecosystem_services.aspx

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  • Philippines: Community Development through Redd (CoDe REDD)

Source: www.ntfp.org, 4 March 2010

CoDe REDD ‑ Philippines is composed of forest-based communities and civil society organizations that are involved in livelihood, conservation, and community development projects in Philippine forests and are working towards pro-community and pro-conservation REDD thru REDD plus advocacy. It has been promoting three banner messages: Community Development through REDD, Communities Developing REDD, and Conservation and Development through REDD.
CoDe REDD ‑ Philippines has been participating in various actions to contribute to bringing the concerns of forest communities to the fore vis-à-vis climate change.  One major task that it is pursuing now is the crafting of the National Strategy on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).
It has conducted several national and regional consultative workshops involving community leaders and members, CSOs, government, academe, and individual professionals. Its network facilitator the Non-Timber Forest Products‑Exchange Programme for South and Southeast Asia (NTFP-EP) has brought in international elements into the process.  
From the start, it has been recognized by the group that working with other developing countries is critical. Member organizations and individuals therefore, participate in other regional and international activities to beef up CoDe REDD’s capacity and build networks towards convergence of advocacies.
For more information, please see: www.ntfp.org/coderedd

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NEWS

  • Biopiracy: Denmark to help Africa fight biopiracy

Source: The Copenhagen Post Online, 9 March 2010

Environment minister Karen Ellemann was the opening speaker on Monday for an international ministerial conference on biopiracy in Windhoek, Namibia, aimed at stopping companies from obtaining genetic resources from countries without providing reciprocal economic benefits.
Together with the country's president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, Ellemann hopes the Danish co-sponsored conference will assist Africa in obtaining some of the significant profits from its many genetic resources often used by Western companies.
It is estimated that developing countries contain around 80 percent of the world's genetic resources found in nature.
Much of the material companies obtain is used to develop products such as cosmetics, medicines and GMOs. Biopiracy is common in Africa, however, where large international companies typically exploit the countries resources.
According to the Environment Ministry, some companies have even gone so far as to take out patents on the development of substances that have already been used for several hundred years in traditional medicines in developing countries. One notable example was chemical company W.R. Grace’s attempted patent on products from the Indian neem tree (Azadirachta indica).
“It’s high time that we stop the worldwide exploitation of natural genes,’ said Ellemann. Developing countries’ populations must also be a part of Western companies’ profits on creams, medicines or agricultural crops, where the products were developed from those countries’ genetic resources.”
“Fair trade would benefit both sides because it would be an incentive for developing countries to protect their rich natural resources, while the companies would be allowed to retain access to those resources,” she said.
The conference in Windhoek, which runs from 8-11 March, aims to prepare African countries for negotiations toward an international agreement at the UN’s Biodiversity Convention, to be held in Japan in October. It is the Biodiversity Convention that determines a country’s ownership of genetic resources.
“An international agreement would make it more expensive for companies to exploit developing countries’ genetic resources,” said Ellemann. “The agreement would facilitate cooperation between rich and poor countries so that the biodiversity – which one day could lead to new breakthrough drugs or new drought-resistant crops – can be protected.’”
For full story, please see: www.cphpost.dk/news/international/48455-denmark-to-help-africa-fight-bio-piracy.html

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  • Building sustainable and competitive tourism enterprises in Northern Mesoamerica

Source: Eco-Index monthly update, March 2010

Working with a number of partner organizations, the Rainforest Alliance has increased the number and competitiveness of tourism enterprises in Lacandonia, Mexico and Huehuetenango, Guatemala that are implementing best management practices for sustainable tourism. The long-term goal of this project, and the Rainforest Alliance’s work in general, was to transform the tourism industry into one in which transparency and environmental and social responsibility are inherent in both the operation and commercialization of each tourism business, so as to increase the positive impacts and reduce the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and local cultures, particularly in areas of rich biodiversity with fragile ecosystems and vulnerable communities.
In order to do this, the project strengthened the supply of sustainable tourism services in target sites by providing the necessary assistance for sustainability practices to be implemented, and linking suppliers of sustainable tourism services with the marketplace.
Among the objectives of the project were to: (1) conserve local water and soil resources through tourism operations’ implementation of water usage reduction plans, solid and liquid waste management plans and introduction of environmentally-friendly cleaning products; (2) enhance wildlife habitat and connectivity through native species reforestation efforts; (3) decrease negative impacts on protected areas through tourism enterprises’ cooperative enforcement of protected area regulations; (4) increase tourist support of local conservation through direct action and environmental education efforts; (5) protect threatened and endangered animal and plant species through the adoption of policies and practices that prevent the consumption, sale, traffic, and display of flora and fauna species.
The long-term regional strategy of the Rainforest Alliance, in which this project plays an important role in, is to work with small-medium enterprises and community-based tourism operations located in rural areas, inside biological corridors, and in close proximity to or within protected areas.
For fully story, please see: http://eco-index.org/search/results.cfm?projectID=1292

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  • Communities in Colombia and Mexico invest in natural wealth

Source: CEPF E-News, January 2010

Under the August sun, humpback whales churn the waters of Málaga Bay, on the southwest coast of Colombia. They come to breed and feast on the teeming sea life nurtured by coastal mangrove forests.
Afro-Colombians, the descendants of escaped slaves, harvest wood and hunt in these forests. The men fish in the bay and women gather the black-shelled piangua mollusks from the stilt-like roots of the mangroves.
Faced with a dwindling catch, the local community council took the lead in preserving this delicate ecosystem for future generations. Aided by CEPF, the council successfully advocated for the government’s declaration creating the La Plata Integrated Management System and the Regional Natural Park of Sierpe reserves.
“The community has an interest in a protected area that would safeguard its access to the resources needed for subsistence,” says Angela Andrade, Conservation International’s policy coordinator in Colombia, noting local concerns about logging and poaching as well as diminished fisheries. Plus, a formal declaration from the government would head off periodic plans for a mega-port on the bay.
Northward, in the Mexican state of Veracruz, other communities pushed this year to establish new communal lands. Set aside to be locally managed for 50 years, they comprise the 1 000-hectare Grindstone reserve in La Cueva del Jabalí, the 722-hectare Spider Monkey Forest in Francisco Javier Mina, and the 654-hectare Pheasant Forest in Francisco Villa. The three villages have pledged to preserve trees, curtail poaching and logging, and guard the reserves.
It took a year of meetings to win local approval for the plan, says Paloma Mejía, project coordinator at Mexican nonprofit Pronatura, but ultimately, the people took the long view. “They want their sons and daughters to know the rainforest that they knew as children,” Mejía says. To help sustain this spider monkey habitat, the plan includes developing eco-friendly enterprises as alternatives to traditional cattle farming.
For full story, please see: www.cepf.net/about_cepf/annual_reports/2009/Pages/community_engagement.aspx

