NWFP-Digest-L
No. 3/12

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

You can take part in contributing to the continued success of this newsletter by sharing with the NWFP community any news that you may have regarding research, events, publications and projects. Kindly send such information to NWFP-Digest-L@mailserv.fao.org. We also appreciate any comments or feedback.

A special thank you to all those who have sent me links to information.
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IN THIS ISSUE:

PRODUCTS

  1. Argan oil: Rare Moroccan argan oil – now made in Israel
  2. Bamboo skateboards unite sustainability, performance
  3. Bamboo bicycles in Uganda
  4. Edible insects: Lovely grub? You'd better believe it
  5. Frankincense: Boswellia serrata – natural pain killer discovered says natural health sherpa
  6. Ginseng: China to start equity trading of wild ginseng
  7. Maple syrup: Tap timing is off for New Hampshire’s maple syrup
  8. Medicinal plants: Japanese delegation visits India to learn about responsible and sustainable trade
  9. Medicinal plants: Reader feedback: Liquorice named “Medicinal plant of the year 2012”
  10. Moringa:  More than just a tree
  11. “Moringa extracts can cure dengue fever”
  12. Sandalwood in Australia: World's largest sandalwood supplier TFS Corporation
  13. Sandalwood in India: Make picking red sandalwood a penal offence: Supreme Court
  14. Seabuckthorn: 11 500 ha under ‘Leh berry' in Ladakh, India
  15. Shea: As shea industry continues to grow, stakeholders set their sights on Cotonou for annual conference
  16. Shellac's as tough as nails
  17. Stevia in Europe
  18. Wildlife: “Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia” project
  19. Wildlife in India: TRAFFIC helps claw back illegal parrot trade
  20. Wildlife in Indonesia: Almost 1 500 turtles “crammed like sardines” into suitcases

COUNTRY INFORMATION

  1. Angola: Environment Ministry to create supervision body
  2. Finland: Lapland pines have the best quality seed year in decades
  3. Georgia: Environmentalists protest new hunting regulations
  4. Georgia: the Georgian Red List
  5. Ghana: Shea butter project employs 3 500 women
  6. India: Heavy snowfall has raised hope of good harvest of saffron
  7. India: Six non-timber forest projects in Maoist-hit areas
  8. Jamaica: Launch of nutraceutical industry with seven products
  9. Malaysia: More gaharu (agarwood) trees being felled in Penang forest
  10. New Zealand: Wild Ginseng and Maori Traditional Ecological Knowledge feature at Forestry Finance Conference
  11. Panama is first to benefit from fund to tackle biopiracy
  12. Philippines: Promoting bamboo
  13. Philippines: DENR promotes bamboo for natural disaster prevention
  14. Portugal: Forest mushroom season almost over before it starts
  15. Republic of Congo: Republic of Congo expands national park to protect great apes
  16. Rwanda: Price of gorilla permit increases to $750/day
  17. USA: Smuggled wildlife products seized at US airports harbor zoonotic viruses
  18. USA: Obama's Forest Service weakens national forest wildlife protections
  19. USA: As bear population grows, more states look at hunts

NEWS

  1. CEPF to Invest $9.8 Million to Conserve Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot
  2. Climate change could mean big changes for Europe’s forests
  3. Dinosaur forests mapped
  4. Forest height affects climate change
  5. Slash-and-burn 'improves tropical forest biodiversity'

EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Distance learning scholarships for MSc forestry degree in Bangor, UK

EVENTS

  1. Shea 2012
  2. 3rd APIeXPO Africa
  3. Apimondia- International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations

REQUESTS

  1. Request for information: NWFP articles in Russian

LITERATURE REVIEW, BLOGS AND WEBSITES

  1. Beeconomy – what women and bees can teach us about local trade and the global market
  2. On the Menu: Forests
  3. Other publications of interest
  4. Blogs: Bushmeat – every man’s protein until the forest is empty
  5. Blogs: Dispatches from the field – the frontlines of gorilla conservation

MISCELLANEOUS

  1. Digital tools ‘to save languages
  2. Zebra stripes as bug repellent

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PRODUCTS

1.         Argan oil: Rare Moroccan argan oil – now made in Israel
Source: NoCamels, 8 February 2012 in ENN Daily Newsletter

Argan oil, rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, has become the sensation of the decade, sought after by chemists, dieticians, hair salons, chefs and cosmeticians. The only problem with Argan was its availability: The Argan tree takes 15 years to yield nuts and one tree can yield only a couple liters of oil, making production costly and limited.
Until recently, it was a rare product grown only in the Atlas Mountains and traditionally made by Moroccan tribes, as the Argan tree could not grow outside of Morocco.
Now, Israeli company Sivan is developing "Argan 100" – a super strain of Argan that is tolerant of the Mediterranean climate and can produce ten times more nuts than the average tree in Morocco, they say.
"We are the only company that knows how to raise Argan trees and to bring them to market professionally, so that every year we will know how much oil to expect," says company’s chief agronomist Chaim Oren.
Based on 25 years of field research, Sivan's agronomists found a way to produce the oil from their own groves and refuted the widespread legend associated with the production of the oil. According to this legend, Argan oil could only be processed from the nut – which looks like an unripe olive — after its hard shell was removed via a goat's digestive tract.
Oren says there is in fact no need for goats to perform the job of middlemen.
I was exposed to the Argan trees many years ago, and we did a breeding session in Israel,” Oren says. “We pollinated trees with other trees. Ours are resistant to soil disease, giving these trees a steady yield every year.”
To date, about 2 500 Argan trees have been planted in the Ashkelon, Arava and Negev regions in Israel.
This commercial endeavor may also be beneficial for the Argan trees in Morocco, as the competition with the local market could reduce the tree’s chances of extinction. The United Nations’ conservation body UNESCO has set up reserves to protect the dwindling Argan trees in Morocco.
Sivan, founded in 2007 and based in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, sells Argan oil to wholesalers, with small quantities of leftovers sold online. Their eventual plan is to sell their Argan 100 to other countries.
For full story, please see: http://nocamels.com/2012/02/rare-moroccan-argan-oil-now-made-in-israel/

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2.         Bamboo skateboards unite sustainability, performance
Source: The Coast News, USA, 10 February 2012

Oceanside. BambooSK8 manufactures sustainable skateboards with a high- performance design
The skateboards are engineered for high performance.“The first thing is performance,” Mark Olson, BambooSK8 operations manager, said. “If it’s not comparable with the best boards, kids are not going to buy it. In a blind test of skateboard it ollied three inches higher consistently.”The bamboo skateboard decks have the solid feel of maple boards.“Bamboo has the tensile strength of soft steel,” Olson said. “China and Japan use it for scaffolding on large 40-story buildings.”
The ecological advantage is that bamboo is a more sustainable wood than maple wood, which is used to make most skateboard decks.
Maple is often cultivated by clear cutting forests. This leaves the land barren and destroys the forest habitat. It takes more than 40 years for maples to become mature trees.
Bamboo grows like a weed. When one bamboo plant is cut down, multiple new plants pop up in its place. The rapid grow back of bamboo combined with using bamboo from managed forests is a big benefit to the environment.
At the Oceanside warehouse materials are received, short board and longboard skateboards are shipped to buyers, and staff takes occasional test drives on the boards. The warehouse facility includes a layout of wood boxes and ramps for product testing.
“Our typical customer is kids trying to learn how to skate,” Olson said. “There are tons of kids all over the U.S. that buy the boards off the website or at local skate shops.”
For full story, please see: http://thecoastnews.com/2012/02/bamboo-skateboards-unite-sustainability-performance/

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3.         Bamboo bicycles in Uganda
Source: New Vision, 29 January 2012

President Yoweri Museveni has always advised Ugandan traders to become manufacturers instead of simply selling imported goods. Museveni’s lectures did not really change Charles Mulamata until the day he paid heavy taxes on a consignment of imported bicycles. At the end of the day, taxes took up more than two thirds of the total cost of getting the bicycles. “
“We have a problem with high taxes on bicycles. We pay 10% import duty, 18% VAT, 15% internal  VAT, 6% withholding tax plus 10% surcharge on old items, in addition to top-up. When you add all these, you end up with taxes worth 69%,” revealed Mulamata.
He immediately started thinking he should manufacture and even export rather than import bicycles. It was then that a friend suggested to him that the idea of making bamboo bicycles.
The American-based friend recommended Craig Calfe, an expert in bamboo bicycle making, as someone who could effectively train Mulamata. In response, Craig Calfe who already has a similar project in Ghana, asked Mulamata to organize a few young people for training in bamboo bicycle making.
 Inviting an American expert to Uganda to teach young people how to make bamboo bicycles was a good idea but the challenge was; would the young people be interested in the project?
“We tried to get the youth interested in the project; some came and went away saying there was no food. Until David Matovu, one of the cyclists of the Uganda Cyclists Association (UCA), came over and said they were ready to study despite their busy schedule because the training was to take 10 days”.
Meanwhile, Craig had asked Mulamata to harvest bamboo and dry it. With the interest from Matovu and other cyclists, they decided to harvest bamboo from around Rubaga Cathedral, and other villages. “When the muzungu arrived, we were set and the training kicked off. He taught us how to make bamboo bicycle frames.”
The 10 days training course, which started on 30 March 2011 resulted into a completed bamboo mountain bike which was launched into an “Applied Cycle Race” on 27 March 2011. After the training, Mulamata set up a workshop in Kampala to make bamboo bicycle frames.
Mulamata explains that the bamboo is taken from the forest, dried and joints removed. It’s then seasoned and treated with disinfectants, so that weevils do not drill it. It is then left to dry.
While on the table, the dry bamboo is smeared with a hardener and then filed to get a smooth finishing before being built into bicycle frames.
Their biggest market is in the US. An American-based company takes the frames and completes the process of making a bicycle.
“Our market currently is in the US but our partners also export the bicycle all over Europe. This type of product is so much appreciated in Europe because those people understand environmental issues. In the US, the completed bamboo bicycle goes for millions of shillings.
The workshop now employs four sports cyclists, including, David Matovu, who have been trained in making bamboo bicycle frames, and several unskilled workers.
Mulamata explains that they decided to employ the cyclists in the making of bamboo bicycle frames because they understand the bicycle better. Mulamata and his team plan to start sensitizing the Ugandan community to appreciate the health and environmental benefits of using bamboo bicycles.
In this way, they will create local demand in a way that benefits both the buyer and manufacturer. They plan to start making bamboo bicycles for the local market. He is also considering training other youth groups in Kampala and up country to take up bamboo bicycle-making.
He says apart from the obvious benefits and applications, bicycles can be used for shelling maize, generating electricity and many other things.
            In Uganda, bamboo grows abundantly in a few areas such as Arua, Hoima, Kabale and the districts around Mt. Elgon. In most of these areas, the huge potential to make money out of bamboo has not yet been fully harnessed.
Bamboo can also be planted and some people have planted it in and around Kampala. In most areas, it is used for making furniture and building houses.
In Bugisu, the young shoots are a delicacy when processed and cooked in an intricate traditional way into a dish locally known as malewa.
For full story, please see: www.newvision.co.ug/news/628656-Mulamata-makes-bamboo-bicycles.html

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4.         Edible insects: Lovely grub? You'd better believe it
Source: The Grocer, 24 February 2012

With the global population exploding, we should think seriously about swapping our egg sarnies (sandwiches) for ant egg sarnies, says a leading food futurologist
Each year, at Christmas, my uncle used to buy a wheel of aged Stilton, fill the centre with port and proceed to eat the entire thing. However, it reached perfection when he could see the maggots crawling out of it. He ate those too.
He’s not the only one who likes foods that would turn many a British stomach. The French enjoy snails the Japanese love the scavenging eel the Chinese delight in the sea cucumber (big sea slug) and Thais are quite partial to a locust kebab. Actually, the British like prawn cocktails - and prawns are basically locusts of the sea. But few think of prawns that way and the prospect of British consumers going a step further and embracing a diet that includes insects as part of its protein source seems slim to say the least.
Yet soon, they will be doing just that – and they won’t just be eating the faddy scorpion lollipops and chocolate-covered ants you find in speciality food stores.
Insect eating has been common in Asia, South America and Africa for millennia: 80% of the world happily consumes about 1 400 insect species on a daily basis. Although it is likely to be some time before Brits happily emulate them, make no mistake: they will soon be eating more insects – albeit initially in the form of a discreet ingredient in meat sauces, nut replacements and burgers or sausages.
Already, in the UK, it is estimated that each person unwittingly ingests 500g of insect particles a year in jams and processed foods. In the US, the FDA booklet, Food Defect Action Levels, outlines just how many ‘natural common contaminants’ are allowed in processed foods. For example: fruit juices permit one or more maggots per 250ml and peanut butter permits 30 or more insect fragments per 100g.
These are manufacturing aberrations. But ‘mini-livestock’ (insects) are increasingly becoming more popular in their own right. A policy paper on the eating of insects has been put to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization for consideration and there are plans for a world congress on entomology in 2013. FAO is also overseeing a locust farming project in Thailand.
In Europe, the Netherlands is leading the charge. Wageningen University started promoting insects as food in the 1990s. Between 2008 and 2009, sales of edible insects in the Netherlands tripled to 900kg, and it continues to rise. Building on this growth, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture is funding a new £1m research programme to develop ways to raise edible insects on the by-product of beer brewing and apple juice pressing. Other research is focusing on how protein could be extracted from insects to create alternative edibles.
The reasons for such heavyweight endorsements are manifold. Raising insects is environmentally friendly. They require minimal space per pound of protein produced, have a better feed-to-meat ratio than any other animal, more of their body mass is edible and they are very low in the food chain. They reproduce quickly and without any added hormones and they are good for you, with statistics showing they have high protein and calcium densities.
They’re also incredibly versatile. Toasted, fried, roasted and chocolate-covered are among the most popular ways of eating insects at the moment, but it seems to me that insect burgers are just a few years away, although their success is likely to depend heavily on how cleverly they are marketed.
A marketing campaign extolling the virtues of insect eating will no doubt help to grow consumption. Demand may also be driven by the rising cost of meat as fuel prices increase, and by consumer concern as animal feed is compromised and competitive factors reduce the quality of livestock living conditions. Such factors have already worked wonders for foodstuffs once considered unsavoury. What was once poor man’s food (offal, tongue, brains) has become a delicacy, a theme and trend moving from high-end restaurants in the past few years and into the mainstream as a clever way to bridge the cost of prime cuts of meat.
Marc Dennis, a Brooklyn entomologist, has been hosting insect-based dinner parties for the past few years and hopes to make cricket flour and create a new line in insect snacks. “One of my goals is to create protein bars: Hoppin’ Good bars, with crickets, oats, grains and nuts – triple the protein with zero fat content,” he says.
A number of entomologists have published books and recipes extolling the virtues of the mini-livestock. As far back as 1885, as Mrs Beeton, Good Housekeeping and other Victorian culinary treasures took hold, British entomologist Vincent M Holt published a small book called Why Not Eat Insects. He wrote: “Is it not a wonder that people do not look around them for the many gastronomic treasures lying neglected at their feet? Prejudice, prejudice, thy strength is enormous!
One hundred and fifty years later, isn’t it high time we changed our tune?
For full story, please see: www.thegrocer.co.uk/topics/environment/lovely-grub-youd-better-believe-it/226529.article

