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.
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
- Bamboo: Ajiro bamboo bike grown from the ground up
- Bushmeat: Threatened species on the menu worldwide
- Bushmeat trade in Namibia could save its wildlife, says study
- Copaiba oil: Partnership reinforces copaiba oil production chain in Brazil
- Ecotourism: Can tourism really have conservation benefits?
- Ecotourism: First ecotourism corridor established in Taiwan Province of China
- Honey in Australia: Beekeepers buzzing about honey prospects
- Honey in China, Hong Kong S.A.R.: Bees keep urban honey venture buzzing
- Honey in the UK: Honey is at the heart of a beneficial partnership
- Medicinal plants: Traditional medicine should be embraced
- Seabuckthorn in the UK
- Wildlife: Hunters turn protectors in Manas Reserve
- Wildlife: Loss of top animal predators has massive ecological effects
- Wildlife: Rwanda hands over six orphaned gorillas to D.R. Congo
- Australia: Truffle trouble despite boom crop in 2011
- Burkina Faso suffering from deforestation
- Canada: A forest full of opportunities
- Canada: Scientists warn caribou “on road to extinction”
- China: Food as medicine
- Haiti: Bamboo project
- Indonesia’s pledge to forest people welcomed
- Kenya: Villagers vow to resist as wildlife vanishes and they are driven from their land to make way for biofuels
- Lao PDR: Rattan industry gets certified to access the global market
- Micronesia: Blending science knowledge with ancient traditions
- Namibia: Indigenous people help draft biopiracy law
- South Sudan: Resource curse or wild wonder?
- UK: Edible treasures, foraging for food
- Vietnam: Coastal commune goes green
- Acacias: Name claim for Africa and Australia
- Forests plus: Looking outside the box
- Reforming forest tenure systems
- Toy company shows leadership in tackling deforestation
- Trade in animals and skins worries experts at UN CITES meeting
- World sacred forests mapped out
- The European Forest Institute (EFI) seeking Head of Unit for FLEGT and REDD Unit
- WFI International Fellowship Program Accepting Applications for Spring 2012
- New online MSC in Forestry with a focus in agroforestry
- REMINDER: Community Forestry: Key to Solving Current and Emerging Challenges
- World Bamboo Day
- REMINDER: 2nd Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: New Challenges, New Opportunities
- Request for nominations for the “Forest Heroes Programme Awards”
- Call for Proposals: Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility
- FAO releases Forest Health Guide and Video
- Growing Forest Partnerships (GFP) introduces new publication series
- IUCN Report Emphasizes Transboundary Conservation as Critical to Solving Conflicts
- Rio+20: Making it Happen — Special Issue
- Other publications of interest
- Web sites and E-zines
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Source: www.inhabitat.com, 23 July 2011
The bamboo Ajiro concept bicycle rethinks both our means of transportation and the ways we manufacture our vehicles. Designed by Australia’s Monash University design student Alexander Vittouris, the Ajiro utilizes a production process that removes emissions instead of releasing them into the Earth’s atmosphere. That is because the bamboo structure of this vehicle is grown straight out of the ground into a preformed mould. Vittouris envisions fields of bamboo gardens growing these human powered bicycles, which need only small modifications once mature to hit the streets.
“Consumption of raw materials has lasting implications — economically, socially and environmentally. This vehicle is about rethinking our approach to both design and ecological sustainability of the products we create and use,” said Vittouris. Instead of depending on the energy of factories to shape material into the form of a car, Vittouris’ design relies on nature for that energy.
The Ajiro is not only powered by the driver, but also has an energy storage system that allows for excess power to be stored and used at a later time. The Ajiro also provides a canopy of shelter for the driver and a reclining seat of woven bamboo stalks.
After the Ajiro is grown the skeletal structure that was used to form the base can be reused to grow future generations of this human-powered, low energy cycle.
For full story and photos of how it is done, please see: http://inhabitat.com/the-ajiro-bamboo-bike-is-grown-straight-from-the-ground/
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Source: The National (Abu Dhabi, UAE), 16 July 2011
Brown bear kebabs, bear meat goulash and bear chops — all were on the menu at an Italian banquet broken up by police earlier this month. Organized by Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's northern separatist coalition partner, the Northern League, the banquet cooked bear meat imported from neighbouring Slovenia to protest against the reintroduction of bears to Italy's Alpine Dolomite region. Some locals blame heavy livestock losses and a new danger on forest paths, due to the region's 35-strong bear population — even though bears generally shun human contact.
The country's Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, commented that the banquet was distasteful at a time when Italy's bears are "almost extinct and we are trying with great effort to bring them back to the mountains that have hosted them for centuries".
Unfortunately, Europe's brown bears are not the only threatened animals being dished up worldwide. Around the world animals considered desirable or delicacies are regularly poached so their parts can be eaten or used to make medicine. In the process, they are pushed closer to extinction. Here are some of the most vulnerable.
Pangolins: The unusual skin of this breed of anteaters — the only group of mammals known to possess scales — has long been eaten in tropical Africa and Asia. Pangolins are being killed across south-east Asia in larger numbers than ever for import to China, where many believe the scales have medicinal properties. The size of the illicit trade is staggering. According to Richard Thomas of TRAFFIC, one illegal syndicate in Malaysia alone sold more than 22 000 animals from May 2007 to January 2009. Some Chinese customers — who also eat the meat and blood — prefer pangolins shipped live, but the animals' low stress tolerance means many die from stomach ulcers en route. Such is the pressure on wild populations that many species in the pangolin family are now endangered or threatened.
Tigers: It is not tigers' beautiful pelts alone that make them vulnerable, explains Thomas. "Some people in east Asia believe eating tiger meat imparts strength," he says. "A recent development is using the cat's bones to make tiger-bone wine" — a tonic made by steeping tiger carcasses in rice wine. While a number of tiger farms have been exposed in the press, many of the tigers used in this way come from the wild. According to Thomas, numbers are worryingly high.
"Within the tiger range states, parts belonging to up to 1 220 different tigers have been seized in the last decade. This sort of trade pushes species decline, with rare animals like the Sumatran tiger now down to a few hundred animals."
Apes: While many rare species feed into the African trade in "bushmeat" or wild game—crocodiles, elephants and porcupines among them — few are as vulnerable as great apes. Gorilla, bonobo and chimpanzee carcasses form only one percent of the total African trade in bushmeat, but their low reproduction rates make them especially threatened.
Freshwater turtles: "At the current rate of decline, we will lose many of Asia's tortoises and freshwater turtle species forever if international and national laws and conventions are not enforced," warns Chris Shepherd of TRAFFIC. Turtles and their eggs have long been delicacies in many regions — including Europe — and global demand is only continuing a history of extinction. Increasingly, overexploitation is putting many species at risk, both from diners and the pet trade. While habitat loss is also a factor, it is not surprising that poaching is a problem when rare animals such as east Asia's golden coin turtle can fetch up to US$20,000/piece on the Chinese market.
For full story, please see: www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/food/threatened-species-on-the-menu-worldwide?pageCount=0
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Source: Reuters, 20 July 2011
It is not often that conservation groups urge hunting game as a way to save wildlife, but according to one such group, Namibia could conserve its nature better by doing exactly that.
A report by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, proposed on Wednesday expanding the practice on farmlands in the vast, sparsely populated southern African country, saying it could help both fill stomachs and conserve nature.
Trade in bushmeat all over Africa has been seen as a major threat to wildlife, but in Namibia, the report says, a vibrant bushmeat trade could be sustainable.
"On privately owned farmlands in Namibia, large quantities-between 16-26 million kg of game meat are produced annually, most of which is used domestically," the report said, giving recommendations like reintroducing buffaloes on farms.
"Making supplies of affordable game meat available to residents of communal land ... in farming areas may help reduce wildlife poaching," researcher Peter Lindsey said.
Namibia abounds with antelope species like springboks that can make tasty meals — not just for lions but for humans too. In the jungles of west and central Africa, poaching has decimated populations of chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants. The savannah of east and southern Africa has also been affected.
A UN study last year found Africa's game parks have lost well over half of their big mammals, such as the lions and buffalos, which draw millions of tourists each year, to rampant hunting and farming since 1970.
African leaders are increasingly aware of the economic value of the animals in their parks that are favourite tourist attractions, but providing economic incentives to mostly poor people to better conserve nature can prove a challenge.
"Wildlife-based land uses are potentially less risky than livestock production because ... not so dependent on rainfall ... and because wild animals are better adapted to Namibia's harsh environment," Lindsey said.
For full story, please see:
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Source: WWF, 25 July 2011
July marks the beginning of a promising partnership in the municipality of Apuí, 408 km from Manaus, capital of the state of Amazon. The Brazilian branch of the Swiss company Firmenich which manufactures fragrances and aromas has ordered its first purchase of copaiba oil produced in the interior of the municipality under a regime of sustainable forest management. The agreement with the Aripuanã-Guariba Agri-extractive Association, negotiated in the first semester of 2011, was mediated by WWF-Brazil.
According to the company's proposal to the extractive producers, 1 kg of copaiba oil will be negotiated for a price 100 percent higher than the price formerly paid by informal dealers. Firmenech will also create a fund of 10 000 reais which it will administer itself and the returns from the fund will be used to serve as working capital and income to finance capacity building and the purchase of equipment. Around 20 copaiba oil producers have already adhered to the proposal. The first order placed by the company is for 5 tons of oil to be supplied by the end of 2011.
This trading agreement will enable the producers to sell directly to the company without the need for intermediaries and they will also be assured a fair price for their oil. (In previous years the copaiba was sold to middlemen for just 7 reais/kg). That means generating a better income for the producers involved in the extraction and an enhanced value for forest products. In turn, the Firmenich company is guaranteed a supply of a raw material produced under proper forest management conditions that will ensure the sustainability of the supply and an effective contribution to the conservation of the Amazon forests.
WWF-Brazil's Amazon Programme coordinator, says "It is a decisive step taken by private initiative in the light of social and environmental considerations, insofar as the company itself establishes relations with the communities and also contributes to enhancing the value of forest products and fostering their conservation. In that way extractive producers have more options for generating income and the region's resources and potential will be made better use of."
Firmenich Brazil’s regional manager for natural ingredients, André Tabanez, explained that the work in Apuí is actually part of a much bigger company project. "This is the way we have found to foster social justice and take environmental issues into account in our production area. We wish to see these partnerships built on solid foundations and sustaining themselves within the next few years," added Tabanez.
The sales contract with Firmenich is part of a set of actions grouped under the heading “Development measures: forestry and agro-forestry production in the municipality of Apuí”. The strategy embraces a series of activities with a focus on forest management, reforestation, extractive activities and agro-forestry systems, all aimed at creating sustainable income and employment in the southern part of the State of Amazonas. Around ten institutions are involved in the work including government bodies, civil society organizations, producers associations and cooperatives and WWF-Brazil.