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  • Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF): Grants available

Source: CEPF, 1 March 2010

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has announced that proposals are currently being accepted in the Polynesia-Micronesia biodiversity hotspot, as well as in the new hotspot of Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany.

  • Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot. NGOs are invited to apply for a five-year grant to become the Regional Implementation Team that will lead implementation of a $5.5 million CEPF investment strategy for the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot. The area spans an area of nearly 275,000 km² and includes portions of South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. The hotspot is the second richest floristic region in southern Africa (after the Cape Floristic Region) and also the second richest floristic region in Africa for its size.. The CEPF investment strategy will focus on the highest priorities for conservation in two priority corridors and 22 key biodiversity areas in the region.
  • Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot. NGOs, community groups, private enterprises and other civil society applicants are invited to apply for CEPF grants in the Polynesia-Micronesia Hotspot. CEPF investment in the area is a five-year investment program (2008-2013) managed through a partnership of CEPF and Conservation International's Pacific Islands Program based in Apia, Samoa. The Hotspot includes all the islands of Micronesia, tropical Polynesia, and Fiji. CEPF’s support focuses on conservation initiatives in Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, and Wallis and Futuna.

Fore more information, please contact:
E-mail: cepfgrants@conservation.org.
Website: www.cepf.net/grants/Pages/default.aspx

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  • Eleven forest countries pledge sustainable forest management

Source: The Rainforest Newsladder, 28 February 2010

Eleven tropical rainforest countries agreed to commit on sustainable forest management at a ministerial meeting held in Indonesia's Bali province on 26-28 February, Xinhua reported.
The tropical rainforests are home to diverse biological species and storehouses of genetic resources. They also serve as sources of livelihood and a repository of cultural heritage, the group, also known as F-11, said in a joint press statement.
Indonesian Foreign Minster Marty Natalegawa told reporters that the meeting was very useful and productive as it gave opportunity for member countries to share their experience on forestry issues.
'We have discussed various topics related to forestry matters, including biodiversity, climate change and sustainable forest management,' said Marty.
Papua New Guinea Forestry Minister Belden Namah said all ministers in the meeting supported initiatives of forest management practices.
The forum also agreed admission of Guatemala, Suriname and Guyana to the association.
The F-11 consists of Indonesia, Brazil, Gabon, Costa Rica, Congo, Cameroon, Colombia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Peru and Democratic Republic of Congo.
For full story, please see: http://sify.com/news/11-rainforest-countries-pledge-sustainable-forest-management-news-international-kcxu4eafahb.html

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  • Extinction of seed dispersers threat to forests and forest communities

Source: www.mongabay.com, 7 March 2010

There are few areas of research in tropical biology more exciting and more important than seed dispersal. Seed dispersal—the process by which seeds are spread from parent trees to new sprouting ground—underpins the ecology of forests worldwide. In temperate forests, seeds are often spread by wind and water, though sometimes by animals such as squirrels and birds. But in the tropics the emphasis is far heavier on the latter, as Dr. Pierre-Michel Forget explains to mongabay.com.
"[In rainforests] a majority of plants, trees, lianas, epiphytes, and herbs, are dispersed by fruit-eating animals. […] As seed size varies from tiny seeds less than one millimetre to several centimetres in length or diameter, then, a variety of animals are required to disperse such a continuum and variety of seed size, the smaller being transported by ants and dung beetles, the larger swallowed by cassowary, tapir and elephant, for instance."
Forget, a French tropical ecologist, is chairing the 5th Frugivore and Seed Dispersal International Symposium held in Montpellier, France from 13-18 June. Forget has studied the relation between seeds and fruit-eating species both in South America and Central Africa, focusing mostly on mammals.
"Indeed, when you observe the understory and see that profusion of seedlings, it is not always obvious that there is some type of order, seedlings being not really randomly dispersed, rather directed-dispersed at some peculiar microhabitats," he says.
Yet, the species so important to successfully spreading tropical seeds are also some of the most threatened. Their decline—and in some case absence altogether—spells a fall in forest richness.
"If you consider large-bodied, plant-dependent and seed-dispersing animals, they are all threatened by hunting, deforestation, fragmentation, mining, dam and road construction," Forget says. "Many of fragmented forests, even some natural parks and reserves, now lack the large ungulates, primates and birds that disperse seeds. Extinction is sometimes very recent due to uncontrolled development of large-scale agriculture, poaching and logging."
Forget points out that when it comes to seed dispersers it's not global extinction that one must focus on, but local extinction and even a decline in wildlife abundance.
"If spider monkeys are protected in a remote forest of the Peruvian Amazon, it won’t help much those trees of French Guiana," he says. "Additionally, when large frugivores are exterminated, because it’s also an important source of protein for native people inhabiting rainforest, we are also endangering survival of autochtonous populations. And that has to be considered in conservation plans. Not only will we lose natural diversity, but humanity will also lose cultural diversity."
Forget argues that to date the role of seed dispersers has largely been left out of conservation discussions, even though these species' actions underpin entire ecological communities. According to Forget, the current focus on the conservation of pollinators—such as bees—tells only part of the story.
"Now that stakeholders recognized the important ecological role of bees for the pollination of flowers and the production of fruit, they must now acknowledge that without frugivores, those crops will remain in tree crown, fall to the ground, and rot without primary and secondary seed dispersers. It’s a waste of carbon for the ecosystems. Thus, saving the bees from extinction is only half of the work done," he says.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0307-hance_forget.html

