No. 06/07

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:










1. Acai: Brazilian super food going down a storm in the UK

Source: FreshPlaza, Netherlands, 18 June 2007

A Brazilian berry straight from the Amazon Rainforest called Acai (Euterpe oleracea) and pronounced a-sigh-ee has quickly become the world’s number one most powerful and nutritious foods according to many environmental organisations and leading doctors.

A staple part of the Brazilian diet where they consume millions per day, already a big hit in the US with a band of celebrity worshippers, and although still very new to the UK market it is fast becoming known as the “next big thing”.

For many people, the acai berry is probably still unknown. But if you have ever visited the new wave of juice bars now a plenty on many high streets, you may have had some acai in your smoothie or health drink and not even realised it.

Packed full of antioxidants, high in omega 6 and omega 9 oils, a rich source of protein and dietary fibre to name just a few of the benefits, this is probably why the acai berry is such a huge success.

Operating from Kent in the UK, Sublime Food Ltd has been importing and distributing frozen fruit from Brazil for the past three years and has made it their mission to get acai to the world. Ronan O’Meara, its director, explains: “The Acai berry has been consumed by the indigenous people of the Amazon since time began; the berry is the size of a large blueberry, purple almost dark black in colour. It grows wild in the Amazon Rainforest, which is the only place on earth where it grows. It has three times more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates. Antioxidants are vital because they mop up free radicals which can cause cancer and cell damage. And according to Dr. Nicholas Perricone a board-certified clinical and research dermatologist in the States, it helps to slow down the ageing process”.

With his brother living and running a juice bar in Brazil for the past 9yrs, these two brothers have formed a unique international partnership where they are at the fore of importing the acai berry to the UK.

“Once the berries are in season there are huge quantities, an area about half the size of Switzerland is completely covered in acai trees.

“Berries are picked by small teams, often husband and wife that look after areas that are unique to them. One member of the team will climb up the tree, cut the branch or pull the berry off and drop it to the person waiting below who will put them into baskets.

“The baskets are then taken down the river to the local buyers, often co-operatives. Our buyer will inspect the berries and buy the best ones.

“He then takes them off and on that day place them in warm water for about 1 hour, he will then mash them through the first sieve, at which point the stones are removed. It is then mashed through a smaller sieve to break up the fibre inside the berries. A pulp is formed which is packed and shipped in frozen containers over to the UK” say’s Ronan.

The frozen pulp is then sold on to juice bars, smoothie bars, health shops and supermarkets. But let’s not kid ourselves; you cannot expect that by drinking one health drink containing acai that it will benefit you immediately.

Ronan explains: “Products on the market that contain acai has such a minute amount that at best you might get a slight anti-oxidant benefit and at worst it will do absolutely nothing. If you want the real benefit of acai I would say buy the pulp”.

Greenpeace champion the acai berry because although they are aware that a wide range of sustainable and effective initiatives are needed to prevent the continuing destruction of the Amazon, they accept it as an important environment step forward as the berry is derived from a non timber forest product within the Amazon Rainforest, and it gives the people a sustainable way of maintaining their livelihood.

For full story, please see:


2. Bamboo: Dutch Design meets Bamboo

From: Pablo van der Lugt, Netherlands, [email protected]

Leading Dutch designers are presenting remarkable and innovative bamboo applications in the exhibition Dutch Design meets Bamboo (May 26 through July 1, 2007, CBKV de Krabbedans, Clausplein 10 (De Witte Dame), 5611 XP Eindhoven. Open: Tue through Sun 12.00-17.00 pm, Fri 12.00-21.00 pm).

In the last half year 20 professional Dutch designers were challenged to develop the ultimate bamboo product with potential for the Western market. The results are very promising indeed and show that -once the appropriate design capacity is included- a lot more is possible with this fast growing renewable resource than the traditional cheap products bamboo is notorious for.

The results can be seen in the exhibition, or alternatively in the full colour 160 page book (ISBN: 978-90-74009-49-2; available soon through Besides the project results the book provides a thorough analysis of the true potential of bamboo for Western markets, but also the (many) obstacles that still lie on bamboo way towards becoming a true competitor for (tropical) hardwood.

For more information, please visit: of

or contact

Pablo van der Lugt, MSc
PhD Researcher Bamboo Product Development
Delft University of Technology
Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
Design for Sustainability
Landbergstraat 15
2628 CE Delft
The Netherlands
[email protected]
T: +31 (0)15 2782738
F: +31 (0)15 2782956


3. Bamboo bikes: an ecological transport solution for the world's poor?

Source: LA Times inHippy Shopper, UK, 22 June 2007

A Californian bike shop owner has developed what's believed to be the world's first ever bamboo bike, which he hopes could provide sustainable transport for the desperately poor in Africa.

Craig Calfee of Santa Cruise says that the idea of making bicycles out of bamboo came to him when the wood's strength and durability was revealed to him by his pet dog; the dog habitually chewed sticks into splinters, but bamboo was so tough that it would come out of its jaws with barely a tooth-mark. He then decided to try making prototype bike frames out of bamboo, and has since gone on to use the material for sleek, racing-style bikes.

As is the case in the UK, America is currently going bamboo-crazy, as people discover how versatile this sustainable material can be. But Calfee wanted to create more than a chic bike for the well-off, and recently embarked on a trip to Ghana where he hopes to establish the bikes and help people to set up businesses making them (without the need for power tools) and selling them. Here's hoping another really innovative use for bamboo will take off.

For full story, please see:


4. Bee products: Could honey beat MRSA?

Source: Manchester Evening News, UK, 18 June 2007

MRSA is still a serious threat for many UK hospitals. It is not because the superbug is any more infectious than many other type of bacteria, but rather its growing resistance to antibiotics makes it so difficult to control.

A New Zealand professor, however, believes he may have found an answer to the current crisis.

For the past 25 years, Prof Peter Molan, director of the Honey Research Unit of the University of Waikato, has been studying the antibacterial properties of manuka honey, made by bees that collect pollen from the manuka bush. The medicinal properties of honey have been well-known for thousands of years. Ancient Greek and Egyptian societies used it to help heal burns and sores. Even up until the First World War, its antibacterial properties were being used for treating wounds. Later, widespread use of penicillin and other antibiotics to treat infection saw honey relegated to the kitchen cupboard. However, that could all change.

"All honey has some degree of antibacterial activity," Prof Molan explains. "In many honeys, the activity is due to hydrogen peroxide, a well-known antiseptic, which is made in the honey by an enzyme that the bees add. However, in manuka honey I found an antibacterial activity that other honey doesn't have - something that comes from the plant's nectar, which is different."

This unique activity (the Unique Manuka Factor - UMF) has many applications for human well-being, including wound care.

Professor Molan recently researched an MRSA outbreak in a New Zealand's largest hospital, in which all victims were treated with manuka honey ApiNate Dressing (manuka honey which is impregnated into a calcium alginate fibre dressing). The results were astonishing.

There are now wound dressings made purely with manuka honey and sterilised to hospital standards, which are available as registered medical products on the NHS drug tariff.

Christie Hospital, in Manchester, is currently trialling manuka honey to see if it can reduce the risk of MRSA in mouth and throat cancer patients. So far, 60 Christie patients have taken part in the research and, if the results are positive, doctors hope to undertake further trials with larger numbers of patients.

Meanwhile, after demonstrating its effectiveness, Prof Molan is continuing research to determine the exact science behind manuka honey's anti-inflammatory properties, why it is so effective in cleaning up wounds and how it stimulates the white blood cells to speed up the healing process.

For full story, please see:


5. Bee products - propolis: NZ bee compound gives tumours the buzz-off

Source: New Zealand Herald, New Zealand, 14 June 2007

A bee product from New Zealand has been shown to suppress tumours in mice, says a study presented to a scientific conference in the United States. The researchers at a German hospital tested propolis against tumours that can occur in the nervous system and on skin in a condition called neurofibromatosis.

Propolis is a resin found in young tree buds. Bees collect the substance, mix it with their own enzymes and beeswax, and use this to seal the hive.

About half of cases of neurofibromatosis are inherited, while the rest arise from spontaneous gene mutation. The condition has two types. The German experiment involved the more-common type 1, which occurs in about 1 in 3000 people.

The German study found that using propolis supplied by Te Awamutu company Manuka Health suppressed growth of type 1 neurofibromatosis tumours in mice by over 90 per cent. "Caffeic acid phenethyl ester is the first identified anti-cancer ingredient in propolis, an extract from beehives ... ," the scientists said in their paper for a conference in Utah.

It was the most potent natural derivative of caffeic acid yet identified that was involved in the chemical signalling pathway that controlled the growth of the tumours. It had not been tested alone in clinical trials because it was not easily absorbed. Propolis, however, contained other substances which made it more easily absorbed, as well as other anti-cancer substances.

Caffeic acid phenethyl ester appeared to work better in the presence of the other polyphenols found in propolis to suppress growth of the tumours, in test-tube and animal experiments.

The lead researcher, Dr Hiroshi Maruta, is now using propolis in a group of 15 sufferers of type 1 neurofibromatosis in Japan.

Propolis is sold as a complementary remedy said by its suppliers to have various health benefits.

For full story, please see:


6. Bushmeat: Poaching for elephant meat threatening survival of forest herds in Central Africa

Source: AP in (Pressemitteilung), Austria, 7 June 2007

Nairobi, Kenya. The markets in the Central African Republic offer all of the jungle's delicacies, including monkey, chimpanzee, antelope and, if you have the cash, even elephant.

Hunters kill the elephants and cut off the ivory. Then, over grills fuelled with green tree branches, they smoke the meat for a day, charring the outside to preserve it for the trip to town. The main market is in Africa, where elephant meat is considered a delicacy and where increasing populations have increased demand.

Most people believe international demand for ivory is the biggest threat to elephants. But while wildlife experts are meeting in the Netherlands through June 16 to discuss the ban on the ivory trade, forest elephants – perhaps the world's most endangered elephant species – are being hunted to extinction not only for their tusks, but for their meat.

«These elephants get poached a lot more than the eastern and southern African elephants,» said Karl Amman, a wildlife photographer and investigator into the illegal trade in animals. «I am convinced the poaching of forest elephants in the Central African region is for the meat, and ivory has become a by-product.

In the ivory markets of Bangui, ivory earns a poacher US$30/kg. Smoked elephant meat brings US$12/kg in urban bushmeat markets, considerably more than any other kind of meat, including beef or pork.

A typical forest elephant, which weighs 2,250 to 2700kg and produces more than 450kg of edible meat, can earn a poacher up to US$180 for the ivory and as much as US$6,000 for the meat. The average income for an African in the Congo Basin is about US$1 a day.

People in the forest live in such poverty they do not have time to think about animal conservation, said Andrea Turkalo, a researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society who works in the Dzangha-Sangha National Park.

