No. 9/11

Welcome to FAO’s NWFP-Digest-L, a free e-mail journal that covers all aspects of non-wood forest products. Back issues of the Digest may be found on FAO's NWFP home page: www.fao.org/forestry/site/12980/en.

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A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information and to Giulia Muir for her help with this issue.
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2011 International Year of Forests
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
www.un.org/en/events/iyof2011/ or www.fao.org/forestry/en
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IN THIS ISSUE:

PRODUCTS

COUNTRY INFORMATION

NEWS

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

EVENTS

REQUESTS

LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

MISCELLANEOUS

 

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PRODUCTS

  • Berries: Go for Goji

Source: www.indianexpress.com, 2 July 2011

An overwhelming body of research has now firmly established that dietary intake of berry fruits has a profound impact on human health and disease prevention. As a result, there has been a surge in the consumption of “berry type” fruits such as pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, Leh berry (Seabuckthorn), gojiberries and several others.
While most of these are well-known, gojiberries (Lycium barbarum and L. Chinense) known as wolfberries, are native to South East Europe and Asia. In China, “Goji” is part of traditional medicine and has been known in other Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Republic of Korea and Japan, for more than 2000 years. The popularity of goji berries has grown globally since the early 21st century, owing to its nutritive value and anti-oxidant content. It has been termed a “super-fruit”, which has led to its use in several food products.
Traditional Chinese medicine makes use of the root, bark, leaves, flowers and fruit of the plant. Dried goji berries are traditionally cooked before consumption. They are added to rice conjee, jellies and Chinese soups, and boiled as herbal teas. Goji berries are also used in wine production along with grapes.
For full story, please see: www.indianexpress.com/news/Go-for-Goji/811720/

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  • Bushmeat in Central Africa: The £45 million illegal bushmeat trade

Source: www.wildlifeextra.com, 27 June 2011

A growing and lucrative illegal international commercial trade in bushmeat — the meat and other parts of wild mammals, birds and reptiles — is causing widespread loss of biodiversity, imperilling the livelihoods of communities around the world, and destabilizing fragile tropical forest ecosystems, leading to “empty forest syndrome”, concluded international experts who met earlier this month in Nairobi, Kenya.
According to the experts, the growing domestic trade in bushmeat between rural areas and urban markets is increasingly threatening food security, especially in Central Africa.
In the Congo Basin, for example, increasing population and trade from rural to urban areas compounded with the lack of any sizeable domestic meat sector are the main causes of unsustainable levels of hunting.
“‘We see legitimate subsistence hunting being replaced by commercial hunting and trade of often endangered species in tropical forests, including elephants and primates,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
National economies and governments also lose significant revenue if wildlife resources are managed poorly. For example, in the Central African Republic, the unregulated bushmeat trade is worth an estimated £45 million/year.
John Scanlon, secretary-general to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), said: “Tackling the impact of unsustainable and illegal trade in bushmeat is critical for protecting the livelihoods of rural people and conserving wildlife in biodiversity-rich areas.”
Roland Melisch, TRAFFIC's senior director for Africa and Europe noted: “TRAFFIC has been at the forefront of efforts to address the current unsustainable trade in wild-sourced meat, and has, with the Central African Forest Commission COMIFAC, developed a monitoring system to enable the bushmeat trade to be better managed in the Central African region, as well as ‘bushmeat’ initiatives elsewhere in Africa and in South America that helped improve the food security of rural human populations.”
In 2008, TRAFFIC also recommended the decriminalization and open management of the wild meat resources for refugee populations living in Tanzania.
For full story, please see: www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/bushmeat-africa2011.html#cr

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  • Bushmeat: Commercial logging drives appetite for Africa’s wildlife

Source: CIFOR, 15 June 2011

Commercial logging in countries of the Congo Basin, one of the world’s few remaining tropical rainforest regions, has come under heavy criticism for its role in fuelling the illegal trade in bushmeat and elephant ivory.
Timber extraction is the most widespread industry in the Congo Basin where timber concessions occupy between 30 and 45 percent of all remaining tropical forests and more than 70 percent in some countries.
Doug Cress of the Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP) of UNEP insists there is no room to make exceptions for hunting in the case of the great apes and other primates and blamed logging for much of the onslaught. “If all bushmeat hunting took place in a traditional setting, that would be different. But now there are gangs with AK-47s and logging and mining companies that are coming in bringing entire cities with them that need to be fed. Some people are given guns and bullets to go out and shoot meat to feed the crews, and they shoot the easiest animals to find — the apes and chimpanzees. When one of them goes down, the others come running to help, and they are easy to shoot,” he said. “For us, law enforcement is key, but the law is not enforced.”
Dr. Heather Eves, a wildlife biologist and member of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, points to the irony that while logging companies have created much-needed infrastructure —particularly roads — at the same time they have been “the main drivers of the extremely rapid increase in bushmeat trade and consumption over the past 15 to 20 years.”
But Dr. Robert Nasi, a director at CIFOR, is concerned that criticism of logging and calls to rein in its excesses ignore the serious moves by some loggers to adopt best practices and foster conservation of both timber and wild animals. “You cannot paint all of them with the same brush. If we want them to work towards the goals of sustaining both forests and wildlife, we have to identify the ones who have adopted best practices and try to encourage others to follow their example,” he said.
MENTOR-FOREST, a program sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, aims to build a multi-disciplinary team of 10 Central African forest resource professionals to improve on current forestry practices, identify new forest stewardship strategies, mitigate impacts to wildlife and enhance the sustainable management of forests, according to Nancy B. Gelman of the USFWS Wildlife Without Borders program.
She said the program will train the fellows in improving management in production forests through reduced impact logging (RIL) and private sector partnerships for conservation, designing and implementing innovative pilot forestry programs, reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation and addressing emerging diseases associated with non-sustainable forest stewardship. They will also study forest ecology, biodiversity monitoring and wildlife management and project management. She added that the program was designed to address the shortage of information for decision makers to act on, the lack of innovative models that link development and conservation strategies and the low capacity of local institutions of higher learning and governments to study and manage forests.
For full story, please see: http://blog.cifor.org/3186/commercial-logging-drives-appetite-for-africas-wildlife/

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  • Bushmeat: Consensus to bushmeat conundrum lies somewhere near the middle

Source: CIFOR, 10 June 2011

Finding consensus to one of the greatest threats to biodiversity — the exploitation of wild animals for food — drew both determined protectors of endangered wildlife and passionate defenders of the right of indigenous people to live by hunting to a stone-walled conference room in Nairobi this month for the joint meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Liaison Group on Bushmeat and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Central Africa Bushmeat Working Group.
There were times before agreement was reached in 2008 by the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity that something had to be done about the unsustainable hunting of bushmeat when the distance between the protectors and the defenders seemed vast. But the realization by those involved that beefed-up law enforcement alone is not the solution and that time is running out for both apes and hunters has widened the space in the middle.
“I think in the last few years there has been less of a divide in the group because there is growing realization that repressive law enforcement is not the way to go, and that finding sustainable livelihoods outside their environment for people who rely on bushmeat is also difficult,” said Nathalie Van Vliet, a researcher and consultant to the Secretariat of the CBD, whose Bushmeat Liaison Group is one of the two conveners of the joint experts meeting.
For full story, please see: http://blog.cifor.org/3131/consensus-to-bushmeat-conundrum-lies-somewhere-near-the-fuzzy-middle/

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  • Cork campaign counts successes during its first year

Source: The Sacramento Bee (USA), 8 July 2011

100% Cork — the campaign to educate U.S. wine consumers about the benefits of choosing wine with real cork stoppers because of cork's environmental, technical and societal advantages — today announced that its campaign has achieved a number of significant milestones during its first year.
The campaign's Facebook page has surpassed 50 000 fans to become one of the top wine-related social media communities. Coverage of the 100% Cork campaign by the media has exceeded 60 million in circulation. Videos produced by the campaign have been viewed by approximately 200 000 people.
"We are gratified that the story of cork is resonating so strongly with wine drinkers," said Peter Weber, Executive Director of the Cork Quality Council. "We have created an authentic and lasting dialogue about what it means to actively choose wine with a closure made from a sustainable, natural product like cork compared to a closure derived from either plastic or aluminium."
"It is clearer than ever that U.S. wine drinkers overwhelmingly prefer wines sealed with cork," Weber said. "Cork remains synonymous with quality wine and is the ideal closure for the presentation and preservation of wine. Moreover, consumers are even more inclined to choose wines with cork when they understand its environmental benefits."
Cork is derived from the bark of cork oak trees that are never cut down and which form vast forests in the Mediterranean Basin. Contrary to popular belief, there is no shortage of cork, and the production of cork does not harm the oak trees. In fact, the use of cork provides an incentive to plant and maintain the trees, which every year offset the carbon produced by 2.5 million cars and provide habitat for 25 000 plant and animal species.
As well as being sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable, cork requires far less energy to produce than artificial wine closures: Plastic stoppers and metal screw caps produce 10-24 times more greenhouse gases, respectively, and consume as much as five times more non-renewable energy than real cork over their life-cycles, according to a peer-reviewed study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The WWF has called the use of plastic and metal wine closures a "major threat" to Mediterranean cork oak forests because their use undermines demand for cork.
For full story, please see: www.sacbee.com/2011/07/07/3753102/100-cork-campaign-reaches-millions.html

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  • Cork: Sommeliers put a lid on cork versus screwcap debate

Source: The Independent (UK), 11 May 2011

A group of professional sommeliers is hoping to put a cork in the use of alternative wine closures. The oldest professional wine teaching institution in the US, The Sommelier Society of America, issued a joint statement with 100% Cork, an educational campaign endorsing the use of natural cork over synthetic closures and screw tops earlier this year.
"Natural cork plays such a distinctive role in the preservation and presentation of wine," said Robert Moody, society chairman. In addition to preserving wine and acting as a durable, reliable seal, natural cork allows "just the right amount of oxygen" to mix with wine so that it ages properly, Moody said.
It is also the more sustainable choice, points out the WWF, an outspoken advocate against plastic and synthetic wine closures. The conservation group has warned that the shift away from the use of natural cork is endangering cork forests in the Mediterranean, as farmers are forced to abandon their crops and uproot trees. The age-old practice is sustainable as no trees are cut down and the bark of the cork renews itself. The loss of cork forests also threatens the loss of endangered species like the Iberian lynx and Iberian imperial eagle, says WWF.
The move away from natural cork was in response to “cork taint,” a mouldy taste and smell that was blamed on natural cork.
For full story, please see: www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/sommeliers-put-a-lid-on-cork-versus-screwcap-debate-2282557.html