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  • Losing life’s variety

         Source: Science News, 3 March 2010

This is a poignant year for anyone who cares about the rich diversity of life on planet Earth. 2010 was supposed to be a milestone. The 193 nations participating in a treaty called the Convention on Biological Diversity had agreed to “achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.”
The official document assessing the 2010 global outlook for biodiversity won’t be released until May, but conservationists and trend watchers predict at best a few bright points among worsening losses. Even a preview statement from the treaty secretariat says that, as of late January, “all the indications are that the 2010 target has not been met.”
Policy has achieved little for biodiversity, but scientists have fared better in coming to understand just what biodiversity means for the fundamental workings of an ecosystem. From grasslands to oceans, ecologists are finding that greater diversity tends to boost an ecosystem’s productivity and reinforce its stability.
Biologists around the world are thus bootstrapping themselves out of despair and seizing the occasion to explain biodiversity and why it matters.
Though things have been disappearing for a long time, humanity has revved up extinction rates in the past few centuries to as much as a thousand times the rates during much of Earth’s history, according to the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. That status report, the work of some 1 360 scientists, names habitat change, climate change, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation and pollution as the big causes of this anthropogenic extinction. And the report calls for urgent action.
“It’s not looking good,” says Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy coordinator of the species program at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)  in Gland, Switzerland. The nonprofit maintains the Red List, a registry that ranks the status of various species, from thriving (“least concern”) to extinct.
Though comparing IUCN data over time is difficult because the scope and criteria have changed, the Red List provides a snapshot of where biodiversity is now.
At the end of 2009, an IUCN report found plenty of creatures, mostly animals and plants, still in peril. Of the 44 838 species that the IUCN had evaluated by 2008, 16 928 met at least the criteria for “facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.” Evaluators said some of them met more dire criteria, facing “very high” or “extremely high” extinction risks. That troubled group included one in eight of the bird species, one in five mammals, one in four corals and one in three amphibians. (Scientists have formally described some 1.7 million species, and estimates of total richness run from 3 million to 10 million.)
As for the impact of these declines, Vié says, “I don’t think people get it.” Too often biodiversity loss has come to mean extinction of some creature a continent away. “It’s not because one beetle or one frog is going extinct that we are worried,” he says. “It’s that the losses are massive.”
Nature is underpriced, says economist Partha Dasgupta. No one pays the mountainside for the trees it grows or the sea for the fish it provides. Figuring out the economic values of nature’s services and incorporating them into such indicators may be one way to curb destruction of biodiversity. For without a fair accounting, nature looks like a free lunch, and, Dasgupta says, “If you don’t pay for something, you overuse it.”
To highlight the economic value of nature on a big scale, Dasgupta, of the University of Cambridge in England, is pushing for a nature-inclusive alternative to the Gross Domestic Product as an economic indicator. The GDP reports the total value of human-made goods and services without deductions to reflect losses of capital, especially natural capital. Gross, as opposed to net, is “the rogue word” in Gross Domestic Product, he says.
For full story, please see:
www.sciencenews.org/view/feature/id/56602/title/Losing_life%E2%80%99s_variety

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  • Palm fronds point the way to integrated forest management

Source: Thinking Beyond the Canopy, 5 March 2010

In the days leading up to Palm Sunday, planes loaded with greenery take off from Guatemala bound for the United States and Canada. Every year 30 million xate palm fronds(Chamaedorea spp.) are exported from Guatemala to North America. Demand peaks around Palm Sunday, when congregations decorate their churches with fronds; the floral industry also uses palms year round. The trade contributes millions of US dollars to the Guatemalan economy.
Xate fronds are one of an increasing number of products besides timber being profitably harvested from forests. In Guatemala the financial benefits of xate collection have long been recognised. When Community Forest concessions were set up in the department of el Petén in the early 1990s, multiple forest use, harvesting both timber and xate, was explicitly incorporated into management plans.
But multiple use planning is unusual. A review of the challenges and opportunities of implementing multi-use approaches in forests has just been published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.
“Sustainable forest management should mean that forests are managed for a multitude of products,” says Manuel Guariguata, one of the review’s authors and a scientist at CIFOR. “But in reality, timber-dominated models still prevail across the tropics.”  The Guatemalan experience shows that managing forests for both timber and other products can work, he adds.
“NTFP are usually excluded from forest management plans.  Foresters still need to work out best practice for multiple uses. This is essential if we are to make the case for forest conservation in financial terms, and if we want to demonstrate how forests can best serve communities that depend directly on harvesting both timber and other forest resources. Multiple use approaches may also enhance the design of REDD initiatives.”
Certain management practices for felling and removing timber can have positive effects on harvesting other forest products. Loggers can pre-cut damaging vines and choose to fell trees in planned directions. Brazil nut trees growing alongside the felled timber avoid damage and Brazil nut collectors still see good harvests.
Well-intended policies can harm yields for products besides timber. In Indonesia, for instance, government regulations require licensed loggers to clear all undergrowth in selectively logged areas every five years. The regulation aims to control weeds and promote the growth of new trees. But the practice can harm valuable forest products such as rattan, food and medicinal plants.
Conflict often occurs when particular tree species are a source of both timber and non-timber products. This is especially true when the benefits go to different stakeholders. For instance, 47 percent of all tree species currently traded in eastern Brazil have documented non-timber uses. The industry may profit from the timber, but collectors of other products can face depleted resources. Recognizing the competition, governments in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru have legally protected trees that have greater value for products other than timber, such as the Brazil nut tree.
“If we can clearly establish rights over multiple uses, the evidence suggests that communities will be far more likely to adopt sustainable management practices’ says Guariguata. ‘But training and education of foresters in many countries will need to be re-crafted so that multiple use management approaches become commonplace. We should aim to equip foresters with the tools and approaches needed to manage forests for the benefit of all.”
For full story, please see:
www.cifor.cgiar.org/Headlines/Palm+fronds+point+the+way+to+integrated+forest+management.htm

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  • Promoting sustainable land management through the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative

Source: www.globalmechanism.org, 10 February, 2010

The Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) has evolved from a tree planting initiative to the promotion of sustainable land management (SLM) practices, as a more ecologically appropriate and holistic approach to benefit local land users.
Initiated and led by Africa, the GGWSSI specifically focuses on the Saharan and Sahel dryland ecosystems. The GGWSSI is a Priority Action of the African Union–European Union Partnership on Climate Change aimed at catalyzing sustainable development and poverty reduction in the desert margins north and south of the Sahara. The Global Mechanism (GM) is partnering with FAO in the implementation of a GGWSSI pilot programme promoted by the European Commission in the framework of this partnership. As such, the GM will be involved in establishing a South-to-South partnership platform at regional level that will provide information on the financial options available and capacity building on finance as the first step towards the creation of a permanent space of solidarity on financial partnership building at regional level.
In this context, the GM participated in a regional workshop organized by FAO and the Senegalese Agency for the Great Green Wall Initiative, on “Guidelines on Practices for Sustainable Forest Management in Drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa”, held from 20-22 January in Dakar (Senegal).
While day one of the workshop took a comprehensive look at the current opportunities and challenges facing sustainable dryland forest management including their role in biodiversity conservation, in contrasting climate change and their socio-economic importance, day two was devoted to the GGWSSI, including a presentation and rich discussion of the Senegalese experience. The GM’s discussions with Senegal hinged on promoting decentralized cooperation in the context of The Green Wall and the key role that local communities can play in the initiative.
For full story, please see: www.global-mechanism.org/news--events/news/promoting-sustainable-land-management-through-the-great-green-wall-for-the-sahara-and-sahel-initiative/

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  • Species extinction being driven by bushmeat trade and market for traditional medicines

Source: Jeremy Hance for www.mongabay.com , 9 March 2010

Extinctions are currently outpacing the capacity for new species to evolve, according to Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there's no question that the current extinction rates are faster," Stuart told the Guardian.
He added that E.O, Wilsons' estimate that the extinction rate could rise to 10 000 times the background rate would likely prove prescient.
"All the evidence is he's right," said Stuart. "Some people claim it already is that."
In 2004 the IUCN estimated that the extinction rate had reached 100 to 1 000 times the background rate.
Currently the IUCN estimate that nearly half of the world's primates are threatened with extinction, as well as one third of the world's amphibians, nearly a quarter of the mammals, and over 10 percent of the birds. But to date the IUCN has only assessed 2.7 percent of the known 1.8 million species. In addition biologists estimate that millions and maybe even tens of millions of species have yet to be even described by scientists.
The world's species are threatened by a variety of impacts; some of the largest include deforestation, climate change, habitat loss, ocean acidification, poaching and hunting, mining, disease, overfishing and bycatch, pollution, desertification, invasive species, the bushmeat trade, the pet trade, and the market for traditional medicines.
For full story, please: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0308-hance_extinction.html

BACK TO TOP

 

  • Underutilized foods and nutritional indicators for biodiversity

Source: Crops for the Future, Special Issue, March 2010

FAO and Bioversity International have developed two nutrition indicators for biodiversity, useful to measure biodiversity-related food composition and food consumption of underutilized species (www.fao.org/infoods/biodiversity/index_en.stm). More information can be found in the document "Specific definition of underutilized species for human consumption."

While reporting upon these indicators, difficulties were encountered in defining underutilized foods. Therefore, FAO and Crops for the Future have developed specific criteria in order to establish the reference list for underutilized foods counting for the nutritional indicators for biodiversity.

Of the following criteria, the first one is compulsory, and several of the others should be met for a species to be included in this list:

  • The food was/is/could be used for human consumption.   
  • May have great potential for contributing to food security and nutrition.   
  • Mainly local and traditional crops/animals (including insects, amphibians and reptiles) whose distribution, biology, cultivation and uses are poorly documented.   
  • Receive little attention from research, farmers, policy and decision makers, technology providers and consumers.
  • Have weak or no formal seed/animal germplasm supply systems.   
  • Farmed, reared, gathered or caught in small scale.
  • The species must be grown/raised in the country/region where it is underutilized. Species that are imported do not count as underutilized in that region.
  • Information on country/region of origin should be given.

These criteria, only intended to be used to report on the two nutrition indicators for biodiversity, should not replace the broad criteria that has been defined for categorizing underutilized species as such(www.underutilized-species.org/spotlight/what_are_underutilized_species.asp).

The integration of these specific criteria and the reference list of underutilized foods counting for food biodiversity will be uploaded on the websites of the Global Facilitation Unit for Underutilized Species at www.underutilized-species.org/species/about_species.asp and of the INFOODS at www.fao.org/infoods/biodiversity/index_en.stm.

For more information, please see: www.cropsforthefuture.org/

 

EVENTS

 

CITES CoP15

Doha, Qatar

13-25 March 2010

New measures to conserve and sustainably manage elephant populations, the bluefin tuna, and a wide range of sharks, corals, reptiles, insects and plants are being proposed by governments attending the next triennial world conference of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Over 40 proposals will be decided on in Doha. Many of these proposals reflect growing international concern about the accelerating destruction of the world’s marine and forest ecosystems through excessive logging and over-fishing, and the potential impacts of climate change on the biological resources of the planet.

Other issues on the agenda include the adoption of urgent measures to: tackle illegal trade in the tiger, rhinos and other species that are on the brink of extinction; address the potential impacts of CITES measures on the livelihoods of the rural poor, who are often on the frontlines of using and managing wildlife; and allocate sufficient financial resources to ensure that CITES goals are fully achieved.

For more information, please see: www.cites.org/

 

Taking stock of smallholder and community forestry: Where do we go from here?

24-26 March 2010

Montpellier, France

This conference, organized by CIFOR, the French research institute for development (IRD) and the French international research center for agricultural development (CIRAD), will discuss smallholder and community forest management.

As a daily practice, small-scale forest activities have been carried out by rural population for generations, either on collective lands or on individual plots. Their forest use practices have developed as adaptive management systems influenced by a complex set of factors including local socio-ecological conditions and agendas as well as broader regional, national and international trends and policies. The current success and dynamics of these systems varies widely. Some have thrived for decades showing signs of great dynamism and innovation while others are close to collapse.