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5.         Frankincense: Boswellia serrata – natural pain killer discovered says natural health sherpa
Source: SBWire, 21 February 2012

Wilmington, NC, USA. Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian frankincense or Salai, is being hailed by researchers as one of the most potent pain killers nature has to offer.
In his review entitled “Boswellia serrata: an overall assessment of in vitro, preclinical, pharmacokinetic and clinical data”, M. Abdel-Tawab together with O. Werz and M. Schubert-Zsilavecz from the Central Laboratory of German Pharmacists located in Eschborn, Germany tackles the high prevalence of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects associated with the intake of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
The review highlights the better tolerability of Boswellia serrata gum resin extract (BSE) in treating inflammatory-related diseases compared to NSAIDs. However, these observations are based on clinical trials made on animals. Thus, the review recommends further study to verify the effects of BSE in humans.
For full story, please see: www.sbwire.com/press-releases/boswellia-serrata-natural-pain-killer-discovered-says-natural-health-sherpa-128002.htm

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6.         Ginseng: China to start equity trading of wild ginseng
Source: Bernama, Malaysia, 15 February 2012

Beijing. China's only online equity exchange portal, Jinmajia (jinmajia.com), will soon launch the trading of wild ginseng, the company said Wednesday. Fan Dongping, president of Beijing Jinmajia Equity Exchange Online Service Inc., said that the trading may start in March or April, and the benchmark subscription price is likely to be set at around 10,000 yuan (US$1 588), Xinhua news agency reported. He said that ginseng plants to be subscribed for trading are those that have been grown by Bishui Forestry Co. in the mountains of northeast China's Jilin province for more than five years.
According to the Chinese national standard for regulating ginseng quality, those grown in natural forests for several years can be regarded as wild ginseng. The forestry company in Jilin has planted 70 million such wild ginseng plants in a natural environment.
Fan said subscribers can either sell the equity of the ginseng products via the website, or pay an annual fee of 50 yuan to Jinmajia to keep the equity for added value.
Jinmajia is jointly funded by over 20 equity exchange firms, including China Beijing Equity Exchange and Guangzhou Enterprises Mergers and Acquisitions Services.
Fan said wild ginseng has great potential to increase in market value, adding that the older the ginseng grows, the more valuable it becomes. He said that the equity trading will help build up the domestic brand of high-quality wild ginseng and increase its price.
China annually produces 60-70 percent of the world's ginseng products on average and exports 70 percent to 80 percent of its annual production. However, its annual output value on the products accounts for only less than 4 percent of the world's total, as the exports are priced very low, according to the Beijing-based Guangming Daily.
Dubbed the "King of Herbs" in China, ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine and health care product for more than 4 000 years
For full story, please see: www.bernama.com/bernama/v6/newsindex.php?id=645795

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7.         Maple syrup: Tap timing is off for New Hampshire’s maple syrup
Source: Washington Times, 21 February 2012

Temple, N.H., USA. A mild winter across the Northeast is injecting extra uncertainty into the maple syrup season, but many producers say they will just go with the flow, whenever it starts.
Temperatures have been up and snowfall totals have been down throughout the region this winter, raising some concern for the maple syrup crop. But syrup producers say the weather during the six-week season when sap flows matters more than the weather leading up to it.
“The mild winter, I’m sure, has some effect on the trees and the soil and the microorganisms and so forth, but as long as you get those freezes and thaws during the actual sap flow season, those are what control how much sap you get,” said Brian Stowe, sugaring operations manager at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center.
Below-freezing nights followed by warm days are necessary to start the sap flowing from maple trees, a period that usually begins in late February or early March. But those conditions arrived early in some areas, prompting producers such as Ben Fisk to start collecting and boiling sap on 2 February, more than a month earlier than he did last year.
“We made syrup the earliest we’ve ever made syrup this year,” said Mr. Fisk, 23, a fifth-generation producer who has been making maple syrup since he was 5. “This time of year, there should be 3 or 4 feet of snow, and it should be cold out and we shouldn’t even be thinking about making syrup for another couple weeks.”
Though Mr. Fisk was happy to get a jump-start on the season, it could end early, too, if prolonged stretches of warm weather result in budding trees. That is the main concern in New York state, where the director of the New York Maple Producers Association has been hearing from plenty of worried members.
“I’ve had more phone calls this year than I’ve ever gotten before. Everyone wants to know what everyone else is doing. ‘Is it time?’ ‘Should we tap?’ ” said Helen Thomas, who set the 1,700 taps on her family’s farm about a week earlier than usual.
With so little snow, she worries that all it will take is one warm day in March to trick the trees into thinking spring has arrived. Once trees start to bud, the sap develops an “off” flavour, effectively ending the season. “The snow moderates any warm-up. You can have a 60-degree day in March, but if there’s 2 feet of snow on the ground, that tends to keep the woods cool, so you can get past that warm day or two,” she said.
It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup. Last year, U.S. maple production hit an all-time high of 2.79 million gallons, led by Vermont with 1.14 million gallons.
Beyond good weather, technology has played a role in the industry’s growth, with vacuum-tube systems that pull the sap from trees and new taps with valves designed to prevent sap from flowing back into the trees.
For full story, please see: www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/21/tap-timing-is-off-for-maple-syrup/

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8.         Medicinal plants: Japanese delegation visits India to learn about responsible and sustainable trade
Source: TRAFFIC News Update, 10 February 2012

Representatives from leading herbal companies in Japan have just returned from their visit to India, where they witnessed at firsthand the responsible and sustainable collection practices utilized in the medicinal and aromatic plant trade.
The visit, organized by TRAFFIC with support from I-AIM (Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine) took place as part of a project supported by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund, with the aim of gaining a better understanding of the benefits of sustainable sourcing of wild medicinal plants and to help promote use of the FairWild Standard within Japanese industries.
Japan was the world’s fourth largest importer of medicinal and aromatic plants in 2007, and India the second largest supplier to the country. Many of the plants are wild sourced; however, this is not widely appreciated in Japan.
The Japanese delegates were shown a variety of insights into the trade, including the techniques used to ensure the plants are not damaged during harvesting, the quantities a harvester can gather between early morning and noon, and how local NGOs organize individual harvesters into co-operatives. Briefings took place through face to face meetings with local communities and industry, the Forestry Department and other stakeholders.
The FairWild Standard has previously been implemented in field projects in Uttrakhand and Karnataka, and used to inform the National Committee on non-timber forest products (NTFP) and the medicinal, aromatic and dye plants (MADP) guidelines for India's National Working Plan Code.
“Following the success of this visit, we hope that participating companies look favourably upon adopting and implementing the FairWild Standard, to ensure its use becomes widespread within Japanese industry,” said TRAFFIC’s Kahoru Kanari. We also hope the companies can help promote our way of thinking within the private business sector. In the long run, involvement of Japanese industry should have a positive impact on conservation of wild plant resources.”
An intensive round table meeting of leading herbal companies in Japan will be held next month in Tokyo.
A delegate from Shoyeido Incense Co., a company with a 300 year history of supplying Traditional Japanese incense (Koh), said: “The visit has been instrumental in gaining a vision and understanding of medicinal plant sustainability and conservation issues. We have also allowed us to improve learning about India’s leading expertise in the medicinal plant sector and sustainability practices.”
“The enthusiasm shown by local experts and industry in answering our many questions has been very encouraging.”
The delegate from Uchida Wakanyaku Ltd., a traditional Japanese medicine (Kampo) pharmaceutical company supplying a wide range of natural ingredients said: “The field visits brought home to us the importance medicinal and aromatic plants play in the livelihoods of local communities.”
“It helped us appreciate the importance and necessity of the system for sustainable harvest of medicinal plants promoted by TRAFFIC and through the FairWild Standard. We will make good use of what we have learned.”
The FairWild Standard also supports Japan’s effort to achieve the targets of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as specific targets of the CBD’s Global Strategy for Plants Conservation, through promoting sustainable sourcing of wild plant resources and fair benefit sharing with local harvesters.
Japan is the current chair of CBD, and in 2010 hosted the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention (CoP10) in Nagoya, where the Aichi Biodiversity Target and Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) were agreed. The next full CBD meeting, CoP 11, takes place in Hyderabad, India in October this year.
For further information, please contact: MKSPasha, Coordinator, Research and Training, TRAFFIC India.  Email: kpasha@wwfindia.net Phone: (011)41504786 and +919810797349 or Kahoru Kanari, Senior Programme Officer, TRAFFIC East Asia – Japan. Email: kanari@trafficj.org  Phone: (+81) 3 3769 1716.
For full story, please see: www.traffic.org/home/2012/2/9/japanese-delegation-visits-india-to-learn-about-responsible.html

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9.         Medicinal plants: Reader feedback: Liquorice named “Medicinal plant of the year 2012”
From: Ardeshir Damania, India, email: abdamania@ucdavis.edu

Original story in Digest 17/11: www.traffic.org/home/2011/11/21/liquorice-named-medicinal-plant-of-the-year-2012.html
I am happy to note that “Jaythimadh”, in one of the main languages of India, or liquorice, has been named the Medicinal Plant of the Year 2012. Also, the article below mentions “Ancient Greek and Egyptian Physicians” BUT Indian physicians knew about the medicinal properties of “Jaythimadh” even earlier; Western scholars often do not have access to Indian literature because much of the old texts have never been translated in to English or other European languages. Hence Indian scholars often go without being recognized.

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10.       Moringa: More than just a tree
Source: The Herald, Zimbabwe in AllAfrica.com, 26 January 2012

In modern days where many diseases have been attributed to the type of food being eaten by people, most of which have side effects, one finds oneself obliged to write about one tree that has become the centre of both medicinal and nutritional value. It has been called many names, from a "Tree of Life" to the "Miracle Tree", but the bottom line is that it is really more than just a tree.
This is the Moringa tree, biological name Moringa oleifera.
The leaves from Moringa are exceptionally nutritious for people of all ages and the use of the plant as side dishes or sauces provides daily allowances of important nutrients. Research has shown that the leaves of the Moringa tree have a high content of vitamin A and vitamin C when they are raw. Vitamin A is required for good eyesight and vitamin C strengthens the gums. The content of minerals like calcium is very high, which is rare among plants. The leaves are an excellent source of protein and a very low source of fat and carbohydrates
Imagine that 100 g of Moringa tree leaf powder contains four times the calcium in milk, four times the vitamins in carrots, twice the protein in milk, three times the potassium in bananas, and seven times the vitamin C in oranges.
Moringa is a small, shrub or tree that can reach up to 12 m in height at maturity and can live for up to 20 years – a short but intense life. Moringa is perhaps the fastest-growing of all trees as it can reach 3 m in just 10 months after the seed is planted. It has deep roots, and therefore it can survive in dry regions, and a wide-open crown with a single stem.
Moringa is a healer, food magician, beauty and beautician, a plant with surprising water purification capabilities, a best friend and humanitarian who works for so little. It is one of the most useful trees on earth. Moringa makes a major contribution to human and animal health; in many cases, it can mean the difference between life and death. Absolutely no negative effects to daily consumption of Moringa leaves have ever been reported.
As a healing plant, Moringa is even more amazing. There is much evidence from around the world, from various traditions and cultures that have used this miracle tree for so many ailments and troubles.
The leaves are believed to have a stabilizing effect on blood pressure and control glucose levels. They are also used to treat anxiety, diarrhoea and inflammation of the colon, skin infections, scurvy, intestinal parasites, and many other conditions
Pure water is a key requirement for good health and alternative cheap, safe methods are required in many countries. In a paper that has just been published in the leading American Chemical Society Journal on interfaces, Langmuir, researchers from Uppsala University in co-operation with the University of Botswana describe how extracts from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree can be used for water purification. Flocculation of particulate impurities is a common first stage in the purification of water. This often uses addition of either aluminum or iron salts. Aluminum, particularly, has undesirable health implications. An alternative procedure that uses a natural extract from seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree is used in Africa.
The Moringa tree, commonly known as the Horseradish tree, is native to northwestern India but is now found all over the world. Today it is grown worldwide in the tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. Research has shown that the tree tolerates a wide range of soil and rainfall conditions. Moringa is a drought tolerant plant and needs very little water. It is resistant to most pests and diseases, though root rot can occur if the soil is too wet.
Moringa grows quickly from seed or cuttings and can reach a height of 4 m within the first year, with a trunk diameter of 30cm, if not pruned when very young.
The tree will regenerate itself even after severe pruning. The plants are propagated by seed, either in the nursery or by direct seeding in the field and in Zimbabwe, Environment Africa has been trying to promote the project. Research has shown that direct seeding gives faster growth.
Moringa grown in a seedbed as a vegetable is good for an average village and could change lives for many, who have no cash for conventional medicine.
There is no doubt that the Moringa tree is more than just a tree and could change the lives of millions of people who cannot afford conventional vitamin, calcium, potassium and other body needs.
The time is now to encourage people in rural and urban areas to grow this tree for the benefit of current and future generations.
For full story, please see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201201260216.html