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  • Edible insects as a food source

Source: Smithsonian Magazine (Washington D.C., US), 28 June 2011

Earlier this month, an ice cream shop in Columbia, Missouri (USA) decided to take advantage of the summertime resurgence of cicadas. Employees caught the critters in their backyards, boiled them, coated them in brown sugar and milk chocolate and then added them to a batch of ice cream. The insects are perfectly safe to eat and enough ice cream connoisseurs were unfazed by the “ick” factor of eating bugs that the batch quickly sold out. However, because there are no regulations regarding the preparation of cicadas for mass consumption, the health department stepped in and asked that the store discontinue that particular flavour.
Creepy crawly cuisine may be way off the average person’s radar, but entomophagy —the Latin term for eating insects — is beginning to gain attention in the Western Hemisphere.
The practice of eating bugs dates back millennia. In scripture (the book of Leviticus) insects are cited as food sources in ancient diets. In present-day cultures, bugs have gone so far as to attain delicacy status — be it the fried caterpillars served in Africa, grasshoppers with soy sauce in Japan or water boatman eggs in Mexico city, which apparently have a caviar-like flavor and can cost more than beef. Even some of Washington, D.C.’s upscale dining spots offer exotic spins on familiar foods, such as tacos stuffed with grasshoppers.
But why even look to bugs as a food source? First off, certain bugs, such as caterpillars, have a protein content that is comparable to beef. Second, farm-raising bugs is a big energy saver. Raising livestock is problematic because of the amount of energy required to create those neatly packaged cutlets at your local grocery store. Large chunks of land are set aside to produce feed and for the animals to live and breed, not to mention the fossil fuels needed to transport animals from farm to slaughterhouse and then to market. And, at least with the beef industry, cattle produce more greenhouse gases than cars, contributing to global warming.
Then there is the matter of the resources it takes to fatten up an animal until it’s ready for the table. When the Wall Street Journal broke down the numbers, the same 10 lbs of feed used to produce 1 lb of beef or 5 lbs of chicken could also yield up to six lbs of insect meat. Furthermore, certain bugs are fortified with fats and vitamins that could help fend of malnutrition and starvation.
For full story, please see: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2011/06/ready-for-june-28insects-as-a-food-source/

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  • Rattan: Growing in popularity in Vietnam

Source: Vietnam News, 6 July 2011

Twenty-six members of ethnic minority communities from Thanh My Town in the central province of Quang Nam finished the first 10-day rattan products making course funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) today.
The course, held in the province's Nam Phuoc Town, is a part of the WWF Sustainable Rattan Project, which has been implemented since 2007. The project aims to make at least 50 percent of rattan processing in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam sustainable by 2015, leading to environmental improvements, strengthened competitiveness, poverty alleviation and other national economic benefits.
The action focuses on the three neighbouring countries as the Indochina region is rich in rattan resources, with more than 50 species. This forms the basis for a growing rattan processing industry, particularly in Vietnam, which has recorded an average increase of more than 30 percent per year in rattan product exports.
The growing international and domestic market demand for rattan products, combined with uncontrolled and unsustainable harvesting practices, has led to overexploitation of the rattan resources and forest degradation.
The rattan processing industry is falling short of minimum, internationally accepted production standards and market requirements, resulting in environmental pollution, health risks for workers and less competitiveness in the global marketplace.
Poor ethnic minority communities in rural Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia heavily rely on rattan as an income source. Rattan sales account for up to 50 percent of cash income for many villages.
The WWF, which said six more courses would be held soon, said in a statement that strengthening the villagers' role as rattan pre-processors/traders in the value chain would result in more benefits and better livelihood security for them.
"The specific objective is that by end of the action, at least 40 percent of all targeted SMEs in the supply chain are actively engaged in cleaner production of rattan products in Vietnam and at least 15 percent of targeted processing SMEs are providing sustainable products to European and other markets," the statement said. This would deliver a "measurable improvement of this sector's environmental performance," it added.
In Vietnam the rattan sector employs up to 400 000 people. Although Vietnam is an important exporter of finished rattan products with 58.5 percent of its total production going to the EU in 2005, the rattan sector cannot yet compete with other rattan manufacturing countries such as China, Indonesia and Philippines.
For full story, please see: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Social-Isssues/213032/Rattan-craft-grows-in-popularity.html

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  • Shea butter: How moisture involves big money and exploitation

Source: The Atlanta Post (USA), 6 July 2011

Shea butter is coveted by global cosmetic companies for its amazing moisturizing properties. As an increasingly sought after ingredient in everything from soothing and nourishing hair and skin care products to lip balms and exfoliating creams — the benefits of shea butter are in high demand across the globe.
The connotation of shea butter however is drastically different among the women of sub-Saharan Africa who harvest the nut of the karite tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), from which shea butter originates. They are among the 1.2 billion people that live in extreme poverty. To them shea butter is deemed as “Women’s Gold” for the few extra dollars its yield affords. For in this region it is the women who manually collect, sort, crush, roast, grind, separate the oils from the butter and shape the finished product. It is all done during the scorching late spring early summer arid heat of the savannah. All done with the majority sold at “so-called” fair trade prices.
Processing of shea nuts often takes place within local cooperatives where between 100 to 800 women work every season. Cooperatives are mainly operated by NGOs or are small local businesses. The women employed via the cooperative either sell the nuts they collected from the communal lands where the karite tree grows or they process them into unrefined shea butter. It takes 3 kg of shea nuts to create 1 kg of shea butter.
Shea processing takes two routes. The raw nuts are sold to Asian oil companies in bulk who extract, refine and sell the oil to Europe for cosmetic purposes. Alternatively the shea butter is locally processed, certified organic, graded for purity then pushed onto the world market by upper level distributors. In both scenarios a hefty markup is added with none of the profits trickling down.
Dr. Samuel Hunter of the American Shea Butter Institute says some NGOs “claim that they are in the villages to help the people when in actuality their application of fair trade versus a living wage is often the biggest enabler of poverty for the women throughout this region.”
The money generated from shea butter production is desperately needed. It pays for food, clothing, children’s school fees and the like; therefore fair trade compensation equates survival.
But have no doubt, the women recognize, based on its many uses throughout the generations, that shea butter is a precious substance. They, as Dr. Hunter stressed, just lack the resources to produce a superior product on their own that can be traded on the world market.
For full story, please see: http://atlantapost.com/2011/07/06/the-shea-butter-economy-how-moisture-involves-big-money-and-exploitation/

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  • Shea butter: Empowering Nigerian Women via shea butter production

Source: The Nigerian Observer, 7 July 2011

“I have five children and I am training them with the proceeds I make through the sales of shea butter,’’ says Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim, Leader of the ENA-Ekokpara Shea Butter Cooperative Association in Assanyi, Katcha Local Government Area of Niger State, Nigeria.
“If the government provides modern Shea butter-processing equipment for us, it will go a long way in reducing the backbreaking efforts we put in to produce the butter. We will also be able to make extra money,’’ she adds.
Ibrahim is one of several women who solicit improved shea butter production in the country because of the myriad economic benefits that can be derived from the venture.
Shea butter, an abridged form of “sheanut butter’’, is a kind of margarine extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, popularly called The Karite Tree (The Tree of Life) because of its numerous therapeutic properties. The tree is native to Africa, and in the dry savannah belt of West Africa, the tree is found growing wild. In the Northern parts of Nigeria, shea butter is referred to as Kadanya and in many areas in the south, it is commonly known as Ori.
In Nigeria, shea butter can be procured across the country at very cheap, affordable rates and it is widely used by women for hair and skin treatment. Shea butter is renowned for its moisturising properties; it is also considered to be an effective anti-inflammation cream, which also promotes rapid healing for burns. Shea butter is even believed to be edible, as some people use it for cooking.
Mr. Thompson Ogunsanmi, the Programme Officer (for shea butter production) of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), maintains that Nigeria has the potential to supply the entire world with adequate shea butter for the people’s various needs.
He says that 22 out of the 27 local government areas of Niger State have shea trees in abundance, adding, however, that shea butter production is largely misconstrued to be a women’s occupation in the communities.
“For the communities, everything about shea butter is about women; starting from its name, the process of picking shea nuts to their crushing — all is perceived as women’s work. Shea butter can generate a lot of income for the people but there is a growing need to empower the women traders through educational schemes about the product to enable them to make proper investment decisions,” he adds. “
While efforts are on the rise to modernize shea butter-processing processes in some parts of the country, courtesy of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Government should look into how to establish small training centres to train these women and improve their skills in shea butter production., says Ogunsanmi.
For full story, please see: http://nigerianobservernews.com/07072011/features/features2.html

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  • Stevia rebaudiana: EU members approve stevia sweeteners for food use

Source: Reuters, 5 July 2011

Natural sweeteners derived from the stevia plant could be authorized for EU-wide use by the end of the year, after governments approved their sale in certain foodstuffs, the EU’s executive said on Tuesday.
Concern over rising levels of obesity and diabetes has spurred the development of new sweeteners, and food consultancy Zenith International expects the global market for stevia-derived products to reach US$825 million by 2014.
"The text will now be subject to the scrutiny of the European Parliament. At the end of the procedure, steviol glucoside could be authorized in the EU by the end of the year," the European Commission said in a statement.
The Commission proposed a cut in the maximum usage levels for steviol glycosides requested by manufacturers, after a safety evaluation found that they could exceed the "acceptable daily intake" level of 4 mg/kg of body weight.
Zero-calorie steviol glycosides, which are between 40 and 300 times sweeter than sucrose, are derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant — also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf — native  to Central and South America.
For full story, please see: www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/05/eu-sweetener-idUSLDE76418V20110705

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  • Wildlife: Good news for orangutan and pygmy elephants in the Heart of Borneo