Community forestry, as a project or policy intervention, has existed for almost half a century, spreading from its beginnings in Asia in the 1970s to Africa and Latin America more recently. The idea has spawned hundreds of development projects, research projects, reports and publications. Assessments of smallholder and community management systems by scientists, forestry officials and practitioners vary widely. Some claim that community forestry has been a great success; others call it a massive failure. Some national governments, donors and development NGOs have dropped the concept, but others continue to promote community forestry under a variety of new models and methods. Smallholders have been recognized for successfully managing forest resources and granted new tenure rights, particularly in Latin America but also in Asia and Africa.

However, local forest systems in some parts of the world are threatened with destruction, or smallholders themselves are abandoning these systems for forest conversion.

New global trends are affecting local forest dynamics. Climate change, increasing social vulnerability, incentives for deforestation and land use change are the negative effects. Potentially positive effects include payments for carbon capture and storage as well as mechanisms for biodiversity valuation. In light of these trends, it is an appropriate moment to take stock.

For more information, please contact:

CIFOR

Situ Gede

Bogor Barat 16115

Indonesia

P.O. Box 0113 BOCBD

Bogor 16000

Indonesia

Tel.: +62-251-8622-622

Fax: +62-251-8622-100

For enquiries, please e-mail Nani Djoko: n.djoko@cgiar.org

www.cifor.cgiar.org/Events/Smallholder+and+community+forestry/

 

Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights

19-22 April 2010

Cochabamba, Bolivia

The objectives of the Conference are to: (1) analyze the structural and systemic causes of climate change and propose substantive measures that facilitate the well-being of all mankind in harmony with nature; (2) discuss and agree the draft Universal Declaration of rights of Mother Earth; (3) agree on  proposals for new commitments to the Kyoto Protocol and projects for a COP Decision under the United Nations Framework for Climate Change that will guide future actions in those countries that are engaged with life during climate change negotiation; (4) ork on the organization of a people’s world referendum on climate change; (5) analyze and draw up a plan of action to advance the establishment of a Climate Justice Tribunal; and (6) define strategies for action and mobilization in defense of life against climate change and for mother earth rights.

Among the 16 key working groups is a group on forests. “The protection of forests is not only about preserving trees; however, it is also about preserving a vital process initiated millions of years ago. Forests are spaces inhabited by a diverse group of living things – vegetable, animal, and human (including Indigenous peoples).”

This group will discuss what  the essential elements of a proposal for the integral and sustainable management of forests in the face of climate change would be, one which would also recognize the rights of Indigenous communities that reside in forests, among other things.

Another working group—that on indigenous peoples—aims to encourage and promote Indigenous visions, practices, and relationships of harmony with nature, and to share proposals regarding climate change and the defense of Mother Earth.

For more information, please contact:

E-mail: info@cmpcc.org

www.cmpcc.org (or http://pwccc.wordpress.com/)

 

Applying Sustainable Forest Management to Poverty Reduction: Strengthening the Multi-Stakeholder Approach within the UNFF

26-30 July 2010

Accra, Ghana

As part of their efforts to contribute to sustainable forest management discussions under the auspices of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), the “Major Groups” participating in the UNFF process are organizing this international forestry workshop.

            The workshop is being hosted in collaboration with the government of Ghana with support from the UNFF Secretariat and a number of other governments. Case studies will serve as inputs for discussions and for developing policy recommendations.

For more information, please contact:

Lambert Okrah

The Institute of Cultural Affairs International (ICAI)

417 Rue St-Pierre, Suite 804

Montreal, Quebec,

Canada, H2Y 2M4

Tel: +1-514-875-7111

Fax: +1-514-875-0702

E-mail: lambert@ica-international.org

 

International Conference on Forestry Education and Research for the Asia-Pacific Region

23-25 November 2010

Manila, Philippines

The College of Forestry and Natural Resources of the University of the Philippines Los Banos is celebrating its 100th year in 2010.  In light of this, the College is hosting this International Conference, with the theme: “Forestry Education and Research: Responding to Changing Needs.”

The conference aims to strengthen the contribution of forestry education and research towards sustainable forest management in the context of changing priorities and needs of the Asia Pacific Region.  Specifically, it hopes to: (1) assess the state of forestry education and research in the Asia Pacific Region; (2) identify major issues and challenges confronting the forestry education and research sectors; and (3) initiate the process of charting the future direction of forestry education and research. 

For more information, please contact:

Maricel A. Tapia (Instructor)

Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance

College of Forestry and Natural Resources

University of the Philippines Los Banos

College, Laguna 4031 Philippines

 

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

 

  1. 38.      Course on "Protecting Mountain Biodiversity"

Source: Rosalaura Romeo (FAO), 3 March 2010

 

We are pleased to announce the third summer course organized by IPROMO - the training programme on sustainable mountain development for Mountain Partnership members.

IPROMO’s theme this year is “Protecting Mountain Biodiversity” and it has been selected to highlight the richness and relevance of mountain biological diversity and also as a contribution to the observance of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010.

The course will analyze the significance of mountain biodiversity looking at the land use and climate change effects, large scale patterns (latitudinal and altitudinal) including invasive species, protected areas, biological corridors and transboundary agreements and their role in protecting mountain biodiversity.

The course will run from 9 to 23 July 2010 with 15 days of full immersion learning. It will include lectures, practical work, labs and field trips. The course will be held in various locations in the Italian Alps, representing different aspects of biodiversity: the first period in the higher Alps (Chisone Valley), then the group will move to Sesia Valley close to Mount Rosa, and the third period will be in the South-western Alps close to the Mediterranean sea (Tanaro Valley).

The IPROMO Programme has been jointly organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat at FAO, UNESCO and the University of Turin, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Protection of Agroforestry Resources; it benefits from the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

The course - which will be held in English - will be open to a maximum of 30 professionals who belong to organizations or countries which are members of the Mountain Partnership. Participants from developing countries are encouraged to apply. 