Gabriel Mabele, chief of Mosapula village, said creation of the Dzangha-Sangha National Park and a ban on hunting elephants there has meant his people have less meat to eat, but people still want to eat elephant. “You can't just openly put it out in the market, you have to be secretive about it,” he said. “But the hunting continues.”

Omer Kokamenko, a ranger at Dzangha-Sangha National Park who lives deep in the forest, also said elephant hunting has become more about the meat.

Forest elephants are different from their cousins that roam the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, where most are protected by rangers. Forest elephants are smaller and darker, their tusks are straighter and their ears are more oval. They range from Guinea to Uganda, but are mostly concentrated in the Congo Basin, where poverty and war are common.

Little is known about forest elephants because they live in small groups within dense rain forests. In 1989, wildlife biologists estimated the forest elephant population of the Congo Basin at 172,000. There have been no comprehensive studies since then, but a Wildlife Conservation Society study of six elephant areas in national parks released in April found «a combination of illegal killing and other human disturbance has had a profound impact on forest elephant abundance and distribution.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned trade in ivory in 1989, but some African nations won permission to sell ivory in 1999. Another sale was authorized in 2002.

Amman said the focus on the ivory trade overlooks the bigger issue of the sale of elephant meat. Amman was able to document how wildlife meat, including elephant, is being sold across the border between the Central African Republic and Congo.

Government officials on both sides collect taxes on the trade, even though the business is illegal under international law. Tax collectors and more senior officials declined to answer questions about the trade or tax system.

Until governments act, the elephant population will remain in danger, Amman said. «Better law enforcement and better governance is the underlying issue of most of the problems in Central Africa,» Amman said.

Desire Loa, a former park ranger who turned poacher, said the trade is so profitable that government officials are behind most poaching, hiring Pygmies and providing them with rifles to kill elephants.

For full story, please see:


7. Cinnamon: Spoonful of cinnamon helps blood sugar stay down

Source: Reuters, 20 June 2007

Adding some cinnamon to your dessert may temper the blood sugar surge that follows a sweet treat, a new study suggests. Researchers at Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found that adding a little more than a teaspoon of cinnamon to a bowl of rice pudding lowered the post-meal blood sugar rise in a group of healthy volunteers.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (June 2007), add to evidence from past studies that cinnamon may aid in blood sugar control. However, it's too early to prescribe cinnamon as a therapy for diabetes, a disorder in which blood sugar levels soar because the body cannot properly use the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

One reason for the effect seems to be that cinnamon slows the rate at which food passes from the stomach to the intestines.

Whether people with diabetes should start spicing their diets with cinnamon remains to be seen. One small study, Dr. Joanna Hlebowicz and her colleagues note, found that when people with type 2 diabetes added cinnamon to their diets for 40 days, their blood sugar and cholesterol levels tended to dip. On the other hand, a recent study found no such benefits among people with type 1 diabetes.

Further studies focusing on people with diabetes are still needed, Hlebowicz and her colleagues conclude.

For full story, please see:


8. Edible insects: the answer to African food security?

Source: The East African Standard (in SciDev UK 25 May 2007)

For the past four years Monica Ayieko, a lecturer at Maseno University in Kenya, has looked into the feasibility of using insects — termites and mayflies — for cooking.

Ayieko believes that insects may offer a simple solution to Africa's fragile food-security situation and could eradicate malnutrition.

Insects are not only readily available, even in arid areas where people often experience famine, but also rich in essential nutrients such as protein, fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, iron and potassium.

There are over 500 edible insects in Africa, and nutrition studies show that eating 100 grams each day provides enough nutrients to maintain good health.

Ayieko has proof that they are beneficial: for example, both mayflies and termites help lactating mothers to produce milk.

An insect-food industry could also provide income to rural women, as well as meeting the nutritional needs of their families.

Ayieko won about US$20,000 from the Research Project for Sustainable Development to fund her research, and has patented her method of using the insects for dough and butter.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards is now investigating samples of her muffins, crackers, sausages and meatloaf to see if they could eventually be sold in supermarkets.

Link to full article in The Standard

For full story, please see:


9. Ginseng may help combat fatigue in cancer patients

Source: People's Daily Online, China, 4 June 2007

A pilot study presented in Chicago on Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology shows that the herb ginseng may decrease fatigue in cancer patients.

Experts believe that fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment. "Fatigue is a major complaint for many cancer patients and can greatly affect their quality of life," said Debra Barton, an associate professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic and the study's leading author. "Identifying options to effectively treat this serious side effect is an important research priority," she said.

While ginseng is already used by many cancer patients based on animal experiments and anecdotal human evidence that it can increase energy and reduce fatigue, its effectiveness has never been rigorously tested in people. Different ginseng varieties contain different amounts of the steroid-like compounds known as ginsenosides.

The study used Wisconsin ginseng from a single crop, which was tested to confirm a uniform concentration of ginsenosides. The ginseng was powdered and given in capsule form.

"While the results of this study are very promising, further studies are needed to determine the definitive benefit, and we cannot recommend routine use of ginseng for fatigue in cancer patients at this time," Dr. Barton added. "Further study will also help us determine which patients are most likely to benefit."

The authors also cautioned against store-bought ginseng supplements, citing the lack of regulation and inconsistent quality, which may cause safety problems.

For full story, please see:


10. Ginseng in the USA: Kentucky faces ginseng export ban

Source: The Associated Press, 18 June 2007 (in International Herald Tribune, France)

Exports of wild American ginseng could be cut by 20 percent if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bars Kentucky from selling the medicinal herb internationally.

Kentucky, the nation's leading producer of ginseng, may have jeopardized its right to export the highly prized roots by not adequately policing their harvest and sale, said Pat Ford, a Fish and Wildlife Service botanist who oversees the nation's ginseng program.

Touted as a cure-all for everything from headaches to sexual dysfunction, ginseng is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which requires the federal government to ensure the roots being exported have been acquired legally.

But in Kentucky, Fish and Wildlife Service agents have found widespread violations of U.S. ginseng laws. Last year, they charged 17 ginseng dealers with illegally purchasing the tiny roots. So far, 10 of the people charged have paid fines totalling $35,000. They also forfeited up to $200,000 worth of roots. None have been sentenced to jail. Seven others have pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing in U.S. District Court on July 6.

Mac Stone, head of the ginseng program in the state Department of Agriculture, is urging legislators to toughen state laws against violators in an effort to convince federal authorities that Kentucky is serious about regulating the harvest and sale of the rare plant. Stone told lawmakers this week that inaction could jeopardize Kentucky's wild ginseng trade, which generates $5 million to $8 million a year in supplemental revenue for rural families, primarily in impoverished eastern Kentucky mountain communities.

Industry representatives say barring Kentucky ginseng would reduce U.S. exports of the roots to China and other Asian countries by about 20 percent and push the price to record levels. Kentucky accounts for 7.5 tons of the annual U.S. ginseng exports, which total about 30 tons.

All the nation's top ginseng-producing states are in Appalachia, but Kentucky far outproduces the others. Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina produce about 3.5 tons each per year.

The Fish and Wildlife Service requires each of the states to monitor ginseng to guard against over-harvesting.

Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association, said the industry would oppose any efforts by the federal government to halt Kentucky exports. McGuffin does not believe such a ban is likely.

However, the biggest threat to the species may not be diggers, said Donan Jenkins, a ginseng dealer from the western Kentucky town of Sturgis. Jenkins, a retired state conservation officer, said deer, which eat the plants, and turkey, which eat the seeds, destroy far more ginseng than diggers. And, he said, habitat loss to coal and timber companies has also had a drastic effect.

For full story, please see:


11. Medicinal plants: Indian herbal exports expected to reach US$3 billion by 2012

Source: People's Daily Online, China, 7 June 2006

India's export of herbal products and medicines has the potential to reach US$3 billion by 2012 from the current US$0.75 billion with the creation of exclusive export promotion zones (EPZ) across India, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) said on Thursday.

Herbal product exports can be accelerated with the setting up of EPZs in about 12 Indian regions as their demand soars at a rate of over 25 percent in countries like the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia, Russia and Indonesia, the report said, quoting a study "Future of Herbal Exports" conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

The study noted that India, followed by China, is the largest producer of medicinal plants, having more than 40 percent of global diversity. However, India's global market share is a paltry 2.5 percent against China's 13 percent.

The leading producers of medicinal plants in India are areas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and the Himalayan range, which together account for 75 percent of India's total herbal medicine exports.

According to Assocham, if EPZs having facilities like research and development are set up in these states then India would be able to accelerate its exports to the expected level within the next five years.

IANS quoted Assocham president Venugopal Dhoot as saying that this will be particularly so because in countries such as the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia, Russia and Indonesia, the urge for herbal medicines has been rising due to their quality ingredients, availability factor and price competitiveness with virtually little side effects.

The study listed medicines that command huge demand and are produced based on international quality standards. These include psyllium husk, sema leaves and pods, sandalwood chips and dust, jojoba seeds, psyllium seeds, pyrethrum, basil, hyasop, rosemary safe, svory, galangal rhizonmes and roots.

For full story, please see:


12. Moringa: Sunlight reduces the value of moringa leaves

Source: New Vision, Uganda, 5 June 2007

A recent research by Mbarara University of Science and Technology has revealed that the proven potency of Moringa oleifera can be lost during preparation. The leaves, which contain vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and proteins, need proper handling for effective use.

Ritah Namutebi, a student at the university, studied the preservation of vitamin A which acts as a shield against eye and skin disease, heart ailments, and diarrhoea. She found that much of the vitamin is lost in the way leaves are preserved.

"Out of ignorance, people dry the leaves in the sunshine, yet vitamin A quantities are diminished by exposure to sunlight and temperature. It is destroyed by oxidation, particularly in the presence of iron and copper," she said.

While presenting a paper during the Biodiversity and Medicinal Plants Joint Conference at Makerere University recently, Namutebi said the study was done to explore an effective method and time of picking the leaves in order to maintain the high vitamin A quantities. During the study, leaves were picked at different times - in the morning, at midday and in the evening.

Vitamin A quantities in each freshly harvested sample were analysed to quantify losses based on different picking time and drying methods. The results revealed that the leaves dried in sunshine lost 35-60% and those in the shade, 11-15%.

Dr Raymond Tweheyo, a lecturer at Mbarara University, said: "25 grams daily of Moringa oleifera leaf powder would give a child the recommended daily allowances of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, protein, potassium. We recommend people in developing countries to grow it at household and community level."

Duncan Sesaazi, also from Mbarara University, said moringa can be an effective supplement in the HIV/AIDS treatment.

For full story, please see:


13. Mulberry extract may prevent diabetes – study

Source: FoodNavigator-USA, France, 18 June 2007

A new mulberry powder, rich in a compound that inhibits the digestion of carbohydrates, may have the potential to prevent diabetes, suggests a new study from Japan.

