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Woody plants in the Sahel

Guide de terrain des ligneux sahéliens et soudano - guinéens. Chris Geerling. Pudoc, Wageningen. 1982. 338 p. Price: fl. 30.00.

This paperback handbook for field experts of tropical northwest African woody plants catalogues the botanical classifications of 371 species of trees, shrubs and woody creepers belonging to 62 families. For 81 species there are taxonomic notes which include ten new synonyms in the Boswellia, Combretum, Euphorbia, Lippia, Maerua, Pachystela and Salix genera. The species described here are all over 1.50 m tall and are found in the steppes and savannah of numerous African countries. Each classification entry gives a general description of the plant species, its leaves, flowers and fruits, the type of terrain where it is found and its geographical] distribution.

The handbook includes a classification key, an illustrated glossary of botanical terms, an alphabetical index of each botanical family subdivided into its several genera and species, plus 92 pages of line drawings.

Chris Geerling began the research for his handbook at the Ecole pour la formation de spécialistes de la faune at Garoua in the United Republic of Cameroon, while he was stationed there as an expert from FAO between 1973 and 1977. He completed the botanical classifications in the herbarium of the Section de taxonomie et de géographie botanique de l'Institut national agronomique at Wageningen in the Netherlands. While at Wageningen he made several field trips to Mali, the Ivory Coast, Benin and the United Republic of Cameroon.

The 338-page handbook can be ordered directly from the publisher (Pudoc, PO Box 4, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands).

Acacia albida, A MULTI-PURPOSE LEGUME SPECIES revered by farmers since antiquity

Assessing silviculture in the US

Regional silviculture of the United States, 2nd ed. Ed. John W. Barrett. New York, John Wiley. 1981. Illustrated with maps, graphics and block. 551 p. Price: UK£ 16.85.

For centuries the care and development of forests have been primarily geared toward the production of wood for human use. In recent years, however, the rising concern over environmental quality, the heightened public involvement in decision-making on the fate of public lands, the increasing demands for a wide variety of forest resources, and a flood of legislation, litigation, and agency directives have had a significant impact on silviculture thought and practice. Silviculture is now being used to improve wildlife habitat, enhance recreational sites, protect watersheds and regulate streams, and provide innumerable environmental amenities. These and other developments have necessitated a second edition of this unique book, the only published regional silvicultural text for the continental United States.

The book assesses the significant biological, physical, and economic qualities of the various forest regions of the country and their effects on silvicultural practices. A wide range of material is assembled by region and includes edaphic, physiographic, and climatic features; social factors; ecological relationships; the silvical characteristics of predominant species; and silvicultural practices.

Each section is contributed by an expert familiar with the particular area.

An introductory chapter provides an overview of forest disposition in the United States, relating the major species and forest-type patterns to climate and weather, geology, and topography. In addition, the introduction discusses the influence of nature and man on the development of forests as well as introducing the topic of social and institutional constraints on silviculture. The subsequent chapters follow a consistent outline, thus ensuring inter-chapter cohesion and a balanced treatment of each region's silvicultural outlook.

Foresters will use this text as a reference for determining appropriate silvicultural prescriptions and as a means of gaining familiarity with all forest regions in the United States. The book brings the professional up to date on current silvicultural knowledge, including a comprehensive bibliography of silvicultural practices. It will acquaint students, foresters and the lay public with the current status of silvicultural practices in the forests of the United States.

Protecting natural areas in Africa

Conserving Africa's natural heritage: the planning and management of protected areas in the Afrotropical realm. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Avenue du Mont Blanc, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland. 1981. 271 p. Price: US$ 15.00.

AN EXPANDING URBAN POPULATION. One reason the Mediterranean forest is disappearing

The seventeenth meeting of IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas was held in Garoua, the United Republic of Cameroon, from 17-23 November 1980, and was the Commission's first gathering in Africa. As these proceedings show, there were three major objectives: to assess critically the current coverage of protected areas in the Afrotropical realm; to address the question of how protected areas can be managed more effectively; and to review the contributions of international agencies to conservation in Africa. Unesco's activities are discussed under sections on the World Heritage Convention and MAB's Biosphere Reserves.