Source: WWF News, 28 June 2011

Orangutan and Pygmy Elephant survival in the Heart of Borneo has received a major boost with the certification of nearly 300 000 ha of important habitat in the forest reserves of Ulu Segama-Malua and Tangkulap-Pinangah, in the Malaysian state of Sabah, Borneo.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sites are considered to have the highest density in the world of orangutan sub-species, Pongo pygmaeus morio, and the Borneo pygmy elephant. The area also includes the 34 000 ha Malua Biobank, an innovative public-private financial partnership pioneered by the Sabah government and its Forestry Department that brings business investment into conservation management.
FSC certification is considered the most credible global sustainable forest management standard that harnesses social and environmental as well as economic benefits.
The announcement was made on 28 June, as part of the largest ever tri-annual FSC General Assembly, held for the first time in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Sabah’s Forestry Department (SFD) has been recognized by WWF as a leader in the pursuit of sustainable forestry in the Heart of Borneo and has imposed a deadline of 2014 for certification of all forestry concessions in the state. SFD director, Datuk Sam Mannan, said the announcement quadrupled the area of land under FSC certification in Sabah and he hoped it would encourage other concession holders to pursue certification based on an internationally recognized standard such as the FSC, before its 2014 deadline.
WWF’s Heart of Borneo Leader, Adam Tomasek stressed the importance of this announcement from a global perspective. “This is a living example of how government, business and WWF can work together to make forests worth more standing than cut down. It is also one of the key foundations in the development of a Green Economy for the Heart of Borneo — a concept which is gaining increasing relevance and support internationally,” he said.
Forest certification is increasingly being considered one of the most viable conservation strategies not only because it prohibits illegal deforestation, but because it assures the protection of endangered wildlife, encourages sustainable forest management and enhances the livelihoods of local communities.
For full story, please see: http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?200807/Good-news-for-orang-utan-and-pygmy-elephants-in-the-Heart-of-Borneo

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  • Wildlife: China starts counting its pandas

Source: The Telegraph (UK), 28 June 2011

For 10 days, up to 70 trackers will root and forage through the trees and bamboo thickets of the Wanglang nature reserve, a key corridor through the Min mountains and one of the last six isolated forests where giant pandas remain.
Pandas are solitary, reclusive and difficult to follow across the steep mountain range, whose highest peak soars up to 24 000 ft. Instead, the trackers will hunt out panda droppings.
Each panda is thought to defecate up to 40 times/day, leaving its own individual trail behind it which scientists can identify by running a DNA test. The census should not only provide an accurate figure for the panda population, but also determine the average age of the population and how its habitat is changing.
"This is the fourth census since the survey was launched in the 1970s," said Yang Xuyu, an official in the provincial forestry bureau. He added that the survey would begin in Wanglang and then spread nationwide.
The previous census, in 2001, counted 1 596 wild pandas in China, although some scientists have since estimated the number to be as high as 3 000. The Min mountains are also home to leopards, Yunnan golden monkeys and the rare, goatlike, Takin.
For full story, please see: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8602358/China-starts-counting-its-pandas.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

  • Afghanistan’s wildlife is surviving conflict

Source: www.wildlifeextra.com, 4 July 2011

Afghanistan's wildlife is surviving years of conflict, according to a new survey. Asiatic black bears, bray wolves, markhor goats and leopard cats are all continuing to survive despite deforestation, habitat degradation, and decades of unrest.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) team used camera-traps, transect surveys, and DNA identification of scat samples in the first wildlife update in the conflict-plagued eastern province of Nuristan since 1977.
The surveys, conducted between 2006 and 2009, covered an area of 1 100 km², confirmed the presence of several important species in the region's montane deciduous and coniferous forests, including the first documented sighting of the common palm civet in Afghanistan.
“This ongoing work in Afghanistan by WCS, supported by USAID, ensures the protection of wildlife and has a long-term positive effect on local communities,” said Steven Sanderson, WCS President and CEO. “The surveys confirm the presence of globally important species in the area, despite indications of habitat loss and uncontrolled hunting. This highlights the need for targeted conservation programs to protect forest resources — including wildlife — that provide livelihoods for people. Sustainable natural resource management, including teaching new skills and building governance structures in local communities, can help stabilize the region, which has the effect of improving US national security.”
WCS has had a full-time presence in Afghanistan since 2006 and continues to be the only conservation NGO operating there. WCS works on community conservation, conservation education, institution building, training, capacity building, and wildlife trade issues.
Kara Stevens, lead author of the study, said: “Afghanistan's environment — like the Afghan people — has shown incredible resilience in the face of decades of instability. However, future support is necessary to ensure that communities can sustainably manage these resources for generations to come.'
The authors of the study noted that opportunities for implementing wildlife conservation measures in Afghanistan are limited due to security challenges. While the remoteness of Nuristan province provides some protection for wildlife, the effects of 30 years without effective management practices to limit unregulated logging and hunting mean that forests and wildlife are very much at risk.
For full story, please see: www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/afghanistan-wildlife.html

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  • Brazil: A tale of two economies in the Amazon

Source: Pavan Sukhdev (founder and CEO of GIST Advisory) in The Guardian (UK), 28 June 2011

This single Amazon river system empties one-fifth of all the freshwater that flows into the world's oceans. If the Earth had lungs, they would be the Amazon rainforest. And if it had pulmonary arteries, they would be the Amazon and its many tributaries and branches.
Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state in Brazil, is located at the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Amazon. From Manaus, it takes six hours by boat to Tumbira, a small village with a school, a church, and a football field (the three institutions of rural Brazil). Tumbira is also home to the field centre of the Amazon Sustainability Foundation (FAS). The Amazon is over 1km wide here, but above and beyond the visible river system is another, gigantic, invisible, "river" system. An estimated 20bn tonnes of water vapour is released every day by the Amazon rainforests. Animated satellite pictures show a constant global flow of airborne water vapour from the Amazon along the tropics, which scientists say is a source of rainfall not just for South America, but the world.
Both these river systems are at risk. A parliamentary amendment to the forest code is thought to have led to a rise in deforestation, and a spate of recent murders of environmental activists and small farmers has shocked the world.
At the FAS centre in Tumbira, Professor Virgilio Viana and his colleagues are running a state-wide scheme called Bolsa Floresta (forest fund). The idea is to sign up and reward forest dwelling communities for responsible, sustainable use of the rainforest. It is a large, privately funded "Payments for Ecosystem Services" (PES) scheme, which provides the average participating family with BRL 1 360 (about US$850) of value every year. Nearly half of that is a monthly cash payment to housewives, another part goes to promote sustainable harvesting for forest products — Brazil nut being the best known, and part is spent on health and education for local communities. A small amount is spent on building rudimentary business infrastructures so that forest communities can profit from sustainable business.
So far over 8 000 families have benefited from this forest fund. It can and should be scaled up. This is the forest economy of the Amazon — sustainable, growing, promising. But it is threatened by the faltering city economy of Manaus, which may see industry invading Amazon rainforest.
Housing over 2 million of the 3.5 million citizens of Amazonas state, Manaus has long depended on its Free Trade Zone. However, this may lose steam as its benefits are gradually reduced or are matched by other states. Declining opportunities and competing subsidies may move money and entrepreneurship back to the old ways, seeking resource-extracting profits and jobs. The cost of such a reversal would be huge — to Amazonas, Brazil and to the world. Keeping the city economy of Manaus as dynamic and diverse as possible has to be a priority.
The local and national government need to build pools of human capital in Manaus to create competitive critical mass in different business areas. Employment follows investment, and investing in new avenues is recommended — including bio-technology, REDD+ development, freshwater PES development, forestry management, and technologies to better harvest, process and package sustainable forest produce to capture more of the value-chain of these foods locally. These are the avenues in which public investment, incentives and tax breaks should now be targeted.
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/blog/amazon-rainforest-economy-resource-extraction

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  • Brazil: Prominent scientists condemn proposed changes to Brazil's Forest Code

Source: www.mongabay.com, 7 July 2011

In a resolution issued this week, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world's largest scientific organization devoted to the study, protection, and sustainable use of tropical ecosystems, warned that the Forest Code reform bill which recently passed Brazil's lower house of Congress could reverse progress in reducing deforestation and undermine the country's standing as a global leader on environmental policy.
"The ATBC is deeply worried about the proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code," said William F. Laurance, former president of ATBC and a current professor at James Cook University in Australia. "Amendments to the Code, which are moving through Brazil's Congress, would both weaken key aspects of the Code and grant a sweeping amnesty for many of those who have illegally cleared or colonized forested lands in the past."
"We urge Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to veto the bill if it reaches her desk, as appears likely. The amended Code would be a serious blow to Brazil's efforts to limit deforestation in the Amazon and elsewhere in Brazil. And by promoting forest loss and greenhouse gas emissions it could also contribute substantially to global warming."
The resolution notes that productivity gains on the 330 million ha of land currently occupied by rural activities could substantially boost agricultural output and income without needing to clear more native ecosystems. It highlights low productivity cattle ranching as a particularly ripe opportunity for improvement.
ATBC is therefore urging the Brazilian government "to postpone the approval of a decision regarding the amendments to the Brazilian Forest Code (1.876/99) recently passed by the National Congress until a science based assessment of the ecological impacts of the proposed modifications and their alternatives has been completed."
Laurance adds that if the bill is approved as is, it would be "a giant step backward for Brazil" which is increasingly seen as a progressive voice on sustainable development and the environment.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0706-atbc_forest_code.html

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  • Canada: NTFP Inventory in British Columbia wraps up

Source: Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology (Royal Roads University, Canada), 1 July 2011 

A series of projects exploring NTFP inventory wrapped up in 2010-11 with the final year of the Forest Investment Account-Forest Science Program (FIA-FSP) project, “Impact of Accelerated Timber Harvesting on NTFPs in Burns Lake Community Forest”. The various projects focused on developing approaches to incorporate productivity aspects of NTFP species into conventional inventories, and to develop initial predictions of habitat attributes required for high productivity in central B.C. In this final year, results from all of the projects were combined in order to strengthen results.
The Executive Summary provides a background, and the results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. In the spring of 2012 the full report will be available through both the CLE website and the FIA-FSP project repository within the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations library.
For full summary, please see: http://cle.royalroads.ca/node/251

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  • Japan: Sustainable sourcing sought for wild plant industry