Writing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers describe the production of a food-grade mulberry powder with an optimized content of 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ) content, a compound shown to inhibit the action of the glucosidase enzyme that controls the digestion of carbohydrates.

"This study suggests that the newly developed DNJ-enriched powder can be used as a dietary supplement for preventing diabetes mellitus," wrote lead author Toshiyuki Kimura from Tohoku University, in collaboration with researchers from National Agricultural Research Center for Tohoku Region, Minato Pharmaceutical Company, and Nippon Medical School.

While DNJ has been shown to inhibit glucosidase, the concentration of the compound in commercial mulberry products is extremely low, state the researchers, with levels as low as about 0.1 per cent.

Kimura and co-workers set about producing a food-grade mulberry powder with high DNJ content, and then determining the optimal dose of the DNJ-enriched powder needed to suppress blood glucose levels after a meal through clinical trials.

Using hydrophilic interaction chromatography with evaporative light scattering detection the researchers obtained a mulberry powder containing 1.5 per cent DNJ. "Young mulberry leaves taken from the top part of the branches in summer contained the highest amount of DNJ," wrote the authors.

Further research is needed to examine the efficacy of the extract in other population groups, including overweight and obese subjects who are more susceptible to type-2 diabetes.

The research adds to a growing body of evidence of the potential health benefits of berries that has filtered through to the consumers and has seen demand increase.

For full story, please see:


14. Mushrooms in India: Kerala research center develop drug to treat cancer

Source:, India, 17 June 2007

Thrissur: A group of scientists at Amala


15. Sandalwood: Security beefed up on Indo-Nepal border

Source: Times of India, India, 31 May, 2007

KATHMANDU: Nepal's top watchdog, the Commission of Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), had directed the authorities to beef up security along the border with India to check smuggling, particularly the increasing incidence of red sandalwood from India to China.

The authorities have seized over 80 tonnes of red sandalwood meant for the Chinese markets in the last few months. Red sandalwood in China is used in traditional medicines and is believed to cure many diseases.


16. Stevia: Coke, Cargill Partner on Stevia Project

Source: Natural Products Industry Insider, AZ, USA, 1 June 2007

ATLANTA & WAYZATA, Minn.—Coca-Cola and Cargill are partnering on a new project to develop a natural calorie-free sweetener from stevia, which could eventually be used in several food and beverage categories in the United States. Stevia (S. rebaudiana), a South American herb with a natural, sweet taste, is not currently approved in the United States or Europe for food use. However, in the United States, it is sold as a dietary supplement, often in bulk or “single serve” packets similar to those seen for sugar and artificial sweeteners. In mid-2006, the market research firm SPINS reported in INSIDER that stevia sales topped $14.4 million in the natural channel for the 52 weeks ending July 15, 2006, up 32 percent over the prior year.

Under terms of the new partnership, Cargill is handling product development and the regulatory approval process for the ingredient, including working on clinical trials to support a food additive petition.

Since 1992, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has submitted at least two petitions to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) challenging stevia’s status as a food additive. Even though the petitions contained extensive data and research that proved the safe historical use of stevia as a food, FDA was reportedly not satisfied with the research submitted because the studies were conducted outside the United States and published in foreign journals.

Coca-Cola filed 24 U.S. patent applications on May 24, 2007, covering the use of stevia in combination with a range of natural compounds (i.e., vitamins, minerals, glucosamine), in different delivery formats (i.e., condiments, beverages) and for several health conditions (i.e., weight management, inflammation). According to Wanda Rodwell, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, the company has been working on the project for some time; however, there is no specific timeline for introducing stevia-sweetened products. She added the company would likely look to launch new products within the next year into one of the markets where stevia is already approved for beverage use. Stevia is currently approved in 12 countries for food use, including Brazil, China and Japan; it accounts for approximately 40 percent of the sweetener market in Japan and has been used for more than 30 years.

For full story, please see:


17. Stevia: Indian farmers benefiting from Stevia cultivation

Source: KanglaOnline, India, 21 May 2007

Imphal.: The farmers of Tadubi and its surrounding villages in Senapati district have started getting the benefits from cultivating "Stevia" plants extensively over 220 acres for commercial purposes.

It is for the first time in north eastern India that the high value medicinal plant "Stevia" was grown by 300 farmers under the contract farming programme undertaken by a private company In Touch Natural Private Ltd. based at Mao in Senapati district, Manipur and financed by the State Bank of India.

The company has given new hope by establishing a processing plant at Kainu village in Mao with inputs of Japanese technology for which the required civil works have already been started. The plant aims at producing end products like Stevia syrup, Stevia powder and Stevia tablets as substitutes for high calorie natural sugar.

Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as Stevia, is a natural, zero-calorie sweet tasting plant used around the world for its pleasant taste and research potential for inhibiting fat absorption and lowering blood pressure. Stevia is also known as the sweet herb of Paraguay, and its leaves are an indigenous sweetener, a gift of nature.

In addition, Stevia is likely to become a major source of high potency sweetener and it can be advantageous to practically everyone whose diet contains sweeteners. Stevia can be helpful to certain groups who are more likely to benefit from its remarkable sweetening potential, including diabetics, and in decreasing calorie intake and is also good for growing children.

For full story, please see:


18. Truffles: Western Australia to export truffles

Source: ABC Online – Australia. 28/05/2007

Commercial quantities of truffles will be exported from Western Australia for the first time this season. The truffle farm at Manjimup in, WA's south-west, is expecting an annual yield of 400kg, which will fetch close to $3,000/kg in France, Denmark, the US and Japan.

Truffle consultant Nick Malajczuk says this year's early harvest is transforming the industry "Suddenly we've got a commercial venture. The truffles from the south-west of Western Australia are really hitting the market," he said. "We're probably about a month earlier than the eastern states people, so we're really sort of satisfying the restaurants a month earlier than truffles that come from Tasmania or elsewhere would occur for that market."

For full story, please see:


19. Truffles: Experts study the black truffle

Source: Wanted in Rome, Italy, 27 April 2007

The University of Turin’s plant biology department has launched an innovative project to study the DNA sequencing of the Tuber melanosporum, more commonly known as the black truffle.

Biologists from Turin, Piedmont and Parma together with other European experts will attempt to provide answers as to how the prestigious fungus is formed and how to best preserve and develop the areas where truffles are produced naturally.

Samples from 17 black truffle sites in France, Spain and Piedmont are being used in the research. A team of experts will use the most recent genome (full set of chromosomes) sequencing techniques to study the molecular activity and growth of the samples.

Truffles are found chiefly in western Europe and grow underground around 30cm below the soil surface, often near the roots of trees. The picking season for the black truffle, which is found mainly in northern and central Italy, is from December to March. The white truffle is found in Piedmont and Tuscany while the red truffle is found in the Marche region. In the past truffles were more common but they have become one of the rarest and most expensive foods in the world, reaching prices of up to €600/kg. Pigs and dogs are specially trained for several years in how to find the delicacy.

For full story, please see:


20. Wildlife: Growth in wild animal trade worries Brazil

Source: ENN - Environmental News Network, 3 May 2007

Poaching and trafficking in wild animals such as monkeys and parrots is reaching critical proportions in Brazil, home of more animal species than any other country, a non-profit group said Wednesday.

The trade is so attractive that it is even prompting drug traffickers to turn their attention to animals.

Police confiscated more than 50,000 captured animals in one part of Brazil's Atlantic rain forest in 2005, up from 15,000 five years earlier, according to a report by the National Network Against Wild Animal Trade, or Renctas.

"Sadly the situation is still critical," Dener Giovanini, founder of Renctas, told a congressional environment committee.

Renctas estimates Brazil accounts for about 10 percent of the world's illegal trade in wild animals.  Nearly half the animals -- mostly parrots and other birds -- go to Europe and the United States.  Brazil's endangered blue Hyacinth Macaw can sell for $25,000, it said.

Big profits and lax laws are attracting criminals from other trades, said committee chairman Jose Sarney Filho.

Renctas estimated in 2001 that some 38 million wild animals are poached every year and that only about a third survive long enough to be sold.

The global trade in poached animals and their hides, tusks and bones is worth $10 billion to $20 billion a year, ranking third after illegal arms and drugs trafficking, the group said.

Renctas warned that a recent government decision to split up environment protection agency Ibama could increase animal trafficking.

"Weakened environmental organs won't be able to regulate this," he said.

For full story, please see:


21. Wildlife: Asian nations address wildlife smuggling

Source: Linkages Update, 7 June 2007

The Wildlife Enforcement Network, established under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), met from 22-23 May 2007, in Bogor, Indonesia. Participants agreed to work to raise public awareness of illegal wildlife trade, provide better training for law enforcement officers, and increase communication among countries in the region and with international enforcement bodies such as Interpol, as well as ways to finance the network.

For full story, please see:


22. Wildlife: Crime syndicates smuggling wildlife

Source: Associated Press, 7 June 2007 in ENN News

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- It could be ivory concealed in a container, cans of caviar in a suitcase or baby chimpanzees in a crate. The smuggling of wildlife goods is a low-risk, high-profit enterprise proving increasingly attractive to crime syndicates.

Exports of wildlife, including fisheries and timber, are estimated at $150 billion to $200 billion a year. The illicit side of the business is likely worth tens of billions of dollars, experts say.

"It's big, and it's getting bigger," says Peter Younger of Interpol, the international police coordinating agency.

Stacked against drug running or international terrorism, wildlife crime claims minimum priority with national police forces. If caught, smugglers often face little more than a fine or short jail term. In countries with weak judiciaries, suspects can stall their cases indefinitely while resuming their illicit business, he said.

"It's a business loss, and then you can go on with what you were doing," said Steven Broad, director of TRAFFIC, which monitors the international wildlife trade.

The United States also has a thriving black market in live animals, carved ivory, reptile skins, medicinal plants and illegally logged lumber, said Claudia McMurray, the assistant secretary of state for environmental affairs. Anecdotal evidence indicates it largely is supplied by organized crime.

"You have wildlife and drugs together," she told The Associated Press, citing one case in which a live snake was stuffed with small sacks of cocaine -- in the hope customs officers would not want to inspect the legally imported snake too closely.

"It's something we are pursuing quite aggressively," she said. "If you catch them on one activity, you're probably going to cut off some other activities and then you can put them in jail."

The problems of enforcement have shadowed this month's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting to review rules on cross-border trade in plants and animals threatened with depletion and sometimes on the verge of extinction.

Since the last conference of the 171-nation CITES in 2004, Europe and Asia have set up regional enforcement groups and some countries have tightened coordination among customs services, environmental bodies and police.

Interpol set up a one-man wildlife department last March, and its database tracks wildlife crime alongside drugs and counterfeiting.

But huge gaps remain. Southern African countries have come to grips with elephant poaching, but the illegal ivory trade is soaring in Central and West Africa.