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11.       “Moringa extracts can cure dengue fever”
Source: The Express Tribune. Pakistan, 19 February 2012

Faisalabad. Water extracts of moringa can be effective in curing dengue fever, a workshop was told on Saturday.
Speakers said the plant also had other uses in medicine. It could be helpful in building resistance against diseases such as HIV-AIDS, cancer and hepatitis, they added. They said the plant was already being used in production of various medicines.
The workshop titled Moringa for Life was arranged by University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan, at its New Senate Hall. The speakers said there was a need to start joint research projects on the plant.
They said the UAF was part of an international effort to prepare a supplement using the plant for astronauts.
In addition, the speakers said moringa had seven times more Vitamin C than oranges, four times more Vitamin A than carrots and four times more calcium than milk. They said milk production by animal fed on a diet containing moringa was significantly more than those getting traditional feed. Moringa seeds can be used for producing bio-fuel. The seeds of the plant were also being used in some countries to filter water. They said the plant could also be used as a fertiliser to improve agricultural output. They added that crop output could be increased by about 15 to 30 percent in this way.
For full story, please see: http://tribune.com.pk/story/338511/moringa-extracts-can-cure-dengue-fever/

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Sandalwood in Australia: World's largest sandalwood supplier TFS Corporation
Source: Marketwire (press release), 23 February 2012

San Diego, CA, USA. When most people think of sandalwood, the first thought that pops into mind is the fragrance: that sweet, woody aroma that strikes a beautiful balance with its earthy base and floral notes, bringing a sense of calm to the user.
Of course, TFS Corporation knows that the significance of sandalwood goes much deeper than that. As the world's largest supplier of Indian sandalwood, Perth-based TFS grows approximately 5 000 hectares of Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) in the northwestern Kimberley region. While a portion of the valuable hardwood produced by TFS's plantations are owned by the company, they also manage plantations on behalf of other investors via its Beyond Carbon investment structure which allows for individual investments to be made on 300-350 hectare lots.
A publically traded company since 2004, TFS will hit an exciting milestone in 2013 with the first harvest of its Kununurra-based Indian sandalwood plantation – a project that is been in the works since 1999. In the company's early years, CFO Quentin Megson notes that the survival rates of Indian sandalwood in Australia hovered around 30-40 percent; today, TFS's trees are achieving a 90 percent survival rate and reaching maturity much earlier. "Experts say our 15-year-old trees are more like a 20- to 30-year-old tree," says Megson, who has worked with the leading sandalwood producer since 2005.
For full story, please see: www.marketwire.com/press-release/worlds-largest-sandalwood-supplier-tfs-corporation-hit-milestone-2013-featured-business-1623737.htm

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13.       Sandalwood in India: Make picking red sandalwood a penal offence: Supreme Court
Source: Times of India, 19 February 2012

New Delhi. Large scale smuggling of endangered red sandalwood, which grows only in Indian forests and commands a princely price in markets of China, Japan and Western countries, has forced the Supreme Court to try and save it from extinction by making its picking or uprooting from the wild a penal offence under the Wildlife Protection Act.
A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad directed the Central Government to take steps to include Red Sanders in Schedule VI of the Act, as requested by Andhra Pradesh, within six months.
Till date there are only six other plant species in Schedule VI such as Beddomes' Cycad, Blue Vanda, Kuth, Ladies Slipper Orchids, Pitcher Plant and Red Vanda. Now, Red Sanders would become the seventh species to be included in the Schedule.
Red sandalwood is found only in south India, especially in Andhra Pradesh's Cuddapah and Chitoor districts that share border with Tamil Nadu. It is also known as lal chandan or rakta chandan in Hindi. The court noted that it possessed medicinal properties.
On normal sandalwood, the bench said though the species was not mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specials (CITES) of wild flora and fauna; it was included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
However, it asked the Central government to consider including normal sandalwood in Schedule VI of endangered species "considering the fact that all sandalwood growing states have stated that it faces extinction".
"In such circumstances, rather than giving a positive direction to the Central government to include sandalwood in Schedule VI, we are inclined to give a direction to the Central government to examine the issue at length in consultation with National Board for Wildlife and take a decision within six months as to whether it is to be notified as a specific plant and be included in Schedule VI of the Act," the bench said.
For full story, please see: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-02-19/india/31076821_1_red-sandalwood-red-sanders-species

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14.       Seabuckthorn: 11 500 ha under ‘Leh berry' in Ladakh, India
Source: Hindu Business Line, 16 February 2012

A recent report of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) has assessed that the area under seabuckthorn – a medicinal plant rich in bio-molecules, vitamins and nutritive properties and popularly known as ‘Leh Berry’ – in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to be 11 500 hectares.
There is huge potential to setting up units to prepare juices, oils and other items from seabuckthorn in Ladakh region to give fillip to the economy of the region.
The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh in association with local authorities has set up three units – two in nobra Block and one in Leh belt – to manufacture juices of high medicinal, nutritive and vitamin value besides some oils. The Block Level Cooperative consumer stores in Nobra and 12 village level cooperative and marketing societies were assigned the job of collection and processing of berries to pulp under the overall guidance of Registrar of Cooperative Societies, the report said.
Leh-based FRL has already patented the process of manufacture of Seabuckthorn juice in Ladakh.
Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) popularly known as Leh berry or Chhermang or Cherma in Ladakh and Lauhul Spiti is a miracle 2-4 m bush growing wild in high altitude areas of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, the report said.
All the parts of this plant are store house of bio-molecules, which have immense medicinal properties and hence every part of the plant is useful. The small berries of this bush are rich in its nutritive and medicinal properties and the berries of seabuckthorn are a rich source of vitamins.
For full story, please see: www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/article2900335.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home

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15.       Shea: As shea industry continues to grow, stakeholders set their sights on Cotonou for annual conference
Source: West Africa Trade Hub, 21 February 2012

With rising global interest in shea, the African shea industry is growing at an unprecedented rate. Prices for shea have increased by a staggering 50 percent since 2006 as the shea-producing industry has forged connections and built on its strength. 
Now, industry stakeholders will focus on positive impacts to communities and strengthening sustainability at the fifth annual shea conference. With a theme of “Shared Value,” Shea 2012, organized by the Global Shea Alliance, will take place 23-27 April in Cotonou, Benin.
Benin’s Minister of Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises Mme. Sephou Madina formally launched the registration for the event in Cotonou in February.
Burkina Faso Prime Minister Pascal Koupaki is the latest VIP to confirm his participation. Vice President John Mahama of Ghana and Benin’s President Yaya Boni are also expected. CEOs of the world’s leading shea companies will attend along with hundreds of exporters, traders, researchers, experts and specialists.
“The industry is expanding so rapidly – this is a critical time for shea,” said Gilles Adamon of Natura, a Benin shea butter producer. 
Shea 2012 will bring together leading stakeholders from across the shea value chain – from West Africa and around the world. Producers, researchers, processors and international brands will have opportunities to connect at business-to-business networking events and social forums. 
Experts on shea will present on such key issues as emerging innovations in processing technology, standards and certification, and supply chain logistics. 
“We see our annual participation in the Shea conference as critical,” said Monica Hjorth of AAK, the world’s leading trader of shea nuts. “It allows us to discuss the most important issues in an industry that has such a huge impact on the world.”
The conference includes a business-to-business forum that will match companies to service providers, financiers, suppliers and others, according to their needs. A set of field trips will take conference participants to important industry sites across Benin.
After launching the Global Shea Alliance at Shea 2011 in April, industry stakeholders are developing the vision for the industry. The Alliance connects hundreds of companies across the sector, providing a platform for advocacy, promoting shea worldwide, and helping to set quality standards across the industry. 
Shea, which is used widely in food products, is also growing in popularity for its benefits as a natural cosmetic as well as emerging research suggesting health benefits of its natural oils. Shea nuts grow on wild trees that are critical to maintaining environmental sustainability in the West African Sahel region. Harvested by some four million women in the region, it is a significant and growing source of income for families and communities. 
A 2010 USAID study showed that for every $1 000 of shea nuts sold at the farmgate level, US$1 580 in additional household income is generated in the local economy. A major aim of the Shea 2012 conference is to highlight and strengthen the shea industry’s focus on the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. 
With 12 000 tons in processing capacity and 35 000 tons of shea nuts harvested for export each year, Benin is an ideal place for industry stakeholders to identify new investment opportunities that will benefit business and local communities.  
For more information on Shea 2012, please visit: www.globalshea.com
For full story, please see: www.watradehub.com/activities/tradewinds/feb12/shea-industry-continues-grow-stakeholders-set-their-sights-cotonou-annua

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16.       Shellac's as tough as nails
Source: Edmonton Journal, 8 February 2012

Edmonton, Canada. A manicure that lasts up to two weeks without chipping or smudging may sound too good to be true, but thanks to a hybrid gel polish, it doesn’t have to be.
One of the biggest nail innovations of 2010, Shellac (a resin secreted by the female lac insect, Laccifera lacca) has steadily gained recognition for its sleek finish and long-lasting results. Developed by California-based company Creative Nail Design, Shellac is steadily gaining popularity in Canada as well.
“Today it’s one of the most requested esthetic services, and it brings in new clients looking for spas trained by the CND on the Shellac method,” says Cheryl Johns, spa and beauty director at EvelineCharles.
The product brushes on like regular nail polish, but is the first-ever “powder polish” to set like a gel nail under UV light. This curing process makes Shellac more flexible and durable than the average manicure, and avoids the lengthy dry-times of regular polish.
Clients can expect to leave the salon without worrying about smudging or chipping their nails, a welcomed development for most nail polish enthusiasts.
The treatment is more nail-friendly than its gel counterpart in that no sculpting or heavy filing is required, and nails may feel stronger and look healthier as a result, Johns says.
But despite its widespread use and publicity, the treatment is far from being a household name.
The West Edmonton Mall location completes about 120 Shellac treatments each month, with figures fluctuating from location to location.
Although the product line is not particularly vast, CND offers about 30 Shellac colours to choose from, including classic reds, pinks and nudes. And since the polish should remain intact, it only needs to be changed once new growth appears.
For those considering trying the treatment for the first time, Johns offers a word of caution: “Once you Shellac, you never go back!”
For full story, please see: www.edmontonjournal.com/life/fashion-beauty/Shellac+tough+nails/6102733/story.html

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17.       Stevia in Europe
Source: Nutritional Outlook, 8 February 2012

In case you missed it, the EU approved stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) last fall as a food additive for foods and beverages. The approval, specifically intended for stevia’s sweetening compounds (steviol glycosides), comes at a time when consumers increasingly demand products with little or no added sugars. According to market research group Datamonitor, global launches of products with “no sugar added” positioning increased from 490 to 2308 during 2009-2010.
But an EU approval is just the beginning for stevia foods in Europe. While proponents of the zero-calorie, natural sweetener are understandably smitten over its growing recognition, the European legislation (as it currently reads) presents some initial challenges.
Stevia-sweetened products must have the ingredient listed under its designated E number – E 960” – which may be accompanied by the ingredient name steviol glycosides. This isn’t doing much for the average consumer who isn’t yet familiar with the stevia plant, much less the name of its scientifically active compound.
A listing of stevia leaf or stevia extract elsewhere on product packaging would make for a “friendlier” label, but allowing alternative wording will be up to individual member states. Marketers may also wish to fall back on images of the stevia plant, if authorized.
An Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for steviol glycosides set at 4 mg/kg of body weight presents another challenge. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA; Parma, Italy), the health body that established the ADI, considers it a “conservative” level that might still be exceeded by some users.
Flavoured soft drinks are predicted to be the biggest contributors of stevia to the EU diet. Exposure limits in these products specifically may be subject to change. EFSA says that it will reassess this ADI in the future, following information it will request from producers and users of steviol glycosides.
But even with intangibles like these yet to be clarified, the notion of mass stevia consumption in Europe is not going anywhere. Whereas EFSA directives allow member states a “take it or leave it” approach to legislation, the stevia approval comes in the form of a regulation, something the International Stevia Council (Brussels) affirms cannot be denied in any member state.
“Steviol glycosides have been authorized through a Commission Regulation and therefore EU member states have to implement the legal text in full,” said the International Stevia Council’s executive director Maria Teresa Scardigli. “They do not have the freedom to deny the use of stevia at a national level.”
            Stevia’s approval in Europe casts a little more uncertainty on the artificial sweetener industry worldwide. To make Europe’s case more interesting, EFSA recently announced its intent to speed up a risk assessment of the artificial sweetener aspartame, from its original 2020 deadline to a much earlier deadline of 2012. Rising concern from regulatory bodies and consumers over artificial sweeteners has already led suppliers to take stock in stevia and other alternatives. Shortly following the EU’s stevia approval, Chicago-based Merisant, which supplies the artificial sweetener Equal, expanded its Misura stevia line with a launch of the first tabletop stevia sweetener in Italy. Other companies have made similar advancements.
For full story, please see: www.nutritionaloutlook.com/article/stevia-europe-3-8993

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18.       Wildlife: “Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia” project
Source: Zee News, India, 13 February 2012

Dhaka, Bangladesh. The World Bank Sunday launched a wildlife conservation project here that will also cover three neighbouring countries.
The "Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia" project, which is to be implemented in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, aims at helping the participating governments to enhance shared capacity, institutions and knowledge. It also aims at addressing the cross-border poaching and other regional conservation threats to habitats in border areas.
With South Asia's rich biodiversity, the region is a lucrative target of the illegal wildlife trade, said the Washington-based lender in a statement, adding illegal poaching of the iconic tiger and elephant, deer and reptiles, different species of birds and corals is the most severe threat against biodiversity conservation.
To address this, the World Bank recently approved a $36 million fund for wildlife conservation efforts in Bangladesh.
"The project will be an important milestone in regional cooperation for wildlife conservation in South Asia," said Hasan Mahmud, Bangladesh's Minister for Environment and Forests, at the project's launching ceremony.
WB approves $36 mn for Bangladesh wildlife projectParticipation by other tiger range countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia is envisaged in later phases, the statement added.
Bangladesh holds the largest remaining population of tigers in the Sundarbans. Habitats across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal are home to over 65 percent of the 3 000 or so remaining wild tigers.
Bangladesh faces severe conservation challenges, said the statement, adding 4-5 percent of faunal species and about 10 percent of floral diversity have become extinct in the last century in the country.
No single country can manage or eliminate the threat of wildlife poaching on its own, said the statement, adding neither can a single country manage contiguous cross-border wildlife habitat effectively, since wild animals cannot be confined to national boundaries.
It said conservation of these habitats would also contribute to sustainable livelihoods for people dependent on forests. The project is expected to bring about regional collaboration in combating wildlife crime.
For full story, please see:  http://zeenews.india.com/news/eco-news/wb-approves-36-mn-for-bangladesh-wildlife-project_758184.html