The total cost of the course (inclusive of full board, accommodation, taxes, teaching equipment, internal transfers) is 3,000 euros. A limited number of bursaries – full (on site and travel costs) and partial (on-site only) - are available for selected participants from developing countries.

Excellent knowledge of English, university degree in a scientific subject such as Agriculture, Forestry, Biology or Geography, and relevant working experience on mountain development issues are indispensable prerequisites.

Those who are interested in participating can register online and upload their curriculum vitae as a Word or PDF file.  All applications received by 15 April will be considered by the IPROMO organizing committee and a notification will be sent out by the end of April to all applicants.

For more information, please contact:

Rosalaura Romeo, Forestry Officer

FAO

Via delle Terme di Caracalla

00153, Rome, Italy

E-mail: rosalaura.romeo@fao.org

www.ipromo-school.it/en/course.html

www.ipromo-school.it/en/course2010/courseprogramme2010.pdf (course schedule)

 

  1. 39.      Wilderness Society Scholarships

Source: Biological Conservation Newsletter, 1 March 2010

 

The Wilderness Society (TWS) is now accepting applications for the 2010 Gloria Barron Wilderness Society Scholarship. This US$10,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a graduate student in natural resources management, law or policy programs.

The scholarship seeks to encourage individuals who have the potential to make a significant positive difference in the long-term protection of wilderness in North America.

The award is made in support of research and preparation of a paper on an aspect of wilderness establishment, protection, or management. The work may apply to a particular landscape or it may address issues broadly.

TWS strongly encourages proposals relating to climate change, as well as other topics regarding wilderness conservation.

The application deadline is 31 March 2010.

For more information and application instructions, please contact:

Christine Soliva

Research Project Coordinator

Ecology and Economics Research Department

The Wilderness Society

E-mail: Barron_scholarship@tws.org

Website: http://wilderness.org/content/gloria-barron-scholarship-guidelines.

 

 

  1. 40.      World Forestry Institute International Fellowship Program

Source: IUFRO News, Volume 39, Issue 2, 2010

 

The World Forestry Institute Fellowship Program invites professionals in natural resources to conduct a practical research project at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, please contact:

World Forestry Institute Program

4033 SW Canyon Road

3 SW Canyon Road

Portland, Oregon 97221

USA

Tel: +1-503-488-2130

Fax:+1-503-228-4608

E-mail: swu@worldforestry.org

Website: http://wfi.worldforestry.org/index/international-fellowship.html 

 

 

  1. 41.      Full-time faculty appointment: Functional ecology of trees

Source: IUFRO News, Volume 39, Issue 2, 2010

 

The Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), Canada, is seeking a terrestrial ecologist to fill a tenure-track faculty position. This position is connected to the new National Science and Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Chair in tree growth control.

For more information, please visit: www.iufro.org/discover/noticeboard/#c14607

 

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

 

  1. 42.      Reclaiming citizenship: empowering civil society in policy-making

Source: IP Self-Determined Development, 2 March 2010

 

A multimedia publication launched today by the International Institute for Environment and Development, entitled “Reclaiming citizenship: empowering civil society in policy-making” calls for a new approach to policymaking that gives citizens a greater say in decisions that affect them.

"The failure of leadership at the Copenhagen climate change summit last December is just one example of a major crisis in environmental decision-making," says author Dr Michel Pimbert.

"Governments are proving ineffective custodians of the environment and human well being because their hands are tied by various interest groups that oppose changes that would benefit the majority of people. A more direct democracy is now needed for citizens to exercise their right to participate in decision-making and shape the future," he adds.

Pimbert's publication focuses on food and agriculture but is relevant to many other sectors of policymaking on environment and development.

It examines the institutions and approaches needed to invent a new form of politics that reflects the needs of groups who are most affected by social and environmental change but have so far been excluded from decision-making processes.

The e-book explores processes that can help reclaim active forms of citizenship —including learning from the rich history of face-to-face democracy, the importance of strengthening local organizations, building countervailing power from below and realizing the potential of community controlled media.

Pimbert argues that the issue of who decides food and agricultural policies is central to ending hunger and malnutrition. He praises FAO, which agreed recently to let farmers’ organizations have their say in framing food-security policies.

"For the first time in the history of the UN system, the FAO’s Committee on World Food Security has opened its doors to civil society," he says. "Other governmental and intergovernmental bodies must follow its lead, and heed the need for greater inclusion of farmers, community groups, indigenous people and other marginalized people."

"But strengthening the voices of the excluded will also increasingly depend on linking the local to the global through many of the participatory processes described in this multimedia publication," Pimbert adds.

For more information, please see: www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/G02612.pdf  

 

 

  1. 43.      The End of the Hinterland: Forests, Conflict and Climate Change

Source: IISD Linkages Update, 12 February 2010

 

This report takes stock of the current status of forest rights and tenure globally in light of the increased attention and investment in forests as they are integrated into global carbon markets and politics. The report assesses the key issues and trends of 2009, and identifies key questions and challenges that we will face in 2010.

“Forests have long been a hinterland: remote, ‘backward’ areas largely controlled by external, often urban, actors and seen to be of little use to national development or the world except as a supply of low-valued natural resources,” says the report.  “2009 marks the beginning of the end of this era: Forest lands are booming in value for the production of food, fuel, fiber and now carbon. New global satellite and communications technology allow the world to peer into, assess the value of, and potentially control forests from anywhere in the world. More than ever, forests are bargaining chips in global climate negotiations and markets.”

The report continues, “This unprecedented exposure and pressure, and risk to local people and their forests, is being met by unprecedented levels of local organization and political influence, providing nations and the world at large tremendous opportunity to right historic wrongs, advance rural development and save forests,” warning, “but the chaos in Copenhagen at COP15 laid bare the looming crises that the world will face if the longer-term trends of ignored rights, hunger, and climate change remain inadequately addressed in 2010.”