Source: TRAFFIC, 23 June 2011

TRAFFIC has launched a new project to promote sustainable production and consumption of wild medicinal and aromatic plants traditionally used in Japan.
“Wild plants are hugely important in Japanese culture for a variety of purposes, including traditional ‘Kampo’ medicine, as traditional ‘Kodo’ incense, in cosmetics and as ornaments, and more recently they have been imported as ingredients in herbal teas and as cooking spices,” said Kahoru Kanari of TRAFFIC East Asia’s office in Japan.
“As environmental awareness and the demand for a healthy lifestyle grow among Japanese consumers, it is now more important than ever to promote sustainable use of these resources.”
The new project, Saving Asian medicinal and aromatic plant species through involvement of the Japanese private sector, will help Japanese companies to introduce responsible production and sourcing practices for wild plant ingredients. At the same time, consumers will be encouraged to seek sustainably-sourced products.
According to The State of Wildlife Trade in Japan, a TRAFFIC report, in 2007 Japan was the fourth largest importer (in terms of value) of medicinal and aromatic plants used in the pharmaceutical industry — some US$118 million.
“Worldwide, many wild plant species are threatened through over-exploitation, and Japan is a major consumer of wild plant resources,” said Anastasiya Timoshyna, TRAFFIC’s programme leader for medicinal and aromatic plants. “A long-term commitment by Japanese industry to adopt sustainable sourcing practices would have a significant impact on the conservation of medicinal plants in the wild.”
The project will encourage implementation of the international best practices for sustainable plant harvesting laid down in the FairWild Standard, and is supported by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF) as part of TRAFFIC’s work on medicinal and aromatic plants.
For more information, please see:
www.traffic.org/home/2011/6/23/sustainable-sourcing-sought-for-wild-plant-industry-in-japan.html

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  • Kenya: Using barcodes to gather evidence to combat illegal trade

Source: CIFOR, 13 June 2011

For generations the people of East Africa lived among wild animals but did not depend on them for food or livelihood; they either raised livestock or traded to obtain it. Unlike the peoples of the forests to the west whose major source of protein is wild animals, they lived mainly on the savannah, leaving the forests to the animals.
But a century and millions more people later, in Kenya, meat from wild animals —whose ranks were already thinned through sport hunting, poaching and inefficient game ranching — are being hunted and sold, illegally, for food.
Kenya, which banned sport hunting in 1977, relies heavily on tourism to game parks as a major source of foreign exchange earnings. But small-scale farmers resent the game that often eats their crops but which they cannot eat. And as population pressure grows, and the cost of living rises, illegal bushmeat becomes increasingly attractive to hunters, rural and urban dwellers, and foreign-run cartels that ship it out of the country.
The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is already stretched thin protecting the elephants and big cats that draw the tourists. But even when they do manage to apprehend hunters and dealers in bushmeat, it is nearly impossible to obtain a conviction without irrefutable evidence.
“KWS has been getting increasingly frustrated. It is just their word against the suspects who often claim they were only selling goat meat,” Iregi Mwenja, Kenya Country Director of the Born Free Foundation said.
But now Mwenja says DNA technology is being used to create barcodes from genetic material to facilitate the positive identification of wild meat — and ivory — using a data base made of samples of meat, hair or bone collected from a wide variety of animals in the region.
“The direct cause of wildlife decline is illegal hunting due to increasing population,” he said.
Born Free and KWS recently carried out a study in butcher shops along a 200 km stretch of Kenya’s main highway that runs from Nairobi to the Indian Ocean, and through the use of the barcodes they found that between 5 and 8 percent of the meat on sale was bushmeat.
The International Barcode of Life project and the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada are sponsoring the data banks, and Kenya is supplying samples from its wildlife. Mwenja said the identification is so precise that it is possible to determine from which area and herd the animals came.
For full story, please see: http://blog.cifor.org/3142/kenyans-use-barcodes-to-gather-evidence-to-combat-trade-in-illegal-bushmeat/

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  • Nigeria: The thriving bushmeat trade

Source: Independent Nigeria Online, 29 June 2011

Bushmeat trade is a thriving business in Nigeria. Increase in population has also led to higher demands for survival and bushmeat holds a lot of hope for a majority of Nigerians who see it as viable means of food and economic survival. Financial limitations also make it difficult for enforcement officers to achieve tangible results.
Hunting and selling of bushmeat has often been seen in the villages as avenues of augmenting income from farming. Some bushmeat species include red duikers (antelopes), panthers , chimpanzees , gorillas and African elephants, Africa rock pythons (snakes), Monitor lizards, Olive ridley turtles, crested porcupines ,bush tailed porcupines, African elephants, bonobos, chimpanzees, Olive baboons, Guereza ,monkeys, giant pandolins, crocodiles, African Civets, Red River hogs, Water Chevrotans, Hippopotamus, etc.
These animals have often served as a source of protein or income for many.
But the bushmeat trade is not restricted to villages alone; it strives even in the cities. The bushmeat trade is particularly rife in the city of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria. Trade in wild animals in Lagos is not restricted to sale of parts in the markets; there are several restaurants where they are sold as delicacies.
For full story, please see: www.independentngonline.com/DailyIndependent/Article.aspx?id=36382

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  • Papa New Guinea: Unique pig-nosed turtle is over-harvested

Source: BBC, 8 July 2011

Numbers of pig-nosed turtles have declined steeply over the past 30 years, researchers have discovered. The unique reptile has become an international conservation icon, due to it having no close relatives and being considered the turtle most adapted to life underwater in freshwater ponds and rivers.
Yet demand for its eggs and meat in Papua New Guinea, one of the turtle's main homes, has led to the species being dramatically over-harvested by indigenous people. Details of the decline are published in the journal Biological Conservation.
"Pig-nosed turtles are considered unique and unusual among freshwater species of turtles in many facets of their morphology, ecology and behaviour," Carla Eisemberg of the University of Canberra, Australia, told BBC Nature.
For example, embryonic pig-nosed turtles become male or female depending on the temperature of the ground their eggs are laid in, while fully developed embryos can delay their hatching.
The pig-nosed turtle is also of great interest to scientists because of its unique position in the turtle family tree. It is the sole survivor of a once widespread family of turtles called the Carettochelyidae, and has a restricted global distribution, being only found in north Australia and New Guinea Island.
Despite living in freshwater, it is also resembles marine turtles. "Similar to marine turtles, its limbs are paddle-shaped, but still possess movable digits," said Prof Eisemberg.
To find out what impact harvesting may be having on the turtle, Professor Eisemberg surveyed the numbers of eggs and adult turtles nesting in the Kikori region of Papua New Guinea. Her team also studied how many turtles and eggs passed through local markets and were consumed in villages along rivers and the coast.
Anecdotal evidence suggested that turtle numbers had fallen, but "we provided, for the first time, concrete evidence of a substantive decline in these pig-nosed turtle populations," said Prof Eisemberg.
The researchers found that villagers harvested more than 95 percent of monitored nests. Female turtles have also become smaller on average; bigger individuals have been removed from the wild population and the overall life expectancy of the species has fallen. The team also discovered more than 160 adult female turtles that had been harvested in the study area.
Overall "we estimated the decline in this pig-nosed turtle population to be more than 50 percent since 1981," said Professor Eisemberg. "Such a decline is likely to be widespread as the species is under similar pressures elsewhere in Papua New Guinea," she added.
"Highly prized as food, it is the most exploited turtle in New Guinea. Both turtle and eggs are collected for trade or consumption by local villagers.
"We need to provide win win outcomes to both local and conservation communities," said Professor Eisemberg.
For full story, please see: www.bbc.co.uk/nature/14013362

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  • Philippines: Hundreds of new species found

Source: AFP in The Independent (UK), 2 July 2011

The California Academy of Sciences said it discovered more than 300 previously unknown animals and plants during a recent 42-day marine and land survey of the vast but ecologically threatened Southeast Asian archipelago.
"The Philippines is one of the hottest of the hot spots for diverse and threatened life on Earth," expedition leader Terrence Gosliner said in statement on the academy's website posted this week.
"Despite this designation, however, the biodiversity here is still relatively unknown, and we found new species during nearly every dive and hike as we surveyed the country's reefs, rainforests, and the ocean floor."
Many of the species found avoided previous detection because they were too small, including goblin spiders, sea slugs and barnacles, the statement said.
Others existed in places rarely, if ever, visited by humans, such as a primitive spikemoss from the dangerously steep upper slopes of the 1 976 m Mount Isarog.
The statement was an update of the group's announcement in Manila on 8 June immediately after finishing the survey, when it said it had found about 75 potential new species including a cicada that made a "laughing" call.
The group said it would have a definite number of confirmed newly discovered species "over the coming months", as scientists completed DNA studies. It urged the Philippines to step up conservation measures, arguing that many of the current supposedly protected ecosystems were mere "paper parks" that lacked any means to stop logging and hunting.
For full story, please see: www.independent.co.uk/environment/hundreds-of-new-species-found-in-philippines-2305991.html

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  • Republic of Congo: Over 80 percent of urban Congolese eat bushmeat