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19.       Wildlife in India: TRAFFIC helps claw back illegal parrot trade
Source: Traffic News Update, 17 February 2012

New Delhi, India. A parrot in captivity is one of the more visible symbols of illegal trade in India, where all native wildlife is fully protected. To help enforcement officers identify the 12 native parrot species, and thereby clip the wings of the illegal bird trade, TRAFFIC India with support from WWF-India has produced an identification poster entitled “Parrots of India in Illegal Trade.
The posters will be distributed to Police, Customs, Forest Departments, Railway Protection Forces and educational institutions including schools and colleges.
Despite the blanket ban since 1990-91 on trade in all Indian bird species, hundreds of parrots are collected and traded annually in the country. They are taken from the wild and smuggled to various parts of India and beyond. The bulk of the trade is in three to four week old chicks.
Parrots are caught using nets and bird-lime. Adult parrots are traded throughout the year, with chicks arriving in trade between December and June. For every bird that reaches the market place, several are believed to die en route.
Of the 12 native species, eight are regularly found being illegally traded. They include Alexandrine, Rose-ringed, Plum-headed, Red-breasted, Malabar, Himalayan and Finsch’s Parakeets and Vernal Hanging-parrot.
For centuries, parrots have been kept as pets mainly because they are straightforward to keep and easy to replace because of the large numbers in trade. This has in turn created demand that has led to an organized illegal trade in parrots.
Abrar Ahmed, ornithologist and a bird trade consultant to TRAFFIC India said, “The Alexandrine Parakeet is one of the most sought after species in the Indian live bird trade and is traded in large volumes throughout the year. “The chicks are collected from forested areas and transported to bird markets in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Patna, Lucknow and Kolkata.
“Many specimens are smuggled by Indian dealers via Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to bird markets in various parts of the world”.
“Alarmingly, three species of Indian parrots – Nicobar, Long-tailed & Derby’s Parakeets – are considered by IUCN as Near Threatened with extinction, with illegal trade posing a significant threat.”
MKS Pasha, Coordinator of TRAFFIC India said: “Few know that our favourite and well-known ‘mithu’ is a protected species in India. Their chicks are captured remorselessly from the wild, and many to not make it to their final destination.”
“The parrot trade is substantial and well organized, but it can be counteracted through concerted enforcement actions at the grassroot level and mass awareness campaigns.
“TRAFFIC India’s new poster is a step in this direction. We hope it will also inspire children and young people too, because they are the ones who will influence future change and can play a significant role in curtailing the demand for our native wildlife.”
For full story, please see: www.traffic.org/home/2012/2/15/traffic-helps-to-claw-back-illegal-parrot-trade-in-india.html

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20.       Wildlife in Indonesia: Almost 1 500 turtles “crammed like sardines” into suitcases
Source: Traffic News Update, 10 February 2012

Close to 1 500 live Pig-nosed Turtles were seized yesterday in Mopah Airport, Merauke, in Papua Province, Indonesia. The 1 495 turtles were concealed inside two suitcases en route to Jakarta, the nation’s capital and a major hub for illicit wildlife trade. Valued as pets, and possibly consumed as meat in some countries, Pig-nosed Turtles are smuggled out of Indonesia by the thousands.
Sources allege that shipments such as this one are common, with dealers in Jakarta buying the turtles from hunters and agents in Papua, then selling them on to dealers and retailers abroad. Many are destined for the pet markets of East Asia, to places such as Hong Kong, where demand for this species is rising. The turtles are often concealed in shipments of tropical aquarium fish.
There are also indications that many of the turtles are bound for the kitchen table, or to be used in traditional medicines.
Pig-nosed Turtles (Carettochelys insculpta)are totally protected in Indonesia, making collection for export illegal. Yet the trade large scale persists.
Close to 3 500 Pig-nosed Turtles were seized in February 2010 in Jakarta, while in October last year, more than 600 seized in Hong Kong were returned to Indonesia for reintroduction to the wild. Most, however, once removed from their native habitat, never make it back.
“The authorities involved in intercepting this shipment are to be congratulated” said Chris R. Shepherd, Deputy Regional Director of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia. However, the fact that dealers continue to smuggle shipments of this size indicates a serious problem in Indonesia, where illegal reptile trade is rife.”
Pig-nosed Turtles are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which requires permits for all international trade and for the animals to have been obtained in accordance with national legislation.
The Pig-nosed Turtle is threatened by habitat degradation and by illegal and unsustainable harvest for local consumption and international trade. It is listed as Vulnerable to extinction in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
            Observations by TRAFFIC in December 2011 of three wildlife markets and a reptile expo in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, found a host of protected and endangered turtles and tortoises openly for sale, plus other protected species of reptiles, mammals and birds.
Among them were 19 Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and eight Malaysian Giant Turtles (Orlitia borneensis), both listed as Endangered by IUCN and Totally Protected in Indonesia.
A host of non-native species were also seen, including a single Ploughshare Tortoise (Astrochelys yniphora) and 10 Radiated Tortoises (Astrochelys radiata), both Critically Endangered species endemic to Madagascar and listed in Appendix I of CITES, meaning international commercial trade in them is prohibited.
“Illegal and unsustainable trade in turtles and other reptiles in Indonesia is a serious threat to the conservation of many species. Indonesia’s enforcement agencies must take firm action against traders in Indonesia flouting the law,” said Shepherd.
For full story, please see: www.traffic.org/home/2012/1/26/almost-1500-turtles-crammed-like-sardines-into-suitcases.html

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COUNTRY INFORMATION

21.       Angola: Environment Ministry to create supervision body
Source: AngolaPress, 9 February 2012

Luanda. The Angolan Environment Ministry supported by its partners will soon create a national environment controlling body to manage the country’s parks.
“This will be implemented under the policies and government programmes aiming at improving control and management actions in the conservation areas, mainly in the national parks, where ecotourism needs to be promoted”, said the Environment minister, Maria de Fátima Jardim.
The project started with group of 45 former military personnel selected in northern Cabinda province, who said they are ready to learn techniques to enable them to take care of Maiombe forest, mainly its national park.
For full story, please see: www.portalangop.co.ao/motix/en_us/noticias/ambiente/2012/1/6/Environment-Ministry-create-supervision-body,0c73ad9b-13bb-4f98-960f-91575d995552.html

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22.       Finland: Lapland pines have the best quality seed year in decades
Source: Krista Kimmo, Forest Newsletter, 3 February 2012

The last major seed year for pine occurred in 1988 – and those seeds are still used. In some places the lack of seeds in effect decides forest regeneration methods.
It takes three years for a pine cone and seeds to develop and mature. In Lapland, three favorable summers for seed development seldom occur successively. Therefore good seed years occur on average once every decade in the north.
However, forest work is carried out every year: forests are felled and the law requires that a new one must be established in its place. Establishing a new forest requires seeds whether the forest is regenerated naturally or by cultivation. Cultivation means seeding or planting. Therefore seeds are gathered during good seed years for a reserve supply for future years. The state funds this.
In Lapland and especially in Eastern Lapland, there has been a lack of pine seeds for years. The good seed year of summer 2011 was really needed.
“The last good seed year in here was in 2002. The last time the whole Lapland enjoyed a good seed year was back in 1998. And even then we did not get as good quality seed as now. If only there were more cones,” says Mr. Timo Ari, Forestry Engineer at Metsähallitus.
            The germination percentage of the seeds from pine cones gathered last fall has been up to 90–95. A high germination percentage is important for the seeding to succeed. The germination percentage decreases during the storage so there is no point in storing low-quality seeds in the first place.
In the north, the aim is to have enough seeds stored for a decade’s use. Currently the stock of seeds suitable to be used in North-Lapland is so low, that they cannot be used in forests. So far there have been enough seeds only for seedling producers.
Metsähallitus is responsible for gathering the seeds for Lapland’s reserve supply. Ari is responsible for organizing the work. “We organize it in cooperation with forest owners' associations,” he tells. Each association gets its quota and distributes it between its pickers. The pickers are paid 95–100 cents for a litre of cones.
Gathering cones requires permission from the land owner. As the origin of the seeds must be known exactly, forest professionals determine where the cones are picked from.
            How many cones must be picked depends on how many cones are needed to produce 1kg of seeds. The number of seeds in a cone varies. In last fall’s crop, it took 175 litres of pine cones to get 1kg of seeds.
In addition, those responsible must estimate how much seed will be needed during the next ten years.
The goal last fall was to gather 170 000 litres of pine cones. The yield was 150 000. The plan is to pick an additional 115 000 litres during this spring, if the seed quality has survived the winter freeze.
Ari says a damp fall followed with a cold winter is a combination which can lower the quality substantially. And even if the spring picking succeeds, the seed gathered will not suffice for the next decade, he says.
In practice, the funds allocated in the state budget define how many cones can be gathered.
            Luckily the good seed year has woken others into action, too. Forest owners’ associations, companies, seed and seedling producers and Common Forests have gathered seeds for their own use. Metsähallitus’s own folk gather seeds, also.
According to Ari, there is no lack of eager pickers. The spring picking season is especially popular. “The light lasts longer and the snow blanket is higher. Besides snow mobile, you can get to the cones by skis or snowshoes.”
The lack of seeds in Lapland makes cultivation by seeding difficult in some municipalities. As there are no seeds available for seeding, the pine forest must be regenerated by planting, which is more expensive.
The other option is to leave seed trees and trust natural regeneration. A lower germination percentage is enough in natural regeneration as there will be so many seeds per area. However, it can take many years for the seedling stand to be established.
For full story, please see: www.forest.fi/smyforest/foresteng.nsf/fa89b3360d6db5b2c22573a6005059ec/79fe0872bb4aebd3c2257999003f5b68?OpenDocument

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23.       Georgia: Environmentalists protest new hunting regulations
Source: Georgia Today, 26 January 2012, in 141st Issue of CENN Electronic Bulletin

Hunting endangered or red-listed species will no longer place an individual in a legally responsible position in Georgia. Fearing that this decision will have a devastating effect on Georgia’s biodiversity, the news has been denounced by NGOs and conservationists who disseminated their official addresses of protest throughout social networks.
The ban has been lifted as a result of the changes in legal acts issued by the Georgian government at the end of December 2011. Under the new regulation, each species is labeled with a price tag, allowing any individual who has paid a fixed price, to hunt for them anywhere, excluding protected areas and national reserves. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia published the hunting quotas and terms for the year 2012 on 10 January.
The government has not explained the initiative publicly. However, the newspaper Kviris Palitra recently published an interview with Georgian Minister Alexander Khetaguri, where he is quoted as saying “hunting is a very popular pastime; so it can attract many tourists; they spend heavily on hunting.”
According to Tbilisi-based environmental NGOs, the government’s move will cause “irreversible damage” to Georgia’s unique biodiversity. Endangered species such as the eastern and western Caucasian tur, the chamois, the brown bear, the red deer, wild goat, etc. will decrease to alarming rates.
Georgia Today inquired, asking by whom and when was the scientific inventory of the species carried out to determine the hunting quotas for the current year. The ministry’s Department of Public Relations answered that the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia plans to conduct a profound assessment to collect the data on the number of animals but said that they cannot provide the information immediately.
Georgia’s current national red-list was established in 2006. Since then, according to NACRES, the Center for Biodiversity Conservation and Research, effective control of illegal hunting, measures for the restoration of the red-list species or monitoring systems have not been implemented by the Georgian government.
In addition, environmentalists warn that these changes can damage the international reputation of Georgia, since it “radically contradicts” the key principles of international environmental agreements.
Another argument against the decision includes the hasty, non-transparent, and non-participatory manner of adopting the changes.
For full story, please see:  http://bulletin.cenn.org/digest.php?ca=Georgia&langu=English#5535

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24.       Georgia: the Georgian Red List
Source: IUCN Press Release, 20 February 2012

The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), upon receiving information from within the IUCN network, is currently looking at the Georgian Red List, specifically its quality in terms of applying the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. The consultations started following the recent legislative changes in Georgia which allow hunting of some red list species.
Georgia enacted its Law on the Red List and Red Book in 2003 and established the current national Red List of threatened animal and plant species in 2006.  The law aims to protect and restore threatened species existing on the territory of Georgia, to save specific biodiversity and genetic resources considering the interest of present and future generations. 
For more information, please contact:
IUCN Caucasus Cooperation Center
Gogebashvili Street 38
Tbilisi 0179, Georgia
Tel.: (995 32) 222 29 72/85
E-mail: caucasus@iucn.org

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25.       Ghana: Shea butter project employs 3 500 women
Source: Spyghana.com, 21 February 2012

PlaNet Finance, the global non-profit microfinance organization, says its shea butter project in northern Ghana has employed 3 500 women so far, and will create at least 1 500 more jobs next year.
The project, which started 16 months ago, involves the provision of financial and other assistance to women involved in shea butter production to boost their output and incomes.
PlaNet Finance has provided gloves for picking the shea nuts, grading mills for processing and silos to store the shea butter for up to two years. Additionally, the women have received mobile phones to help them check the prices of shea butter in markets in the cities.
French economist and President of PlaNet Finance, Jacques Attali, told B&FT during a visit to Ghana to see the project that his organization intends to move up the supply-chain by establishing a factory to add value to the shea butter produced.
Currently, part of the production is sold as raw material to a local cosmetics-maker and the rest exported to Europe.
“What we intend to do after 2013 is to establish a social business with the women as shareholders that tries to pursue the highest form of value-addition to the product,” he said.
He said a study by Stanford University in the US showed the project improved the living standards of the women involved by 65 percent in the first year.
“But this is more than money. It is also a means to keep the women in the villages and stem migration to the cities,” he said.
His organization is hoping to use its success in Ghana as a model that can be replicated in other countries.
PlaNet Finance coordinates the project through its local headquarters in Tamale. Its partners include Agence Franςaise de Développement (AFD), the European Union and German software company, SAP, which together provided the €6.5 million funding for the project.
Globally, the organization works in 80 countries and manages US$1 billion in funds.
For full story, please see: http://spyghana.com/business-news/shea-butter-project-employs-3500-women/