For full report, please see: www.rightsandresources.org/documents/files/doc_1400.pdf

 

 

 

  1. 44.      REDD Realities: How strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation could impact on biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples in developing countries

Source: CBD Redd-Plus and Biodiversity E-Newsletter, Volume 8, February 2010

REDD currently dominates the debate about forests and climate change. It is presented as a win-win situation; climate, forests, and people would all gain. But how does a theoretical success work out on the ground? In places where legislation on biodiversity is weak? Where safeguards to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples do hardly exist? The new report 'REDD Realities' explores this question. Nine member organizations of the Global Forest Coalition examined REDD strategies and activities in their countries.

For more information, please see: www.globalforestcoalition.org

 

 

  1. 45.      Other publications of interest

From:     FAO’s NWFP Programme

 

Bond, Ivan et al. 2009. Incentives to sustain forest ecosystem services: A review and lessons for REDD. Natural Resource Issues No. 16. UK: International Institute for Environment and Development. www.iied.org/pubs/pdfs/13555IIED.pdf

 

Costenbader, J. (ed.). 2009. Legal Frameworks for REDD – Design and Implementation at the National Level. IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper.  No. 77

This report includes case studies from Brazil, Cameroon, Guyana and Papua New Guinea, which serve as a basis for further analysis and recommendations for the development of laws and regulations for REDD. It identifies four main themes central to ensuring successful REDD legal regimes, and elaborates relevant legal and policy considerations with regard to each: ownership of land, forest and carbon; participation, balancing of rights and interests, and prior informed consent; benefit sharing; and additionality and permanence. One of the key messages of Chapter 2 on participation, authored by Elisa Morgera, is that national legislation should support the recognition of the internationally protected rights of local and indigenous communities as “public forest stewards” and holders of relevant traditional knowledge, and reward them through participation in REDD activities. To this end, national legislation should put in place specific procedures for culturally appropriate participation (consultation, prior informed consent) and benefit sharing.

http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/eplp_77.pdf

 

Guariguata, M.R.; Garcia-Fernandez, C.; Sheil, D.; Nasi, R.; Herrero-Jáuregui, C.; Cronkleton, P.; and Ingram, V. 2010. Compatibility of timber and non-timber forest product management in natural tropical forests: Perspectives, challenges, and opportunities. Forest Ecology and Management. 259(3): 237-245.

Abstract: Tropical forests could satisfy multiple demands for goods and services both for present and future generations. Yet integrated approaches to natural forest management remain elusive across the tropics. In this paper we examine one combination of uses: selective harvesting of timber and NTFP. We analyze the current status of this combination and speculate on prospects and challenges regarding: (i) resource inventory, (ii) ecology and silviculture, (iii) conflict in the use of multipurpose tree species, (iv) wildlife conservation and use, (v) tenure, and (vi) product certification. Our conclusions remain preliminary due to the relative paucity of published studies and lessons learned on what has worked and what has not in the context of integrated management for timber and NTFPs. We propose at least three ways where further research is merited. One, in improving ‘opportunistic’ situations driven by selective timber harvesting that also enhance NTFP values. Two, to explicitly enhance both timber and NTFP values through targeted management interventions. Three, to explicitly assess biophysical, social, regulatory and institutional aspects so that combined benefits are maximized. Interventions for enhancing the compatibility of timber and NTFP extraction must be scaled in relation to the size of the area being managed, applied timber harvesting intensities, and the dynamics of multiactor, forest partnerships (e.g., between the private sector and local communities). In addition, training and education issuesmay have to be re-crafted with multiple-usemanagement approaches inserted into tropical forestry curricula.

 

Herrmann, T.M and Torri, M.C. 2009. Changing forest conservation and management paradigms: traditional ecological knowledge systems and sustainable forestry: Perspectives from Chile and India. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology. 16( 6).

 

Honey-Roses, J., Lopez-Garcia, J., Rendon-Salinas, E., Peralta-Higuera, A., and Galindo-Leal, C. 2009. To pay or not to pay? Monitoring performance and enforcing conditionality when paying for forest conservation in Mexico. Environ. Conserv.. 36 (2): 120-128.

 

Kuhnlein, H., Erasmus, B., and Spigelski, D. 2009. Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health. FAO and the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and the Environment.

Food systems of Indigenous Peoples who retain connection to long-evolved cultures and patterns of living in local ecosystems present a treasure of knowledge that contributes to well-being and health, and can benefit all humankind. This book seeks to define and describe the diversity in food system use, nutrition and health in 12 rural case studies of Indigenous Peoples in different parts of the world as a window to global Indigenous Peoples’ circumstances.

 

Maffi, Luisa and Woodley, Ellen. 2010. Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook.UK: Earthscan.

Abstract: All of the world's cultures are utterly dependent upon the biodiversity among which they live. Each culture has developed ways of adapting to their biodiversity, drawing on nature for goods, services, inspiration, mythology, and much else besides. 'Biocultural Diversity Conservation' is a treasure trove of the many approaches that have been taken by the world's diverse cultures to maintain the biological systems upon which they depend. This invaluable resource will certainly find great utility in all parts of the world and among many disciplines.

 

McDougall, C et al. 2009. Facilitating Forests of Learning - Enabling an adaptive collaborative approach in community forest user groups. Indonesia: CIFOR.

 

Seeberg-Elverfeldt, C. 2010. Carbon Finance Possibilities for Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) Projects in a Smallholder Context. FAO, Rome, Italy.

This booklet aims to guide extension service advisors and institutions who work with small-scale farmers and foresters with an interest in carbon finance and carbon projects. Its aim is to support setting-up carbon projects which involve small-scale farmers. Their participation allows them to be involved in the development and implementation of the project, influence the design of the project to generate positive impacts for the farmers and increase their knowledge about carbon finance.

www.fao.org/forestry/foris/data/nrc/FAOCarbonFinanceBooklet.pdf

 

Tewari, D., and Mythili, G. 2009. Management of nontimber forest product resources of India: an analysis of forest development corporations. Journal of interdisciplinary economics. 21(1): 97-99.

 

Van Kuijk, M., Putz, F.E., and Zagt, R.J. 2009. Effects of Forest Certification on Biodiversity. Wagenigen: Tropenbos International. 