Disappearance of the Mediterranean forest

Man and the Mediterranean forest: a history of resource depletion. J.V. Thirgood. London and New York, Academic Press. 1981. With maps, notes, bibliography and index. Front matter + 194 p. Price: US$ 29.00.

J.V. Thirgood has managed to crowd an enormous amount of information into a relatively small package. That his work is readable as well as informative makes this accomplishment even more impressive. His subject is the long-term effect of human activity on the plant cover of the mountainous lands of the Mediterranean basin. Although Professor Thirgood's position is in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, his knowledge and judicious use of historical sources make his work seem more a treatise on history for foresters than a treatise on forestry for historians. It has long been realized - indeed since the time of Plato's discourse on the denudation of Attica - that the Mediterranean region is especially vulnerable to environmental destruction. Inflammable vegetation, sporadic but heavy precipitation, steep slopes, and thin soils weathered from predominant limestone create an ideal setting for deforestation and erosion. Thirgood's volume includes a wide-ranging description of the forces that have accelerated these processes and a historical account, derived mainly from classical antiquity, that permits tentative assessment of the magnitude of change.

AN EXPANDING URBAN POPULATION one reason the Mediterranean forest is disappearing

The book opens with a statement on the problems entailed in evaluating both botanical and historical evidence and then moves to an overview of the principal agents of deforestation. Since there is little evidence of substantial climatic change within historical time, the agents he describes concern human activities: cultivation, exploitation of timber for fuel and shipbuilding, management practices in antiquity, forest exploitation since the classical period, industry, wars and invasions, population growth, fire, and grazing. Regional case studies include the Levantine region and Cyprus, where Thirgood has had the benefit of intensive field study. A final chapter summarizes the main findings of the work and presents a convincing argument that the Mediterranean region should be regarded as a highly vulnerable "zone of tension". The author's emphasis on Cyprus and the Levant means that the Mediterranean areas of Europe and Africa are not examined in comparable detail. Nevertheless, sufficient information is offered on these areas to justify his inclusive title. The book also includes four maps providing historical orientation and a short but well-selected bibliography.

The reviewer's earlier statement that this volume should be regarded as a treatise on history for foresters means that users of the book who wish to offer an account of forestry for historians will have to assemble a complementary array of illustrative and documentary materials. The absence of maps showing the present distribution of forest species can be overcome by use of Max Rikli's Das Pflanzenkleid der Mittelmeerländer (3 vols., 1943-1948), the maps devoted to the Mediterranean region in Franz Heske's World Forestry Atlas (1951), as well as the detailed maps or atlases that are available for Spain, southern France, Morocco, and Israel. To derive maximum benefit from Professor Thirgood's historical account, one should also refer to the diagrams of the successional relationship of forest, maquis, and garigue that appear in J. Braun-Blanquet's studies of the pervasive influence of fire on Mediterranean vegetation.

Having worked with many of the historical materials used by Thirgood and having undertaken field studies in two of the areas of his review, I can appreciate both the challenge and difficulty of his inquiry. On the basis of this experience, I have no hesitation in stating that his work deserves high praise. He has read widely, thought long and hard about what he has read, and has placed his reading in the context of extensive personal experience as a forester in the Mediterranean region. Professor Thirgood deserves the rare respect that is owed to authors of good little books on very big subjects.

University of Chicago
Journal of Forest History, July 1982

How to grow mushrooms

Forestry development, Bhutan: instructions for mushroom growing. Anon Auetragul. FAO, 1982. Field document FO: DP/BHU/75/007. 30 p.

Since ancient times wild mushrooms around the world have been collected during the rainy season from forests and grasslands. They have been used in cooking, and some species have medicinal uses.

Modern scientific analysis has confirmed that wild mushrooms are rich in protein and nutritive value and that they are a very good source of essential minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. They are richer in iron than meat and fish and contain vitamins B1, B2, C, D2 and eritadimine - the latter reduces cholesterol in the bloodstream and increases bile production. Mushroom spores contain GHB which prevents tumour growth and RNA which combats influenza.