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26.       India: Heavy snowfall has raised hope of good harvest of saffron
Source: Day & Night News, 27 February 2012

For most people in the Kashmir valley, the heavy snowfall this winter may have triggered misery, but a small section feels that their prayers have been answered. For saffron farmers a good snowfall means a good harvest. Saffron, a precious agro-product produced exclusively of the valley, may witness a huge rise in production due to the conducive weather.
The production of saffron in the Valley is about 75 tons but about 95 tons of saffron is consumed in India. Kashmiri saffron is an exotic and expensive spice and therefore its consumption was less a few years back. But now the trend is changing with a decline in its prices.
Avneesh is the third generation businessman of Chabbra family, who is in the saffron trade. He feels that the decline in the price and increase in production is good for the product. He thinks if the trend of price reduction continues and production increases, it would make saffron a common spice available in every household not only for the purpose of religious ceremonies but also to be used for aroma and colour in various cuisines.
Saffron growers feel that the decline in rates of saffron can be compensated with increase in production. Farmers are happy with the Nation Saffron Mission initiated by Union government to boost its production in Kashmir.
A good snowfall has given Kashmir farmers every reason to smile. They are now eagerly waiting to prepare their fields to cultivate this valuable spice as they strive to regain the state’s lost glory.
For full story, please see: www.dayandnightnews.com/2012/02/heavy-snowfall-has-raised-hope-of-good-harvest-of-saffron/

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27.       India: Six non-timber forest projects in Maoist-hit areas
Source: Mangalorean.com, 3 February 2012

New Delhi, (IANS). The Indian government Friday announced six projects in NTFPs, such as gum and medicinal plants to cover around 60 Maoist-affected districts in the country.
Addressing a national conference on NTFP here, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said the projects in "lac, gum, medicinal plants, tasar, bamboo and non-edible oil seeds like neem and mahua" will maximize return for tribals engaged in collection of these forest products.
He said the projects, to be executed in six months in the public-private partnership mode, will cover Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Ramesh said generation of NTFPs and expansion of its market in a sustainable manner were challenges that needed to be addressed.
The minister said projects will be part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission and focus primarily on livelihood generation and value addition.
For full story, please see: http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=294373

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28.       Jamaica: Launch of nutraceutical industry with seven products
Source: Jamaica Observer, 24 February, 2012

Renowned local scientist Dr Henry Lowe last night delivered on a promise made a year ago by launching what he said was the region's first indigenous nutraceutical industry with seven products, including his flagship Alpha Prostate Formula 1 made from the Jamaican ball moss or old man's beard (Tillandsia recurvata).
At the same time, Dr Lowe announced that an IPO will be launched next year "to give Jamaicans and diaspora members a chance to invest in this lucrative and exciting venture".

            The potential earnings from this industry can be anywhere from US$500 billion, growing to a trillion US dollars in the next five years," Dr Lowe told guests attending the launch at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston.
"The question is: are we ready to make the investments required to grow our share of this lucrative industry?" he asked.
Lowe said that in addition to the Alpha Prostate Formula 1 – which is basically a half-way house to the development of the anti-cancer drugs he identified in the ball moss – the other products launched last night include: Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed (Petiveria alliacea) supplement, traditionally used for the management of cancers, arthritis, rheumatism and diabetes; and Aloe Complex Formula supplement, a mild laxative, which reduces inflammation and enhances colon health..
For full story, please see: www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Promise-kept---Dr-Henry-Lowe-launches-nutraceutical-industry-with-7-products_10869398

Malaysia: More gaharu (agarwood) trees being felled in Penang forest
Source: Malaysia Star, 23 February 2012

George Town. The illegal felling of gaharu (agarwood) trees appears to be continuing unabated despite extensive media coverage and the state government’s declaration of a crackdown against the thieves.
The latest incident involves several gaharu trees in Gambier Hill near Island Park here. Gurdial Singh, a runner, came across around 20 felled trees, several of which were gaharu trees, on Tuesday while setting the trail for a run for his group. “The trees were all from one area, not scattered in the jungle.
“I think they were felled about a week ago, looking at the condition and colour of the wood,” he said yesterday, adding that he believed the trees were felled with a chainsaw.
Gurdial said he also found gunny sacks, lunch packs, plastic bags and water bottles in the vicinity. He said the area had been green and shady when he passed it last December.
            Sunday Star had reported on 12 February that local syndicates with foreign connections were allegedly felling the highly-valued gaharu trees in the rainforest near the Penang Botanic Gardens and in several other places.
The oil extracted from the agarwood is used for medicine and perfume, and fetches a handsome price in the Middle East.
Gurdial highlighted the matter to the newspaper after he encountered chopped gaharu trees while running in the jungle.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Commi­ttee chairman Phee Boon Poh said yesterday that there would be joint operations with the police to tackle the situation, as it was a serious matter.
“The Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) has a special task force comprising the relevant agencies to probe further into the illegal activities in the forest,” he said, adding that he would soon issue a press statement about the joint operations.
State Forestry Department assistant director Azahar Ahmad said he would also get his team of officials to investigate.
For full story, please see: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/2/23/nation/10784349&sec=nation#13299906305601&if_height=573

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30.       New Zealand: Wild Ginseng and Maori Traditional Ecological Knowledge feature at Forestry Finance Conference
Source: TangataWhenua.com: Maori News & Views, 14 February 2012

Wild natural ginseng growing under pine tree canopy that can increase the revenue streams being earned from forestry land, is an initiative the Maraeroa C Incorporation want to share at the upcoming Forestry Finance event.
The Maraeroa C Incorporation wants to promote the growing of wild natural ginseng, which is now being termed “the new kiwifruit”, with Maori forest owners and relevant industry and says the conference is an ideal platform to share their success.
“In addition to our field days we operate at Pureora, Te Kuiti, the conference will give key industry leaders an insight into why growing ginseng is complementary to forestry,” says Glen.
Other prominent speakers include Dr Kepa Morgan from the Engineering School at Auckland University who will talk about integrating Maori Values and the potential role for Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Forestry Management. And Jacob Kajavala, Managing Director of KFLtd and President of the Forestry Industry Contractors Association who will deliver a presentation on Iwi interests in forestry’s future.
All speakers bring to their roles a strong belief in the potential for Maori people in rural communities to make good on the potential for growing their own peoples’ opportunities in rural communities around NZ and capitalizing on industry associations.
For full story, please see: http://news.tangatawhenua.com/archives/15981

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31.       Panama is first to benefit from fund to tackle biopiracy
Source: SciDev.Net Weekly Update (30 January – 5 February 2012)

The Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF) – has announced its first beneficiary: a project exploring Panama's natural resources for use in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.
The Nagoya Protocol was agreed in October 2010 by 193 countries to tackle biopiracy and share the benefits of research into natural resources in an equitable manner. The NPIF was set up by the UN funding agency the Global Environment Facility (GEF) four months later, as a multi-donor trust fund to help nations implement the protocol.
The GEF announced on 12 January that Panama will receive US$1 million from the NPIF to carry out a three-year project at the Coiba Island National Marine Park – one of the most important nature reserves in the country – located in the Gulf of Chiriqui.
Researchers will collect samples of plants, fungi and algae that have symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationships with corals, and bacteria in fresh and sea water, according to Dario Luque, an officer at the country's National Environmental Authority (ANAM).
The samples will then be analysed in the hope of discovering compounds to create new, natural insecticides or drugs to treat tropical diseases and cancer.
Some research groups examining samples of microscopic algae from Coiba Island have already found active compounds that could potentially be developed into drugs to treat cancer, said Luque.
Other international partners are contributing the rest of the project's US$3.4 million budget, and will share its benefits. These include the US-based University of California, the University of Utah, the US National Institutes of Health, as well as private sector companies based in Japan and the United States.
As one of a number of partners, Panama will share the rights to any products that arise from the project. But the terms of the contract can be renegotiated "if biologically active compounds are obtained in the first year of the project", said Luque.
Gabriel Nemoga, a professor at the National University of Colombia and the University of Manitoba, Canada, said the contract should benefit the country beyond being a mere supplier of biodiversity.
"It's not known whether Panama has the environmental and legal institutions or the bureaucratic experience to tackle this project", making it harder to negotiate the most beneficial agreement, he told SciDev.Net.  
For full story, please see: www.scidev.net/en/agriculture-and-environment/bioprospecting/news/panama-is-first-to-benefit-from-fund-to-tackle-biopiracy.html

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32.       Philippines: Promoting bamboo
Source: Manila Bulletin, 22 February 2012

Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur. A high-ranking official of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Cagayan Valley region is promoting bamboo as one of the best alternative materials of hardwood in the furniture-making industries in the countryside.
This developed following the implementation of the order made by President Benigno S. Aquino III banning the logging of hardwoods nationwide to further preserve the environment to mitigate the effect of climate change. Lawyer Ma. Esperanza Banares, DTI director in Region 2, said Aquino’s log ban order will probably cause the scarcity of timber – the prime material used by the owners of furniture industries in manufacturing their products.
For full story, please see: www.mb.com.ph/articles/352189/promoting-bamboo

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33.       Philippines: DENR promotes bamboo for natural disaster prevention
Source: Philippine Information Agency, 12 February 2012

In Eastern Visayas, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is promoting bamboo cultivation by local government units in areas that have been tagged by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) as landslide-prone.
Planting bamboos in potentially loose soil can serve to hold the earth in place with its dense and wide-spreading system of roots.  This can limit erosion, particularly the large-scale sheet that can lead to fatalities and damage to properties.
This is the only tree variety that is best suited to plant along river banks in order to mitigate landslides, DENR regional technical director Manolito Ragub informed. Ragub encouraged the local government executives to initiate the planting of this specie in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Disasters pose a threat to areas of virtually every province in the Eastern Visayas region, with more than 2 531 villages considered to be susceptible to landslides. With the high vulnerability of Eastern Visayas to natural disasters, bamboo can help stabilize critical areas against landslides, Ragub said.
The bamboo tree has a wide-spreading root system capable of holding loose soil. In other words, the tree is deep-rooted and best suited against landslides. It was learned that the roots of a bamboo tree are capable of expanding by 25 percent to hold six cubic meters of soil.
Bamboo anchors the soil with its spreading root system thus preventing landslides. Aside from this, bamboo is used as barrier against soil erosion and other environmental services such as protection of water sources though reforestation of watersheds.
Bamboo has many uses. It is a source of livelihood as it is used for construction of inexpensive homes that are also capable of withstanding natural threats, assembling furniture, scaffolding as well as posts in agriculture and aquaculture, weaving mats, making plywood and panels, flooring, among others.  Otherwise, its shoots can be harvested for food.
Because of its versatility, the planting of bamboo and other indigenous deep-rooted species in most of the targeted 12 365 hectares of land across the region, is now in integrated in this year’s implementation of the National Greening Program of the government, RTD Ragub said.
For full story, please see: www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=1141328978737

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34.       Portugal: Forest mushroom season almost over before it starts
Source: FreshPlaza, 22 February 2012

Earlier this year Harold Schuurmans of Westland Mushrooms mentioned that the season for wild forest mushrooms from Portugal started very late, but in the meantime he says, that the season there is as good as over. "This is also the result again of the whims of mother Nature. If it does not rain soon in Portugal then there will be no more mushrooms" said Portugal agent Piet Peters.
"The Pied de Mouton (Hydnum repandum) is of old the mushroom that is strongest and can be found for the longest period, despite the disappointing natural circumstances – but this mushroom is now also just about exhausted" Piet says. "The Girolles (Cantharellus cibarius) were very scarce the previous week and also the Chantarell Jaune and Grise were only scantily available last week. Now it looks like a number of weeks without Girolles. "Small quantities of Girolles from Africa will be available, but these only have a limited durability."
"Chantarell Jaune and the Trompette de Morte will have to come from America as the Portuguese production is just about finished" the mushroom dealer continues.
"Pied de Mouton will be available for a short while, but this product will be finished quickly as well, after which we can possibly obtain Hedge Hogs from the USA. That is the American variant of the Pied de Mouton." 
"We now wait for the production from the Balkans. It could, however, still take a little while as in certain areas a lot of cold weather and snow were experienced. Of course we know that as soon as the snow has disappeared the mushrooms could come up in mass and that may result in sufficient or a lot of production. We have experienced this before. It is almost as if the mushrooms in the ground quietly wait their turn and then produce as much as possible and as soon as nature allows" Harold concludes. "Time will tell. It is a fact that in the coming two to three weeks not too many Girolles will be available."
For full story, please see: www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=93171

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35.       Republic of Congo: Republic of Congo expands national park to protect great apes
Source: ENN, 21 February 2012