For full story, please see:



23. Brazil: Top selling products at Mercadão Floresta

Source: 4 June 2007

One of the main purposes of Mercadão Floresta (Forest Market), held from May 25 to June 3, at the Municipal Market of São Paulo, was to present the enormous range of products based on Brazilian biodiversity and the importance of protecting Brazilian biomes to residents of São Paulo.  For the first time, these products were made available for retail, and at the same time, renowned chefs took turns providing taste tests and talks in a gastronomical venue established at the market.

Inspired on a previous experience conducted in 2005, open only to the wholesale market, the event was important as an experiment, to show the consumption and sales potential of these products.  Based on the experience, the São Paulo Municipal Government has defined parameters for a permanent sales outlet in the city.  "

We want to generate fashion, trends, and address a niche of consumers that seeks a new generation of innovation, with products from the forest", says Roberto Smeraldi, Director of Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira, the NGO that organized the fair

One of the highlights of the fair, for example, was a sweet made from umbu (Spondias tuberosa) and organic sugar.  Produced by the Canudos, Uauá and Curaçá Family-Based Agricultural Cooperative, which works in the semi-arid Brazilian northeast, when umbu sweets were offered for taste testing, they quickly won over the São Paulo public. 

Another top seller was organic powdered cocoa from the Atlantic Rainforest, produced by the Cabruca Cooperative of Organic Farmers in Southern Bahia in partnership with the Belgian firm, Barry Callebaut, leader worldwide in cocoa and chocolate goods production.  Certified by the Biodynamics Institute (IBD), the product is obtained by processing 100% organic cocoa seeds, without the use of any pesticides.

Baru (Dipteryx alata Vog.) nuts were also much sought after among agro-ecological products.  Produced at the Cerrado (Savanna) Center for Studies and Sustainable Use - Cenesc, its sustainable economic use helps preserve the specie and aides local communities directly involved in their production.

One of the market niches is being offered by those who love to eat well.  An extra-virgin, cold pressed Brazil nut oil, brings a delicate and slightly sweet flavour to cooking.  Produced by Ouro Verde, it is perfect for salads, risottos, fish and complex recipes.  Rich in Omega 6, Omega 9 and vitamin E and with no cholesterol, it aids in preventing heart disease, stimulates the immunological system and increases longevity. 

Another hot item is honey vinegar, from the Fernão Velho bee farm.  A natural product, it is made from water and fermented hydromel (mead) acetic acid, and does not contain preservatives or artificial aromas.

The event was an important opportunity for companies from northern Brazil to market their products.  José Luiz Felício, manager of Miragina, said that "the fair is an excellent way of bringing our products and making them known ".  The company from Acre, founded in the 1960s, makes Brazil nut based products (which in Portuguese are known as Castanha do Pará, after one of the states in the Amazon Region).  Generating income for traditional populations, they make delicious cookies from Brazil nuts, which were one of the top sellers at the fair.  "We surpassed all our expectations.  We had to bring in four extra shipments to supply the demand generated by the event", said the businessman.

The same happened in the case of frozen açaí (Euterpe oleracea) from Fruitamazon, a company from Pará, which transferred its activities to the neighbouring state of Amapá and is known for offering the best açaí pulp available on the Brazilian market.  The company has 30 hectares planted and also buys from riverbank communities in places such as Calçoene, Porto Grande, Serra do Navio, Ferreira Gomes and Mazagão in Amapá.  Açaí has been arousing interest around the world due to its nutritional value.  In addition to having become a fad amongst youth throughout the country, several products that include açaí are beginning to appear abroad.

Besides açaí, names like cupuaçu (Theobroma grandiflorum), pequi (Caryocar brasiliense), taperebá (Spondias mombin Jacq.), buriti (Mauritia vinifera and M. flexuosa), tucumã (Astrocaryum aculeatum) and bacuri (Platonia insignis) are names that have now entered the vocabulary of Brazilian products.  Chocolate candies with fillings of fruits from Amazonia, chocolate pralines with forest fruits prepared by chef Daniel Briand and native fruit hand soaps from Atelier Especiarias also were part of the mix of top-selling products at the fair.

Setting records in terms of public and sales, the fair demonstrates the huge potential of forest products and how production and sales of these products is the way to maintain the forest standing

For full story, please see:


24. England's trees key to future wellbeing

Source: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs News Release, 20 June 2007

A vision of how England's trees, woods and forests can yield environmental, social and economic benefits for future generations was set out today by Barry Gardiner, Minister for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs.

From helping to combat climate change to boosting business opportunities, a new Strategy for England Trees, Woods and Forests – – highlights the potential of these important natural resources to improve life for people and wildlife.

The strategy shows how long-term sustainable management of trees, woods and forests can help people and wildlife adapt to a changing climate and how people can make the most of their local woodlands. It also highlights the way in which woodlands protect and enhance natural resources, improve urban environments, and promote better markets for sustainable woodland products and services.

Many schemes around the country are already helping to meet the strategy's objectives.

Barry Gardiner today visited a former Nottinghamshire coalfield community where local people have played a vital role in the Sherwood Forest Community Rangers Project to transform 2,000 acres of collier waste into community woods with 30 miles of footpaths and tracks and spectacular views across open countryside.

Barry Gardiner said: "Trees and woodlands make a big difference to the quality of people's lives, enhancing where they live and work, so people must be able to get involved in planning and caring for them too. What we want to see is the right trees in the right places, where they can contribute most in terms of environmental, economic and social benefits.

"Climate change is the biggest challenge - sustainable managed woodlands can help to cut carbon emissions, and we must plan and act now if our woodlands are to be adaptable to future conditions. Native plants and animals will need a network of habitats within which they can move to find the best conditions to live as the climate changes."

A delivery plan to implement the strategy will be produced by the Forestry Commission and Natural England in partnership with other key organisations.

For full story, please see:


25. India: Arunachal Pradesh launches bamboo mission

Source: Economic Times, India, 18 June 2007

ITANAGAR: Arunachal Pradesh was the biggest beneficiary, under the National Bamboo Mission during the last financial year, and has received Rs 15.10 crore from the Centre for an action plan.

Announcing this at the formal launch of the state bamboo mission here today, Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said the Centre had approved the action plan for scientific cultivation of bamboo.

He said bamboo sector had shown phenomenal growth in China and other South East Asian countries and urged the state officials to draw lessons from these countries.

Forest Minister Newalai Tingkhatra said over 1500 uses of bamboo had been recorded and annual bamboo trade world over stood at US$4.5 billion. The total bamboo area in the country is 8.96 million hectare and two thirds of the country's bamboo resources is harboured by the North East

For full story, please see:


26. India: Silk production shows upswing in India

Source:, India, 15 June 1007

Bangalore: Raw silk production in the country is showing trends of an upswing with the India reeling a record 18,760 tonnes of raw silk during fiscal 2007, up 8.41 per cent over the previous year figures of 17,305 tonnes.

The record production, according to provisional production figures released by the Central Silk Board, however was much more than the peak production of 17,351 tonnes achieved in 2001-02.

Drought conditions in the Southern region, which contribute to the lion's share of mulberry silk production in the country, during 2002-03 and 2003-04 had a deterring effect in silk production as farmers went to the extent of even uprooting the mulberry plantations.

CSB sources, however, said that the ill effects of the severe drought appear to thin out as mulberry silk production had gathered momentum for the fourth successive year. Mulberry silk production last year, including that of bivoltine silk was 16,805 tonnes up from 15,445 tonnes from the previous year.

The redeeming factor of last year's production however was the sign of superior bivoltine silk galloping in growth by 12.77 per cent to cross the 1000 tonne mark. Last year bivoltine silk production was 1095 tonnes as against 971 tonnes produced in 2005-06.

The sources said that the increase in production only proves that Bivoltine silk had come to stay and was finding increased acceptance at farmer's level every year.

Vanya or non mulberry silk, produced mostly in the Northeastern and Eastern parts of the country also showed an improvement in the production with the figures for last year being 1955 tonnes as against 1860 tonnes the previous year. The composition of vanya silk production was Tasar 325 tonnes, Eri 1515 tonnes and Muga 115 tonnes.

For full story, please see:


27. India: Govt to launch enterprise development programme

Source: Newindpress, India, May 28 2007

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to launch enterprise development programme in 200 villages in the catchment area of Upper Kolab Hydro Electric Project to create alternative employment opportunities and end dependence on forest.

The enterprise development activities planned by the Government include value addition to NTFPs, medicinal plants, agriculture and horticulture products, leaf plate making, hill broom making, mushroom cultivation, spawn production, fruit preservation and opening of handicraft centre for bamboo articles.

Interventions planned under the project are focused to conserve natural resources and improve economic conditions of people in the project villages. Bio-diversity conservation followed by sustainable non-destructive harvest would increase availability of raw materials needed by the people for livelihood support.

The project was constructed during the eighties across the Kolab river at Koranga village in Koraput district. The installed capacity of the project is to generate 320 MW of power and provide irrigation for 44,454 hectares.

For full story, please see:


28. Lao: Protecting wildlife treasures in the jungles of Lao PDR

Source: World Bank Group, Washington, USA, 1 June 2007

A small country with some of the most diverse and rare wildlife in the world, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) is one of Southeast Asia’s hidden biological treasures. Through its protected areas, the country is working to ensure that the magic and wonders of its jungles don’t disappear.

Home to the highest number of large mammals in Southeast Asia, including species like the Large-antlered Muntjac, the Indochinese Tiger and the Douc Langur – a type of monkey only found in Lao and northern Vietnam – the country also has possibly the largest Asian Elephant population in Indochina.

Even more impressively, many species new to science have been discovered in recent years, including mammals like the Annamite Striped Rabbit, one of the rarest species of rabbit in the world, and the Saola (a forest animal related to antelope and cows). Such discoveries place Lao PDR among one of the few countries in the world where several entirely new species of large mammals have been found in recent years.

“The unique biodiversity that is present in Lao PDR is extraordinary,” says Arlyne Johnson, Co-Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Lao PDR. “But the country’s enigmatic, difficult to spot and little known species are also highly endangered.”

In order to protect wildlife and the country’s biodiversity as a whole, 20 National Protected Areas, covering more than 14 percent of the country’s total territory, have been set up. The remoteness of these areas contributes to wildlife protection, but hunting and wildlife trade – in response to both Lao traditions and international market demand – pose a critical threat to the treasures found in Lao’s jungles.

To address this, there is a renewed interest in developing and implementing management and monitoring programs for protected areas across the country. One of the most successful programs so far is taking place in what experts say is the single largest protected area in mainland Southeast Asia.

Located in the central part of the country, the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area — also known as the Nam Theun 2 (NT2) Watershed — is one of the most important in the world for biological and cultural diversity. The area has some of the most diverse natural and protected forest, and is probably home to one of the two largest elephant populations in Lao PDR . Its management is also gaining attention as an example of robust wildlife monitoring and protection in the country.