Abstract: One of the stated rationales for forest certification argues that forest management which follows set standards can protect biodiversity yet keep forests productive. This report reviews the conservation performance of certified forests over the past 15 years. It tentatively concludes that forest certification appears to benefit biodiversity, but that forest managers need to systematically collect biodiversity information in order for more accurate assessments to take place.

www.tropenbos.org/images/Tropenbos/publications_TBI/forest_certification/forest_certification_and_biodiversity.pdf

 

 

  1. 46.      Web sites and e-zines

From:     FAO’s NWFP Programme

 

CBD E-Newsletter

The aim of this e-Newsletter is to inform CBD National Focal Points and CBD partners about biodiversity aspects in relation to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus).

To subscribe, please visit: www.cbd.int/forest/redd/newsletters/

 

Southern Forests for the the future

The World Resources Institute has launched a website that maps forests in the southern United States, which produce more pulp for paper than any place on Earth. Using satellite imagery, GoogleEarth technology, and decades of forest data, the site depicts threats to the region’s forests including pest and pathogen outbreaks, wildfire, logging, and human development, the leading cause of deforestation in the South.

www.seesouthernforests.org

 

The National Biodiversity Indicators Portal

This new website provides guidance and examples to support the development and effective use of biodiversity indicators. These capacity building resources are the product of more than five years of experience by UNEP-WCMC and the 2010 BIP.

www.bipnational.net/

 

MISCELLANEOUS

 

  1. 47.      The Language of bees

Source: Environmental News Network, 24 February 2010

 

Bees communicate their floral findings in order to recruit other worker bees of the hive to forage in the same area. There are two main hypotheses to explain how foragers recruit other workers; the "waggle dance" theory and the "odor plume" theory. The dance language theory is far more widely accepted, and has far more empirical support.

Honeybees do not only waggle dance to tell hive mates the whereabouts of good eats, they also bump and beep to warn others when big trouble awaits at some of those floral diners according to a recent study.

In 1947, Karl von Frisch correlated the runs and turns of the dance to the distance and direction of the food source from the hive. The orientation of the dance correlates to the relative position of the sun to the food source, and the length of the waggle portion of the run is correlated to the distance from the hive. Also, the more vigorous the display is, the better the food.

There seem to be two types of dances: the circle for food less than 100 meters distant and the figure 8 for longer distances.

Now there is the discovery of the "stop" or warning signal as the first negative or "inhibitory" message ever found in bees.

Previously the only recognized messages were all about how good and where the nectar was at various locations relative to hive.

"Originally people called it a begging signal," said bee researcher James Nieh of the University of California at San Diego, regarding what was for 20 years considered a mysterious behavior. "It's usually produced by butting the head and giving a short beep" to another bee that is in the middle of providing information to the hive about a specific feeding site.

So Nieh and his assistants devised a series of experiments to simulate attacks by predatory crab spiders or by bees from competing colonies.

"In all causes we found yes, they all significantly increased 'stop' signals," Nieh confirmed.

His results are reported in the February. 23 issue of the journal Current Biology.

For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/41045

 

  1. 48.      Poison frog reveals secret of monogamy

Source: BBC, 22 February 2010

 

The first monogamous amphibian has been discovered living in the rainforest of South America. Genetic tests have revealed that male and females of one species of Peruvian poison frog remain utterly faithful.

More surprising is the discovery that just one thing - the size of the pools of water in which they lay their tadpoles - prevents the frogs straying. That constitutes the best evidence yet documented that monogamy can have a single cause, say scientists.

Details of the frog's sex life is to be published in the journal The American Naturalist.

 "This is the first discovery of a truly monogamous amphibian," says biologist Dr Jason Brown, then of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, who made the discovery with colleagues Dr Victor Morales and Professor Kyle Summers. The monogamous frog species Ranitomeya imitator, known as the mimic poison frog, is already known to science.

 After mating, a female mimic poison frog lays her eggs on the surface of leaves. The male frog then takes away the tadpoles that hatch, carrying them one by one on his back to pools of water which collect in bromeliad leaves high up in the branches of trees.

Each of half a dozen babies are put into their own tiny pool, which he then looks after.

When the tadpoles become hungry, the male calls to his female partner who arrives to lay a non-fertile egg in each pool, which the tadpole eats as food.

But while the male and female frogs appear to act in unison, new experiments have revealed the extent of their fidelity.

They sampled the DNA of many pairs of adult frogs, and the subsequent generations of tadpoles they produced.

Of 12 frog families, 11 had males and females that remained continually faithful to one another, together producing all their offspring.  In the twelfth family, a male frog mated with two females.

Overall, the researchers believe they have found convincing evidence of an evolutionary chain of causation: changing the breeding pool size forced the mimic poison frog to change its system of parental care, with males and females working together.  That then culminated in social and genetic monogamy.

For full story, please see:

www.amazonia.org.br/english/noticias/noticia.cfm?id=345640

 

 

  1. 49.      West Africa mangroves impacted by salt extraction

Source: Environmental News Network Daily Newsletter, 8 March 2010

 

Salt is precious in poverty-stricken coastal West Africa, but conservation experts say efforts to extract it are laying waste to mangrove swamps, causing erosion and ravaging fish stocks.

In Sierra Leone, one of Africa's poorest nations still recovering from a 1991-2002 civil war, lawmakers are preparing a bill to join a seven-nation charter to protect the region's mangrove forests.

Conservation group Wetlands International says the initiative is essential for West Africa to save the 800 000 hectares (2 million acres) of mangrove swamps it has left, less than a third of the 3 million hectares it started with.

The mangroves are falling prey to the artisanal salt industry because they are most readily available source of wood for fires used to boil up seawater and salt dust -- the preferred method of making salt.

Environmental groups are trying to encourage salt producers to use other methods, including solar drying, to reduce the strain on mangroves.

"If the mangroves disappear, fishing will be in crisis," said Wetlands' West Africa coordinator Richard Dacosta. "The saltwater tide will invade river estuaries and coastal areas. Local communities on the coast will have to move."

The region's mangrove forests also suck up thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide, and so could be a way for West Africa to get a foothold in the $136 billion carbon market.

For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/41077

 

 

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last updated:  Friday, May 4, 2012