For full story, please see: www.wwf.org.br/informacoes/english/?29502/Partnership-with-private-sector-reinforces-copaiba-oil-production-chain-in-the-South-of-Amazonas-state
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Source: http://theconversation.edu.au, 13 July 2011
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. Global international visitor arrivals exceeded 940 million in 2010. The World Tourism Organization estimates that this number could reach 1.6 billion by 2020.
Mass tourism is hardly sustainable, so nature-based or ecotourism is often promoted as a cleaner alternative. But as eco-tourists, do our annual getaways end up harming the natural environment we set out to enjoy, or can our next adventure actually provide some sustainable benefit for conservation and local communities?
Globally, tourism currently contributes about 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Much of our impact (50-98 percent) arises from the travel component, primarily via plane or car. The remainder is derived from on-site impacts associated with accommodation and leisure activities.
As eco-tourists can our demand for visiting unspoilt destinations actually benefit conservation efforts? There is resounding support for ecotourism from conservation groups like the IUCN, Conservation International and the WWF. Even so the answer is not a simple “yes”, or “no”, but more a question of how, when and where?
Conservation benefits depend to a large degree on the choices we make: the destination we pick, the travel options we choose, the activities we participate in, and how the money we spend is redistributed.
Indeed, for many nations it is the revenue generated through ecotourism that continues to support conservation activities and enrich local livelihoods. In many developing countries protected areas rely heavily on tourism fees. For example, national parks in South Africa, home of the iconic Kruger National Park, derive almost 70 percent of their income from tourism revenue (such as entrance fees, restaurants, accommodation, concession fees).
As more private wildlife-based ecotourism operators have set up in sub-Saharan Africa, there have been significant gains in the area of land set aside for conservation purposes. For example, private reserves currently cover more than double the area of public reserves in South Africa. This has also contributed directly to species conservation. These operators need to deliver a wildlife experience and conserve wildlife populations because people come to these areas to see large mammals.
Local inhabitants too have benefited from ecotourism. It has increased employment opportunities, enhanced livelihoods and in some cases empowered entire communities. Community conservancies in Namibia are an example of successful linkages between conservation and socio-economic development.
Ecotourism also drives changing attitudes towards conservation. These changes are seen in the travellers themselves (who might take on volunteer conservation tourism), the host communities (where there is empowerment of local guides and reduction in poaching), commercial operators (who might become responsible tourism operators) but also in government (where there can be changes in legislation to support sustainable tourism).
For full story, please see: http://theconversation.edu.au/can-tourism-really-have-conservation-benefits-1337
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Source: Taiwan Today, 26 July 2011
Taiwan’s first ecotourism corridor was recently set up linking four aboriginal villages in Pingtung County that were devastated by Typhoon Morakot in August 2009, according to the county government. The devastation was so severe that residents of Dalai and Dewen, in Sandimen Township, and Ali and Dawu, in Wutai Township, had to be relocated in the aftermath, thereby threatening the continuation of the local culture.
“The ecotourism park joining the four villages represents the reconstruction efforts of the local tribes,” said Chen Mei-hui, an assistant professor at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology who was commissioned by the county government to carry out the project. “Two-day, one-night ecotours to each of the four villages will allow participants to get up close and personal with the villages’ rich culture and ecology,” Chen said.
Dawu village chief Peng Yu-hua, the first-ever female head of a village in Wutai, said that the chieftain houses were washed away when Typhoon Morakot struck, virtually destroying “the heart of the village’s culture.” Peng expressed the hope that participating in the ecotourism project would help rebuild the self-confidence of local residents.
For full story, please see: www.taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=172858&ctNode=445
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Source: ABC News (Australia), 20 July 2011
A bumper honey supply is being predicted as beekeepers start the new season. Hives are buzzing back to life as an army of bees is positioned to collect pollen.
Beekeeper Barry Pobke has 800 hives in the Riverland (South Australia), with "about 30 000 [bees] in each one".
Hives were moved into almond groves on Monday night, where bees will help pollinate the crop. Almonds, like the local avocados and oranges, rely on the bees for reproduction.
Ian Roberts from the Apiarists Association says good rains have produced healthy plants. "Time will tell, it is all weather-related in the end," he said.
The honey supply is expected to start flowing late in the year.
For full story, please see: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-20/honey-bees-almonds-riverland/2802398
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Source: www.timeslive.co.za (South Africa), 16 July 2011
A Hong Kong man is tasting sweet success after launching a brand of honey harvested in the territory's urban jungle. Michael Leung tends 11 beehives in various unlikely locations, including a rooftop in the red-light district and a balcony in an up-market residential area, Hong Kong’s Sunday Morning Post said.
"You would be surprised at the places where bees can survive and thrive," said the amateur apiarist, who is an interior designer by day. "They can fly up to 5 km away from their hives to find pollen," he said.
Bees' natural global positioning system and communication skills allow them to find and keep track of their food — flowers — even when resources are few and far between.
"It may take longer for bees to fill their combs, but it is completely possible," Leung was quoted as saying.
Leung has created a brand, HK Honey, to market the honey to shops in the territory.
He also uses his environmental enterprise to increase awareness of food issues, running tours of the beehives and workshops on honey harvesting.
On a rooftop in Wan Chai, Hong Kong's red-light district, four 50-by-75-cm wooden frames are home to 10 000 of Leung's bees, busily building combs and making honey.
He harvests the honey once a month using what he calls the Chinese method, without smoke or protection. "If we do not startle the bees, they are harmless and friendly," he said.
Leung said he hoped to introduce beekeeping in schools and would like more building owners to allow hives on their rooftops.
For full story, please see: www.timeslive.co.za/world/2011/07/19/bees-keep-urban-honey-venture-buzzing or www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/13/uk-hongkong-bees-idUSLNE76C01U20110713
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Source: The Guardian (UK), 25 July 2011
One of the most impressive features of the London office of global investment bank “Nomura,” located in the City on the banks of the River Thames, is its 36 155 ft² flowering sedum-covered roof. Even more impressive is that an inner city organization is seeking corporates to help the floundering UK bee population by hosting beehives in their offices.
The Golden Company is a London-based organization working with at-risk 16-21 year-olds from inner London who develop business skills through producing, marketing and selling honey and related products. The social enterprise, founded in 2009, has offered services to London businesses since last year. The partnerships provide young people with training, income and work opportunities for 12 months.
"Interestingly, most corporates think the major benefit of working with us is the exchange of knowledge between staff and our young people," says Ilka Weissbrod from The Golden Company.
Nomura offered The Golden Company the rooftop of its recently completed 11-storey European headquarters. Its roof provides plenty of opportunity for pollination and adheres to a strict no pesticide policy. The honey bees feel welcome, which encourages wild pollinators to thrive. The hives are located in their own purpose built area, surrounded by a timber enclosure to protect them from strong winds and London's unpredictable weather.
This partnership is not just helping the 150 000 bees: The Golden Company is able to provide work and training for two young people, Lakshmi Greco and Ezekiel Barzey, who will visit the bees regularly with an experienced beekeeper to monitor and maintain the hives.
"It is great working with the bees at Nomura," says Greco. "From the rooftop we can look out across the river to Borough market, where we sell produce from our other apiaries. It is great to see how everything from initial production to the final product is produced. Everything is so close together."
It is also an opportunity for Nomura to help the city towards a sustainable future. With an emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, bees serve as a great metaphor for a large corporation.
"The initiative with the beehives on our roof is a perfect partnership for Nomura," says Dominic Cashman, the Managing Director, chief administrative office, EMEA. "We can use our building's environmental credentials — the roof garden and sedum roof — to give something back to the city by supporting the pollinators and inner city young people."
Nomura has agreed to purchase all of the honey produced in 2012, which will be used at client events and breakfasts.
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/voluntary-sector-network/2011/jul/25/honey-heart-beneficial-partnership
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Source: www.timeslive.co.za, 14 July 2011
Traditional medicine needs to be embraced so that it finds expression through combating diseases, says South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology.
"If it is to play a strategic role in combating the heavy burden of disease, it will need to be mainstreamed so that it can benefit from advances in the other sciences," said Director General Molapo Qhobela. He was speaking at an African traditional medicine and intellectual property workshop held in Pretoria.
Qhobela said South Africa should learn from China and India, which had effectively integrated traditional medicine into their health systems. He further emphasized the need to preserve African medicine.
"One way of securing the future of indigenous knowledge and research on traditional medicine is the advancement and refinement of regulatory regimes," he said.
The drafting of ethical guidelines for researchers and research institutions had already been completed. The Department planned to conduct research on medicinal plants, a move which the Traditional Healers Organisation wanted to involve traditional healers themselves.
Its spokeswoman Phephisile Maseko said while the organization was not objecting to research, healers believed that leaving government to do research on its own, and excluding them, would undermine their own work done so far.
She highlighted that 72 percent of South Africans made use of traditional medicines. Of the known plant species in the country, 3 000 of them have medicinal potential.
For full story, please see: www.timeslive.co.za/local/2011/07/14/traditional-medicine-should-be-embraced
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Source: The Guardian (UK), 13 July 2011
Seabuckthorn is a shrub-like tree from which berries are collected. It is native to the UK, and until recently, was largely restricted to the southern part of the east coast of England. It is an excellent stabilizer of sand dunes and has been planted all around the coast for this purpose. Unfortunately it has done its job too well and, spreading by suckers, has come to dominate and effectively destroy many of these sensitive habitats; it is now considered an invasive species in the UK.
It is an easy plant to identify with its narrow grey/green leaves and bright clustered orange berries. It looks a little like a willow tree and indeed one of its old names was "sallow-thorn". Its Latin name Hippophae rhamnoides, incidentally and rather inexplicably since it does neither, means "thing that looks like buckthorn and frightens horses".
If you do not live near the sea fear not, this coastal plant has recently become something of a favourite with highway authorities and can be found on bypasses and dual carriageways all over the UK — the best stretch I know being on the A1 just south of Newcastle.
They do take a bit of picking. The trees are covered in vicious spines and the berries are impossible to remove from the branches without bursting and spraying you with bright, orange-coloured juice.
A fantastically sour berry, seabuckthorn is ideal for cooking and for use in a champagne cocktail.
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jul/13/how-make-sea-buckthorn-fizz
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Source: www.dnaindia.com, 17 July 2011
Kaziranga is considered one of the most successful conservation stories in India in the last 100 years. Some 400 km west of Kaziranga is Manas national park and reserve. Straddling the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan terrains, 500 km² of Manas is in India and 1 000 km² in Bhutan. Declared a “Project Tiger” reserve in 1973, it is also an elephant and biosphere reserve. The reserve is home to tigers and elephants, leopards, clouded leopards, golden cats, leopard cats, pangolins, rhinoceros, water buffalos, gaurs, swamp deer and pygmy hogs.
In 1985, UNESCO listed it as a World Heritage Site. But the late eighties and early nineties saw its wildlife and forest wealth being plundered. Tribal Bodo militants used the reserve as a safe haven, felling trees and killing wildlife to buy weapons. In 1992, UNESCO demoted it to World Heritage Site in Danger for the “severe damages to the ecosystem”.