The NT2 Watershed is managed by the Nam Theun 2 Watershed and Management Protection Authority (WMPA), a Lao PDR Government agency which commenced operations in late 2005. The agency is the first integrated conservation and development entity of this scale in the country, and the first to make wide-ranging efforts to enforce wildlife laws and set up a systematic biodiversity monitoring system. The agency counts on a budget of US$1 million a year provided by the Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) as part of the environmental mitigation programs under the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project – a project supported by the World Bank.

Recently, a joint team brought together World Bank and WCS staff to take a closer look at conservation and protection efforts in the NT2 Watershed. The group spent several days in the Lao jungle working with the WMPA wildlife monitoring teams to track species and assess the overall program.

With a monitoring and patrolling teams set up, the WMPA is providing a good example of biodiversity conservation and protection in the country. The agency will continue implementing its monitoring, patrolling and awareness raising efforts so that its programs are sustainable and its valuable area is protected.

For full story, please see:,,contentMDK:21354313~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html


29. Malaysia: Stripped of a natural fibre

Source: Malaysia Star, 17 June 2007

EVERY year during the Mah Meri’s Hari Moyang (Ancestors’ Day), the orang asli would proudly wear beautiful bark clothing called teghap, enhanced with sashes and headbands woven from nipah palm leaves.  

They joyously perform the Mayin jo-oh, the Mah Meri’s traditional mask dance, to the Lagu’ Gemah Lebat (Song of the Rainstorm) accompanied by brass gongs and bamboo drums and violas.  

It is homage to the land as much as a way of celebrating the Mah Meri’s unique culture. These performances have long fascinated tourists and anthropologists alike.  

Alas, trees have become such scarce commodities in Malaysia that even the orang asli can barely afford to use the bark.  

“We wear our traditional bark clothing as a form of identity,” explains Julida anak Uju, 38, from Sungai Bumbun Orang Asli Village, one of five villages in Carey Island. 

She had had to wade in knee-deep mud to harvest the nipah leaves for her costume, which takes a full day to weave into the songkho (plaited headband), selipang (sash) and dendan (skirt). The beige and dark green colours are obtained by interweaving young and mature leaves. 

“We also wear the costume for dances and it gives us a sense of identity and pride in our traditions and customs. But due to the scarcity of Terap trees (Artocarpus elasticus belonging to the mulberry family Maraceae), we can barely produce the clothing for our children.” 

She shows us the Terap tree from where she obtains the bark. The sapling stood forlornly in a grove of palm oil trees. Like the Nyireh Batu, which the men use for their magnificent woodcarvings, these native plants are increasingly rare due to scarcity of land. 

Bark is among nature’s most versatile materials used by indigenous people for generations. Beaten bark clothing is found across tropical regions, mainly in the tropical Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa and South America.  

In Malaysia, the Mah Meri continues using bark clothing as a unique form of identity. But are these distinctive garments on their way to extinction?  

Julida says that they are very careful when washing the clothing so as not to tear them.  “We just dip them into water and remove them without soaking or wringing them,” she says. “Some of the edges are already frayed and parts are stretched out like holes. We don’t know how long they can last and we can’t make new ones.”  

For full story, please see:


30. Morocco: 300 ha of Argan trees to be reforested south of Morocco

Source: Maghreb Arabe Presse, Morocco, 11 June 2007

Essaouira (south). Some 300 ha of Argan trees will be reforested in the south of Morocco, under a cooperation agreement signed in 2002 between Midi Pyrenees regions and the region of Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, revealed the Mohammed V Foundation for Research and Argan Tree Preservation.

The foundation, which held its third general assembly, underlined the achievements mainly those pertaining to the notion of the geographical indication, which represents an important step in the process of the protection of the Argan tree.

The Foundation's director general, Ms Katim Alaoui, noted that the agreement also provides for the upgrading and the marketing of the argan oil by women's cooperatives.

She also pointed out that the foundation promoted the use of solar ovens by the population working on argan oil by installing 30 solar ovens in the region.

This project aims at saving firewood through the use of solar energy, given that each solar oven enables to save between 5 and 10 kg of wood a day, according to the project officials who estimate that the setting up of 500 solar ovens results in avoiding a loss of 50 to 100 ha of argan trees per year.

The Foundation, chaired by the Moroccan king’s advisor, André Azoulay, intends to launch a Website and to conduct a detailed study on the various aspects of the argan tree.

Set up in May 2004, the Foundation aims at guaranteeing a legal protection of the argan trees exploitation, promoting and protecting natural equilibrium, improving the standard of living of the population working on argan trees and guaranteeing the quality of the argan products.

A forest, fruit and fodder tree, the argan tree covers currently some 870,000 ha, that is around 10% of Morocco’s forest areas.

For full story, please see:


31. Sri Lanka: Spice industry needs duty rebates to encourage exporters

Source: Ceylon Daily News, Sri Lanka, 8 June 2007

Sri Lanka has exported spices worth of US$30.5 million and Lankan spices especially because of their original flavour are on heavy demand in the global market, said Director Seven Seas Commodities V. P. Rajan.

From time immemorial Sri Lanka was popular for the spice industry globally and this cultivation should be developed to meet the demand, he said.

“We had exported $30 million of pepper and $0.5 million of cinnamon last year. Our company mainly exports pepper, cinnamon, oil seeds and mace of the nutmeg fruit.

“We should improve our productivity of cinnamon gradually. Mostly South and Central American countries consume Sri Lankan cinnamon. Since the demand for Sri Lankan cinnamon is very high, the produce could be sold at attractive prices, Rajan said.

“There is a substitute for the cinnamon called “cessiabark”. This is identical with cinnamon and customarily cropped in countries like China, Indonesia and Vietnam. “Cessiabark” has a similar flavour like cinnamon over all, he said.

He also said that this year the cinnamon production has reduced due to the heavy rain and flood.

Rajan said that the tariff rebate to which the exporters are entitled had been reduced and the Government should reinstate the earlier rebate rate to encourage the exporters.

For full story, please see:


32. Sudan threatens industry with gum arabic withdrawal

Source:, France, 4 June 2007

The Sudanese ambassador to the US has threatened to withdraw the supply of gum arabic, an emulsifier and stabiliser used by the food industry, in response to a pledge to impose sanctions to help bring an end to the bloodshed in Darfur.

President Bush last week said he would bring sanctions against Khartoum, as the government-funded militias continue to attack civilians in the region, and called on the United Nations to take parallel action. The conflict, which began in February 2003, has caused between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths through violence and disease, according to the UN.

The Sudanese government claims the figure is only 9,000 and denies support for the Arab Jamjaweed militia.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington DC last week, Ambassador John Ukec is reported to have claimed that 80 per cent of the world's gum arabic comes from Sudan. "I can stop that gum arabic and all of us will have lost this," he said.

Gum arabic comes from the sap of the acacia tree and is used by the food and drinks industry as an ingredient to prevent sugar crystallization and the emulsification of fat. In particular, it is used in soft drinks to increase the fizziness.

However any fears that the food industry will become tangled up in politics, as consumers grapple with conscience and a love of soft drinks, have been downplayed.

According to ABC News, the US imported only 12 per cent of its gum arabic from Sudan ($6.2m), 54 per cent less than the previous year. Thirty-eight per cent hailed from Chad.

Given reports of gum Arabic supply from Sudan being disrupted by the war since 2004, major companies will already have cast about for alternative supplies to avoid being caught short.

Coca-Cola has said it does not source its gum arabic from Sudan.

For full story, please see:

Related story:


33. USA: As ash trees turn scarce, tribe's livelihood suffers

Source: Journal and Courier, Lafayette, IN, USA, 23 May 2007

For the United Métis Tribe in Marion County, Indiana, the emerald ash borer is threatening the means by which tribe members make their livelihood.

SnowWolf Wagner, secretary of state and communications for the tribe, said the use of ash trees in baskets and ceremonies is an art form that goes back centuries. He said the ash borer, which already has been spotted in 12 Indiana counties, is endangering an intrinsic part of his people's culture.

"There's no other tree we can do the same thing with," said Wagner, who worries the invasive beetle will wipe out all of the trees on which his tribe depends. Although tribe members have tried other varieties of trees, the wood from the black ash tree is the only kind that splits on its own.

For some, basket weaving is a supplemental form of income, or a hobby they can teach their children.

But for other members of the tribe, the loss of ash trees would force them to find another way to make a living. "We've used these for hundreds of years," Wagner said. "At the rate (the borer is) progressing, there won't be any ash trees east of the Mississippi."

Wagner said the basket weavers in his tribe find it difficult to locate enough trees to make their art. "As the word has been getting out about ash borers, prices have been going up," Wagner said. "But the actual basket makers aren't reaping any profits."

The baskets, which can sell for as much as $400, are also taking longer to make because it takes tribe members more time to locate healthy trees. These trees, he said, are increasingly scarce.

For full story, please see:


34. Vietnam: Forests offer more than wood

Source: Vietnam Economic Times, Vietnam, 13 June 2007

A four-day international conference began yesterday in Ha Noi to explore the role of non-timber forest product (NTFP) in poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation.

Profitable NTFPs can include a number of food, medicine, and construction materials and include fibres like rattan and bamboo, edible plant products, resins and gums, tannin and dyes, essential oils, insecticides, medicinal herbs, ornamental plants and animal products.

These "minor" forest products could have a major impact on poverty alleviation and promote biodiversity conservation, said Katherine Warner, World Conservation Union country group head for Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.

The conference entitled The Role of NTFPs in Poverty Alleviation and Biodiversity Conservation, held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the World Conservation Union, among others, is part of the NTFP Support Project being executed by MARD with financial support from the Netherlands and technical support from the World Conservation Union.

Participants in the conference, including enterprises that have found ways to address rural poverty while maintaining biodiversity, are sharing methodologies, product and market information and other lessons learned from NTFP and conservation initiatives.

The third day of the conference will include a trade fair for NTFP producers to display products and meet potential buyers. On Thursday, the last day of the conference, participants will make a field trip to Quang Ninh Province.

The NTFP Support Project has been ongoing in Viet Nam since 1998 in two phases and will continue through next month. The first phase in 1998 – 2002, entitled Sustainable Use of NTFPs, focused on two field sites in Bac Kan and Ha Tinh. The second phase, entitled NTFP Sub-Sector Support Project in Viet Nam, began in 2003 and took place in five field sites including Bac Giang, Quang Ninh, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh and Quang Tri.

The overall objective of the project is forest and biodiversity conservation through strengthening sustainable use of NTFPs. The project’s main achievements so far include capacity building for planning and research, the transferring of sustainable NTFP development methods and raising awareness on NTFP, according to MARD.

For full story, please see:



35. African twig brushes offer all-day dental care

Source: Reuters, 18 June 2007 (in Conserve Africa)

DAKAR - Brush your teeth every day, dentists say. In Africa, that can mean keeping your toothbrush in your mouth all day long.

