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Much of the forestry and development debate in international fora focuses on how forests, forest products and forestry can contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty and food insecurity by 2015. FAO’s programme on the Promotion and development of non-wood forest products (NWFP) is contributing to this goal by improving the sustainable use of NWFP in order to improve income-generation and food security, to contribute to the wise management of the world’s forests and to conserve their biodiversity.

One of the important groups of NWFP, collected all over the world and used for subsistence purposes as well as sold on local markets and restaurants, are fungi – often called mushrooms. However, most information on fungi is available on cultivated species while data on wild edible fungi (WEF) remain scarce.

The present publication aims at documenting and analysing the role of WEF in food security with focus on developing countries. It compiles in one volume the much scattered information on the uses and prospects for development of WEF, including issues such as ecology, collection, harvesting, socio-economic benefits and trade.

By disseminating this information, it is expected that the attention of forestry technicians, nutritionists, natural resource planners, policy-makers and other stakeholders concerned will be drawn to the links between this important category of NWFP, food security and sustainable forest management.

It is hoped that the use of this document will help to promote the sustainable use of WEF as a valuable component in the process of economic development and poverty alleviation.

Wulf Killmann
Forest Products and Economics Division
Forestry Department

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