Manas faced the prospect of being removed completely from the list of world heritage sites, says Vivek Menon, South Asia Regional Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Just in time, however, around 2003 the situation began to improve. Last month, at the 35th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Paris, the “danger” tag over Manas was lifted.
UNESCO acknowledged that Manas’ resurrection was possible because of the synergy between the government, wildlife activists and people living around the reserve.
“The turnaround began in 2003 after the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) gave up their weapons,” says Aninda Swargowari, field director of Manas. This was after the signing of the Bodo Peace Accord, leading to the creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Now the locals have a stake in protecting the reserve, which falls under the BTC. “It dawned on them that Manas is their property. The rebels, who once ravaged the reserve, took to protecting it,” says Swargowari.
“Our financial state was precarious. It was difficult to live. It was sheer poverty that made me a poacher,” says 33-year-old Rabiram, a father of two, who is now a forest guard at Manas, adding that now he will lay down his life if required to protect the wildlife there.
Rabiram gets a collective monthly remuneration of around Rs3 300 from the forest department and the BTC, apart from subsidised rations. “I know it is not much but it has given me peace of mind,” he says.
The poachers-turned-guards are all locals (approximately 40 of them). Ten others are working with the Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society (MMES), an NGO.
“Our vision is to bring about the socio-economic and educational development of the community living on the fringe areas of Manas through sustainable conservation and responsible tourism,” says MMES secretary Phwjwngsar Narzari.
For full story, please see: www.dnaindia.com/lifestyle/report_hunters-turn-protectors-in-manas-reserve_1566481
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Source: Science Daily, 14 July 2011
"Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth," a review paper published on 15 July 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth's terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. The paper claims that the loss of apex consumers from ecosystems “may be humankind's most pervasive influence on nature."
The review, conducted by an international team of 24 scientists, illuminates the patterns and far-reaching impacts of predation and herbivory on the structure and dynamics of global ecosystems. The researchers relied on both experimental and observational evidence, which provides a strong basis for their conclusions.
"By looking at ecosystems primarily from the bottom up, scientists and resource managers have been focusing on only half of a very complex equation," said lead author Dr. Estes. "These findings demonstrate that top consumers in the food web are enormous influencers of the structure, function, and biodiversity of most natural ecosystems."
Apex consumers include animals such as big cats, wolves, bison, sharks, and great whales, and are typically large, long-lived, and not amenable to laboratory experiments. As a result, the effects of removing them from ecosystems are not easy to document. The team of scientists reviewed an accumulation of theoretical and empirical evidence on how the decline of top predators and herbivores has affected Earth's ecosystems on land, in freshwater, and in the ocean. Their findings suggest that "trophic downgrading" — the ecological consequences of losing large apex consumers from nature — causes extensive cascading effects in ecosystems worldwide, especially when exacerbated by factors such as land use practices, climate changes, habitat loss, and pollution.
For full story, please see: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714142133.htm
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Source: Reuters, 25 July 2011
Rwanda handed over six orphaned gorillas to the Democratic Republic of Congo after poachers smuggled them out of the country to sell as exotic pets, or for consumption as bushmeat.
Poaching has decimated populations of chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants in the jungles of west and central Africa and regional governments have vowed to step up efforts to stop trafficking.
World environmental group WWF classifies mountain gorillas as critically endangered, with about 680 surviving in the wild, all in central Africa.
Rwandan authorities said on Sunday they had rescued the gorillas, aged between 5 and 8 years old, from traffickers in various parts of the country.
Officials have detained six Rwandan and Congolese men whom they believe are part of a wider criminal ring. Gorillas are caught and sold for thousands of dollars on the world market as exotic pets, or killed and sold locally as a delicacy.
"Because the countries are working together we managed to reduce that (poaching) .... we are able to minimize that but it is still a challenge," said Rwanda's director general of tourism and parks, Rica Rugambwa, on the Rwandan-Congolese border.
The gorillas were flown from there to a research centre and were then due to be released into the wild.
According to WWF, the rare mountain gorillas are found in a Ugandan national park or in the Virunga Volcano Region, which straddles the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. The WWF says more than 100 000 people live near the forests where they are found. Poaching, capture for illegal wildlife trade, as well as people's need for land to grow food has reduced the mammals' forest habitat to "virtual islands in the middle of human settlements".
Congo's mountain gorillas have also weathered years of warfare in the country's east. Dozens of rangers have been killed trying to protect the area's five national parks from poachers and armed groups.
For full story, please see: http://af.reuters.com/article/rwandaNews/idAFL6E7IP14320110725
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Source: www.perthnow.com.au (Australia), 22 July 2011
The head of Australia's biggest truffle producer, which is located in Western Australia (WA), says the multi-million dollar industry, known for its mystery and romance, is facing some serious challenges.
WA is the nation’s largest producer of truffles, or more precisely, the sleepy South-West hamlet of Manjimup is considered to be the epitome of Australia’s truffle industry, churning out about 70 percent of the annual crop.
The Wine and Truffle Company chairman, Alf Salter told PerthNow that this year’s Australian harvest, currently underway nationwide, will yield about 3500 kg of the deliciously rare fungi.
With wholesale prices ranging between AUD$1800 and AUD$2000/kg, the industry is valued at around AUD$7 million, although the retail price is currently a staggering AUD$3000/kg, with the majority of the annual crop destined for overseas markets.
Mr Salter explained that reporting on the industry was always overwhelmingly positive, when in reality the key challenge, among many facing the industry at present, was establishing, developing and retaining these lucrative foreign markets such as France, elsewhere in Europe and even the US.
“There are a lot of challenges,” he said. “A lot of reporting is about the positives, and it talks about the AUD$3000/kg, so every second person wants to be a truffle grower.”
He said the Australian market only consumed about 600-800kg/year and considering the national haul may hit 3500kg this year, almost two tonnes will need to head offshore.
“The reality is that we all thought the world would be clamouring for truffles from the southern hemisphere because we are growing truffles when the northern hemisphere is not,” he added. “At this time of year they are growing autumn-summer truffles (Tuber unicinatum) and we are growing winter truffles (Tuber melanosporum).”
He indicated that the long-established and highly traditional industry that exists in France, and neighbouring European countries, meant that the local trufferies (the name given to a truffle orchard) desperately required a good strategic plan to successfully sell that export quantity to the northern hemisphere.
Mr Salter responded very positively when asked if this year’s harvest would eclipse The Wine & Truffle Company’s previous record harvest of about 700 kg. “This year we are expecting to get to 1 650 kg.”
For full story, please see: www.perthnow.com.au/business/wa-company-news/truffle-trouble-despite-boom-crop-in-2011/story-e6frg2s3-1226099944966
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Source: AlJazeera (English), 20 July 2011
Burkina Faso authorities have sounded the alarm over the increased rate of degradation of forests in this Sahelian country. According to a study by the Ministry for the Environment and Sustainable Development, some 110 550 ha of forest are destroyed each year, just over four percent of the country's total wooded area — around three-quarters of this annual loss linked to farming. The data covers forest loss between 1992 and 2002, but the trend continues, according to the Ministry.
The Environment Ministry's study shows that in the eastern region of Kompienga, the destruction of wooded areas averaged 1 600 km² over each of the past 15 years. In Poni and Noumbiel, in the south-west, savannah forests have lost 60 percent of their area, giving way to scrublands.
"The contributing factors are decreased rainfall, bush fires, the demand for wood and NWFPs, and clearing of forest in order to have larger harvests," said Soumaila Bancé, the country coordinator for the Convention on Biodiversity at the National Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development.
"We have an increase in demand which exceeds supply. The population is growing and the resources are no longer sufficient to feed it. The area that we have restored is not enough to cover the demand," said Bancé. The growth rate of the Burkinabé population is 3.1 percent, according the most recent census, in 2006.
But poverty is also a factor, pushing unemployed youth to go after resources which do not belong to anyone/public-common resources. They cut green wood without waiting for it to reach maturity, said Bancé. "They are gathering immature fruit; only when the fruit is allowed to ripen is there the chance of regeneration because the seeds of ripe fruit can germinate and grow up to replace the big trees," said Bancé.
The IUCN is extremely concerned by the accelerated degradation of forests in Burkina Faso, which also affects the soil. The IUCN says that between 1992 and 2009, the centre-west of the country saw an extremely elevated rate of deforestation for agriculture, which estimates the area lost to cultivation at 40 percent.
The degradation of forests threatens the existence of more than 60 plant species. The red list of the IUCN shows that there are also animal species threatened with extinction.
According to Bancé, the baobab, kapok and wild plum trees are among the plant species threatened with disappearance.
For full story, please see: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/07/2011713124523327727.html
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Source: Barriere Star Journal in www.bclocalnews.com (Canada), 25 July 2011
Webster’s dictionary defines a forest as a thick growth of trees and underbrush covering an extensive tract of land. The forest industry, including woodlot licenses, typically focuses on the trees — or, more specifically, logs and conventional wood products. But what about the products that can be produced from trees, other than timber, or from the underbrush? Forests contain a wide range of natural products that, when harvested and utilized, are often referred to as non-timber forest products (NTFPs).
There are many examples found among the more than 860 woodlot licenses around the province of British Columbia (B.C.). A woodlot license outside Quesnel taps birch and alder trees for producing syrup and fudge, while a woodlot near Campbell River taps big leaf sugar maple trees. A Chilliwack nursery selling only natural plants finds its vine maple and salmonberry shoots from the neighbouring woodlot license. A woodlot on the Island is used as a source for bows for making wreaths and salal for floral decorating.
These are but a few examples. Beyond syrup, birch trees can be a source of toffee, marinades, ice cream toppings, sauces, basketry, weaving, paper from bark, bowls, platters, cutlery, serving utensils, twig furniture, canoes, paddles, shoe insoles, sleds, snowshoes, oils for cosmetics, medicines, sweeteners (e.g. xylitol), and the list goes on.
One example of a forest managed for more than timber lies outside Kaslo, B.C. The Kootenay Agroforestry Society holds this woodlot license and Peter McCallister manages the multitude of resources in addition to trees. He harvests and processes culinary and medicinal mushrooms for sale and teaches workshops on behalf of the society about “alternative foods” and NTFPs. Peter refers to the many NTFPs as GFTFs — “gifts from the forest.”
“We have grown a lot of food on underutilized wood,” McAllister said, “mainly on deciduous species.” Woodlots provide many other foods in addition to berries. Pine mushrooms, for example, are harvested and sold to buyers in Japan. Popular shiitake mushrooms are gathered and then dried using a method that causes them to secrete maximum amounts of precious vitamin D.
McAllister said the society’s workshops have introduced such subjects and skills as dyeing natural fabrics with lichens; pine needle and cedar basket weaving; culinary and medicinal mushroom growing; native plants, yew bow making, edible and poisonous mushroom identification.
Opportunities abound for the many NTFPs that have yet to be developed. The Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology (CLE) at Royal Roads University is working to provide information to better understand the potential of these species. More information is available at www.royalroads.ca/cle.