The Nouabale-Ndoki National Park is a lush rainforest park within the equatorial nation of the Republic of Congo (ROC). The ROC has followed through on its commitments to expand the park by 8 percent, from about 1 500 square miles to about 1 630 square miles.
The newly included area holds a unique ecosystem known as the Goualougo Triangle. The Goualougo is a very dense, swampy forest that is home to a nearly pristine and untouched great ape population that was first discovered in 1989 by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) scientists.
The decision is being lauded by the WCS:
"We commend the Republic of Congo for finalizing this critical process to extend the borders of Nouabalé-Ndoki to include the Goualougo Triangle, one of the great wonders of Africa," said WCS President and CEO Steve Sanderson. "In a world of human use, this extraordinary forest is a reminder of Eden, an untouched gem teeming with chimpanzees, gorillas, and forest elephants. It is the definition of wild nature and must be protected."
This unique piece of jungle can be essentially considered the heart of Africa. It is the type of area that comes to mind when thinking of wild places within the Sub-Saharan part of the continent. The recent move will help protect it from poachers which are encroaching on this land.
To achieve the expansion of the park, concessions had to be made by the local timber company, Congolais Industrielle des Bois (CIB). The WCS was also part of the discussions to expand the park. An effective buffer zone was created surrounding the park, as the CIB gave up its legal right to harvest timber from the Goualougo Triangle.
The native chimpanzee populations, which are considered "naïve" due to their inexperience dealing with humans, are thus protected. Their curiosity of people would have led to their downfall. The only way to save them was to keep them separated from human contact.
Studies of the area's chimpanzee and great ape populations were conducted by WCS conservationists Dave Morgan of the Lincoln Park Zoo and Crickette Sanz of Washington University. They have discovered incredible things about how the apes live, the tools they use, their behavior, and how they interact. Their work is a part of the Goualougo Triangle Great Ape Project.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/44029

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36.       Rwanda: Price of gorilla permit increases to $750/day
Source: Rhett Butler, Mongabay.Com, 7 February in ENN Daily Newsletter

Rwanda has raised the price of a permit to see mountain gorillas to $750/day starting 1 June 2012, up from $500/day.
While the price is steep, the program each year raises millions of dollars in revenue for gorilla conservation, including $8 million in Rwanda alone in 2008, according to a 2011 study published in PLoS ONE. The number of permits available each day is limited to reduce the impact of gorilla tourism on the endangered apes. Around 20 000 visited Rwanda's gorillas in 2008.
The program seems to be working: mountain gorilla populations have steadily increased in recent years, with the combined number in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo reaching 790 in 2010.
The opposite trend has been observed with the more numerous lowland gorillas, which are in decline in the Congo basin due to poaching, habitat loss due to deforestation and logging, and disease outbreaks.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/43965

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37.       USA: Smuggled wildlife products seized at US airports harbor zoonotic viruses
Source: Journal of American Medical Association

Researchers have uncovered evidence of retroviruses and herpes viruses in illegally imported wildlife products seized at several US international airports, sounding an alarm that these products could act as a conduit for disease emergence and pathogen spread (Smith KM et al. PLoS One. 2012;7[1]:e29505).
Although health experts have always been aware of risks posed by contact with certain species of wildlife, including nonhuman primates and rodents, “it hasn't been possible to quantify the risk posed by smuggled products of these species entering the United States,” said Kristine Smith, DVM, the study's lead author. “This pilot study has developed the methodology to begin to achieve this goal,” said Smith, an associate director for health and policy at EcoHealth Alliance, an international nonprofit conservation organization based in New York City.
Wildlife trade risks
Importation of wild animals (mostly as exotic pets) in the United States has introduced such diseases as amphibian chytridiomycosis, exotic Newcastle disease, and monkeypox, which have put wildlife, livestock, and public health, respectively, at risk. In addition, hunting and butchering of bushmeat from wild nonhuman primates in Africa have resulted in cross-species transmission of several retroviruses to humans, including simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), simian T-lymphotropic virus (STLV), and simian foamy virus (SFV).
“Approximately $200 billion has been spent over the past 20 years or so in response to the emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases in people,” said Marguerite Pappaioanou, DVM, PhD, who is the past executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. “Pappaioanou was co-chair of a committee that wrote a 2009 Institute of Medicine/National Research Council report on surveillance and response to emerging zoonotic diseases (www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12625).
Regulations established by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prohibit the importation of various species and of bushmeat products derived from certain animals. In collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, EcoHealth Alliance, the US Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the CDC has initiated a pilot project to establish surveillance and testing methods for zoonotic agents in wildlife products confiscated at US airports.
Bushmeat and beyond
During this pilot project, eight postal shipments confiscated from John F. Kennedy International Airport from October 2008 to September 2010, and 20 passenger-carried packages confiscated from airports in Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Houston; and Atlanta from June 2010 to September 2010 were of sufficient quality to be examined for study. An additional collection of 20 nonhuman primate tissues seized by the US Fish and Wildlife Service at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2006 was also included.
Among the confiscated products, Smith and her colleagues identified raw to semi-cooked animal parts that originated from wild nonhuman primate and rodent species, including baboon, chimpanzee, mangabey, guenon, green monkey, cane rat, and rat. Pathogen screening identified retroviruses (4 SFV strains), herpes viruses (cytomegalovirus and lymphocryptovirus), or both in 12 nonhuman primate tissue samples.
Broader surveillance is needed to expand the study's findings, which only begin to paint a picture of the potential risks of imported wildlife products and do not address live wildlife.
For full story, please see: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/307/8/769.full

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38.       USA: Obama's Forest Service weakens national forest wildlife protections
Source: Center for Biological Diversity in ENN Daily Newsletter, 30 January 2012

Washington. The U.S. Forest Service today released a new proposal for the nation's 193-million-acre national forest system that will weaken rules protecting fish and wildlife from logging, livestock grazing, mining and off-road vehicles. The new proposal, which was released as part of the final environmental impact statement for the rule, is the Forest Service's fourth attempt since 2000 to revise nationwide regulations governing national forests. All three previous attempts were challenged in court by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, and all three prior attempts were found unlawful. Like the 2000, 2005 and 2008 rules, the Obama administration's planning rule would decrease longstanding protections for wildlife on national forests.
"Today's rule is a step up from the Bush administration’s rule, but its protections are still a far cry from Reagan-era regulations that the Forest Service has been trying to weaken for 12 years," said Taylor McKinnon, public lands campaigns director at the Center. "Our publicly owned national forests should be a safe haven for wildlife. In the face of unprecedented global climate change and other threats to species, the Forest Service should be trying to strengthen, not weaken, protections for wildlife on our public lands."
Congress enacted the National Forest Management Act in 1976 to guide management of the national forest system, which consists of 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands. In 1982, the Forest Service adopted national regulations to provide specific direction for activities such as logging, mining, livestock grazing and recreation. That rule included strong, mandatory protections for fish and wildlife, requiring the Forest Service to monitor and maintain viable populations.
The Clinton administration in 2000, and the Bush administration in 2005 and 2008, issued new rules to revise the 1982 regulation. Each of these efforts was found unlawful and not implemented. The Obama administration is again trying to weaken the long-standing 1982 regulations by requiring that the Forest Service only maintain viable populations for species "of conservation concern," and only at the discretion of local forest supervisors.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/43924

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39.       USA: As bear population grows, more states look at hunts
Source: NPR Topics in ENN Daily Newsletter, 20 February 2012

Wildlife officials don't usually base hunting policies on how the public feels about an animal. But the black bear seems to be different. The revered king of the forest has bounced back from near-extinction to being a nuisance in some areas. Some states are trying to figure out if residents can live at peace with bears, or if they'd rather have hunters keep numbers in check.
In places like the Smoky Mountains, black bears have always been part of the landscape. These days, visitors like Elizabeth Bryant of Ohio shoot video of encounters with bears. As you can hear someone say in her footage, "It's so awesome."
But national parks are no longer the only places humans are running into black bears. Numbers from the Eastern seaboard to California have shot up in recent decades.
Tennessee, for instance, now has an estimated population between 4-5 000, up from a few hundred in the 1970's. The relatively shy creatures have sauntered into areas where they're less welcome. "We are receiving complaints from the public that say they don't want the bears there, that we need to do something to get rid of them," says Daryl Ratajczak, the chief of wildlife for Tennessee's agency that oversees hunting. "And we understand their feelings."
Ratajczak says that being highly adaptable, bears will continue to spread if left unchecked.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/44023

 

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NEWS

40.       CEPF to Invest $9.8 Million to Conserve Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot
Source: CEPF E-News Update January 2012

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF)’s Donor Council has approved the ecosystem profile for the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot – a document that provides a comprehensive analysis and strategy for conservation of the 17-country region in Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Approval of the profile commits CEPF to invest $9.8 million in the region over five years.
“While most of the countries in this hotspot face tremendous challenges in terms of human needs and development pressure, there are also great opportunities for preserving vital ecosystems that are critical to human well-being,” said Patricia Zurita, executive director of CEPF. “We are eager to deliver support to communities and civil society organizations in the hotspot to help them protect their amazing natural wealth for generations to come.”
The Eastern Afromontane stretches over widely scattered but biogeographically similar mountains, covering an area of more than 1 million square kilometers from Saudi Arabia to Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The rich biological diversity in the hotspot is mirrored by the massive ecosystem services that it provides – particularly as watersheds for vast areas in the region, extending far beyond its formal boundaries. Its ecosystems also provide crucial support to agriculture and ultimately food security.
This project marked the first time CEPF has worked in the Arabian Peninsula. “Our deepest thanks go to the Saudi Wildlife Authority, Yemen’s Ministry of the Environment, and biologists from the peninsula for helping us get a comprehensive view of the species and ecosystems of this portion of the hotspot,” said Zurita.
CEPF also particularly appreciates the hard work put in by the profiling team, led by BirdLife International, and supported by CEPF and Conservation International scientists. They gathered information and feedback from more than 200 experts in five national workshops, two regional workshops, and countless exchanges of letters. The profiling team weighed the extensive data and analyzed the status of species, ecosystems, current environmental investments, socioeconomics and policies to build an overall conservation strategy for the hotspot. They also developed a specific strategy for CEPF’s investment, including four strategic “directions,” or goals, CEPF will pursue in up to 36 priority sites over the next five years. Those goals are:

  1. Mainstream biodiversity into wider development policies, plans and projects to deliver the co-benefits of biodiversity conservation, improved local livelihoods and economic development in priority corridors.
  2. Improve the protection and management of the key biodiversity area (KBA) network throughout the hotspot.
  3. Initiate and support sustainable financing and related actions for the conservation of priority KBAs and corridors.
  4. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of CEPF investment through a regional implementation team.

            CEPF’s investment will focus on four priority corridors containing 22 of the 36 KBAs. The first one is the Itombwe-Nyungwe Landscape shared by DRC, Burundi and Rwanda, on the watershed divide between the Nile and Congo rivers – the two most important river systems of the continent. The Northern Lake Niassa (or Lake Malawi) Mountain Complex, shared by Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique includes in particular the botanically rich grasslands of Kitulo and Nyika plateaus. In Ethiopia, CEPF has prioritized two corridors of incredible biological value, but yet underinvested in terms of conservation: the Western part of the Kaffa and Yayu Coffee Biosphere Reserve – whose forest preserve water flows for the Omo rivers and Gambella plains - and the Lake Tana Catchment, main source of the Blue Nile, to which have been associated a small number of sites on the Amharic Escarpment. Within these areas are some of the most important freshwater sites in the hotspot, including Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika.
Two other corridors have also been identified as high priority, and will be eligible for support under some investment priorities: the Arabian Peninsula Highlands, with six top-priority KBAs in Yemen, and the Chimanimani-Nyanga Mountains, the latter including five smaller Zimbabwean KBAs in the vicinity and three KBAs known as the Montane Islands of Mozambique.
The profile also provides a roadmap for others interested in joining strategic conservation efforts in the region, and CEPF will work with conservation and development entities in the hotspot to engage other donors in protecting the Eastern Afromontane’s natural areas, which are critical to the well-being of its people and all of humankind.

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41.       Climate change could mean big changes for Europe’s forests
Source: Teatro Naturale, 19 February 2012

Rather than wait until Europe’s forests begin to die off, the European Union is taking steps to prevent such a catastrophe. The EU is supporting leading-edge research to help forest managers decide what kind of trees they should plant now, and what kind of pests and diseases should be monitored today so they won’t become a problem in a climate-changed future.
“Forests are incredibly complicated ecosystems that climate change can disrupt in equally complicated ways,” said Hervé Jactel of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, leader of the EU-funded research project BACCARA.
Launched in 2009 with €3 million in support from the EU, BACCARA is a four-year project that is working to assess how climate change will affect the biodiversity and productivity of Europe’s forests. BACCARA is one of many joint efforts being undertaken during the “Year of the Forests,” which the United Nations declared for 2011 in order to help conserve the biodiversity of forests and sustainably manage the world’s forestlands.
To remove some of the guesswork from managing Europe’s forests, BACCARA’s researchers are trying to predict how certain kinds of trees will fare in terms of growth and pest-resistance in the decades and centuries to come.
Among their findings, researchers have learned that the very complexity of forests might be the best insurance for coping with climate change.
“Planting several different species of trees, for example, can protect forests from insect attacks better than planting just one type of tree,” Jactel said. “So if climate change can cause harmful insects to thrive, this would be a good strategy to combat pests.”
The problem for everyone involved with managing Europe’s forests is that many types of trees can live for centuries, so a tree planted today could have to deal with climate changes for a very long time. So the challenge, Jactel said, is to design multi-species “mixed” forests that are more resilient against climate hazards.
The economic stakes are high for Europe, whose forest industry is worth €25 billion a year and provides 4 million jobs. Totalling some 1 billion hectares, Europe has more forestland than any other region in the world – from cork-oak and cypress forests along the Mediterranean, to the Scots pine taiga of Scandinavia and mixed forests of the Caucasus.
For full story, please see: www.teatronaturale.com/article/3353.html

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42.       Dinosaur forests mapped
Source: Planet Earth Online in ENN Daily Newsletter, 28 February 2012

The first detailed maps of the Earth's forests at the time of the dinosaurs have been drawn up. The patterns of vegetation, together with information about the rate of tree growth, support the idea that the Earth was stifling hot 100 million years ago.
High temperatures and possibly more atmospheric carbon dioxide caused forests to extend much closer to the poles and grow almost twice as fast as they do today.
The findings have implications for understanding the long-term effects of global warming.
Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, plotted the maps after creating a database of more than two thousand fossilized forest sites from the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs were at their peak.
'Our research shows that weird monkey puzzle forests covered most of the planet, especially in the steamy tropics. At mid-latitudes there were dry cypress woodlands, and near the North Pole it was mostly pines,' said Emiliano Peralta-Medina, who led the study.
At that time the humid tropics extended over a wider area than now, and temperate climates – like the UK's – reached much closer to the poles, which had more tree cover than ice.
It seems though, that just before the dinosaurs went extinct the forests changed as angiosperms – flowering plants – made an appearance. 'Flowering trees similar to present-day magnolias took off, bringing colour and scent to the world for the first time,' says Peralta-Medina.
The angiosperms gradually took over habitats previously dominated by the conifers, until by the end of the Cretaceous they are the most common tree species.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/44057