Source: www.mongabay.com, 27 June 2011

Bushmeat is one of the major threats to wildlife in parts of Africa: large and medium-sized animals are vanishing from regions in a trend dubbed by biologists the “empty forest syndrome”. A number of popularly consumed species are also threatened with global extinction. A new study in mongabay.com's open access journal Tropical Conservation Science surveyed 1 050 households in Brazzaville, the capital of Republic of the Congo, regarding their consumption of bushmeat only to find that the practice was practically universal: 88.3 percent of households in Brazzaville consumed bushmeat.
"Urbanization and economic crisis in Congo Basin countries contribute to the extension of forest exploitation and, on the basis of cultural values, to the hunting of wild animals and to the development of an informal bushmeat trade," write the authors of the study. "Roads established and maintained by logging concessions have intensified hunting by providing hunters greater access to relatively unexploited populations of forest wildlife and by lowering hunters' costs to transport bushmeat to market."
The widespread practice is threatening a number of species, including chimpanzees, gorillas, forest elephants, small antelopes known as duikers, and numerous monkeys.
Consumers purchased most of their bushmeat from markets (85.4 percent). However, nearly 80 percent of respondents said that bushmeat prices were on the rise with almost 75 percent stating they ate less bushmeat due to higher prices. When shortages of bushmeat hit the markets, most bushmeat consumers (81 percent) said they seek out other foods.
The number one reason for choosing to eat bushmeat? Taste, according to 67.8 percent of respondents; the survey also found that urban dwellers that had been born in rural areas steered toward bushmeat for its “rooted cultural value”.
Of the over 70 species eaten by respondents, blue duikers (Cephalophus monticola) were the most commonly consumed. Monkeys were fourth and forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) tenth. Respondents ate 16 different species of primate, but over half of respondents said they would not eat gorilla or chimpanzee.
"If inhabitants of Brazzaville are allowed to consume bushmeat at the current levels, wildlife is likely to decrease and eventually to disappear," the study concludes. "Conservation measures should take into account the interest of the population in bushmeat, and thus promote the breeding of domestic species and the breeding of animals whose meat products could be considered as “wild” by the population (blue duiker, forest buffalo, red river hog, African brush-tailed porcupine and cane rat). Such game farming already exists in the Congo Basin where cane rat […] is sold at very competitive prices."
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0627-hance_tcs_congo_bushmeat.html

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  • Tanzania: “Selfish” critics choose wrong fight in Serengeti road

Source: www.mongabay.com, 2 July 2011

The controversial Serengeti road is going ahead, but with conditions. According to the Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ezekiel Maige, the road will not be paved and it will be run by the Tanzanian park authority who will have the power to monitor traffic to “ensure no harm comes to the wildlife population”. Critics argue that even an unpaved road would eventually cripple the largest land migration in the world. However, famed Kenyan conservationist, ex-politician, and anthropologist, Richard Leakey, told mongabay.com that critics of the road are focusing on the wrong fight while failing to respect Tanzania's right to develop. Leakey says that instead of attempting to stop the road from being built, which he believes is inevitable, critics should instead focus on funding a truly wildlife-friendly road.
"I am not celebrating the Minister’s statement because I really think we missed an opportunity to be creative and come up with a road that serves the wildlife migration and development needs of this part of Tanzania," Leakey says, adding that "It could have been a showcase for the rest of Africa and the world."
Leakey has long argued that the road proposal does not have to be about either conservation or development, but must include both. Leakey is known for his bold, incorruptible leadership as the first director of the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) and currently as the chair of WildlifeDirect, an innovative NGO that helps raise money for underfunded and under-the-radar conservation projects.
Last year in an interview with WildlifeDirect Leakey proposed elevating the Serengeti road so the migration could continue beneath, while commercial and public traffic roared above. Despite the obvious merits of the idea, it has not appeared to make much notice yet amid the Tanzanian government or those fighting the road.
Leakey agrees the road would be a “disaster” for wildlife, but says that will not stop Tanzania: "given the development needs of this part of Tanzania, it will only take time. This road will be eventually be built."
Although he sides with critics about the impact of the road, he says the international community has ignored Tanzania's rights.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0702-hance_serengeti_leakey.html

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  • UAE: Wildlife and agarwood amongst legal trade

Source: www.thenational.ae (United Arab Emirates), 1 July 2011

Lions and tigers are among the rare species that have been imported legally into the UAE this year, CITES, the organization that regulates wildlife trade, has revealed. Falcons and parrots were the most commonly traded animals. Another common import was agarwood, which is used to make oud, and some monkeys and snakes were also brought in.
The UAE is playing a key role in containing the flow of illegally traded wildlife from war-torn Somalia, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The aim is to ensure the international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. In the UAE, the scheme is run by the Environment Agency (Abu Dhabi), the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Federal Environment Agency.
"We have a large variety of species that come in and out of the UAE," said Abdul Rab Al Hamiri, the Assistant Director of CITES and Deputy Director of inspection and environmental compliance at the Abu Dhabi environment agency. "The majority of animals come from Germany and South Africa where they have a lot of captive breeding programmes.”
Falcons were the most traded species along with agarwood and some other sorts of birds such as parrots. Agarwood is a CITES-listed species so it requires the same permites as any of the animals listed in the convention. Most agarwood comes from trees in the wild, though some are grown in plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia.
"Countries that export agarwood have to get an annual quota for the amount they export around the world, so they have to issue an export permit from their side and we have to issue an import permit from our side before they can move the shipment."
For full story, please see: www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/environment/oryx-and-lions-among-legal-trade-in-animals

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  • UK: School has sweet taste of success with its honey business

Source: Oxford Mail, 4 July 2011

There has been something of a buzz around Oxford’s Dragon School recently. The excitement is all because the school’s young beekeepers have taken their first honey order. From this week, the St Giles and Summertown branches of sandwich shop Taylors of Oxford are stocking Dragon Nectar, made by pupils in Years Seven and Eight who look after the school’s hives. The sandwich firm received its first delivery from a group of the pupils on Monday.
Pupil Sasha Radkovsky, 13, said: “I am quite proud. It was also nice to meet our first-ever customer when she bought a jar while we were there.” Sasha added: “It allows me to learn more about nature and the environment. I like handling bees and I enjoy knowing I am making something I can eat.”
Pupils began keeping bees two years ago, as part of a range of initiatives to make the school sustainable and eco-friendly. They now have five hives around the North Oxford school’s grounds.
Science teacher Kate Heath said: “We wanted to show other schools and children this was a worthwhile and very achievable project, with a super end product which can be retailed commercially. “We have a number of eco projects already in place, initiated as part of our engagement in the international Eco Schools programme.
The pupils received lessons in beekeeping and are now experts on the topic, advising other schools on beekeeping and hosting local beekeeping groups.
Martin Copson, the managing director of Taylors of Oxford, said: “We decided to stock it because it’s a locally-produced product and it has been of great educational value for the children to see how honey is produced. They were able to study the process right through to the actual product on a retailer’s shelves. It tastes good too.
The profits from the project will go towards the costs of looking after the bee hives and beekeeping equipment.
For full story, please see: www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/headlines/9119061.Dragon_School_has_sweet_taste_of_success_with_its_honey_business/

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  • UK: Taking Action to protect Britain's bees

Source: The Ecologist, 5 July 2011

Britain's bees are under threat. The British Beekeepers Association has reported a fourth year of unacceptably high colony losses for its members. The explanations for this vary. As the Ecologist reported, causes for continued decline in bee population have been attributed to many things: from disease and habitat loss to GM crops, mites and mobile phones.
There is a growing body of evidence that neonicotinoids, a group of synthetic chemicals used as a coating for agricultural seeds and in pot plants, are harmful to bees. These chemicals work by spreading throughout the plant and into the nectar and pollen that the bees eat. Neonics are 7 000 times more toxic than DDT, a chemical pesticide the UK government banned in 1984.
Conservationists say that exposure to neonicotinoids, while not killing bees outright, actually weaken them and make them more susceptible to disease. Exposure to pesticides as a cause of bee death may have been underestimated.
Other countries have already taken preventive action by banning the use of neonicotinoids - including in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia.
Neal's Yard Remedies together with activist and campaigner Sam Roddick have launched the Bee Lovely and Help Save the Bees campaign (www.nealsyardremedies.com/bee-lovely) aiming to “highlight the alarming decline of the UK’s precious pollinators and inform, inspire and empower people to help fight to save them”.
For full story, please see: www.theecologist.org/how_to_make_a_difference/wildlife/962679/take_action_to_protect_britains_bees.html

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  • USA: A Forager's delight: Seeking out secret harvests in the city

Source: Time Magazine, 6 July 2011

For about three weeks each summer, mulberry trees are impossible to miss — if you know what to look for. That is when the trees' sweet, ripe berries, which look a lot like blackberries, fall from the branches and leave telltale bluish-black stains on the pavement or ground below. It is happening right now in New York City.
Since most city folks do not even know that the berries can be eaten, much less that they come from the same native trees that once lined the city's famous Mulberry Street in Little Italy, more often than not, the spoiled fruit winds up as pigeon feed instead.
With supermarket berries averaging about US$3/pint at the moment, it is hard to see why more people do not take advantage of this annual harvest, available for free in cities from Sacramento, California to Baltimore, where the trees are also found and the berries are in season. Mulberries are one of the easiest foods for beginning foragers to harvest, because they are so plentiful and aren't likely to be confused with any killer berries. But despite a plethora of new books on urban foraging and a growing interest in eating local, swallowing something that does not come from a market or restaurant can be just too scary for most city dwellers.
It does not help that city officials often frown on foraging. Health officials shut down an underground market of foraged foods in San Francisco last year, and the New York City Parks Department recently uprooted a rogue farm in Manhattan's Highbridge Park on the grounds that the crop was not safe for consumption.
Some foraged food is actually easier to find in cities than in the country. Dandelions, whose leaves are the least bitter in spring and fall, as well as other greens such as purslane and lamb's quarters, thrive in dry, sunny spots where less-hardy plants would perish. Caleb Malcom of Kansas City recently spied a flowering elderberry bush in an empty lot near his home as he was driving by one day and saw the bush's white flowers. Once the berries ripen later this summer, he plans to make elderberry wine. To make sure he does not harvest anything from a toxic brownfield or Superfund site, Malcom says he researches the locales he is interested in online before foraging them.
The biggest dilemma for new foragers is figuring out what's actually edible. Rule number one: If you are not sure what it is, do not eat it. To get started, free web guides and field guides (such as Nature's Garden (http://foragersharvest.com/nature%E2%80%99s-garden/) or Urban Foraging) abound. There are also some iPhone apps, such as Steve Brill's Wild Edibles (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wild-edibles-full/id431504588?mt=8). Park tours guided by long-time foragers can also help ease the learning curve.
The biggest challenge faced by experienced city foragers is the competition for some of the more coveted harvests. "Sometimes I stake out my favourite gingko trees, and I am too late," says Leda Meredith, author of The Locavore's Handbook, who often finds that others have collected the stinky tree's nuts, which can be roasted or used in tea.
Avid foragers say their hobby can shave up to 40 percent off their grocery bill. But that is rarely the main motive. Caleb Malcom of Kansas City likes the health benefits: "Wild vegetables and wild greens have a higher nutrient level than things you find in the grocery store." (For example, amaranth, also known as Chinese spinach, is high in many vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium.)
For full story, please see: www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2081379,00.html