For full story, please see: www.bclocalnews.com/bc_thompson_nicola/barrierestarjournal/news/126040743.html
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Source: National Post (Canada), 13 July 2011
An international panel of scientists is warning that one of Canada’s iconic species — the woodland caribou — will soon be “on the road to extinction” without immediate efforts by federal and provincial agencies to protect the animal’s increasingly disturbed boreal habitat.
The report by the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel, authored by 23 biologists and other researchers from Canada and the U.S., concludes that the woodland caribou’s existence in several provinces and territories is threatened by industrial development and piecemeal protection efforts that have not significantly curbed habitat loss or reversed century-long decreases in caribou populations.
The woodland caribou, which inhabits parts of eight provinces and territories from British Columbia to Newfoundland, is officially designated as “threatened” under Canada’s endangered species legislation.
“Woodland caribou are in trouble,” the scientists argue. “Once widespread — ranging as far south as the northern United States — forest-dwelling caribou have vanished from half of their historic range in North America, coincident with an expanding, continental front of human settlement and intensive resource exploitation.”
“In B.C. and Alberta there are serious concerns about the failure to address rapidly declining woodland caribou populations,” said a report summary. “Saskatchewan has taken virtually no action to protect its boreal forests. It is in these places where significant progress is needed.”
Report co-author Jeffrey Wells, a senior adviser to the Pew Environment Group, said there is now “wide agreement” among experts on how to address the problem and that “it is clear that failure to act will place these iconic animals on the road to extinction.”
The report emphasizes the need for large-scale forest preservation rather than locale-to-locale mitigation measures that attempt to uneasily couple forestry and mining activities with conservation goals.
For full story, please see: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/13/scientists-warn-caribou-on-road-to-extinction/
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Source: China Daily, 17 July 2011
Few would like the idea of adding medicine to food, but for the Chinese, sometimes food is medicine, and adding natural herbs to dishes may mean the creation of a gourmet dish with healthy benefits.
Some of the ingredients often used this way includes ginger, ginseng and angelica root. For instance, ginger is often infused in boiling water to create a home cure for mild throat infections or to prevent the onset of a cold. Ginseng is slowly stewed with chicken to replenish energy or qi deficiency. Angelica is a popular tonic herb, often added to a ginger-and-mutton stew to make a warming winter soup.
Such healthful cooking has given rise to a genre of restaurants that specialize in herbal cuisine.
Roucongrong, or cistanche, is a parasitic root plant produced in the deserts of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. Locals dub it "desert ginseng", and cook it with mutton and beef to strengthen the kidneys, as a natural aphrodisiac for men.
At Herbal Cuisine Kitchen for instance, there is fungus on the menu, including the celebrated lacy bamboo fungus, slowly braised with turtle skirts and ganoderma. Ganoderma is credited with all sorts of health-giving properties from just good-for-you to anti-carcinogenic. It is a tonic soup very suitable for the season.
The use of herbs in food has generated some recent controversy. For example, wild ginseng may be a too strong tonic for some, and pregnant women should avoid saffron.
For full story, please see: www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-07/17/content_12917477.htm
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From: World Bamboo Organization, 11 July 2011
Fore Bamboo is partnering with Haitian community organizations to plant and maintain non-invasive construction grade bamboo. This bamboo can then be used to relieve the housing and environmental crises in Haiti.
On the Organization’s first trip to Haiti, two huge problems were very striking: the urgent need for housing, and the barren, deforested hillsides. In an effort to contribute to Haiti’s long-term sustainable development, this bamboo project — led by Fore Bamboo — aims to tackle both of these massive problems head on. So far, the organization has planted over 15 000 ft² of bamboo nursery with four Haitian community partner organizations, and is planning to ambitiously expand in the coming year.
The goal is to develop bamboo as a multi-purpose crop to build disaster-resistant houses, slow down deforestation and erosion, and develop the local economy. The strategy is to partner with local Haitian organizations which can provide land and social capital, and help them with the technicalities of growing bamboo and buildings safe houses. All of the profits — both economic and environmental — go directly to the Haitians in the community.
Why Bamboo? Bamboo is a phenomenal construction material. Over 1.5 million Haitians are in desperate need of shelter. Bamboo is a cheap, sustainable, and locally-sourced building material that can be used to build earthquake and hurricane resistant houses.
Bamboo will also help the economy. Because bamboo is incredibly versatile, it can increase farmers’ incomes, and create jobs in construction, agriculture, energy, etc. This economic incentive is incredibly important to ensure that the project is sustainable in the long term.
Furthermore, bamboo is extremely beneficial to the environment. Erosion, deforestation, and mass extinction are all enormous problems in Haiti. Bamboo reduces soil erosion, provides a multitude of environmental services, and takes the stress off of natural forests, protecting the threatened species within. It is one of the best plants for carbon sequestration, which is extremely important as the impacts of climate change become more catastrophic.
For more information, please see: http://worldbamboo.net/uncategorized/help-haiti-with-bamboo-go-to-greenfunder-website/ or
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Source: AFP, 13 July 2011
Forest groups on Wednesday welcomed an Indonesian commitment to protect the rights of indigenous people who have long complained that their land is being stolen in the name of conservation schemes.
With billions of dollars in foreign aid and carbon offsets potentially on the table, tribal groups have accused internationally backed efforts to tackle deforestation of pushing them off their ancestral land.
Presidential adviser Kuntoro Mangkusubroto told a forestry conference on Lombok island this week that Indonesia would address the issue by implementing a decade-old land law recognizing the rights of forest communities.
It will also develop a land tenure map identifying the location and size of forests and how they are used, as well as defining the legal status of the country's vast forested areas.
"Indonesia is committed to longer-term forest and land tenure reform," he said. "All should be implemented based on the principle to recognize, to respect and to protect customary rights," he added.
Forest groups hope the government will fulfil its obligations to inform and consult with indigenous groups whose lives could be dramatically altered by UN-backed measures to prevent deforestation.
"We are very pleased with Indonesia's commitment," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, a board member of Rights and Resources Initiative, a global coalition of forest research groups. "It is not a matter of recognizing who the indigenous people are and their rights, but developing a legal framework to recognize their ownership over forests. We are very hopeful that changes will come about."
Indigenous Peoples Alliance Secretary-General Abdon Nababan said forest people were in danger of being forced off their land and denied their customary livelihoods in the name of conservation. "The basic point is that if you want to protect the forests, you must protect the people who protect the forests," he told AFP.
The alliance last month demanded a halt to conservation schemes worth billions of dollars on Borneo island, saying they could be a form of "cultural genocide" if not handled properly.
Indonesia is often cited as the world's third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, due mainly to rampant deforestation by the palm oil, mining and paper industries.
For full story, please see:
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- Kenya: Villagers vow to resist as wildlife vanishes and they are driven from their land to make way for biofuels
Source: The Guardian (UK), 2 July 2011
Gamba Manyatta village is empty now, weeds already roping around the few skeletal hut frames still standing. The people who were evicted took as much of their building materials as they could carry to start again and the land where their homes stood is now ploughed up.
The eviction of the villagers to make way for a sugar cane plantation is part of a wider land grab going on in Kenya's Tana Delta that is not only pushing people off plots they have farmed for generations, stealing their water resources and raising tribal tensions that many fear will escalate into war, but also destroying a unique wetland habitat that is home to hundreds of rare and spectacular birds.
The irony is that most of the land is being taken for allegedly environmental reasons — to allow private companies to grow water-thirsty sugar cane and jatropha for the biofuels so much in demand in the west, where green legislation, designed to ease carbon dioxide emissions, is requiring they are mixed with petrol and diesel.
The delta, one of Kenya's last wildernesses and one of the most important bird habitats in Africa, is the flood plain of the Tana river, which flows 1 014 km from Mount Kenya to the Indian Ocean.
Global warming and reduced rainfall has already hit the delta hard. "No proper research has been done into what wildlife is here, and now the habitat is disappearing there is no evidence of what we are losing," said Francis Kagema, of Nature Kenya, a conservation group.
The delta's people are trying to fight their own government over the huge blocks of land being turned over to companies including the Canadian company, Bedford Biofuels, which was this year granted a licence by the Kenyan environmental regulator for a 10 000-ha jatropha "pilot" project. A UK-based firm, G4 Industries Ltd, has been awarded a licence for 28 000 ha.
Nature Kenya is trying to support villagers to go to court.
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/02/biofuels-land-grab-kenya-delta
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- Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Rattan industry gets certified to access the global market
Source: WWF, 27 June 2011
More than 90 percent of rattan processed in the Greater Mekong originates from natural forests that are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Rattan collection is an important source of income for many communities in Laos. FSC-certification increases the incentives to protect forests from conversion and other unsustainable land use.
The Leudnilan Agriculture Promotion Co., Ltd received last month a Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody (FSC CoC) certificate with the support from the WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme. This certificate shows that the company has a proper production chain that ensures sustainable traceability and legality of rattan products.
The WWF Sustainable Rattan Programme has been promoting sustainability and market links in Laos since 2006 by working with government authorities and communities to link local rattan forests to the global rattan market.
“Lao rattan companies need to switch their conventional production methods to a more systematic, documented, and innovative process,” said Bouaphet Bounsourath, WWF Sustainable Rattan Project Manager. Sufficient documentation of in-flow and out-flow in rattan production shows efficient processing and facilitates access to the global market.”
Together with NAFRI and DoF, WWF supports Lao communities and companies and expects Laos to be the first country in the world to obtain an FSC Forest Management certificate for rattan products.
Such a certification is an incentive for communities and forest managers as they receive a higher income from selling FSC rattan to CoC companies compared to non-certified companies.
“If we compare the new rattan model to seasonal jobs we have had in the past with what we are doing now we can see a big difference,” said Mr. Kensy Milamith, vice village head of Thaveng Village, Bolikhamxay Province. “We used to earn a few hundred thousand kips/month, but now when we weave baskets and sell them to the Leudnilan company, we can earn more than 3 million kip/month.”
Laos currently exports raw rattan to its neighbouring countries, particularly Vietnam, and is aiming to be seen as a global leader of sustainable and certified rattan exporter among traders, global retailers, and consumers.
For full story, please see: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/greatermekong/our_solutions/sustainablerattan/news/?200767
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Source: National Science Foundation in US News, 7 July 2011
On Yap, a Pacific island that is part of Micronesia, the native people fish the traditional way. They construct kites made of bread fruit leaves, the spines of the Pandanus plant and coconut fibre rope, and fly them over the reef, dropping their lines to attract long-nose needlefish. These are the only fish the islanders want, and the only ones lured by this unusual gear.
“It is ecologically sound and sustainable, and they have been doing it for generations,” says Robert H. Richmond, a research professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “More importantly, no Western scientist could teach them a better way.”
Richmond tells this story to make the point that marine and environmental science training must be relevant to the region, and include not just current science and technology, but an awareness of the unique cultural aspects of the communities that will benefit, in this case, Pacific Islanders.
“Historically, the United States was given a protectorate role to help the islands segue from the end of the Second World War into the 20th Century, but the people who came in as advisors brought a set of opinions different from those who live on the islands,” he says.