Across the continent south of the Sahara, many people go about their daily business with a small stick or twig protruding from their mouth, which they chew or use to scrub their teeth.

Cut from wild trees and shrubs in the bush, this is the African toothbrush. Its users swear it is much more natural, effective -- and cheaper -- than the prettily packaged but pricey dental products on sale in pharmacies and supermarkets.

In Senegal, the chewing stick is called "sothiou", which means "to clean" in the local Wolof language. In east Africa, the stick is called "mswaki", the Swahili word for toothbrush.

Their users say the sticks are also medicinal, providing not just dental hygiene but also curing a variety of other ills. Dental experts agree they seem to clean teeth well and some up-market health stores in the United States have been selling chew-sticks as a natural form of dental care.

Traders in Dakar and other Senegalese cities sell neat bundles of the pencil-sized sticks -- usually about 6 inches long -- on the pavement, offering a variety of different types of wood at different prices.

Elimane Diop, 70, extols the virtues of his wares. "This is the Dakhaar ... It cleans really well," said Diop, holding up a slender, knotty twig with a dark brown bark. Another bush toothbrush, the Werek, is cut from the branches of the gum tree, while the thicker Neep-Neep helps ease toothache. "If you've a bad tooth, it's a medicine," said Diop. The Cola, cut from a soft, whitish wood, is prized for its sweet taste.

If chewed, most of the twigs fray into finer strands, which have the effect of "flossing" between the teeth, or if rubbed up and down, can scrub tooth enamel clean as well as any brush. But they can taste bitter compared with commercial toothpastes.

"There are several documented studies which suggest that the cleaning sticks are at least as effective as normal toothbrushes and paste in maintaining routine oral health," Christine D. Wu, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry, told Reuters.

She said some laboratory studies indicated plants from which some of the sticks in Africa are cut contain protective anti-microbial compounds that act against the bacteria in the mouth which cause tooth decay and gum disease.

"And if these sticks do contain fluoride, as plants do, then this would be beneficial for caries prevention," Wu said, although she stressed much more research needed to be done on the sticks and their use by humans.

The World Health Organisation has encouraged the use of chewing sticks as an alternative source of oral hygiene in poor countries where many cannot afford commercial dental products.

While a manufactured toothbrush can cost upwards of 300 CFA francs (60 cents), a chew-stick costs only 25 or 50 CFA.


36. Boreal forest may be home to new medicines

Source: Sault Star, Ontario, Canada, 12 June 2007

Is the boreal forest the new Amazon rainforest?

That's what the Great Lakes Forestry Centre and Northern Ontario School of Medicine are trying to find out. Long a source of the anti-cancer compound known as paclitaxel, the boreal forest is now being mined for other biological chemicals that could help mankind.

"Most research in the past, in regard to drug discoveries, went to the Amazon and South America. Recently, instead of going to the Amazon, we have been looking at resources in our own backyard," said GLFC research scientist Mamdouh Abou-Zaid.

GLFC is collaborating with NOSM to launch the Boreal Bioprospecting Initiative. Bioprospecting is the search for economically valuable biological molecules, organisms or genetic materials using non-timber forest products such as trees, mushrooms, herbs and shrubs that could lead to nutritional or medical therapies.

Based on Abou-Zaid's considerable knowledge of disease-preventing antioxidant compounds derived from forests and NTFPs, NOSM approached him to be the project's research director.

The core of the Boreal Bioprospecting Initiative will be his extensive library of about 1,000 natural product crude plant extracts and 800 purified compounds, many of which are novel natural products with antioxidant properties to prevent, halt and damage from diseases triggered by overactive internal defence reactions in our bodies.

In that library could be the key to new therapies for victims of cancer, stroke, Parkinson's disease and the like.

Abou-Zaid already has a few leads, such as the antioxidant properties present in maple syrup.

They've also found Northern plants differ from their neighbours to the south in a significant way. With many more predators such as insects and plant-eating animals in South America, plant life there has evolved to develop a "wide range of compounds in low concentrations," he said. "The boreal forest plant, with its shorter growing season, focuses on producing a high concentration of specific compounds."

NOSM's associate dean of research, Dr. Greg Ross, says Northern Ontario is well positioned to be the provincial hub of a bioproduct and research economy because of the presence of the forest and expertise in such institutions such as GLFC and the Ontario Forest Research Institute.

NOSM has funding applications in to various agencies to create the infrastructure, primarily based out of Sault Ste. Marie, to process and bring the raw material from the boreal forest to the marketplace, while maintaining intellectual property rights in Northern Ontario, Ross said.

He likens the paclitaxel research to a miner panning for gold, while bioprospecting is "far more random" — and potentially far more lucrative.

"We're testing thousands of chemicals for certain diseases. We're in a really high stakes, high risk venture, but if you're successful, you now have the intellectual property."

At this stage, paclitaxel (which is marketed under the brand name Taxol) remains Northern Ontario's greatest pharmacological export. In co-operation with an Ottawa-based company, Ensyn Technologies, Abou-Zaid has applied for an international patent to more efficiently extract paclitaxel from the needles and twigs eastern yew. The method they've developed is called byrolysis, which in its simplest terms exposing the plant to a few seconds of heat to release the taxanes into an oil.

The impetus is both economic and environmental. Abou-Zaid estimates we currently utilize just two per cent of chemical-rich plant material from an available 10 per cent, using "harsh solvents" to boot.

For full story, please see:


37. Global Development Awards and Medals Competition

Source: Forestry Funding News Alert # 20 (April/May 2007)

Submissions are being accepted for the 2007 round of the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition, which carries prizes in cash and travel of over US $180,000! Submissions can be for a new research proposal or for a completed research paper on any of the five themes below:

    • Fragile States: Addressing Vulnerability

    • Household Exposure to Risk: Effects on Poverty

    • The Rule of Law: Providing Security for Development

    • Women’s Rights, Security and Development: Challenges and Opportunities

    • Natural Resources: Risks and Implications for Sustaining Development

Under each theme, GDN welcomes submissions from all branches of the social sciences (Economics, Political Science, Sociology etc), especially multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary projects. Submissions from qualified female researchers are particularly encouraged.

The finalists will present their papers and proposals at GDN’s Annual Global Development Conference in Brisbane, Australia in January 2008.

The deadline for application is September 17, 2007.

For more information on the competition, including full descriptions of the themes, contact:

GDN Secretariat
2ndFloor, West Wing, ISID Complex
Plot No. 4, Vasant Kunj Institutional Area
New Delhi 110 070, India.
Tel.: + 91 11 2613 9494 / 2613 6885
Fax: + 91 11 2613 6893 / 4170 4248
E-mail: [email protected]


38. International Year of Natural Fibres 2009

Source: International Year of Natural Fibres 2009: Newsletter No 1.

The United Nations General Assembly, on 20 December 2006, declared the year 2009 the International Year of Natural Fibres. In doing so it invited FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to facilitate the observance of the Year, in collaboration with Governments, regional and international organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and relevant organizations of the United Nations system.

Some progress in making initial preparations had already been made in the lead-up to this declaration, and more has been made in the period since then. However, 2009 is now not far away, and a lot remains to be done.

An informal International Steering Committee has met several times. It has formulated objectives for the Year, and has overseen the preparation of a communications plan to guide activities through to the end of 2009. Most importantly, perhaps, it has brought together international representatives of the various natural fibre industries, among whom there had been no contact prior to the beginning of this process. The success of the International Year of Natural Fibres will depend on a strong international partnership of all the natural fibres industries.

The objectives of the International Year suggested by the steering committee are:

    • To raise awareness and stimulate demand for natural fibres;

    • To encourage appropriate policy responses from governments to the problems faced by natural fibre industries

    • To foster an effective and enduring international partnership among the various natural fibres industries;

    • To promote the efficiency and sustainability of the natural fibres industries.

FAO has been preparing itself for coordinating the International Year of Natural Fibres. In particular, we have been communicating with our member countries in order to raise financial support, but as yet without any visible success.

Now we are stepping up efforts to further communicate ideas for 2009, and to ensure that as many groups as possible are brought on board to enlarge and strengthen the international partnership. This newsletter is part of that process; soon we plan to establish a website dedicated to the International Year of Natural Fibres, and to prepare and print a glossy brochure in several languages.

What comes next:

For the various natural fibre organisations and groups around the world, it is time to begin planning your own activities for 2009. FAO has the role of leading and coordinating – we cannot undertake to plan and implement activities on various fibres in individual countries. Where appropriate, you may wish to talk to people in near-by areas, and to people interested in other natural fibres, perhaps to form a local committee in your country or region. Plan for yourselves how you will work to promote natural fibres and to help meet the objectives listed above of the International Year of Natural Fibres.

FAO needs funding for its activities in preparing and disseminating information, preparing global-level activities, and coordinating. A budget of around $US 2.5 million has been proposed for the period through to early 2010. This money needs to come from donations from national governments or from industry organisations. Most urgently, we have an immediate need for a relatively small amount ($100 000 to $200 000) for initial partnership-building and communication activities such as establishing a website and preparing a brochure. So far, this money has not been forthcoming; if you are able to help potential donors (government or industry) decide to contribute to the International Year of Natural Fibres you could be making a major contribution to its success.

See the interim IYNF information in the FAO website at

For more information, please contact:

Brian Moir
Senior Economist (Trade)
FAO, Trade and Markets Division (EST), Room D860
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00153, Italy
e-mail: [email protected]


39. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: the way out of poverty?

Source: Press Release, ICIMOD/CFC, 7 May 2007

About 20,000 tons of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP) worth US$18-20 million are traded every year in Nepal alone, and about 90% are harvested in uncontrolled fashion, landless, resource-poor mountain farmers for whom the harvest and trade in medicinal plants constitutes their only form of cash income. The situation is similar in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and other countries of South Asia, and 90% of the plants from Nepal are exported to India in raw form.

The greater Himalayan region, in fact, holds the comparative advantage of being home to many medicinal and aromatic plants found only in the region. The region also has various well-developed practices in traditional medicines (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, among others) based on indigenous knowledge of these plants’ medicinal and healing properties. Considering the global trade in medicinal and aromatic plants – now a US$60 billion industry and still growing, especially with the increasing demand worldwide for herbal medicines – the potential of MAPs to provide relief from poverty in South Asia, where 40% of the world’s poor reside, is tremendous, if it can be tapped.

However, issues of sustainable harvesting – the need to balance the push-and-pull factors of commercial demand on the one hand and conservation of these valuable plants and their contribution to biodiversity on the other – the need for greater value addition at the community level and for stronger farmer-industry collaboration to realise this, the need for commercial cultivation of important species, as well as for more research about the plants and more information including market information and market strategies and a more supportive policy in the region need to be addressed.