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NEWS

  • Environment versus economy: local communities find economic benefits from living next to conservation areas

Source: www.mongabay.com, 12 June 2011

While few would question that conserving a certain percentage of land or water is good for society overall, it has long been believed that protected areas economically impoverish, rather than enrich, communities living adjacent to them. Many communities worldwide have protested against the establishment of conservation areas near them, fearing that less access and increased regulations would imperil their livelihoods. However, a surprising study overturns the common wisdom: showing that, at least in Thailand and Costa Rica, protected areas actually boost local economies and decrease poverty.
"Protected areas can help local economies by attracting tourists who spend money in nearby communities, by protecting ecosystem services (such as water provision, flood protection, generation of non-timber forest products) which increase productivity, or through improved infrastructure and institutional development. However, protected areas also impose costs by restricting access to land and natural resources. So the question is whether the benefits actually have or have not outweighed the costs at the local level," explains Katharine Sims, the author of a study (“Conservation and Development: Evidence from Thai protected areas”) which appeared last year in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management and a co-author of a related study (“Protected areas reduced poverty in Costa Rica and Thailand”) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In these case studies, the researchers found that in fact living near a protected area was on average a benefit: in Thailand poverty headcount dropped by 8 percent and in Costa Rica poverty was reduced by 10 percent. Sims notes that "[this] does not mean every community was better off. Some may have had very high opportunity costs of lost resource use or were not able to develop alternate sources of tourism income."
So, why are these findings different from past studies, according to Sims?
"Much of the conventional wisdom that protected areas will lead to greater poverty is driven by obvious correlations between protected areas and poverty. These correlations hold up in both Thailand and Costa Rica: communities with more land in protected areas are substantially poorer than regional averages. […] But we have to be careful because correlation does not imply causation: protected areas have usually been located further from cities and in areas with rugged terrain and lower agricultural potential, so it is not surprising that they are associated with poverty," says Sims, who compared test communities to similarly situated communities in the country, instead of overall national or regional averages.
She adds that Costa Rica and Thailand have both succeeded in creating extensive protected area networks with an eye toward ecotourism.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0612-hance_sims.html?utm_campaign=Mongabay+rainforests&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_source=SNS.analytics

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  • FAO project shows how trees help halt desertification

Source: 20 June 2011, BBC News

A FAO-led pilot scheme hopes to highlight how trees can help people in arid zones, considered to be one of the most hostile habitats on the planet. FAO’s Acacia project's goal is to show how trees provide, food, fuel, shelter and income during times of hardship.
So far, six nations — including Senegal and Sudan — have hosted tree planting schemes for at-risk communities.
Drylands cover 30 percent of the Earth's land area, and are found in 100 nations.
"People do not often associate forests with arid areas, yet they are critical in terms of soil protection, mitigating climate change, maintaining biodiversity etc," said Eduardo Rojas, FAO's Assistant Director-General. "In terms of supporting livelihoods for local communities, forests are very important," he told BBC News.
Speaking at the end of the first UN Africa Drylands Week, he added: "Desertification poses a very serious challenge to the world. "The pace of land degradation and the impact of climate change are threatening food security, exacerbating poverty and impeding sustainable development."
Acacia trees can offer vulnerable villages a steady income, as well as fuel and fodder for animals.
Mr Rojas explained that people living in dryland ecosystems were most exposed to this risk, especially rural and pastoral communities. Globally, an estimated two billion people depend on ecosystems in dry land areas, 90 percent of whom live in developing countries.
The UN says that about 30 percent of dry lands are degraded, with particular susceptibility to desertification. In Africa alone, it is feared that two-thirds of arable land is expected to be lost in Africa by 2025.
Projections show that more than half of the cultivated agricultural area in Africa could be unusable by the year 2050, leaving the region struggling to feed just 25 percent of its population.
This was one of the reasons why FAO had developed the Acacia pilot project, Mr Rojas continued. "Forests and trees in arid zones are central to understanding the process of desertification — they provide local communities with sustainable livelihoods but also fodder livestock, fuelwood, medicine, timber, resin and gums.
Extracting gum from acacias allow people to earn money from alternative revenue streams. "They are also invaluable for carbon storage and for the provision of clean water and for soil protection."
As well as providing foliage for animals and fuel for cooking, the trees also produce arabic gum, which is a product that is used in the food and pharmaceuticals industries.
For full story, please see: www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13767255

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  • Misconceptions about forest-dwellers overturned

Source: Nature, 15 June 2011

Forests are vital to the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries, providing on average more than one-fifth of their annual income, according to data presented today at a policy-research conference in London, hosted by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and its partners.
The study provides much-needed solid evidence for the importance of forests to the world's rural poor. It also overturns some existing assumptions, showing, for example, that forests provide vital income to whole communities, not just the poorest, and that richer households are most likely to contribute to deforestation.
Income from forests has been largely "undervalued", particularly in assessments of poverty and income such as the World Bank's Living Standard Measurement Survey, says Arild Angelsen, an environmental economist at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas and a lead author of the study by CIFOR based in Bogor, Indonesia. He presented the findings at the Royal Society, the United Kingdom's national academy of science.
Part of the problem, adds Frances Seymour, CIFOR's Director-Ceneral, has been that most previous studies looked at anecdotal evidence from single sites. The lack of solid evidence has led to questions over claims that forests are important to the livelihoods of poor people.
Angelsen's team collected data from 8 000 households across 24 countries, including China, Zambia and Indonesia, four times a year over a period of six years. This makes the study the largest and most robust so far on the links between forests and poverty.
The researchers found that firewood accounts for around one-fifth of the income that comes from forests, with timber coming in second at 10 percent.
One unexpected discovery was that the poorest forest-dwelling people do not cause the bulk of deforestation. In fact, the richest 20 percent of households at each study site caused 30 percent more deforestation than the poorest 20 percent.
The work also showed that although the poorest households are reliant on forests for their daily needs, they also look elsewhere — for example, travelling to urban areas — when drastic action is needed to feed themselves or urgently acquire income. "I was surprised that poor people did not rely on forests as a safety net," says Angelsen.
Researchers hope that the data will inform policies that aim to conserve forests at the same time as reducing poverty. Mike Speirs, an environment and climate-change adviser to the Danish government who was present at the Royal Society meeting, welcomed the study's contribution to ensuring that forests are not seen by governments and the international community as "just stocks of carbon".
But Bill Adams, a conservation and development scientist at the University of Cambridge, UK, says that despite the new data, it will be "difficult to achieve win–win outcomes for forest conservation and poverty reduction".
Attempts to protect forests can be bad news for the poor, particularly if locals are evicted and banned from protected areas, he told the meeting. Moreover, projects attempting to address both conservation and poverty reduction are often expensive, complex to plan and slow to deliver results — and their success is difficult to predict.
For full story, please see: www.nature.com/news/2011/110615/full/news.2011.371.html
For related story, please see: www.cifor.cgiar.org/mediamultimedia/newsroom/press-releases/press-releases-detail-view/article/238/new-global-study-shows-high-reliance-on-forests-among-rural-poor.html

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  • Study predicts areas of “missing” species

Source: UPI, 5 July 2011

Most of the world's "missing" or undiscovered species live in regions already identified by scientists as biodiversity hotpots, a U.S. study says.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests recent conservation efforts have been on target and should reduce uncertainty over global conservation priorities, its authors said.
However, the extinction threat for many of the as-yet undiscovered species is worse than previously feared, they said. "We show that the majority of the world's “missing species” are hiding away on some of the most threatened landscapes in the world," said Stuart Pimm, a professor of conservation at Duke University (USA). "This considerably increases the number of threatened and endangered species around the world."
And the world's knowledge of species is seriously incomplete, with many as-yet undiscovered, a Duke release said Tuesday.
"We know we have an incomplete catalogue of life," said lead author Lucas Joppa of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England, who received his doctorate in ecology from Duke in 2009. "If we do not know how many species there are, or where they live, then how can we prioritize places for conservation? What if the places we ignore now turn out to be those with the most unknown species?"
The researchers said six regions already identified by conservation scientists as hotspots — Mexico to Panama; Colombia; Ecuador to Peru; Paraguay and Chile southward; southern Africa; and Australia — were estimated to contain 70 percent of all predicted missing species.
"How can you save a species you do not even know exists?" Joppa asked. "You cannot. But you can protect places where you predict they occur."
For full story, please see: www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/07/05/Study-predicts-areas-of-missing-species/UPI-90391309900586/?spt=hs&or=sn

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  • Valuing ecosystems: Privatizing overseas aid, profiting from nature

Source: The Guardian (UK), 30 June 2011

The next major financial crisis will come on Monday 12 October 2015, driven by an environmental crunch. That was the attention grabbing statement with which Herman Mulder opened a discussion at the Smith School world forum (Oxford University, UK) on the financial needs and tools to tackle to losses of biodiversity and ecosystems.
He based the prediction on the basis that crises very often happen on Mondays in October and about every seven years. It was a bit of fun, but Mulder, who described himself as a "failed banker", went on to describe an novel real-world project that he thinks can bridge some of the gap between social needs and nature protection and the money men.
The project has raised US$25m to buy 200 000 efficient stoves and solar-powered lamps, which are then sold on credit to local women in Gujarat, India, to sell on to individuals. The twist comes in that he wants the Swedish government to guarantee to cover any repayments that are not made, in return for defined increases in welfare, such as health and education.
"We are privatizing official development aid," Mulder said, in a phrase that will terrify some.
Mulder set out the benefits. Western governments have promised about US$150bn in ODA a year but, with a few notable exceptions including the UK, are not delivering as they struggle with heavy post-crash debt. "After 50 years and US$1.5 trillion of ODA, people are questioning how effective it is," he said.
Finding cheaper, more efficient ways for governments to achieve their aims in reducing poverty and protecting the environment, such as with his Gujarat scheme, has to be good, Mulder said. And could this sharing of risks and benefits be extended to other areas?
The gathered experts — natural and social scientists, policy, business and NGO people — were divided. Some liked the innovation, others did not.
Oxfam's Phil Bloomer said: "ODA is the most overused capital in the world, and much is wasted by states backing their geopolitical allies with no thought to its use in reducing poverty. I am not sure ODA is the way to go [for environmental aims], it is tiny part of global economy and it has to be focussed directly on poverty reduction. Biodiversity and ecosystems are under pressure from population rises in part — so education for girls and reducing infant mortality are the priorities."
Most agreed that the estimated US$300bn/year needed to preserve the natural world, and protect its ability to support economies, could not all come from ODA.
Economist Ann Pettifor, among others, said there is, in one sense, plenty of money around. That is because, as we have seen with "quantitative easing" in the UK, or the bail out of AIG by the US Fed, central banks can create money at will. "Yes we can afford to pay for ecosystems," she said. "But our financial system makes it impossible to pay for what we can do and what must be done."
Joshua Bishop, an environmental economist, said bankers were waiting for the rules to be written. Bishop said he had looked at all the companies in the FT global 500 and found not one making money out of biodiversity and ecosystems.
Of course many people, though not many here, would find that idea repugnant. But the group argued, unless organizations can make a return, projects just will not happen.
However, Guiseppe van der Helm, at the European sustainable investment forum, which lobbies big business, said. "80 percent of the value of a company is not found in the balance sheet," he said, meaning brand, trust and so on. Would it be easier to capture the benefits of looking after our planet by somehow linking it to that 80 percent of virtual value?”
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/jun/30/overseas-aid-biodiversity-ecosystems-green-economy