“Somebody could come in and tell the people of Yap that their kind of fishing technique is a waste of time, and they could use more efficient gear. Well, that kind of gear might be really good for Lake Michigan, but what the people of Yap are doing is very appropriate and the only way to handle their fisheries,” he adds. “We could try to get them more efficient and better ways of doing it, and possibly drive their resources into extinction. Many of the people who have come in over the years have had the best intentions, but did not know how to bridge the science with the cultural attributes of these unique islands.”
Richmond directs the Partnership for Advanced Marine and Environmental Science Training for Pacific Islanders, a program for local students that is trying to close this gap. The goal is to blend up-to-date scientific knowledge with the ancient traditions that have served the islanders well over thousands of years.
“Many of these islands do not have people well trained in modern sciences,” he says. “There is great traditional knowledge among them, but they did not traditionally have to deal with such things as, for example, organophosphate pesticides.”
Many believe that the future of the islands and their populations will depend heavily on the technical skills and knowledge of the local people. The hope is that by training local people in these skills, they will become more invested in their homeland’s environmental future.
The program seeks to produce culturally-connected Pacific Islanders who will be specifically trained to serve their home islands in natural resource assessment, protection and restoration, and who can provide information to the broader international community on the special problems experienced in island nations relative to topics such as resource sustainability, protection of biodiversity, pollution control and the connection between environmental and human health.
For full story, please see: www.usnews.com/science/articles/2011/07/07/blending-science-knowledge-with-ancient-traditions
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Source: www.scidev.net, 15 July 2011
Namibia has kicked off a series of meetings with rural and indigenous communities to feed into the country's first bill on access to genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
The first such meeting took place in the south of the country last month (28–30 June).
The bill has been in development since 1998. It should be finalized by the end of the year so that the country can sign the Nagoya Protocol — an international framework for ensuring more equitable access to, and sharing of, genetic resources — before the February 2012 deadline. To be ratified, the Nagoya Protocol needs 50 nations to sign up and 38 have done so far.
The bill will prevent exploitation of indigenous resources, such as devil's claw (Harpagophytum sp.) a plant used by the San people to treat rheumatism and arthritis, and hoodia (Hoodia gordonii) which is used for suppressing hunger.
Pierre du Plessis, a genetic resources expert and Nambian negotiator for the Nagoya Protocol, said that investments made to bring some of these plants to the market have not given back much to local communities.
"In the case of hoodia an investment in the region of US$70.7 million over the past 12 years has, so far, yielded virtually no sustainable benefits, although some opportunists have enjoyed windfall profits," he said, citing attempts to market hoodia products for weight loss.
The workshops are an opportunity to strengthen people's “environmental literacy” — knowledge about their natural resources. "But we also need their expertise to prevent any loopholes in the bill," Nakwaya said. "After all, communities have used these resources for a long time."
"Communities will benefit if their associated traditional knowledge is involved, or if they are the direct legal providers of the resources in question," said du Plessis.
Namibia was one of the main architects behind the 2010 Nagoya Protocol, which secured access and benefit sharing (ABS) rights for communities under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. "Nagoya is a big step for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources," said Dietlinde Nakwaya, the manager of a programme called Strengthening Capacity Enhancement to Implement the Global Environmental Conventions in Namibia, at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism — a project that builds capacity to implement international environmental agreements.
Konrad Uebelhör, biodiversity and sustainable land management expert with the German Company for International Cooperation, GIZ, (which formed recently from the German International, Inwent), said that, even if local communities do not manage to derive benefits from the IP relating to their knowledge, they can still benefit from the spill-over effects of developments and investments surrounding traditional knowledge.
For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/en/news/indigenous-people-in-namibia-help-draft-biopiracy-law.html
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Source: www.mongabay.com, 11 July 2011
After the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for independence, the work of building a nation begins. One of many tasks facing the nation's nascent leaders is the conservation of its stunning wildlife. In 2007, following two decades of brutal civil war, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) surveyed South Sudan. What they found surprised everyone: 1.3 million white-eared kob, tiang (or topi) antelope and Mongalla gazelle still roamed the plains, making up the world's second largest migration after the Serengeti. The civil war had not, as expected, largely diminished the Sudan's great wildernesses, which are also inhabited by buffalo, giraffe, lion, bongo, chimpanzee, and some 8 000 elephants.
"I have never seen wildlife like that, in such numbers, not even when flying over the mass migrations of the Serengeti," said survey leader and renowned conservationist J. Michael Fay in 2007.
However, with new nationhood comes tough decisions and new pressures. Multi-national companies seeking to exploit the nation's vast natural resources are expected to arrive in South Sudan, tempting them with promises of development and economic growth, promises that have proven uneven at best across Africa. Dubbed the resource curse, many poor nations have seen their rich, natural resources plundered for the world market, but instead of reaping the financial rewards, money is lost in poorly-made deals or commodity swings, or ends up in the pockets of foreign corporations or corrupt officials, leaving the nation's people not with education and opportunity, but environmental degradation and social unrest. Dependent on oil (98 percent of the government's revenue comes from oil) and shockingly poor (90 percent of the people live on less than US$1/day), South Sudan is perfectly situated for a resource-curse repeat.
One way to avoid the resource curse is to expand one's economic portfolio from non-renewable resources, such as oil and mining, to opportunities that will not stagnate. Here is where the nation's vast wildlife — and its still intact ecosystems — come in.
"There is a historic opportunity, perhaps unprecedented, for wildlife conservation, sustainable natural resource management and environmentally friendly ecotourism to be integrated into the nation-building process," Steven Sanderson CEO of WCS wrote.
With some of the continent's biggest herds — and therefore some of the best wildlife viewing in the world — South Sudan could become an ecotourism hub. Tourism in such a place is nothing to sniff at: Kenya estimated it would make over US$1 billion in revenue from tourism in 2010. And unlike oil, tourism does not run dry, so long as South Sudan makes forward-thinking conservation a priority.
For full story, please see: http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0711-hance_southsudan.html
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Source: www.redpepper.org.uk, 21 July 2011
Their names might not make your taste buds tingle: chicken of the woods, hairy bittercress, beefsteak fungus, giant puffball, shaggy ink cap, white dead nettle and jelly ears (which are shaped like a human ear). But give them half a chance, and their unconventional flavours will certainly earn your respect — and a special place at your table.
Foraging is the age-old process of gathering food from nature. Almost the whole year round, in woodland, fields, on hedgerows and oozing from cracks in trees, you can find a surprising range of wild fungi, leaves, fruit, nuts and berries.
It was not long ago that gathering wild food was a normal part of British culture. During the Second World War, rosehips were commercially gathered because of their high vitamin C content. Now we are seeing a “real food” renaissance, including a resurgence in the number of allotment holders, people growing their own food at home, and more and more people interested in foraging and wild food.
Get to know your inner hunter-gatherer
Foraging for your dinner will make you see the world with new eyes. The inner hunter-gatherer is alive and kicking when you collect food directly from the earth. Grubbing under hedgerows, rummaging among fallen leaves, and using your instincts and knowledge of how the earth, weather and seasons interconnect to find a tasty morsel can be very rewarding.
Wild food is not just for people with access to countryside — even in cemented cities, it appears in the most unexpected locations: edible greens poking from the edge of car parks; morels soldiering up through wood-chipped soil beds, even pavement mushrooms defiantly bursting through the tarmac. And the scraggly weeds in your garden could actually be an edible treasure trove — look out for things like goose grass, dandelions, nettles and wild garlic.
Follow the seasons
Spring is the start of the wild food year. It is the time to look for ramsons (an edible green that tastes mildly of garlic) and to keep an eye out for oyster mushrooms and morels, which are the “holy grail” of the foraging world. It is also when young leaves from certain trees, such as beech and common lime, are edible. In summer, the highlight is St. George’s mushroom, as well as mousserons (fairy ring mushrooms) and chicken of the woods: a bright-yellow bracket fungus that oozes like lava out of trees. In autumn there are hundreds of wild mushrooms, and mountains of fruit, nuts and berries to be found. In winter, there is less on offer, but you can find things such as chanterelles, which can take freezing and defrosting.
Environmentalists warn that hundreds of varieties of wild mushroom could be wiped out if the popularity of foraging continues. So never pick more than you need (it is illegal in the UK to forage for commercial gain, under the 1968 Theft Act). One key foraging philosophy is if you see something once, keep walking — if you see it again, it is okay to stop and pick it. Always cut mushrooms at the base rather than ripping them up, which damages the underground web of mycelium.
Identify wild food thoroughly
Hospital admissions for people with suspected mushroom poisoning doubled last year, as foraging became more popular, so get a good identification guide and follow it methodically. Even things listed as edible can affect some people — 10 percent of the population has a violent allergic reaction to chicken of the woods fungi for example.
Make it social
In France, Spain and many countries in eastern Europe foraging is still the norm, especially when it comes to mushrooms. In autumn, whole families go to the local woods to pick mushrooms to last the year.
Banish the bland
It is worth remembering that wild food tastes totally different to domesticated varieties. Watercress from the supermarket is bland in comparison with its wild-grown sister; and while authentic wild strawberries may be about an eighth of the size of their supermarket cousins, their taste really packs a punch.
For full story, please see: www.redpepper.org.uk/edible-treasures-foraging-for-food/
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Source: Vietnam News Agency, 27 July 2011
The central province of Thua Thien-Hue has found a viable way to preserve biodiversity and develop ecotourism by combining coastal afforestation with aquaculture.
The afforestation project, which involves 28 communes along the province's coastline, lagoons and marshes, provide saplings to be planted on a total 4 600 ha of land.
The project has helped reinforce a 5 km-long stretch of coastal sandy dykes, raise forest cover to 30 percent, and generate jobs for 2 230 local households. It has also increased the residents' awareness of and responsibility for protecting and developing forest.
Deserted sand dunes in Phong Dien District's Dien Mon Commune, where weeds could not even grow during the hottest days, have been planted with trees. The area is now a protective forest, with farms operating effectively on the land.
As the forest was restored, monkeys, rabbits and tortoises began to arrive in droves, local residents said.
The Dien Mon Commune chief, Ho Dien, was quoted by the Sai Gon Giai Phong as saying that local residents were sceptical about the project because the area had been hit by storms in 2000, devastating the most solid structures in the neighbourhood.
After the coastal protective forests were planted, many saplings died or withered. But the project has brought a green landscape to the sandy land, he said, adding that local authorities had devised a model to combine coastal forest development with economic activities.
The model would allocate forest land for local people to manage. Under the project, local people in the commune have grown 180 ha of coastal forest and nearly 280 ha of scattered overland forest.
Mai Khoi, a local resident, combined a shrimp farm with planting forest over an area of 1 ha. He said the existing rows of poplar trees provided shade to the shrimp pond during hot days, helping to prevent rising water temperatures and evaporation. It also helped reduce the salty level of water, which will not affect the shrimps' growth.
The trees also supplied feedstock to shrimp and fish, he said, adding that his shrimp pond earned him several hundreds of millions of dong last year.
