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Special Features - (Pdf )

Recognition of traditional knowledge

    • UN urges greater appreciation of culture and creativity of indigenous peoples
    • New project in Eastern Europe to protect traditional knowledge in plant trade
    • Traditional medicine should be embraced
    • Bioprospectors probe Aboriginal lore
    • Botswana to develop policy to protect traditional knowledge
    • Namibia’s indigenous people help draft biopiracy law
    • Developing policy guidelines to handle genetic resources and traditional knowledge
    • Micronesia: blending science knowledge with ancient traditions
    • Green economy needs respect for indigenous rights
    • India’s digital library to the rescue of traditional patents
    • Indonesia's pledge to forest people welcomed

NWFPS in Amazonian life

    • Amazonía o petróleo
    • Videos on the Amazonian forests of Ecuador
    • Forest fund to reward forestdwelling communities
    • Giant fish help the Amazon rain forest grow
    • Partnership reinforces copaíba oil production chain in Brazil
    • La producción de la castaña amazónica en Bolivia
    • Producción de carbón activado utilizando los productos forestales no madereros (PFNM) en alianza con comunidades de la Amazonía del Perú

News and Notes - (Pdf )


    • Barcodes gather evidence to combat illegal trade in Kenya
    • Mexico: barcoding biodiversity not free of risks, activists say
    • Wales (United Kingdom) to DNA “barcode” plants

Congo Basin: can’t see the wood for the trees? Look again

Conservation ethnobotany in the North Atlantic

Elephants, the gardeners of Asian and African forests

Expansion of people-centred forestry

Forests and food security: what we know and need to know

Generating income from forests and trees

Herbal cuisine

In the management of forests, gender matters

Les experts en produits forestiers non ligneux d’Afrique centrale se sont réunis dans le cadre de l’Année internationale des forêts 2011

Non-profit organizations and NGOs

    • Rainforest Alliance
    • WildlifeDirect

Non-wood goods in European forests

    • Status and trends

Reconciling selective logging with the livelihood importance of NTFPs

Reforming forest tenure systems

World sacred forests mapped out

Products and Markets - (Pdf )

Bamboo, Berries, Bushmeat, Cinnamon, Ecotourism. Edible insects, Frankincense, Gnetum spp., Honey and bees, Imbe (Garcinia livingstonei), Medicinal plants and herbs, Moringa spp., Natural sweeteners, Nettles, Resins, Saffron, Sandalwood, Sea buckthorn, Shea butter, Wildlife

Country Compass - (Pdf )

Afghanistan, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Georgia, Haiti, India, Italy, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Zimbabwe

Econook - (Pdf )

A modest proposal for wealthy countries to reforest their land for the common good
Asia’s real contribution to the global health of forests
Debt-for-nature swaps
Forests plus: looking outside the box
Leaders define pathway to restoring 150 million ha of lost forests
Ministers back binding European forest agreement
Plans to protect forests could do more harm than good unless power is in local hands

International Action - (Pdf )

• FAO, WWF sustainable rattan project
in the Greater Mekong

Recent and Forthcoming Events - (Pdf )

Publications of Interest - (Pdf )

Web sites - (Pdf )

Readers' Response - (Pdf )

Back Cover - (Pdf )

Non-Wood News 23

An information bulletin on Non-Wood Forest Products

November 2011


Anniversaries are times of reflection, and reflections provide a good opportunity to look back in order to move forward with continued commitment. This edition of Non-Wood News is the twentieth issue I have been involved in: my involvement started with issue 3 in March 1996. Changes have obviously taken place during this time, but important issues still remain. For example, issue 3 included an article on “Bioprospecting or biopiracy?”, covering plant-based pharmaceutical potential, a topic that is still relevant today and a regular feature in our News and Notes section for many years. Much progress has been made in this area since 1996, as can be seen from the recent historic Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. In acknowledgement of this, in the present issue we have a Special Feature on “Recognition of traditional knowledge”, which includes articles on bioprospecting and benefit sharing, as well as information on how countries are developing policies to protect traditional knowledge from biopiracy.

Over the years, we have strengthened our reporting on the role of people, their communities and their use of NWFPs. Mindful that “Forests for People” is the theme of the International Year of Forests 2011, we have reflected this focus throughout this issue. For example, we provide information on how NWFPs are used in Amazonian life (Special Feature); how people are using rattan in a sustainable way in the Greater Mekong (International Action); how a project in Central Africa is helping communities achieve greater food security (Country Compass, International Action); and how edible insects – important food sources in many forest communities – are now being considered as an alternative solution to livestock in feeding a hungry world (Products and Markets, and Country Compass).

A strong feature of the 1996 issue was its Country Compass section. This emphasis has been maintained over the years and throughout the current issue, which includes news reports and readers’ contributions from 34 countries: in fact, you will find diverse stories ranging from wildlife in Afghanistan and the economic value of NTFPs in Canada, to the impacts on beekeeping of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, as well as the ecological and financial impacts of the bushmeat trade in Zimbabwe.

The use of the Internet has also brought changes, with more readers now contacting us – and each other – through e-mail ([email protected]). In fact, one of the aims of Non- Wood News is to enable networking among readers. Contributions from readers in this issue cover a variety of subjects, including the potential of nettles in the Indian Himalayas, conservation ethnobotany in the North Atlantic, reconciling selective logging with the livelihood importance of NWFPs, and pine resin extraction in southern Europe. Contacts with readers have also led to joint initiatives; for example, we have entered into a copublishing agreement with CIFOR to produce a book on the Amazon, and our next issue will help the Rainforest Alliance celebrate 20 years of their Kleinhans Fellowships (see Readers’ Response).

So, thank you to all readers for your contributions. Whether it is an article or highlighting an event or publication on NWFPs, these contributions have played an integral part in putting together Non-Wood News. Reader feedback is always useful and much appreciated so please do continue to contact us.

Finally, our reflections on the past 20 issues demonstrate that we here at Non-Wood News need and will take every opportunity to move forward in our efforts to promote the importance and potential income-generating aspects of NWFPs, as well as the recognition that many people depend upon them – whether for their livelihoods, their health or as a source of food.


Is compiled and coordinated by Tina Etherington of the FAO Forest Economics, Policy and Products Division. For this issue, editing support was provided by Giulia Muir and Sandra Rivero; language editing by Roberta Mitchell, Anouchka Lazarev and Deliana Fanego; design, graphics and desktop publishing by Claudia Tonini.

Non-Wood News is open to contributions by readers. Contributions are welcomed in English, French and Spanish and may be edited to fit the appropriate size and focus of the bulletin.
If you have any material that could be included in the next issue of Non-Wood News for the benefit of other readers, kindly send it, before 31 January 2012, to:
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
E-mail: [email protected]

FAO home page:

All Internet links cited were checked on 24 October 2011. Articles express the views of their authors, not necessarily those of FAO. Authors may be contacted directly for their reference sources. The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) are goods of biological origin other than wood, derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests. Non-timber forest products (NTFPs), another term frequently used to cover this vast array of animal and plant products, also include small wood and fuelwood. However, these two terms are used synonymously throughout this bulletin. Other terms, such as “minor”, “secondary” or “speciality” forest products, are sometimes used to keep original names and/or titles. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.