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43.       Forest height affects climate change
Source: UPI in Disaster News Network, 21 February

NASA says its scientists have helped create an accurate map of the height of Earth's forests to help better understand the role forests play in climate change. The high-resolution map will also help researchers study how a forest's height influences wildlife habitats within it, while also helping them quantify the carbon stored in Earth's vegetation, a NASA release said.
The map was created by scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., the University of Maryland and the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, using 2.5 million carefully screened, globally distributed laser pulse measurements from space.
"Knowing the height of Earth's forests is critical to estimating their biomass, or the amount of carbon they contain," lead researcher Marc Simard of JPL said. "Our map can be used to improve global efforts to monitor carbon.
"In addition, forest height is an integral characteristic of Earth's habitats, yet is poorly measured globally, so our results will also benefit studies of the varieties of life that are found in particular parts of the forest or habitats."
The map shows that, in general, forest heights decrease at higher elevations and are highest at low latitudes, decreasing in height the farther they are from the tropics.
The light detection and ranging data (lidar) generating the map was collected in 2005 by the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System instrument on NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite.
"This study demonstrates the tremendous potential that spaceborne lidar holds for revealing new information about Earth's forests," Simard said. "However, to monitor the long-term health of Earth's forests and other ecosystems, new Earth observing satellites will be needed."
For full story, please see: www.disasternews.net/news/article.php?articleid=4469

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44.       Slash-and-burn 'improves tropical forest biodiversity'
Source: Aleida Rueda, Science and Development Network, 8 February 2012 in ENN Daily Newsletter

Mexico City. Slash-and-burn agricultural practices, banned by governments because of the risk of uncontrolled fires, provide better growing conditions for valuable new trees than more modern methods of forest clearance, a study suggests.
Starting in 1996, researchers cleared 24 half-hectare areas of tropical forest in Quintana Roo state, in southern Mexico, using three methods: clear-felling, where most of the trees are cut down; bulldozing; and slash-and-burn, a practice common among smallholders, in which trees are felled, left to dry and then burned, to prepare the land for agriculture.
Mahogany seeds and seedlings were then planted and, after 11 years, the researchers compared the sites and found that slash-and-burn techniques had provided the best growing conditions for mahogany.
But, more interestingly, many valuable species had thrived in the slash-and-burn plots, said Laura Snook, one of the study authors and programme director at Bioversity International, which conducts research into agricultural biodiversity for the improvement of livelihoods.
In clear-felled areas, more than half of each area contained tree species of no commercial value, Snook said. In areas cleared by slash-and-burn, 60 per cent of species were commercially valuable. Additionally, the largest trees in slash-and-burn areas were 10 percent bigger than those in bulldozed areas.
Snook was presenting the results of the study – which ended last year – at the annual conference of the International Society of Tropical Foresters, at Yale University, United States, last month (26 January).
For full story please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/43972

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EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES

45.       Distance learning scholarships for MSc forestry degree in Bangor, UK
From: Jenny Wong, Director, Wild Resources Ltd, jenny.wong@wildresources.co.uk

I am involved with preparing teaching materials for the Bangor University (UK) distance learning MSc course in forestry. The University have just secured 15 scholarships for this course for Sept 2012 entry. These scholarships include a generous travel bursary to enable scholars to attend an international study tour.
Applicants from the following developing commonwealth countries are eligible for the scholarship: Bangladesh, Botswana, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Further details and information about the application process can be found at: www.bangor.ac.uk/senrgy//courses/pg/index.php.en?view=course&prospectustype=postgraduate&courseid=501&subjectarea=19
Or contact
Dr James Walmsley
School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography
Bangor University
Deiniol Road
Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW
UK
Email j.walmsley@bangor.ac.uk
Tel +44 (0)1248 382448
Fax +44 (0)1248 354997
www.bangor.ac.uk/senrgy//staff/walmsley.php.en
www.bangor.ac.uk/senrgy//courses/distancelearning/

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EVENTS

Shea 2012
23-27 April 2012
Cotonou, Benin
The Global Shea Alliance is pleased to announce its 5th annual shea stakeholders’ conference, Join the shea industry’s key stakeholders – from every link in the shea value chain – to focus on our triple bottom line: People, Planet, Profit.
Shea 2012 will bring together the shea industry for business-to-business networking, building alliance leadership and setting the shea industry agenda.
For more information, and enquiries please email us at info@globalshea.com
www.globalshea.com/news/global-shea-alliance-assists-benin-national-association-organize-conference

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3rd APIeXPO Africa
26-29 September 2012
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The aim of the Expo is to showcase Africa’s honey industry by creating awareness on market and business opportunities and demonstrating the relationship between beekeeping and other industries.
For more information, please contact:
ApiTrade Africa
Plot 2117, Ntinda Town
2nd Floor, Velocity Mansions (next to Apex House)
P.O. Box 23441
Kampala, Uganda
Email: info@apitradeafrica.org
www.apitradeafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=89&Itemid=84

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Apimondia- International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations
4-6 October 2012
San Marino
For more information, please contact:
E-mail: apimondia@sanmarinoconvention.sm

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REQUESTS

49.       Request for information: NWFP articles in Russian
From: Gyöngyi Ország, FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, gyongyi.orszag@fao.org

I am looking for articles on NWFP that are in – or have been translated into – Russian. They would be really beneficial for our activities.
If you can help, please email me on gyongyi.orszag@fao.org
Thank you!

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LITERATURE REVIEW, BLOGS AND WEB SITES

50.       Beeconomy – what women and bees can teach us about local trade and the global market
Source: Bees for Development Journal, December 2011, www.beesfordevelopment.org

From its title onwards, this fresh and original new book is an imaginative telling about women and bees. Tammy Horn has read and travelled widely – across five continents – to create this social account of beekeeping. It is not a listing of women who have contributed to apiculture; rather it is a fresh take of beekeeping history and the status of the sector today.
The journey begins with Horn working with beekeepers in Africa, and moves to Asia, Europe, Austrasia, North and South America. From her interviews along the way and her extensive historical research of this field, Horn provides a book full of apicultural charm and interest – describing how women today and in the past have built livelihoods around bees. Nice, for example to have heroic  St Gobnait’s life related – a famous woman beekeeper from the 6th Century, and concerning the heroine of our own era, Horn relates her meeting with Eva Crane. Horn is a gifted author who has, along with interesting illustrations and apicultural explanations, provided an alternative perspective of our bee world.
Horn, Tammy. 2011. Beeconomy – what women and bees can teach us about local trade and the global market. University Press of Kentucky.

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51.       On the Menu: Forests
Source: By Christine Padoch, Director, Forests and Livelihoods Programme, CIFOR in CIFOR POLEX, 10 February 2012

For almost as long as our species has lived on earth, we have fed ourselves directly from the bounty of forests, grasslands and other wild places. Now a largely urban species, having multiplied greatly and changed the face of the earth, we often forget or grossly misunderstand the continuing role of forests in feeding what are now the world’s billions.
A special issue of the International Forestry Reviewon “Forests, Biodiversity, and Food Security” is taking a step toward rectifying that knowledge gap. Bringing together nine articles by a multidisciplinary and international group of authors -- many of them pioneers in the field – editors Terry Sunderland and Alan Pottinger aim to dispel the common myth that forests have ceased to be important to food security, especially as our numbers and needs grow and change. They have put together articles that focus on a variety of approaches and perspectives, as well as a wealth of data and analysis on the question of what forests contribute to food security, nutrition, and human wellbeing. Together these contributions demonstrate convincingly that two of today’s greatest challenges are not irreconcilable goals: the need to protect forests and the multiple ecosystem services they provide, and the imperative to feed an increasing human population. But these articles, individually and as a group, also show that the links between forests and food security are multidimensional, complex, and often difficult to see, to document and to measure. The key to understanding both the significance of the linkages and the difficulty of measuring them is appreciating diversity in its various forms and dimensions.
The “Editorial” that opens the issue begins with the affirmation that “Forests are a considerable source of biodiversity and, as such, are inextricably linked to people’s food security, nutrition and health in a number of fundamental ways.” Several of the articles that follow detail just how forest biodiversity -- at genetic, species, and system levels – contributes to feeding both the world’s rural and urban populations. With around one billion people reliant on wild harvested products for food and income, the direct contribution of forests to diets is considerable and often crucial, if often hidden from urban and official eyes. For instance a study by Nasi, Taber and Van Vliet provides data showing that approximately 4.5 million tons of bushmeat is extracted annually from the Congo Basin forests alone! This direct food contribution adds not only considerable calories but also much needed protein and micronutrients to the diets of local populations. 
The importance of forests’ direct contribution to food production may actually be eclipsed by the inputs they make to food production outside forests. As Sunderland suggests in the article entitled “Food security: why is biodiversity important?” much more needs to be understood about the “natural capital” that forests provide to agriculture, including documenting regulation of water flow and quality, provision of pollination services and germplasm for crop improvement, maintenance of nutrient cycling and soil fertility, mitigation of climatic extremes, control of agricultural pests and diseases and other essential functions. These services “all rely to a greater or lesser extent on biodiversity, or components of it; processes that are critical to the maintenance of agricultural systems” including the most modern agribusinesses.
But fully understanding the links between forests and food security requires appreciation not only of biological diversity, but also of the social and cultural diversity of those who use, manage, manipulate and even create forests and agroforests. Several of the articles detail the complex, divergent and changing linkages between forests, nutrition and health among people of different cultural traditions, between groups who have long lived in a particular place and those newly arrived, and between men and women, with the gender issues surrounding food security comprehensively discussed by Wan and Colfer.
Appreciation of biological and cultural diversity is central to understanding forests and food, and the wealth of resources, services, knowledge, and practice that diversity produces. This is the core message of most of the stories told in this Special Issue. But that richness is also one reason why forests’ crucial role in food security goes unappreciated. Waving fields of grain ripening in the sun and harvested in one brief season are far easier to see, measure, and understand than the “more than 400 plant species ... sourced from a wide range of habitats and subject to varying degrees of management” identified by Laird, Awung, Lysinge and Ndive as the forest-derived resources that support communities around Mount Cameroon in Central Africa. This Special Issue illustrates one way to begin to understand the confounding diversity but crucial importance of forests’ contributions to the food security of rural and urban populations alike. This compendium suggests the answer lies again in diversity: a diversity of approaches, perspectives, methods, and tools. 

Arnold, M; Powell, B.; Shanley, P.; Sunderland, T.C.H. 2011 Editorial: Forests, biodiversity and food security. International Forestry Review13(3): 259-264 www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3576.html
Sunderland, T.C.H. 2011 Food security: why is biodiversity important? International Forestry Review13(3): 265-274
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3577.html
Laird, S.A.; Awung, G.L.; Lysinge, R.J.; Ndive, L.E. 2011. The interweave of people and place: biocultural diversity in migrant and indigenous livelihoods around Mount Cameroon. International Forestry Review13(3): 275-293
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3624.html
Dounias. E.; Froment, A. 2011. From foraging to farming among present-day forest hunter-gatherers: consequences on diet and health. International Forestry Review13(3): 294-304
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3625.html
Powell, B.; Hall, J.; Johns, T. 2011. Forest cover, use and dietary intake in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. International Forestry Review13(3): 305-317
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3677.html
Ibarra. J.T.; Barreau, A.; Del Campo, C.; Camacho, C.I.; Martin, G.J.; Mccandless, S.R. 2011. When formal and market-based conservation mechanisms disrupt food sovereignty: Impacts of community conservation and payments for environmental services on an indigenous community of Oaxaca, Mexico. International Forestry Review13(3): 318-337
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3626.html
Jamnadass, R.H.; Dawson, I.K.; Franzel, S.; Leakey, R.R.B.; Mithöfer, D.; Akinnifesi, F.K.; Tchoundjeu, Z. 2011. Improving livelihoods and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa through the promotion of indigenous and exotic fruit production in smallholders' agroforestry systems: a review. International Forestry Review13(3): 338-354
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3611.html
Nasi, R.; Van Vliet, N. 2011. Empty forests, empty stomachs? Bushmeat and livelihoods in the Congo and Amazon Basins. International Forestry Review13(3): 355-368
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3580.html
Wan, M.; Colfer, C. J. P.; Powell, B. 2011. Forests, women and health: opportunities and challenges for conservation. International Forestry Review13(3): 369-387
www.cifor.org/nc/online-library/browse/view-publication/publication/3581.html

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52.       Other publications of Interest
From: NWFP Programme

Aguilar, L., Quesada-Aguilar, A. and Shaw, D.M.P. (eds). 2011. Forests and Gender. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and New York, NY: WEDO.122.pp
This book explores some of the main themes concerning forests and gender with case studies from around the world demonstrating the wealth of learning and experience that is the result of increased awareness and integration of gender issues within forestry work. The final section of the book takes a step back and examines issues and progress at the international and global levels, bringing us up to date and forecasting future challenges and developments.
Download: http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/2011-070.pdf?utm_campaign=1109953293&utm_content=1027127207062&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Emailvision

Badola, H.K. and B.K. Pradhan, B.K. 2011. Economic viability of cultivation of Swertia chirayita, a high value endangered medicinal herb in Himalaya. Zeitschrift für Arznei- & Gewürzpflanzen (J. Medicinal & Spice Plants, Germany) 16(3):118-124. [+ cover photograph]

Badola, H.K. and Aitken, S.  2010.  Potential biological resources for poverty alleviation in Indian Himalaya. Biodiversity 11(3-4): 8-18.

Badola, H.K. and Pradhan, B.K. 2010. Discovery of new populations of a rare species Rhododendron niveum in Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim. The Rhododendron (Off. Jour Australian Rhodo. Soc) 50:41-49.