For full story, please see: http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/Environment/213746/Coastal-commune-goes-green.html
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Source: www.smh.com.au, 25 July 2011
It is rare that controversy strikes the botanical world. But six years ago, when the International Botanical Congress met in Vienna (Austria) to vote on what plants could carry the name acacia, the simple question of what is in a name divided the usually unified global group.
Essentially the world's botanists were at odds over changing the rules so that the name acacia would apply only to Australia's 1000-plus species, meaning a smaller number of species, mainly from Africa, would have to change their name to vachellia.
The alternative — which for some was too problematic to even contemplate — was to rename Australia's acacias, including the wattle, racosperma.
"Given the iconic status of acacias both in Australia and in Africa it was probably inevitable that there was going to be this controversy," said Bill Aitchison, leader of the acacia study group section of the Australian Plants Society.
While the wattle is Australia's botanical emblem and informs our national colours, the silhouette of the flat-topped thorn tree against a rust-red sunset is symbolic of Africa. Both, botanically speaking, are acacias. Until now.
The International Botanical Congress meets in Melbourne from today and it is anticipated that "the acacia issue" — one of the most contested botanical cases debated to date — will finally be resolved. During last week's nomenclature session, the 2005 Vienna decision was unsuccessfully challenged. This suggests that come this Friday, a final vote in favour of Australia using the name acacia is expected to be little more than a formality. Meanwhile, 163 species formally classed as acacia will now be known as vachellia.
The Director of the Western Australian Herbarium, Kevin Thiele, said it was important that the nomenclature session vote to limit the name acacia to Australian species was soundly passed, with 68 percent for and 32 percent against.
A proposal to compromise by adding a prefix to the name acacia — so austroacacia would refer to Australian acacias and acanthacacia to species in Africa, India, the Middle East, South and Central America — was rejected by 70 percent of voters.
"Africa is the home of the acacia, in that it is where the first acacia species was described. But Australia is the hot spot for acacia because there are over 1 000 species here — none of which were known at the time the acacia was first described. So you can see why it is been so controversial," Dr. Thiely said.
Acacias are the most prolific genus of plants in Australia, with more than 1000 different species including the wattle. About 80 African species once called acacia would be renamed vachellia.
For full story, please see: www.smh.com.au/national/wattle-it-be-name-claim-for-africa-or-australia-20110724-1hveu.html
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Source: Jan L. McAlpine, Director, UNFF Secretariat (in IISD RS), 2 August 2011
Can you picture life without forests? Within their branches and trunks, forests record the history of life on earth. Forests can be seen as a mirror of evolving human needs, dynamic and ever-changing. They have the unique ability to sustain and revitalize us — through a multitude of services from food and shelter to biodiversity and clean water.
Over a decade ago, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) was established to promote management, conservation and sustainable development of forests. The Forum addresses all cross-sectoral aspects pertaining to forests — using a 360-degree perspective. Most people are aware of the economic values of forests, particularly timber production, and more recently the focus has been on climate change mitigation values through forest carbon sequestration.
However, the full picture of what forests offer is much more than simply economic values and carbon — they provide a healthy environment for people, secured livelihoods, shelter and sustenance. Forests are central to achieving sustainable development, yet they are not addressed in a holistic and integrated manner by the mechanisms and institutions created by the Rio “Earth Summit.”
A holistic approach to forests is clearly needed, one that takes into account economic, social and environmental values, as well as cultural and spiritual dimensions of forests. Looking at sustainable forest management through a biodiversity lens alone, for example, cannot address the full suite of forest issues. A key requirement in this regard is more frequent and effective cross-sectoral and cross-institutional integration.
Approaches to forests at the policy and institutional level are often fragmented; a fact exacerbated by the reality that threats to forests most often come from outside the forest sector. In this regard the notion of “forests-plus” as an approach embracing forests' inter-sectoral and inter-institutional complexity has received support at Forum discussions, including in particular at a recent high-level roundtable held at the 9th UNFF session in February.
“Forests for People” is the theme of this year, the International Year of Forests 2011, which celebrates the central role of people in sustainably managing the world’s forests. People are ultimately at the heart of all forest issues. However, in order for forests to truly be a sustainable natural resource to effectively improve the well-being of people, the economy and the environment, countries will need to devise programmes on a range of issues, from governance to tenure security, access and benefits to local participation, as well as increased funding at all levels, based on well-informed policy decisions, social dialogue and coordination among different ministries.
Increased attention towards the multiple values of forests due to the International Year of Forests has provided a unique opportunity to strengthen implementation at the national level, by supporting national governments, international and regional organizations, and other interested stakeholders, to work together in a cross-sectoral and cross-institutional manner.
For full story, please see:
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Source: FAO News, 13 July 2011
Reforming forest tenure systems and securing forest ownership rights can significantly improve peoples’ livelihoods and enable them to gain income from forest products, said FAO in a newly published guide, Reforming Forest Tenure.
“The continuing demand for land, weak governance in many countries, and emerging global challenges such as climate change increase the urgency of addressing forest tenure reform,” said Eva Muller, FAO’s Chief Forest Policy Officer.
The guide was launched at the Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise Conference taking place in Lombok, Indonesia, from 11 to 15 July. Attended by around 200 representatives from international and regional organizations, private sector, NGOs, civil society and researchers, the conference was co-organized by the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry (MOF), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
In recent years, FAO has carried out extensive assessments of forest tenure systems in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Central Asia and its impact on sustainable forest management and poverty reduction. Based on this analysis, the guide offers practical guidance for policy makers involved in forest tenure reforms.
According to FAO, around 80 percent of the world’s forests are publicly owned, but forest ownership and management by communities, individuals and private companies are increasing — more in some countries than in others.
In Venezuela and French Guiana, for example, almost all forests are under public ownership, whereas in Paraguay, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Chile more than 30 percent of forests are under private ownership. In Peru, Guyana and Costa Rica, more than ten percent of forests are owned by indigenous people.
“A more diversified tenure system could result in improving forest management and local livelihoods, particularly where state capacities to manage forests are weak,” said Muller.
For full story, please see: www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/81859/icode/
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Source: Greenpeace International, 8 July 2011
The first of the toy companies accused of wrapping toys in paper products coming from Indonesian forests to announce more substantive action is Lego, who have released a new statement on this issue today.
Lego have announced that they intend to not buy packaging from companies involved in deforestation and have confirmed that this means Asia Pulp and Paper will not be able to supply the company. The toy company outlined a three-step plan to reduce the impact of its packaging on forests: firstly, to reduce total packaging; secondly, to maximize the use of recycled material; and thirdly to also ensure that all fibre, including any virgin fibre used, comes from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sources.
The other companies named so far in the Greenpeace campaign, including Hasbro and Disney, have so far failed to commit to clear action to remove rainforest destruction from their packaging. They have faced criticism for their weak response to revelations linking them to the destroyed rainforest home of species such as the Sumatran tiger.
For full story, please see: www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/news/forests/Lego-shows-leadership-in-tackling-deforestation/
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Source: Institute for International Trade, 25 July 2011
Over 200 animal experts, from 50 countries expressed concern about the sustenance of the current trade scenario of snake skins used in luxury products and another 20 animal species used in biomedical research, the food industry or as pets, at the 25th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) animal committee in Geneva.
The event backed by the UN, saw technical recommendations to control animal trade in several species surfacing as a solution.
Three snake species — the oriental rat snake, the reticulated python and the Indonesian cobra — were the prime concerns. Recommendations were endorsed to tightening the controls on snake-breeding and the logistics for skin trade.
Snakes from the Asian forests and jungles are crucial within their ecosystems. For example, if snakes were to disappear from the agricultural landscapes of Asia, their prey, left behind with no predator to control their numbers, could have devastating effects on agricultural production, food security and national economies, according to CITES.
Apart from being sold as pets or found in luxury leather goods and accessories all across Europe, snakes are consumed for food, traditional medicines and skins.
Biomedical research, especially in China, Indonesia and Cambodia, which resulted in a rapid surge in trade in 2004, has led the committee to examine the quantum of international trade in the long-tailed macaque. Several endemic species from Madagascar, including chameleons and frogs, and seahorses from Southeast Asia, were also identified as a priority under the CITES Review of Significant Trade.
Most of the individual species that have been reviewed and considered at the meeting dwell in South-East Asia, a territory which has become a hotspot for wildlife trade. This is due to the fact that it is a region bounteous in biodiversity with an increasing prosperous population as well as countless people dependent on wildlife for their living, according to a spokesperson from the CITES.
For full story, please see: http://iitrade.ac.in/kmarticle.asp?id=596
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Source: Environmental News Network, 1 August 2011
A team of scientists from the University of Oxford are working on a world map which shows all the land owned or revered by various world religions. This "holy map" will display all the sacred sites from Jerusalem's Western Wall, to Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Just as interesting, the map will also show the great forests held sacred by various religions. Within these protected lands dwell a wide variety of life and high numbers of threatened species.
The sacred land mapped out by the Oxford researchers is not necessarily owned by a certain religious community, but rather contains sacred connotations. They estimate that about 15 percent of all land on Earth is "sacred land", and 8 percent of all land is owned by a religious community. Much of the land held sacred is forest.
The Oxford researchers — from the Biodiversity Institute in the Oxford Martin School — are focused on determining this land's value in terms of biodiversity. A lot of the sacred forests managed by the local community, but receive no formal protection. The researchers hope that their scientific study will help guarantee official protection from regional and national governments.
Initially, efforts were only made to map out land controlled by the large mainstream religious groups. Teaming up with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), the Oxford team decided to investigate religious land controlled by all groups. The new initiative is in effect, as the team has already planned visits to areas in India, Ghana, Japan, and elsewhere.
The first step in their research is to delineate where the sacred land is by investigating where boundary lines. The status of the land and its borders must be known before a biodiversity assessment can take place. The researchers will also assess the land's value in carbon dioxide absorption, its abundance of medicinal plants, as well as the value to the local people.
"We urgently need to map this vast network of religious forests, sacred sites and other community-conserved areas to understand their role in biodiversity conservation," said Dr. Shonil Bhagwat, on the research team. "Such mapping can also allow the custodian communities, who have protected these sites for generations, to secure their legal status."
For more information, please see: www.biodiversity.ox.ac.uk/
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/43012
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From: EFI, August 2011
The European Forest Institute (EFI) is an international organization with 23 European member countries, and over 120 Associate Member institutions. The Institute has headquarters in Joensuu, Finland, several Regional Offices across Europe and a FLEGT office (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
EFI is looking for a senior-level professional with strong international leadership and management experience to guide and develop the two facilities. Visioning and leading the future growth of the facilities in the context of the increasing importance of forests in the context of the international environmental and climate policy will be the main task of the head of FLEGT-REDD Unit. The Head of Unit will be based at the EFI Policy Advice Office in Barcelona, Spain, with frequent travel to Brussels and to FLEGT partner countries and REDD+ countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
The EU FLEGT Facility supports efforts to combat illegal logging and promote trade in legal timber. It works with timber producing and exporting countries to develop appropriate systems to ensure the legal trade and export of timber products, aiming to address forest governance failures. The Facility currently works in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Facility provides this support through technical assistance in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes and other equivalent arrangements through facilitation of dialogue between the EU and timber exporting countries and other forms of cooperation. Analysis of experiences and raising awareness of VPAs are also parts of the strategy of the Facility. As more countries express an interest in joining the EU FLEGT Action Plan, future challenges for the Facility will include implementation of agreed activities by countries, the growing importance of processing hubs in emerging markets, approaches towards regional and domestic commerce, and indirect trade with the EU.