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EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

  • New Zealand Development Scholarships available for citizens of Nepal

From: [Yahoo] Nepalese Foresters Group, 16 June 2011

Scholarships are awarded for full-time postgraduate level study (i.e. Postgraduate Diplomas, Masters degrees and a limited number of PhDs) at eligible New Zealand education institutions.
For the 2012 intake, the scholarships will be offered at postgraduate level for study in the priority sectors of: sustainable rural livelihoods; basic education; primary health; governance; trade and development; conflict prevention and peace building; and development studies.
For more information, please visit: www.aid.govt.nz/scholarships/country-profile/nepal.html

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  • Vacancies for Mountain Woodlands Project in Oman

From: Mountain Partnership Secretariat, 1 July 2011

The Earthwatch Institute and The Sultan Qaboos University are looking for a scientist and research coordinator on a mountain woodlands project for the Oman Earthwatch programme.
If you are interested in applying please submit a CV and covering letter to James Burton at smorris@earthwatch.org.uk. The application deadline is 15th July and interviews are planned for 15-16th August.
For the full Job Description please visit: www.earthwatch.org/europe/get_involved/jobs/jobs_lead_scientist_oman.html

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EVENTS

REMINDER: Community Forestry: Key to Solving Current and Emerging Challenges
Bangkok, Thailand
8-9 August 2011
Many Asia-Pacific countries have made considerable strides in giving local people a greater stake in managing their forests resources. However, pressure on forests is high, and decision makers often must revalue forest land as a result of changing environmental, economic, and social drivers. The time is right for taking stock of where community forestry stands today and for committing to efficient and practical solutions that work for both people and forests.
In collaboration with Thailand's Royal Forest Department, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN), FAO, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are organizing the Second Regional Forum for People and Forests.
The International Year of Forests calls for a people-centred approach to sustainable forest management. This forum intends to promote community forestry as a vital tool for solving current and emerging challenges in Asia and the Pacific.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Somying Soontornwong
RECOFTC Headquarters, Thailand
P.O. Box 1111, Kasetsart Post Office
Pahonyonthin Rd.
Bangkok 10903, Thailand
Tel: 66-2-940-5700
Fax: 66-2-561-4880 or 66-2-562-0960
Email: forum@recoftc.org
www.recoftc.org/site/resources/Second-Regional-Forum-for-People-and-Forests.php

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“Who Will Own the Forest?”
Portland, Oregon (USA)
19-21 September 2011
The World Forestry Center is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to educate and inform people about the world's forests and trees, and environmental sustainability. This conference will discuss the unique opportunities and challenges of investing in forest lands. Pensions, endowments, and other investors are allocating part of their portfolios to forestland as they seek diversification, inflation protection, and potentially higher rates of return than the bond or equity markets.
The “Who Will Own the Forest?” conference series has become the largest event of its kind in North America, and is considered by many to be the premier forestland investing event. It will offer ample networking and learning opportunities including continuing education credits for appraisers, attorneys, foresters, among others.
For more information, please see:
http://wwotf.worldforestry.org/wwotf7/index.html

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2nd Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: New Challenges, New Opportunities
Beijing, China
7-11 November 2011
FAO and its partners are inviting the forestry sector to come together at the second Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, expected to be the largest and the most important forestry-related event in the region in 2011. The event will bring together some 1500-2000 participants from governments, NGOs, research institutions, regional and international networks, UN agencies and the private sector. High-level forestry officials from throughout the Asia-Pacific region will attend the event. It will provide a unique opportunity for diverse stakeholders and forest managers to share perspectives and seek solutions to the most challenging issues facing forests and forestry today.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Patrick Durst (Senior Forestry Officer)
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
39 Phra Atit Road, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Phone: +66 2 697 4139
Fax: +66 2 697 4445
Email: AP-Forestry-Week@fao.org
www.fao.org/forestry/ap-forestry-week/en/
www.fao.org/forestry/27710-09ce6fb8776cc27587da58017ba67e4d7.pdf

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9th World Bamboo Congress
10-13 April 2012 (Antwerp, Belgium)
17-21 September 2012 (Toulouse, France)
Every three to four years the World Bamboo Organization (WBO) organizes a World Bamboo Congress (WBC) which is the culmination of the Organization’s efforts to physically unite bamboo enthusiasts and professionals. The aim of the WBC is to bring together people from around the world to meet, discuss, network, collaborate, and exchange with the intention of improving understanding and stimulating potential. Ever since its inception in Puerto Rico in 1984, each WBC has been uniquely informative, educational, culturally and intellectually challenging.
The 9th WBC will be a two part event taking place between Belgium and France.  The Congress will focus on the future use of bamboo in Europe and innovations in bamboo development. Apart from a series of meetings and conferences, the schedule will also include field visits, a Trade Fair for bamboo products and allied wares (machinery, tools, etc.), and complimentary exhibit booths for “not-for-profit, non-profit, or non-government” organizations (i.e. UNIDO, national bamboo societies, etc.).
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Kamesh Salam
President, World Bamboo Organization
C/O Cane and Bamboo Technology Center
Mother Teresa Marg
Guwahati, Assam
India
E-mail: kamesh@worldbamboo.net
www.worldbamboocongress.org

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REQUESTS

40.       Request for case studies for Mountain Forests Publications
From: Mountain Partnership Secretariat, 21 June 2011

As a contribution to the International Year of Forests, and also as an element in the process aiming to ensure appropriate recognition of the world's mountain areas and their resources and people in the 2012 Rio+20 Earth Summit, a publication on Mountain Forests is being prepared in the context of the Mountain Partnership by a number of key partners with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
This Mountain Forests publication will be launched at the Green Pioneering Summit in Verbier, Switzerland on International Mountain Day, 11 December 2011 and will subsequently be disseminated at several key events at global and regional levels.
The preparation of the report is being coordinated by Professor Martin Price of the Centre for Mountain Studies at Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands, UK; the Institute of Forest Ecology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU); the Mountain Partnership Secretariat and FAO.
All case studies selected for the report will have to be submitted by 25 August; they will be up to 1 000 words and complemented by up to 5 high-quality images. Everyone who contributes a case study will be identified in the report and receive a copy of the report.
Case studies should address one or more of the following broad themes:

  • Mountain forests as sources of fresh water
  • Mountain forests for protection against natural hazards
  • Values of biodiversity of mountain forests
  • Mountain forests for health and wellbeing
  • Mountain forests as sources of wood
  • Managing cultural landscapes
  • Mountain forests and climate change
  • Proactive ways forward regarding the management and development of the mountain forests.

If you would like to propose a case study, please send an e-mail to: forestreport@boku.ac.at with the following information: (1) a phrase or sentence very briefly summarizing the contents of the case study; (2) the country (or countries) to which the case study refers; (3) the organization(s) involved in funding the activities included in the case study (if relevant); (4) the organization(s) involved in implementing the activities included in the case study.
Contributors are welcome to propose more than one case study (in English).
For more information, please contact:
Mountain Forest Secretariat
E-mail: RosaLaura.Romeo@fao.org

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41.       Request for Papers: “World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” (WSSDU-2012)
From: Prof. Walter Leal, Hamburg University, 26 June 2011

Expressions of interest may now be submitted by persons/organizations interested to take part in the “World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” (WSSDU- 2012), to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 5-6 June 2012, as a parallel event to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).
WSSDU-2012 is organized by the Task Force Earth Summit 2012 at the Research and Transfer Centre "Applications of Life Sciences" of HAW Hamburg, the RCE Hamburg and Region and the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. The aims of the “World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” (WSSD-U-2012) are:

  • to provide universities all round the world with an opportunity to display and present their works (i.e. curriculum innovation, research, activities, practical projects) as they relate to education for sustainable development at university level;
  • to foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of projects, from successful initiatives and good practice;
  • to discuss methodological approaches and projects which aim to integrate the topic of sustainable development in the curriculum of universities; and
  • to network the participants and provide a platform so they can explore possibilities for cooperation.