Badola, H.K, and Pradhan, BK. 2010. Population exploration of Rhododendron maddenii in Sikkim, bordering Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve – questioning rarity and endangerment. NeBIO 1(1): 1-9.

Behxhet Mustafa, Avni Hajdari, Feriz Krasniqi, Esat Hoxha, Hatixhe Ademi, Cassandra L Quave and Andrea Pieroni. 2012. Medical ethnobotany of the Albanian Alps in Kosovo. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine, 8:6
Ethnobotanical studies are crucial in South-Eastern Europe for fostering local development and also for investigating the dynamics of Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) related to plants in one of the most crucial European hotspots for biocultural diversity. The current medico-ethnobotanical survey was conducted in rural alpine communities in Kosovo.
The aims of the study were twofold: 1) to document the state of TEK of medicinal plants in these communities; and 2) to compare these findings with that of similar field studies previously conducted among local populations inhabiting the Montenegrin and Albanian side of the same Alpine range.
The uses of 98 plants species belonging to 42 families were recorded; the most quoted botanical families were Rosaceae, Asteraceae, and Lamiaceae. Mainly decoctions and infusions were quoted as folk medicinal preparations and the most common uses referred to gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders, as well as illnesses of the uro-genital system.
Among the most uncommon medicinal taxa quoted by the informants, Carduus nutans L., Echinops bannaticus Rochel ex Schrad., and Orlaya grandiflora Hoffm. may merit phytochemical and phytopharmacological investigations. Comparison of the data with other ethnobotanical field studies recently conducted on the Albanian and Montenegrin sides of the same Alps has shown a remarkable link between the medical ethnobotany of Montenegrin and Kosovar side of the Albanian Alps.
Moreover, folk uses of the most quoted wild medicinal taxa recorded in Kosovo often include those recorded both in Albania and in Montenegro, thus suggesting a hybrid character of the Kosovar local plant knowledge. This may be also explained with the fact that Montenegro and Kosovo, despite their differences in the ethnic composition, have shared a common history during the last Century.
http://7thspace.com/headlines/404602/medical_ethnobotany_of_the_albanian_alps_in_kosovo.html

Du, X.C., Ren, Y., Dang, G.D., and Lundholm, J. 2011. Distribution and plant community associations of the understory bamboo Fargesia qinlingensis in the Foping National Nature Reserve, China. Ann. Forest Sci. 68(7):1197-1206.

Grayson, Michelle. 2011. Traditional Asian Medicine. Nature Vol. 480 No. 7378_supp ppS81-S121 (22 December 2011)
Using scientific techniques to investigate the claims of traditional medicine as practised in countries such as China and Japan can help sort effective treatments from unfounded superstitions – and perhaps give modern medicine a few insights into holistic approaches borne from thousands of years of herbal remedies.
 http://links.ealert.nature.com/ctt?kn=151&ms=Mzc5MTEzOTcS1&r=MjA1NjE1MzQzMAS2&b=2&j=MTIzODQ2NzY4S0&mt=1&rt=0

Harris, Ivelyn. 2010. Healing Herbs of Jamaica. AhHa Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9831722-0-8
www.healingherbsofjamaica.com/

Hepburn, H.R. and Radloff, S.E. (eds) 2011. Honeybees of Asia. Springer-Verlag.
A multi-authored work on the basic biology of Asian honeybees, written by expert specialists in the field, this book highlights phylogeny,

Horn, Tammy. 2011. Beeconomy – what women and bees can teach us about local trade and the global market. University Press of Kentucky.

Idrisi, M.S., Badola, H.K. and Singh, R.  2010. Indigenous knowledge and use of medicinal plants by local communities in Rangit Valley, South Sikkim, India. NeBIO 1(2): 34-45.

Kwaschik, Ralf (ed). 2011. Cross-border value chains for non-timber forest products in four different Asian countries. INBAR
NTFPs are important in many ways for food security, livelihoods, and health of small farmers and forest dwellers in the developing world. Often they are traded internationally and in some cases the majority of a given product crosses international borders. In those cases, external markets on the other side of the border determine the vibrancy of the sector. And often little is known about participants and their roles in international supply chains. Given the importance of NTFPs for these vulnerable groups (small farmers and forest dwellers), and the knowledge gap especially regarding the international NTFP trade, the Global NTFP Partnership decided to do an analysis of available information to identify issues and options for interventions. Knowledge generation and sharing is at the core of the Partnership’s activities. The NTFP Partnership and INBAR intend that this publication, though focusing on a limited number of NTFPs in four countries, will be useful for a wider audience interested in understanding the issues and designing interventions around NTFPs and the communities depending on them.

Klorvuttimontara, S., McClean, C.J., and Hill, J.K. 2011. Evaluating the effectiveness of Protected Areas for conserving tropical forest butterflies of Thailand. Biol. Conserv. 144(10):2534-2540.

Kostyack, J., Lawler, J.J., Goble, D.D., Olden, J.D., and Scott, J.M. 2011. Beyond reserves and corridors: policy solutions to facilitate the movement of plants and animals in a changing climate. BioScience 61(9):713-719.

López-Pujol, J., Zhang, F.M., Sun, H.Q., Ying, T.S., and Ge, S. 2011. Mountains of southern China as "plant museums" and "plant cradles": evolutionary and conservation insights. Mtn. Res. Dev. 31(3):261-269.

Munyaradzi J Mutenje, Gerald F Ortmann* & Stuart RD Ferrer.. 2011. Extraction of non-timber forest products as a coping strategy for HIV/AIDS-afflicted rural households in south-eastern Zimbabwe. African Journal of AIDS Research, Volume 10, Issue 3, 2011

Piepenbring, M., Caballero, E., Fournier, J., Guzmán, G., Hou, C.L., Kirschner, R., Serrano, E., Trampe, T., and Cáceres, O. 2011. Pioneer forays for fungi in the Darién Province in Eastern Panama: quintuplicating the knowledge on fungi in this area by five days of fieldwork. Biodivers. Conserv. 20(11):2511-2526.

Pradhan, B.K. and Badola, H.K. 2011.  Assessment of seedling emergence and vigour for quality planting material in thirteen populations of Swertia chirayita – a high value endangered medicinal herb, using substrate combinations. Zeitschrift für Arznei- & Gewürzpflanzen (J. Medicinal & Spice Plants, Germany) 16(1): 34-41.

Pradhan, B.K. and Badola, H.K. 2010.  Chemical treatments to improve seedling emergence and vigour using seeds from six ex-situ source in Swertia chirayita, a critically endangered medicinal herb in Himalaya. Jour. Plant Biology 37 (1): 109–118.

Pradhan, B.K. and Badola, H.K. 2010. Chemical stimulation of seed germination in ex-Situ produced seeds in Swertia chirayita, a critically endangered medicinal herb. Res. Jour. Seed Science 3 (3): 139-149.

Sang, W.G., Ma, K.P. and Axmacher, J.C. 2011. Securing a future for China's wild plant resource. BioScience 61(9):720-725.

Siebert, S.F. 2012. The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. pp. 145.
The Nature and Culture of Rattan examines the ecology, use, management and cultural importance of one of the world’s most important forest products. It does this through the knowledge, practices and lives of rattan cane collectors and artisans in three Southeast Asian forest villages where the author lived and worked over a 25 year period.  Author Siebert brings to life crucial issues in tropical forest conservation and management, including government policies, household livelihood strategies, conflicts between local resource use and western protected area management approaches, and the value of integrating scientific inquiry with traditional ecological knowledge and practice. A comprehensive website with many photographs, suggested readings and discussion topics accompanies the book, see: www.cfc.umt.edu/rattan/

Subba, S. and Badola, H.K. 2011. Ethnobotanical knowledge, populations, and ex-situ conservation trials in Juglans regia Linnaeus (Juglandaceae) in Sikkim. Pleione 5(2): 304-313.

Yadav Uprety, Hugo Asselin, Archana Dhakal and Nancy Julien.2012. Traditional use of medicinal plants in the boreal forest of Canada: Review and perspectives in Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2012, 8:7(30 January 2012), doi:10.1186/1746-4269-8-7
According to the authors, this review is the most comprehensive to date to reveal the rich traditional medicinal knowledge of Aboriginal peoples of the Canadian boreal forest. Future ethnobotanical research endeavours should focus on documenting the knowledge held by Aboriginal groups that have so far received less attention, particularly those of the western boreal forest. In addition, several critical issues need to be addressed regarding the legal, ethical and cultural aspects of the conservation of medicinal plant species and the protection of the associated traditional knowledge.
Download: www.ethnobiomed.com/content/pdf/1746-4269-8-7.pdf

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BLOGS

53.       Blogs: Bushmeat – every man’s protein until the forest is empty
Source: Steve Boyes, Explorer’s Journal, National Geographic, 9 February 2012

Some call it the “African silence” when a forest is struck silent by poaching and the bushmeat trade. Others call this phenomenon “dead zones” that have no birds, no monkeys, no small mammals, no snakes… These places have been stripped bare by local communities that are struggling to feed their families and access medical care. The Mbuti pygmy encampments photographed in the early 1980s depict a wire- and nylon-free lifestyle that saw them capture forest animals on a daily basis for local consumption. Today most of the bushmeat is exported to distant markets by bicycle, 4×4 vehicles, and on foot. No one has the right to judge these people when they focus on bushmeat as their only source of protein. We must, however, restrict use of forest products, as far as possible, to people with heritage rights to the land, as they are the custodians of these forests.
Terese and John Hart are committed to witnessing, studying, conserving and combatting the atrocities of the bushmeat trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Over the next few weeks I will post a series of summary posts linking back to their blogs on their website: www.bonoboincongo.com/
For full story, please see: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/09/bushmeat-every-mans-protein-until-the-forest-is-empty/

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54.       Blogs: Dispatches from the field – the frontlines of gorilla conservation
From: Dr. Carlos Drews, Director of WWF’s Global Species Programme

I’m writing you today right after coming back from deep in the forests of the Green Heart of Africa, the Congo Basin.
Central Africa is the frontline of WWF’s fight against poachers who are killing some of the world’s most threatened species - such as great apes and forest elephants -to supply the illegal trade in bushmeat and ivory. I’ve come to the Dzanga Sangha Protected Areas in Central African Republic to witness the situation first hand. Dzanga Sangha is one of the only places in the world where you can see the amazing, yet, endangered lowland gorillas in the wild. There are only a few places in Africa where tourists can be within meters of wild gorillas as they go through their daily lives in their natural habitat.
This fantastic region is also a safe haven for forest elephants, whose populations are being decimated elsewhere. Remarkably, no elephants were lost to poaching in Dzanga Sangha in 2011.
While there I wrote up a series of blog posts about my experiences. I talked to some of our most dedicated scientists, observed local gorilla trackers, and had amazing wildlife encounters.
Join me as I share the sights and sounds of Dzanga Sangha, from following an injured gorilla to laughing with playful elephant calves.
I’m excited to share this extraordinary place with you as a window into WWF’s important work conserving the world’s most precious species.
Read Carlos' stories from the field: http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/great_apes/gorillas/save_solutions_gorillas/dzanga_sangha/carlos_drews/?utm_source=WWF+International&utm_campaign=8e3e7d6068-Carlos_dispatches2_6_2012&utm_medium=email

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MISCELLANEOUS

55.       Digital tools ‘to save languages’
Source: BBC, 18 February 2012 in Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 22 February 2012

Vancouver, Canada: Of the 7 000 or so languages spoken on Earth today, about half are expected to be extinct by the century’s end. Globalization is usually blamed, but some elements of the “modern world”, especially digital technology, are pushing back against the tide. North American tribes use social media to re-engage their young, for example. Tuvan, an indigenous tongue spoken by nomadic peoples in Siberia and Mongolia, even has an iPhone app to teach the pronunciation of words to new students. “Small languages are using social media, YouTube, text messaging and various technologies to expand their voice and expand their presence,” said K David Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College and a National Geographic Fellow.
For full story, please see: www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17081573

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56.       Zebra stripes as bug repellent
Source: ENN Daily Newsletter, 9 February 2012

On the plains of Africa, the zebra are not the only creature roaming in herds. There are a great number of other species, not least of all, the dreaded horsefly. Zebras, like all horse species, have large bodies which they cannot always reach with their mouths, hooves, or tails, making them an inviting prey for blood-sucking, flying insects. More than the lion, the horsefly is the bane of zebra's existence. This, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, is why zebras evolved to having stripes. The black and white stripes effectively deter the horseflies by making the zebras less attractive.
The horsefly, part of the Tabanidae family, is the largest of all flies. They are very loud and their bites can be painful. The fly is fast and agile, make it extremely difficult to swat.
Their razor sharp mandibles slice the flesh apart, allowing the female horsefly to nourish itself on blood, which is necessary for their reproduction. The bites often become very itchy, causing great discomfort and distraction to the grazing herbivore. Horseflies are also vectors for blood-borne pathogens including the equine infectious anaemia virus, parasitic filarial worm, and even anthrax.
If the animal is attacked by a swarm of horseflies, it is possible that the animal can lose up to 300 milliliters of blood in a day, weakening it and potentially cause death from blood loss.
The study was conducted by Gábor Horváth, Susanne Åkesson, and colleagues from Hungary and Sweden. They looked at the behaviour of horseflies at a horse farm near the city of Budapest.
Using alternating black and white stripes of various widths, densities, and angles, light reflections, they set the trap. Oil was spread over the stripes to attract the flies and glue was spread to snare them.
They found that fewer flies were attracted as the stripes became narrower. The narrowest stripes attracted the least amount of horseflies.
'We conclude that zebras have evolved a coat pattern in which the stripes are narrow enough to ensure minimum attractiveness to tabanid flies', says the team and they add, 'The selection pressure for striped coat patterns as a response to blood-sucking dipteran parasites is probably high in this region [Africa]'.
The researchers found that the flies are attracted more to dark hides than to white hides. However, they are attracted least of all to striped hides. This can explain a great deal of how the zebra got its stripes. In fact, a zebra fetus while it is in the womb has dark skin. It then develops stripes just before being born, protecting it from the vicious appetite of the dreaded horsefly.
For full story, please see: www.enn.com/top_stories/article/43979

 

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last updated:  Monday, April 30, 2012