The EU REDD Facility provides support to the development of REDD+ policies and actions. It assists both the EU and developing countries in this context. Important work areas include building the necessary capacities of developing countries to achieve REDD, supporting forest governance reform and providing advice for the development of EU financed REDD+ related actions. The Facility builds synergies with FLEGT VPA processes where relevant, including taking lessons from the FLEGT Action Plan for other sustainable approaches to addressing drivers of deforestation outside the forest sector.
Interested candidates are requested to send an application letter and CV by 1 September 2011 to Human Resources Office, EFI at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact:
Mrs. Niina Verkerk, Administrative Manager
EFI’s FLEGT and REDD Unit
80100 Joensuu, Finland
Tel. +358-10-773 4349 (on Mondays and Wednesdays between 9-17 CET)
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From: World Forestry Centre, August 2011
World Forest Institute (WFI) is a program of the World Forestry Center, which also operates a museum, event facilities, educational programs and demonstration tree farms. The World Forestry Center is an educational non-profit organization.
The WFI Fellowship brings professionals in natural resources — such as foresters, environmental educators, land managers, NGO practitioners and researchers — to conduct a practical research project at the World Forestry Center. In addition to projects, fellows participate in weekly field trips, interviews and site visits to Northwest forestry organizations, state, local and national parks, universities, public and private timberlands, trade associations, mills, and corporations. The Fellowship is a unique opportunity to learn about sustainable forestry from the Pacific Northwest forestry sector, and to work with colleagues from around the world. Fellowships are open to any country (including the U.S.), and there is a matching grant from the Harry A. Merlo Foundation. Over 80 fellows from 26 countries have participated to date.
Applications are now open for Spring 2012 for Fellowships beginning any time after March 2012.
For more information, please contact:
World Forestry Center
4033 SW Canyon Road
Portland, Oregon 97221, USA
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From: M. Gold, Associate Director, The Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri
Agroforestry, a farming system that integrates crops and/or livestock with trees and shrubs, is gaining recognition as an integral component of a multifunctional working landscape. While agroforestry has been gaining attention in the U.S. and worldwide, the need for trained professionals in agroforestry also has been expanding. The new online master’s degree program of The Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri (USA) hopes to fill that void.
This online master's degree program is designed for professionals working in natural resources around the globe who already have an undergraduate degree in a related field. In addition, the online masters is open to all individuals holding accredited BS or BA degrees who wish to expand their breadth and depth of knowledge in the field of agroforestry.
After completing the online master's degree, graduates can expect to: possess the technical knowledge required to advise landowners, businesses and other organizations that seek to create multi-functional working landscapes to diversify products, markets and farm income; improve soil, water and air quality; sequester carbon; enhance and conserve land and water habitats for fish and habitat; and increase biodiversity.
For more information, please contact:
University of Missouri
102 Whitten Hall
Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Tel: 800-545-2604 / 573-882-3598
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REMINDER: Community Forestry: Key to Solving Current and Emerging Challenges
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
Bangkok 10903, Thailand
Fax: 66-2-561-4880 or 66-2-562-0960
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World Bamboo Day
18 September 2011
World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation. The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure — to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world, as well as promote traditional uses locally for community economic development.
For more information on events around the world, please see:
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2nd Asia-Pacific Forestry Week: New Challenges, New Opportunities
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.
Online registration is now open at http://apfw-registration.apfnet.cn/.
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
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As we enter the second half of the International Year of Forests 2011 (IYF 2011), the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat is announcing the launch of the “Forest Heroes Programme Awards.” The programme aims to recognize the efforts of everyday people who tirelessly work towards sustaining, protecting, and developing our forests.
The selected Heroes and their work will be prominently displayed on the IYF 2011 website, so that they may continue to inspire others to take action. The event will take place during December at the closing ceremony for the Forests 2011 observance.
For more information, please contact:
Director, UN Forum on Forests Secretariat
1 UN Plaza, DC 1 – 1252, New York, NY
Tel: +1 212 963 3401
Fax: +1 917 367 3186
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The Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is inviting applications from indigenous peoples’ organizations and communities as well as organizations that work with them for grants to fund projects, innovative approaches and partnerships. Activities likely to be considered for funding will build on indigenous culture, identity, knowledge, natural resources, intellectual property and human rights. Projects should improve indigenous peoples’ access to decision-making processes, empower indigenous peoples to find solutions to the challenges they face and promote collaboration in the public and private sectors. Grants range from US$20 000 to US$50 000.
Applicants must meet specific requirements and their proposals should respond to the needs of indigenous peoples in any of IFAD’s developing Member States.
The deadline for applications is 31 August 2011. Proposals should be submitted online to: https://webapps.ifad.org/ipaft/login.
For more information, please see: www.ifad.org/english/indigenous/grants/index.htm
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Our world has become more global, with greater access to world markets from more places on earth. But with it comes an increase in the transport and introduction of invasive bugs -- these invasive pests can lead to agricultural and economic disaster if left unchecked and unmonitored. FAO works on a global scale with nations and organizations to stem the movement of these bugs and pests. Recently the Organization — using an integrated approach to deal with forest health problems — has produced a Guide to implementation of phytosanitary standards in forestry(www.fao.org/docrep/013/i2080e/i2080e00.htm).
An amusing short rap video is also available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-0ighGsrUE.
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The GFP is introducing a new regular publication series entitled Forest Voices which provides insights into country-specific forestry issues written by the GFP journalists on the ground in GFP countries. This first edition focuses on the ongoing controversy around Nepal's Gaurishankar Conservation Area (www.growingforestpartnerships.org/controversy-continues-over-gaurishankar-conservation-area) and was written by Ramesh Prasad Bhushal, the GFP-Nepal correspondent.
For more information, please see: www.growingforestpartnerships.org
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has published Crossing Borders for Nature: European examples of transboundary conservation as part of a project led by IUCN and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) aiming to improve transboundary conservation in the mountainous border zone between Albania, Macedonia and the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
According to the report, transboundary conservation can have large-scale ecological benefits by protecting extensive natural areas, supporting species migrations and reducing the risk of biodiversity loss. Transboundary conservation also can generate additional income opportunities, and help resolve political conflicts. The report emphasizes, however, that integrating conservation of two or more protected areas across an international boundary implies gaining the necessary political support and/or support of protected area managers, and that political indifference and lack of commitment can impede the establishment of a transboundary initiative.
Finally, it highlights that transboundary conservation areas cannot depend on external funding for a long time because, when this funding ends, the situation often reverts to how it was before the receipt of the donor money.
For more information, please see:
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Volume 2, Issue 14 of Rio+20: Making it Happen is a special issue focusing on one of the two themes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the "Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development" (IFSD).
It highlights the first intergovernmental meeting dedicated to IFSD, which took place in Solo, Indonesia and provides information and resources on the preparatory work on the theme along with upcoming events.
For more information, please see: www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/content/documents/Volume%202,%20Issue%2014%20(29%20July%202011).pub3.pdf
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Alexander, S. J., Oswalt, S. N., and Emery, M. R. 2011. Non-timber forest products in the United States: Montreal Process indicators as measures of current conditions and sustainability. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-851. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 36 p.
Abstract: The United States, in partnership with 11 other countries, participates in the Montreal Process. Each country assesses national progress toward the sustainable management of forest resources by using a set of criteria and indicators agreed on by all member countries. Several indicators focus on NTFPs. In the United States, permit and contract data from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, in addition to several other data sources, were used as a benchmark to assess harvest, value, employment, exports and imports, per capita consumption, and subsistence uses for many NTFPs. The retail value of commercial harvests of NTFPs from U.S. forest lands is estimated at US$1.4 billion annually. NTFPs in the United States are important to many people throughout the country for personal, cultural, and commercial uses, providing food security, beauty, connection to culture and tradition, and income.
Baldwin, R.F., Powell, R.B., and Kellert, S.R. 2011. Habitat as architecture: integrating conservation planning and human health. Ambio 40(3):322-327.
Bennett, E. 2011. Another inconvenient truth: the failure of enforcement systems to save charismatic species. Oryx: 1-4.
Brudvig, L.A. 2011. The restoration of biodiversity: where has research been and where does it need to go? Am. J. Bot. 98(3):549-558.
Dahlberg, A., and Mueller, G.M. 2011. Applying IUCN red-listing criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species. Fungal Ecol. 4(2):147-162
FAO. 2011. Reforming Forest Tenure: Issues, principles and process. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ADD BLURB – SEE BELOW
Feyssa, D. H. Njoka, J. T. Nyangito, M. M. Asfaw, Z. 2011. Neutraceutal wild plants of semiarid east Shewa, Ethiopia: contributions to food and healthcare security of the semiarid people. Journal of Forestry. 5: 1, 1-16. 33 ref.
Forbes, P. 2011. Transforming conservation for the 21st century. Conserv. Biol. 25(2):209-211.
Goulson, D., Rayner, P., Dawson, B., and Darvill, B. 2011. Translating research into action; bumblebee conservation as a case study. J. Appl. Ecol. 48(1):3-8.
Gunjan Guha Rajkumar Venkatadri Lazar Mathew Rangasamy, A. K. 2011. The antioxidant and DNA protection potential of Indian tribal medicinal plants. Turkish Journal of Biology. 35: 2, 233-242. 34 ref.
Gurney, K.M., Schaberg, P.G., Hawley, G.J., and Shane, J.B. 2011. Inadequate cold tolerance as a possible limitation to American chestnut restoration in the northeastern United States. Restor. Ecol. 19(1):55-63.
Abstract: The American chestnut (Castanea dentate), once a major component of eastern forests from Maine to Georgia, was functionally removed from the forest ecosystem by chestnut blight (an exotic fungal disease caused by Cryphonectria parasitica, first identified at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Hybrid-backcross breeding programs that incorporate the blight resistance of Chinese chestnut (Castenea mollissima) and Japanese chestnut (Castenea crenata) into American chestnut stock show promise for achieving the blight resistance needed for species restoration. However, it is uncertain if limitations in tissue cold tolerance within current breeding programs might restrict the restoration of the species at the northern limits of American chestnut’s historic range. During the winter, American and backcross chestnuts were approximately 5ºC less cold tolerant than red oak and sugar maple, with a tendency for American chestnut to be more cold tolerant than the backcross chestnut. Terminal shoots of American and backcross chestnut also showed significantly more freezing damage in the field than nearby red oak and sugar maple shoots, which showed no visible injury.