Considering the increasing value of medicinal and aromatic plants, both in terms of primary health care and as a critical source of livelihoods and income for the rural poor in the region, ICIMOD with support from the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), The Netherlands is implementing a four-year, US$1.68 million ‘Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Developing Sustainable Supply Chain and Enhancing Rural Livelihoods in the Eastern Himalayas’ Project in three countries, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, with India providing technical expertise. ICIMOD’s Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Programme in Asia (MAPPA) is the project’s implementing agency, with FAO’s Intergovernmental Sub-Group on Tropical Fruits providing a supervisory role.

The project’s overall objective is to conserve natural resources, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods for mountain communities of the Himalayan region through the sustainable development and utilisation of high-value, low-volume medicinal and aromatic plants. A recently concluded three-day inception workshop in April launched the project with implementing partners in the three countries. Participants included representatives from nodal agencies (focal point organisations for the project in each country), research and academic institutes, NGOs, and the private sector. The project will take consideration of each country’s priorities and special characteristics.

For more information, please contact:

RBS Rawat, Regional Programme Coordinator
Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Programme in Asia (MAPPA)
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Khumaltar, P.O. Box 3226
Kathmandu, Nepal
E-mail: [email protected]


40. The 200 sites that are home to the world’s rarest beasts

Source: Times Online, UK, 9 June 2007

Conservationists have identified the world’s most exclusive wildlife habitats to try to increase the chances of saving rare and endangered species from extinction.

The 200 sites contain high proportions of creatures seen nowhere else in the world and were named as the places where new species are most likely to evolve.

The researchers who drew up the list based it on the number, diversity and rarity of animals living in any one wildlife habitat. Animals living in the top 200 habitats include the newly identified Bornean clouded leopard, orangutans, wallabies and lemurs.

The most exclusive habitat was named as the temperate forests of the Juan Fernández islands, off the west coast of Chile, which contain four unique species of vertebrates.

Island habitats, where animals can evolve in isolation, dominate the top 50 locations and include the Galápagos Islands, which helped to guide Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the British dependent territories of Tristan da Cunha, St Helena and South Georgia.

Highland habitats, which provide challenging and often isolated environments for creatures that live in them, were the second most exclusive type, followed by continental lowlands.

Researchers found that rain-forests in Sri Lanka were the most important of the highland areas, boasting such rare animals as the Kelaart’s long-clawed shrew and the lionhead agama, a type of lizard.

Next in importance came the Central Andean wet puna in South America, where the marbled four-eyed frog and the puna mouse live, then the Albertine rift forests in Central Africa, which are home to 1,155 animal species, including the gorilla and chimpanzee.

Brendan Godley, the editor of the journal Endangered Species Research, in which the study was published, said: “It takes a novel approach to generating a truly global view of biodiversity patterns to help inform conservation.”

For full story, please see:


41. Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products Research

Source: Rainforest Matters, May 2007, [email protected]

In 1989, with support from Elysabeth Kleinhans, the Rainforest Alliance began to study the management and use of tropical forest resources including Brazil nuts, rattan, fruits and medicinal plants. These non-timber forest products (NTFPs) not only provide communities with medicines, food, firewood and an important source of income, but can also serve as an incentive to protect the integrity of forest ecosystems.

The Kleinhans Fellowship synthesizes elements of conservation and business -- promoting study of the ecology of tropical forests, resources with economic potential, local and international markets and the logistical and economic challenges inherent in bringing those products to market. Kleinhans Fellows focus on products found in primary or secondary forests, encourage the reforestation of degraded forests, build on the knowledge of native forest inhabitants, and add value to forest products through processing.

By providing solid research data into NTFP supply, Kleinhans Fellows also help to develop markets for sustainably harvested NTFPs, which can alleviate some of the pressure that timber harvesting and other land uses place on forests. Their research can also serve as a model for other communities seeking opportunities for sustainable resource extraction from tropical forests.



42. RECOFTC Study Tour on Non-Timber Forest Products: Sustainable Management for Sustainable Livelihoods

24-30 July 2007

Thailand, with visits to several provinces in country areas.

What you will learn about Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs):

• How community-managed NTFPs contribute to rural livelihoods

• The importance of local knowledge to develop NTFPs

• Management of diverse stakeholders

• The range of NTFP markets; how to identify and build them

• Strategies to balance resource management and income generation


• Visit communities/projects that utilize NTFPs for livelihood improvement

• Discuss with local people how they have adapted their traditional knowledge (eg, silviculture techniques) for income-generating activities

• Learn how the sustainable management of NTFPs can enhance both forest resources and livelihoods

• Learn about the market development of NTFPs and the roles that local groups and external agencies play in that process

More information:

Or contact: Ms. Leela Wuttikrabundit, [email protected]


43. International conference to promote the development of non-timber forest products and services

19-21 September 2007

Beijing, China

For decades, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and services have generated high expectations due to their potential to combine forest management and conservation with income generation. Efforts to increase the role of NTFPs by improving the management, conservation and marketing of NTFPs and forest services are under way in many parts of the world. However, progress has often been less than hoped for and expected.

There is an urgent need to consolidate lessons learned among ITTO members including on how best to encourage more private investment in the sector. ITTO, in cooperation with the Ministry of Commerce and the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China, will therefore convene an International Conference to Promote the Development of Non-Timber Forest Products and Services from 19 to 21 September 2007, in Beijing, China.


The conference will:

• bring producers, traders and consumers together to share experiences in promoting NTFPs in domestic and international trade;

• study opportunities to promote the development of NTFPs and forest services that can improve the economic attractiveness of maintaining the forest resource base; and

• make recommendations on policy and other measures to promote the sustainable production of NTFPs and the sustainable provision of forest services.

The ITTO conference will address these issues through keynote presentations and panel discussions.


Participants will include decision-makers and experts from governments, companies and cooperatives, industry associations, local communities, and international and non-governmental organizations.

The conference will be open to all interested participants and there will be no fees for participation, except for those fees associated with pre- and post- conference tours to NTFP centres.

Conference program

The conference program will consist of:

• three days of keynote presentations and panel discussions by experts in the field;

• discussions on technical papers highlighting on-the-ground experiences with NTFPs and forest services;

• optional (fee-based) pre/post-conference tours to NTFP processing centres in China.

The language of the conference will be English, with the opening and closing speeches delivered in Chinese.


The conference is sponsored by ITTO, with the support of the Ministry of Commerce and the State Forestry Administration of the People's Republic of China.

The conference is being organized by ITTO and the Chinese Academy of Forestry in technical collaboration with the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Registration and visa information

ITTO will post a Registration Form for the conference together with more details on in the coming months. Information on obtaining entry visas for the People's Republic of China will also be provided.

For other visa services, please visit the website of the Chinese Embassy in your country of residence.

For more information, please contact:

ITTO Secretariat
Forest Industry Division
Tel: +81 45 223 1110
Fax: +81 45 223 1111
Email: [email protected]


44. Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity

29 October - 2 November 2007

Trondheim, Norway

The fifth Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity will be hosted by the Norwegian government in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This year's conference is entitled 'Ecosystems and people - biodiversity for development'.

The conference will provide input to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and its preparations for the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP-9) in Germany in 2008. It will focus on the critical role of biodiversity and ecosystems in providing goods and services that are necessary for human well-being and security and for economic development. Key objectives will be to:

• illustrate and highlight the role of biodiversity in poverty alleviation and in reaching the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDG)

• consider progress on the goal to achieve by 2010 “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth”

• provide insights and inspiration for enhanced implementation of CBD’s Strategic Plan.

For more information, please contact:

Directorate for Nature Management. 7485 Trondheim, Norway
Phone: +47 73 58 05 00, Fax +47 73 58 05 01, E-mail: [email protected]

See link to full text for more details:



45. 3rd Global Summit on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (GOSMAP-3)

21-23 November 2007

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Medicinal plants in many forms have been used since the ancient time in traditional medicine and for health care. Aromatic plants and their products, particularly the essential oils, are also becoming more important. Traditional medicine is, at the present time, accepted as an alternative for or used in conjunction with the western medical practice in many countries. The 3rd Global Summit on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants is therefore being organized to provide a forum for the scientists, researchers, representatives from the medical and pharmaceutical industries as well as traditional medicine to discuss, share the ideas, information and experiences for future collaboration in the global development of medicinal and aromatic plant industries.

The theme of the Summit will be “Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Health Care” with the emphasis on the following subtopics:

- Cultivation and quality standardization

- Sustainable role of medicinal and aromatic plants in health care

- Safety and efficacy of phytomedicines and phytocosmetics

- Isolation and characterization of bioactive substances from medicinal and aromatic plants

- Nanotechnology in pharmaceutical, phytocosmetics and natural products

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Thaneeya Chetiyanukornkul, Secretariat

International Centre, UNISERV, Chiang Mai University

239 Huay Keaw Road, Chiang Mai 50200 THAILAND

Tel.: + (66-53) 942-861, Fax.: + (66-53) 942



46. Request for information: Theobroma grandiflorum

From: Victor Acosta, Peru, [email protected]

Estoy interesado en el cultivo de copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum) muy en especial su aprovechamiento agroindustrial. Es así que deseo información sobre la elaboración de manteca de copoazu asi como también su utilización en la industria cosmética, perfumería (extracción de perfume por el procedimiento de maceración), fabricación de cosméticos.

Seguro de contar con una respuesta positiva, me suscribo de Uds.

I am interested in the culture of copoazu (Theobroma grandiflorum) and especially its agro-industrial advantage. I am looking therefore for information on the butter elaboration of copoazu asi and its use in the cosmetic industry, in perfumes (perfume extraction by the maceration procedure) and in the manufacture of cosmetics.



47. Bamboo books and reports

From: Fu Jinhe , INBAR, [email protected]

Zhang Peixing. 2006 Chinese Bamboo Museum. ISBN 7-80735-029-6/s3.30.

In both Chinese and English.

The book consists of 5 chapters with beautiful photographs and exact written description. These chapters provide a historical record of the various categories, including Introduction, Collected Items, Eco-garden, Science Propaganda, Tourism and Sightseeing. The Collected Items refers to bamboo history, uses, resources, cultivation and cultures; Eco-garden demonstrate copious bamboo species and innovative ecological gardens; Science Propaganda introduces the scientific research, propaganda of science, education, and international exchange; Tourism and Sightseeing presents the perfect facilities, activities organized and significant benefits. About 300 bamboo species in the museum are listed in the addendum.

Zhang Hongliang. 2006. Gardening and Landscaping. ISBN 978-7-80735-187-0.

English abstract.