Since wild mushrooms have been found to have all these beneficial qualities, scientists have recently begun studying mushroom culture for the production of alternative food crops. In Bhutan, large quantities of wild mushrooms have long been collected from the forests. In August/September 1981, Mr Anon Auetragul, an FAO consultant from Thailand, visited Bhutan to investigate increased mushroom production by artificial methods. Mr Auetragul concluded that Bhutan's varied climate would allow year-round successful production, especially of the high-value oak mushrooms commercially known as Shiitake, which are a famous and profitable product in Japan.

This straightforward 30-page document is an excellent introductory textbook on how to cultivate mushrooms for commercial production.


Latin-American parks

Conserving the natural heritage of Latin America and the Caribbean: the planning and management of protected areas in the neotropical realm. International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Avenue du Mont Blanc CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland. 1981. 329 p. Price: US$ 15.00.

These are the proceedings of the eighteenth working session of IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, held in Lima, Peru, during June 1981, with field sessions in Lachay, Paracas, and Pampa Galeras National Reserves. The four major objectives addressed by the 53 participants and 30 observers were:

· To present some new concepts of importance to managing protected areas;
· To compile information on the protected area of the neotropical realm;
· To discuss ways of developing the capacity to manage protected areas;
· To promote international support for protected area management.

Unesco's efforts on behalf of protected areas are discussed in relation to the Man and the Biosphere Programme and the World Heritage Convention.

Nature's pharmacy

Medicinal plants in Nepal. S.B. Malla. FAO Regular Programme, No. RAPA 64. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok. 1982.

Interest in the collection and use of medicinal plants has been increasing rapidly. Apart from being the sole source of indigenous medicine in many areas of the world, medicinal plants, whether herbs, roots, tubers, fruits or nuts, all generate a cash income for farmers in Third World countries, and particularly for those living in or near forests. In the Indian subcontinent, at least 80 percent of the population rely exclusively on medicinal plants when they are sick. The use of natural medicines is also increasing noticeably in industrialized countries. Many aspects of medicinal plants must be further studied to devise and promote an appropriate method for their collection and primary processing.

Medicinal plants in Nepal is part of a series of reports on forestry activities from the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Dr S.B. Malla is Director General, Royal Drug Research Laboratory, Dept of Medicinal Plants of Nepal. His report is succinct, clearly written and practical. Furthermore, it makes fascinating reading and reflects yet another aspect of the highly developed culture of Nepal.

There are over 700 different species of medicinal plants in Nepal. The distribution is approximately 31 percent in tropical and subtropical zones, 55 percent in the temperate zone and 14 percent in the alpine regions. Terminalia, Cassia fistula, Aegle marmelos, Rauvolfia, Alstonia, Butea monosperma, Mallotus philippensis and Sapindus mukorossi are some of the important medicinal plants that grow in the tropical and subtropical zones. Valemana, Berberia, Acorus, Datura, Solanum sp., and Zantohoxylum alatum grow wild in the temperate zone. Aconitum sp., Picrorhiza kurroa, Swertia sp., Rheum emodi, Nardostachys and Ephedra are common in Nepal's alpine region.

This short report is followed by a map of Nepal showing the location of medicinal herb markets, a graph of export quantity and value from 1972 to 1980, and two appendixes. Appendix 1 lists 44 species with their habitat and availability in tonnes. Appendix 2 lists 118 species, the botanical parts used for medicine, their chemical composition and their medicinal value.

For copies of this publication, contact: Regional Forestry Economist, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Phra Atit Road, Bangkok, Thailand. No price is quoted.

The many uses of remote sensing

Remote sensing for resource management. Eds Chris J. Johannsen and James L. Sanders. Published by the Soil Conservation Society of America, Ankeny, Iowa. 1982. Illustrated with numerous colour and black-and-white photos and graphics. 688 p. Price: US$ 45.00 (US$ 40.00 for SCSA members) postpaid.

During the last decade an ever-increasing amount of data has been collected photographically and by other remote sensing techniques from low-altitude aircraft and from satellites. Remote sensing for resource management explains how these data can be applied to improve world-wide land- and water-resource management.

This book is the offshoot of a national conference on remote sensing for resource management which was held at Kansas City, Missouri, 28-30 October 1980. Its 55 chapters, each written by a different author or authors, are divided into ten sections. The first section is entitled "The state of the art". It describes how remote sensing can be used as a tool for resource management in broad terms.