Hamilton, E., Cocksedge, W. And Davis, E.J. 2011. “Opportunities for NTFP in woodlots.” Non-timber Forest Product Development in British Colombia’s Community Forests and Small Woodlands: Constraints and Potential Solutions. Canada: Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology, Royal Roads University, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations & Federation of BC Woodlot Associations.
Haminiuk, C. W. I. Plata-Oviedo, M. S. V. Guedes, A. R. Stafussa, A. P. Bona, E. Carpes, S. T. 2011. Chemical, antioxidant and antibacterial study of Brazilian fruits. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 2011. 46: 7, 1529-1537. 39 ref.
Hirsch, P.D., Adams, W.M., Brosius, J.P., Zia, A., Bariola, M. and Dammert, J.L. 2010 Acknowledging conservation trade-offs and embracing complexity. Conservation Biology. 25: 259-264.
Hooper, T. 2008. Guide to Bees & Honey. United Kingdom, Northern Bee Books.
Huai, H.Y., Zhang, B. & Liu, H.S. 2008. Ethnobotany of wild edible plant resources in periodic markets in Jinping Autonomous County of Miao, Yao and Da. Acta Botanica Yunnanica, 30(5): 603–610.
Johnson, D. 2011. Tropical palms: 2010 revision. Non-Wood Forest Products 10/Rev.1. Rome, FAO. Download: www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1590e/i1590e.pdf
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
Katila, P. et al. 2010. Policy brief. Making forests work for people and nature — Responding to global drivers of change. IUFRO WFSE. 33 p.
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.
Kettle, C.J., et al. 2011. Seeing the fruit for the trees in Borneo. Conserv. Lett. 4(3):184-191. Link: www.ecology.ethz.ch/publications/2011/Kettle_etal_2011_ConsLett.pdf
Abstract: The recent mass fruiting of forest trees in Borneo is an urgent wakeup call: existing policy instruments, financial mechanisms, and forestry infrastructure are inadequate to take full advantage of these infrequent opportunities for forest restoration and conservation. Tropical forest restoration can provide substantial benefits for biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation. Yet the unpredictability of the synchronized flowering and consequent mass fruiting of many forest trees in Borneo presents a distinctive set of challenges for forest restoration. Significant financing and a considerable coordinated effort are required to prepare for future mass fruiting events if we are to capitalize on opportunities for ecological restoration. The continued high rate of forest clearance in this region and the rarity of mass fruiting events suggest that there may be few remaining opportunities to prevent widespread species extinctions. This article proposes a facilitatory policy framework for forest restoration in Borneo to stimulate action in advance of the next mass fruiting of forest trees.
Kirkby, C.A., Giudice, R., Day, B., Turner, K., Soares, B.S., Oliveira-Rodrígues, H., and Yu, D.W. 2011. Closing the ecotourism-conservation loop in the Peruvian Amazon. Environ. Conserv. 38(1):6-17.
Knapp, E.J., Rentsch, D., Schmitt, J., Lewis, C. & Polasky, S. 2010. A tale of three villages: choosing an effective method for assessing poaching levels in western Serengeti, Tanzania. Oryx, 44(2): 178–184.
Koshy, K.C. 2010. Bamboos at Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI).India: TBGRI.
Kumar, L. B. B. Patil, B. L. Basavaraja, H. Mundinamani, S. M. Mahajanashetty, S. B.
Megeri, S. N. 2011. Participation behaviour of indigenous people in non-timber forest products extraction in western ghats forests. Karnataka Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 24: 2, 170-172. 16 ref.
Kumar, P. S. Debasis Mishra Goutam Ghosh Panda, C. S. 2010. Medicinal uses and pharmacological properties of Moringa oleifera. International Journal of Phytomedicine. 2: 3, 210-216. 56 ref.
Kumar, V.S., Jaishanker, R., Annamalai, A. & Lyer, C.S.P. 2010. Ensete superbum (Roxb.) Cheesman: a rare medicinal plant in urgent need of conservation. Curr. Sci., 98(5): 602–603.
Lamarque, F., Anderson, J., Fergusson, R., Lagrange, M. & Osei-Owusu, Y. 2009. Human-wildlife conflict in Africa – causes, consequences and management strategies. Rome, FAO.
Laurance, W.F., Camargo, J.L.C., Luizão, R.C.C., Laurance, S.G., Pimm, S.L., Bruna, E.M., Stouffer, P.C., Williamson, G.B., Benítez-Malvido, J., Vasconcelos, H.L., Van Houtan, K.S., Zartman, C.E., Boyle, S.A., Didham, R.K., Andrade, A., and Lovejoy, T.E. 2011. The fate of Amazonian forest fragments: a 32-year investigation. Biol. Conserv. 144(1):56-67.
Lemenih, M. and Kassa, H. 2011. Management guide for sustainable production of frankincense: A manual for extension workers and companies managing dry forests for resin production and marketing. Indonesia: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).
Abstract:This guide is intended for frankincense producers, extension workers and companies engaged in producing frankincense. Gum olibanum (frankincense) from Boswellia papyrifera has been collected and traded for centuries. Although production levels in Ethiopia fall far short of the country’s potential, export volume and earnings from frankincense have been significantly increasing since the late 1990s. But knowledge regarding the biology and ecophysiology of the tree, the frankincense collecting process and post-harvest handling remain largely inadequate. This guide contributes toward filling this gap by providing technical information in three specific areas: how to better manage the species, how to properly tap the tree for increased and sustainable production and how to improve and maintain product quality through improved collection and handling. Section One of the guide introduces dry land areas of Ethiopia. The second and third sections describe the genus, the species and the distribution of Boswellia species. Flowering, seed production and propagation aspects are treated in Section Four while Section Five covers tapping and post-harvest handling of frankincense. Measures for sustainable frankincense production are discussed in Section Six whereas property rights and institutionalisation of responsible management systems are discussed in Section Seven. Finally, Section Eight briefly outlines key issues that require further research. Effective use of information in the guide can help in sustaining supply of frankincense by increasing income of producers and enhancing the responsible management of Boswellia forests in Ethiopia.
Mbuta, K.K. et al. 2011. Plantes Medicinales de Traditions: Province de l’Equateur, R.D. Congo. R.D. Congo: Institut de Recerche en Sciences de la Santé.
Meijaard, E., Mengersen, K., Buchori, D., Nurcahyo, A., Ancrenaz, M., Wich, S., Atmoko, S.S.U., Tjiu, A., Prasetyo, D., Nardiyono, Hadiprakarsa, Y., Christy, L., Wells, J., Albar, G., and Marshall, A.J. 2011. Why don't we ask? A complementary method for assessing the status of great apes. PLoS ONE 6(3):e18008.
Molin, R., Horton, T.R., Trappe, J.M., and Marcot, B.G. 2011. Addressing uncertainty: how to conserve and manage rare or little-known fungi. Fungal Ecol. 4(2):134-146.
Patel, S. 2010. Traditional use of indigenous plants in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh to cure diarrhoea and dysentery. Environment Conservation Journal. 11: 3, 19-22. 9 ref.
Rathore, K. K. Malarkodi Velraj Telrandhe, U. B. 2011. Prospective and medicinal value of herbal plants on Swine influenza virus (SIV) in Jalaun District, Uttar Pradesh. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences. 33: 1, 13-20. 46 ref.
Singh, S. C. Bagchi, G. D. 2011. Moringa oleifera: the emerging medicinal plant of Ayurveda. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences. 33: 1, 81-85. 23 ref.
Wikramanayake, E., Dinerstein, E., Seidensticker, J., Lumpkin, S., Pandav, B., Shrestha, M., Mishra, H., Ballou, J., Johnsingh, A.J.T., Chestin, I., Sunarto, S., Thinley, P., Thapa, K., Jiang, G.S., Elagupillay, S., Kafley, H., Pradhan, N.M.B., Jigme, K., Teak, S., Cutter, P., Aziz, M.A., and Than, U. 2011. A landscape-based conservation strategy to double the wild tiger population. Conserv. Lett. 4(3):219-227.
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Conservation, an independent, non-profit magazine founded in 1999, explores a diversity of environmental topics from novel angles. It is available quarterly in more than 58 countries and online around the clock. Latest research findings are regularly posted via This Week in Conservation Science.
Orangutan Appeal UK
Orangutan Appeal UK is a charity determined to protect the remaining wild population of orangutans in Borneo.
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Inoculating rice seeds with fungi makes the plants more tolerant of salt, drought and cold — all of which may become more common as the climate changes, according to researchers.
The researchers obtained two types of endophytic fungi, which have symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships with plants. One was a variety of wild strawberry that thrives in geothermal soils even in below-freezing winter temperatures and the other from coastal dunegrass.
When seeds of two commercial rice varieties were inoculated with the fungi, the resulting plants, grown in greenhouses, had increased growth and grain production, and were more tolerant of drought.
In addition, plants inoculated with fungi from coastal plants thrived under saline conditions, and those receiving fungi from wild strawberries grew well in low temperatures, according to the research published this month (5 July) in PLoS One.
"The fungus pretty much does all the work," said Russell J. Rodriguez, co-author of the research and a microbiologist with the US Geological Survey. "Within 24 hours, we saw the benefits. [Inoculated] plants were growing up to five times faster."
The technique should work for different rice varieties and other crops, such as corn and peas, said Rodriguez, adding that the researchers are now trying to make rice plants heat tolerant, too.
Glenn Gregorio, who studies stress-tolerant plants at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, said the experiment on salt tolerance was "impressive and very promising". But further experiments are needed to see if the rice thrives under field conditions, he said, because fungi usually require specific habitats, such as geothermal soils, to survive.
"In field conditions, the soil and the overall environment [are] 'contaminated' with other organisms, which may also interact with the plant and, in essence, compete with the fungi," Gregorio said.
For full story, please see: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/27/fungi-rice-climate-change
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Source: Environmental News Network, 25 July 2011
Scientists are elated after the surprise rediscovery of a wildly-coloured frog not seen for 87 years and never before photographed — until now. The Bornean rainbow toad, also known as the Sambas Stream toad (Ansonia latidisca) was rediscovered on Borneo in the Malaysian state of Sarawak by local scientists inspired by a 2010 search for the world's missing amphibians by Conservation International (CI). Leading up to its search CI released the World's Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs (out of a hundred being searched for): the Bornean rainbow toad was listed as number 10.
Led by Dr. Indraneil Das with University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), who last year discovered a pea-sized frog in Borneo, researchers found the long-elusive Bornean rainbow toad hanging out 2 m up a tree. The species was found at night in a little-explored area of the Gunung Penrissen mountain range. Several early expeditions failed, but once the group included higher altitudes they were actually able to locate three individuals of the long-lost toad.
Prior to its rediscovery the toad was only known from three individuals and a single black-and-white illustration made in the 1920s.
Unfortunately the habitat in which it is found it not currently under protection and is threatened by forest fragmentation, poaching, and resort development. Dr. Das told The New York Times that the area is currently accessible due to the construction of a resort, including an 18-hole golf course.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/42984
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