            A further aim of the event will be to document and disseminate the wealth of experiences available today. To this purpose, a special issue of the International Journal of Sustainable Development with selected papers from the conference will be produced. Furthermore, the book Sustainable Development at Universities: New Horizons will be published, with a further set of papers. This will be volume 33 of the award-winning book series Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability, which since its creation in 1998, has become the world´s longest running book series on education and communication on sustainable development.
For more information, please contact:
Prof. Walter Leal
Senior Professor & Head of the Research and Transfer Centre Applications of Life Sciences
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences Faculty of Life Sciences
Lohbruegger Kirchstraße 65, Sector S4
Room 0.38 21033 Hamburg Germany
E-mail: walter.leal@haw-hamburg.de
www.haw-hamburg.de/wssd-2012.html

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LITERATURE REVIEW AND WEB SITES

42.       The African Herbal pharmacopoeia
From: Conserve Africa Foundation, 16 June 2011

The African continent contains 25 percent of the world’s plant species, but under 8 percent of medicinal plants commercially utilized are of African origin, mostly because information on traditional-uses is transferred orally between generations. Medicinal plants are vital resources to global pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and fragrance industries; over 40 percent of licensed drugs are of plant-origin. Rapid deforestation, moreover, is resulting in the loss of medicinal plants and related traditional knowledge.
The Association for African Medicinal Plants Standards (AAMPS) Herbal Pharmacopoeia provides comprehensive and up-to-date botanical, commercial and phytochemical information for over fifty of the most important medicinal plants used in Africa; prepared by Africa’s leading scientists and reviewed by an international expert panel. This unique pharmacopoeia contains information for producers, collectors and traders in medicinal plants and extracts, and technical data needed by researchers, manufacturers and practitioners.
For more information, please see: www.earthprint.com/productfocus.php?id=AAMPS002

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43.       The Road to an Anti-Biopiracy Agreement
From: Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 29 June 2011

This book compiles articles from Third World Network publications following the difficult progress of the CBD negotiations which resulted in the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization on 29 October 2010 during the tenth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties. It contains reports starting from the early days of the negotiations in Kuala Lumpur in 2004, until the last round of talks in Nagoya in 2010, as well as some preliminary analyses of the Protocol and the extent to which it can effectively combat biopiracy.
For more information, please see: www.twnside.org.sg/title2/books/pdf/The.Road.to.an.Anti-Biopiracy.Agreement.pdf

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44.       New publications on bamboo and rattan products in Nepal
From: Buddi Sagar Poudel, Research Officer, Department of Forest Research and Survey (Nepal), 4 July 2011

Nepal’s Department of Forest Research and Survey/Market Development of Bamboo and Rattan Products with Potential (MDBRPP) Nepal Project has published three new publications on various aspects of Bamboo and Rattan Products in Nepal. They can be accessed at www.dfrs.gov.np/index.php?page=report. The publications include:  
1. Review of Traditional Designs and Technologies of Bamboo and Rattan Products in Nepal.
2. Market Opportunities and Constraints for Bamboo and Rattan Products in Nepal.
3. Review of Developed Western Markets for Bamboo and Rattan Commodities of Nepal.

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45.       US Forest Service Report on Sustainable Forests released
From: US Department of Agriculture, 7 July 2011

The United States has 751 million acres of forests that have remained remarkably stable during the past 50 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service's 2010 National Report on Sustainable Forests that was released today.
The report, the second edition since 2003, provides a comprehensive picture of current conditions and trends in the nation's forests, forest industries and forest communities, and also gives details on forest conditions as they relate to sustainability.
The report includes 130 pages of detailed information organized by indicator, as well as summary analyses and policy recommendations.
Forests in the United States continue to face a number of threats, ranging from fragmentation and loss of forest integrity due to development and an increase in the area and severity of forest disturbances including destructive insects, development and fire. The economic and social environment surrounding forests is also changing rapidly. Data from the report indicates ongoing shifts in where and how wood products are made and the emergence of new markets for environmental services. Some of this social change includes the growing ecotourism industry and a return to wood as a building material in smaller scale structures.
For more information, please see:
www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2011/07/0293.xml&contentidonly=true

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46.       Other publications of Interest
From: NWFP Programme

Allebone-Webb, S. M. Kumpel, N. F. Rist, J. Cowlishaw, G. Rowcliffe, J. M. Milner-Gulland, E. J. 2011. Use of market data to assess bushmeat hunting sustainability in Equatorial Guinea. Conservation Biology. 25: 3, 597-606. 33 ref.

Barnaud C., Le Page C., Dumrongrojwatthana P., et Trébuil G. 2010. “Exploring synergies between farmers' livelihoods, forest conservation and social equity : Participatory simulations for creative negotiation in Thailand highlands.” In: Devautour, Coudel et Soulard (éds) Actes en ligne sur HAL de la conférence “Innovation and Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Food” (ISDA), 28 juin-1er juillet 2010, Montpellier, France.

Barnosky, A.D., Matzke, N., Tomiya, S., Wogan, G.O.U., Swartz, B., Quental, T.B., Marshall, C., McGuire, J.L., Lindsey, E.L., Maguire, K.C., Mersey, B., and Ferrer, E.A. 2011. Has the Earth's sixth mass extinction already arrived? Nature 471(7336):51-57.

Campbell-Smith, G., Campbell-Smith, M., Singleton, I., and Linkie, M. 2011. Apes in space: saving an imperilled orangutan population in Sumatra. PLoS ONE 6(2):e17210.

Karou, S. D. Tchacondo, T. Ilboudo, D. P. Simpore, J. 2011. Sub-Saharan Rubiaceae: a review of their traditional uses, phytochemistry and biological activities. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences. 14: 3, 149-169.
Abstract: The Rubiaceae family is a large family of 630 genera and about 13 000 species found worldwide, especially in tropical and warm regions. These plants are not only ornamental but they are also used in African folk medicine to treat several diseases. Based on online published data and library bibliographic research, this study reports accumulated information related to their traditional usages in sub-Saharan traditional medicine, their chemical composition and the screened pharmacological activities. Indeed, more than 60 species are used for more than 70 medicinal indications including malaria, hepatitis, eczema, oedema, cough, hypertension, diabetes and sexual weakness. Through biological screening following leads supplied with traditional healers, many of these plants exhibited antimalarial, antimicrobial, antihypertension, antidiabetic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Bioactive compounds including indole alkaloids, terpenoids and anthraquinones have been isolated from these bioguided fractionation studies. It is evidence that great attention has been paid to species such as Nauclea latifolia, Morinda lucida, Mitragyna inermis and Crossopteryx febrifuga; however, several compounds should be waiting to be discovered since none of these plants has been systematically investigated for its biochemical composition. According the current global health context with the recrudescence of HIV, much effort should be oriented towards this virus when screening Rubiaceae

Keane, A., Ramarolahy, A.A., Jones, J.P.G., and Milner-Gulland, E.J. 2011. Evidence for the effects of environmental engagement and education on knowledge of wildlife laws in Madagascar. Conserv. Lett. 4(1):55-63.

Mbete,R.A., Banga-Mboko, H., Racey, P., Mfoukou-Ntsakala, A., Nganga, I., Vermeulen, C., Doucet, J.L., Hornick, J.L. and Leroy, P. 2011. Household bushmeat consumption in Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo. Tropical Conservation Science Vol.4 (2):187-202.

McShane, T.O., Hirsch, P.D., Trung, T.C., Songorwa, A.N., Kinzig, A., Monteferri, B., Mutekanga, D., Thang, H.V., Dammert, J.L., Pulgar-Vidal, M., Welch-Devine, M., Brosius, J.P., Coppolillo, P., and O'Connor, S. 2011. Hard choices: making trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and human well-being. Biol. Conserv. 144(3):966-972.

Negi, V.S., Maikhuri, R.K., and Rawat, L.S. 2011. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs): a viable option for biodiversity conservation and livelihood enhancement in central Himalaya. Biodivers. Conserv. 20(3):545-559.

Salafsky, N. 2011. Integrating development with conservation: a means to a conservation end, or a mean end to conservation? Biol. Conserv. 144(3):973-978.

Srivastava, S., Singh, R. and Rawat, A. 2011. Current status & future strategies in HIV/AIDS research — a botanical perspective. Applied Botany. 30: 4, 357-386.

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47.       Web sites and E-Zines
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL)
This year marks the 4th anniversary of the launch of the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of history and botanical libraries which have cooperatively digitized a wealth of literature on biodiversity. In an effort to expand the reach of publications and information on this subject BHL’s materials have been made available for open access worldwide.
www.biodiversitylibrary.org/

Insects are Food
This web site features background information on entomophagy, related resources, recipes and a full list of all edible insects worldwide.
www.insectsarefood.com/index.php

Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities
A new initiative is encouraging dialogue between decision-makers, experts and forest communities on the current state and use of British Columbia’s forests (Canada). A conversation on BC forests, this resource has a number of articles and useful information about BC ecosystems management, governance and community diversification and research.
For full story, please see: http://bcforestconversation.com/

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MISCELLANEOUS

  • A grain of hope in the desert

Source: IUCN Red List Update, 16 June 2011

The regal Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx), which was hunted to near extinction, is now facing a more secure future according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Its wild population now stands at 1 000 individuals.
“To have brought the Arabian Oryx back from the brink of extinction is a major feat and a true conservation success story, one which we hope will be repeated many times over for other threatened species,” says Ms Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Director General of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi. “It is a classic example of how data from the IUCN Red List can feed into on-the-ground conservation action to deliver tangible and successful results.”
The Arabian Oryx, a species of antelope found only on the Arabian Peninsula, is locally known as Al Maha. It is believed the last wild individual was shot in 1972. This year, thanks to successful captive breeding and re-introduction efforts, the oryx has finally qualified for a move from the Endangered category to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List — the first time that a species that was once Extinct in the Wild has improved by three categories.
Although we are achieving successes, there are some alarming new findings. Of the 19 species of amphibian (frogs, toads and salamanders) that have been added to the IUCN Red List this year, eight are listed as Critically Endangered, including Atelopus patazensis, a species of harlequin toad from Peru, and Dendrotriton chujorum, a dwarf species of salamander from Guatemala. Amphibians remain one of the most threatened species groups with an estimated 41 percent at risk of extinction; the main threats they face include habitat loss, pollution, disease and invasive species.
“The key to halting the extinction crisis is to target efforts towards eradicating the major threats faced by species and their environment; only then can their future be secured. The IUCN Red List acts as a gateway to such efforts, by providing decision makers with a goldmine of information not only on the current status of the species, but also on existing threats and the conservation actions required,” says Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission.
“It is extremely important that we keep pushing forward with surveys of little-known species, as without adequate data, we cannot determine their risk of extinction and therefore cannot develop or implement effective conservation actions which could prevent the species from disappearing altogether,” says Jane Smart, Director, IUCN’s Global Species Programme.
For full story, please see: www.iucn.org/?uNewsID=7671

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QUICK TIPS AND INFORMATION FOR NWFP-DIGEST-L

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NWFP-Digest-L Sponsor:
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FAO
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last updated:  Monday, April 30, 2012