The next five sections detail remote sensing uses applicable to land, water, crops, soil and mining resources. Sections 7, 8 and 9 describe how agricultural producers and industry and government agencies have already used data collected by remote-sensing techniques. The final section discusses how various US federal agencies, in particular NASA, NOAA, and NESS, plan to apply remote sensing to natural resource management in the future. The six appendixes include a list of data sources, a glossary of remote-sensing terms, and a detailed acronym list.

This 688-page reference book is essential for all individuals who deal with resource inventory and management and for students taking remote - sensing courses. It contains 250 illustrations of which 119 are colour plates.

Remote sensing for resource management can be ordered from SCSA, 7515 NE Ankeny Road, Ankeny, Iowa 50021.

On being flexible within constraints

Decision making in forest management by M.R.W. Williams. Research Studies Press (John Wiley), Chichester, UK, 1981, 143 pages.

This is the first in a series of forestry research papers, sponsored by the Royal Forestry Society of England. Wales and Northern Ireland. Written in an effortless and simple style, it is concise and, at the same time, a clear treatment of the subject. The book eminently serves the purpose for which it is meant, namely as a text and a practical guide. The concepts and theory related to decision making have been sufficiently and clearly illustrated with examples indicating their strengths and limitations.

Decision making in forest management provides the student and the practitioner with important basic tools for arriving at sound decisions and for adopting more flexible and pragmatic management systems, within the various constraints involved. While the financial tools have an advantage in that quantification in money terms is a yardstick understood by all, there are obvious limitations to using them in cases where intangibles are involved. As long as these limitations are known, they can be used as effective guides in coming to "right decisions". As the author rightly points out, making "the right decisions" is even more important in forestry than in most other forms of enterprise because of the long time scale involved. Even though the book is written primarily for the reader in the United Kingdom, it can serve as very useful reference material for students and practising foresters elsewhere, especially in the developing world.

The book is divided into 16 chapters and includes Time-scales in financial calculations, Compound/discount rates, Price/size relationship, Discounted revenue and expenditure, Net discounted revenue, Internal rate of return and Different decision cases. There is also a useful index. Throughout, the author has been careful to use only the minimum of jargon and deserves special credit for the simple and straightforward presentation.


Indonesian forestry through Dutch sources

Indonesian forestry abstracts: Dutch literature until 1960. Chief coordinator, C.P. van Goor, and coordinator, Janus Kartasubrata. Pudoc, Wageningen. 1982. ISBN 90-220-0800-2. 6026 abstracts author index, species index, subject index. 688 p. Price: fl. 200.00.

In Indonesia, forestry is of immense economic, social, and ecological importance. Before 1960 almost all the literature was written in Dutch and so is not accessible to the younger generation of foresters trained after independence. In 1976 the Directorate of Forestry of Indonesia and the State Forest Service of the Netherlands agreed to compile jointly and translate into English this earlier wealth of information - an invaluable guide for a beneficial development of Indonesia's vast forests. Thus from 1977 to 1980 a team of Dutch and Indonesian for esters compiled 6026 abstracts. Most of the abstracts refer to books and articles already published in journals but some refer to unpublished periodic, travel and conference reports. The abstracts are each classified by the Oxford System of Decimal Classification for Forestry (ODC).

Pay-day at a logging yard in Java

Shorea javanica being tapped for damar

This 688-page cloth-bound volume is divided into nine subjects: factors of the environment, silviculture, logging and transport, damage and protection techniques, forest mensuration, forest management, marketing of forest products, forest products and their utilization, and the social economics of forestry. It also contains a list of periodicals and one of vernacular names for the major species of Indonesian trees, a glossary of Indonesian words, a map, and author, species and subject indexes. It is illustrated with old black-and-white photographs that are fascinating and historically valuable documents of forest work and practices under colonialism, and show such scenes as timber transport by manpower, by trains, by an early monorail device, and by buffalo. Other pictures show pay-day at a logging yard in Java; pines being tapped for resin; the back-breaking work of pit-sawing; and massive earthwork charcoal kilns containing logs of a straightness and size that speak volumes about wood marketing in those days.

Orders can be placed directly with the publishers, Pudoc, PO Box 4, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.


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