The large format display book Bamboo for Gardening and Landscaping briefly addresses the history and status in quo of bamboo in garden and landscape, expects the future of bamboo for gardening and landscaping, summarizes the technology of bamboo gardening and landscaping, and gives out many examples of their applications. It shows the development of using bamboos in gardens, forecasts the uses of bamboo in modern gardening, summarizes the techniques of bamboo landscaping and gives abundant examples of these applications. More than 108 bamboo species (including taxon below species) from Yangtze Delta area are described in details, including their morphological characteristics information on size, native habitat, cultivation and management, ornamental characteristics and applications in garden and landscape. Finally the book introduces bamboo physiological ecology, suitable sites, and cultivation and management in gardening and landscaping, temperature requirements, native range, physi landscape and other uses. It is both rich in practicability and readability with a great number of vivid pictures and concise simple way while explaining. This book can serve as a great professional reference for any gardeners, bamboo researchers, university students or teachers majoring in gardening or related subjects.

Bamboo Study Tour to China – report

The report of a recent bamboo study tour to China can be found at:

For more information, please contact:

Fu Jinhe Ph. D.
Senior Program Officer, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR)
Coordinator of IUFRO 5.11.05 Bamboo and Rattan
International Director of ABS Board of Directors
Beijing 100102-86, P.R. China
Fax: +86-10-6470 2166
Email: [email protected]


48. International Journal of Ecology & Development (IJED)

From: Kaushal K. Srivastava, Editor-in-Chief, IJED, [email protected]

The main aim of the International Journal of Ecology & Development (IJED) is to publish refereed, well-written original research articles, and studies that describe the latest research and developments in ecology and development. It also covers the many potential applications and connections to other areas of Ecological Science, economics and technology such as the use and development of mathematics/statistics in ecology or use and development of economics for ecology & development or inter-disciplinary nature of applications for Ecology & Development.

IJED is published three issues in a year in Winter, Summer and Fall by ISDER.

The online Contents and Abstract of Summer 2007 issue can be viewed at:


49. The Promise of Non-Timber Forest Products: Roadmaps to Success?

Source: Frances Seymour(CIFOR), [email protected]

Ever since environmentalists celebrated rubber tappers as saviours of the Amazon rainforest in the1980s, making money from non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been hailed as a win-win proposition: forest communities could earn income while protecting the forest. But two recent studies suggest that capturing those “wins” is harder than we thought.

Research led by CIFOR analyzed the experiences of 55 cases of NTFP commercialization from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In “Balancing Development and Conservation?”, an article published in Ecology and Society, Koen Kusters and his colleagues conclude that the more NTFPs are exploited for livelihoods, the less they contribute to forest conservation. At the species level, commercial extraction of wild products tends to lead to their depletion. In contrast, NTFP production has a positive conservation impact at the landscape scale by providing a more environmentally-friendly alternative to agriculture and other land uses.

Another study examined the experiences of 18 cases of NTFP commercialization in Bolivia and Mexico. In Commercialization of Non-Timber Forest Products, Elaine Marshall and her colleagues report that NTFPs are important to the livelihoods of the rural poor. NTFPs provide between seven and 95 percent of annual household cash income, and offer a safety net when other sources of income fail. The authors analyze NTFP value chains, and the ways in which poor producers, processors, and traders can increase their share of profits. Undermining the negative stereotype of middlemen, the study finds that intermediaries play a critical role in helping communities gain access to markets and financial support.

Marshall and her co-authors emphasize that even defining “success” for NTFP commercialization is a challenge. Such projects tend to have multiple objectives – including both conservation and development – and complex value chains involving many actors at several levels. The case studies illustrate the trade-offs among those objectives, actors, and levels; what is more successful from one perspective may be less successful from another. Accordingly, the authors stress the importance of jointly identifying criteria for success with key stakeholders.

Drawing from the two studies, Brian Belcher and Kathrin Schreckenberg assess the risks of promoting NTFP commercialization. In the article, “Commercialization of Non-timber Forest Products: A Reality Check”, published in Development Policy Review, they caution that NTFP commercialization can have negative impacts on the poor, as poor households are ill-equipped to compete with local elites to capture new opportunities for increased income. To increase the odds of success, they suggest that reforming the national policy environment for NTFPs may be at least as important as direct support to local communities: regulations developed for the harvest and trade of timber products are often inappropriately applied to NTFPs. Policy-level interventions can also address constraints on small enterprise development such as access to credit.

NTFP commercialization has proven unreliable as a vehicle for avoiding conservation and development trade-offs, and there is no single road to success. But these studies provide roadmaps to help us define our destination, and to navigate the obstacles, detours, and occasional shortcuts we are likely to encounter along the way.

If you would like to receive a free copy of the paper by Koen Kusters et al or Brian Belcher et al, please email [email protected]. The paper by Kusters could also be downloaded from .


50. Other publications of interest

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Adepoju, Adenike Adebusola; Salau, Adekunle Sheu 2007. Economic Valuation of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs). 18 p.

Apte, T (2006) A People's Plan for Biodiversity Conservation: Creative Strategies That Work (and Some That Don't). Gatekeeper Series No 130, IIED, London

The report is available to download from

Braun, L. 2006. Pine bark extract. Journal of Complementary Medicine; 5(6): 67-70, 90

Cañellas, I. Roig, S. Poblaciones, MJ. Gea-Izquierdo, G. Olea, L. 2007. An approach to acorn production in Iberian dehesas. Agroforestry Systems, volume 70, issue 1

Acorn production is one of the most important products in silvopastoral systems in the Mediterranean region. In the present study we carried out two preliminary trials to analyze the distribution of production over time and the effect of pruning. The objective was to develop tools to manage this valuable resource within these systems. In the first part of the study, we analyzed the total acorn production of a holm oak stand, and its seasonal distribution (October–January) over two years (1997–1998 and 1998–1999) in five sites in the southwest of Spain. Mean total acorn production ranged from 590 to 830 kg ha−1. There was considerable variation between the different sites and years studied, as was expected from studies on other oak species. A comparison was also made of acorn production, comparing annual acorn production between 40 pruned and 40 non-pruned trees, for the period 1994–1999. There was an interaction between ‘pruning treatment’ and ‘year’. Pruning, significantly decreased acorn production in all but two years when production was above the average, whereas production was not affected by pruning the three years that acorn yield was below the average. The study of acorn production and the analysis of the effect of pruning, need to be studied over a longer time period.

Case, M.A., Flinn, K.M., Jancaitis, J., Alley, A., and Paxton, A. 2007. Declining abundance of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) documented by herbarium specimens. Biol. Conserv. 134(1):22-30.

Edderai, D., and Dame, M. 2006. A census of the commercial bushmeat market in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Oryx 40(4):472-475.

Forget, P.M., and Jansen, P.A. 2007. Hunting increases dispersal limitation in the tree Carapa procera, a nontimber forest product. Conserv. Biol. 21(1):106-113.

Mayers, James. 2007. Trees, poverty and targets. Forests and the Millennium Development Goals. IIED Briefing Paper

Where are the forests in the MDGs? When players in the forestry world get together they are good at setting goals. They are a good match for the political leaders that gave us the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Since the 1980s there has been a proliferation of international dialogues dealing with forests and, a bit like the football World Cup, every four years or so they come up with a feast of goals. If forestry goals were all we needed to make progress, then sustainable and pro-poor forestry would have long since become a worldwide reality. Of course, implementation still lags well behind aspiration, but at least there is now a considerable body of international knowledge and agreement on how forests can contribute to development.

To view report, please visit:

McManis, Charles (ed.). 2007. Biodiversity & the Law. Intellectual Property, Biotechnology & Traditional Knowledge. Earthscan.

The first part of the book examines biodiversity and examines what are we losing, why and looks at what is to be done. The second part addresses biotechnology and looks at whether it is part of the solution or part of the problem, or perhaps both. The third section examines traditional knowledge, explains what it is and how, if at all, it should be protected. The fourth and final part looks at ethnobotany and bioprospecting and offers practical lessons from the vast and diverse experiences of the contributors.

For more info and to order online:

Mooney, E.H., and McGraw, J.B. 2007. Alteration of selection regime resulting from harvest of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. Conserv. Genet. 8(1):57-67.

Ndanyalasi, H.J., Bitariho, R., and Dovie, D.B.K. 2007. Harvesting of non-timber forest products and implications for conservation in two montane forests of East Africa. Biol. Conserv. 134(2):242-250.

Pilz, David; McLain, Rebecca; Alexander, Susan; Villarreal-Ruiz, Luis; Berch, Shannon; Wurtz, Tricia L.; Parks, Catherine G.; McFarlane, Erika; Baker, Blaze; Molina, Randy; Smith, Jane E. 2007. Ecology and management of morels harvested from the forests of western North America. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-710. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 161 p.

Download a copy in segments from the USFS PNW Research Station web site at:
or download the entire combined document at:

or order hardcopies for free at:

Silori, C.S. 2007. Perception of local people towards conservation of forest resources in Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, north-western Himalaya, India. Biodivers. Conserv. 16(1):211-222.

Staniskiene, B; Matusevicius and Budreckiene, P. 2006. Honey as an indicator of environmental pollution. Environmental Research, Engineering and Management; (2): 53-58

Taylor, L and Griffiths T (2007) A Desk-Based Review of the Treatment of Indigenous People's and Social Issues in Large and Medium-Sized GEF Biodiversity Projects (2005-2006). Forest Peoples Programme, Moreton-in-Marsh.

The report is available to download from

Willcox, A.S., and Nambu, D.M. 2007. Wildlife hunting practices and bushmeat dynamics of the Banyangi and Mbo people of Southwestern Cameroon. Biol. Conserv. 134(2):251-261.

Willis, K.J., Araújo, M.B., Bennett, K.D., Figueroa-Rangel, B., Froyd, C.A., and Myers, N. 2007. How can a knowledge of the past help to conserve the future? Biodiversity conservation and the relevance of long-term ecological studies. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London. [Biol.] 362(1478):175-186.

Wunder, S. 2007. The efficiency of payments for environmental services in tropical conservation. Conserv. Biol. 21(1):48-58.


51. Web sites and e-zines

From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

ForestHarvest – NTFP in Scotland

Learning for Sustainability (LfS)

This website aims to provide a practical resource for proponents of multi-stakeholder learning processes. It recognizes that social learning is an ongoing process which underpins health and other sustainable development initiatives, rather than an outcome to be achieved.

This international guide to on-line resources is designed for government and agency staff, NGOs, researchers and other community leaders working in peace, community development, public health, forestry, catchment and natural resource management. It acts as a gathering point for resources that have been developed in these separate sectors, and supports the sharing of ideas across sectors. The site structure highlights a number of activity areas or strands that are prerequisites for social learning, and points to how these strands are woven together in practice. These strands include networking, dialogue, adaptive management, knowledge management and evaluation. The growing role of the Internet is treated as a separate section.

A research methods and approaches section has links to action research resources, material on doing integrated and interdisciplinary research, a listing of on-line journals in these areas, and it hosts the IntSci (Integrated Science for sustainability) discussion network.

This new site will replace the NRM-changelinks site which has provided links in this area since 1998. The new Learning for Sustainability website is designed to provide site users with improved layout and easier navigation. The change is not just cosmetic - previous NRM-changelinks visitors will find significantly new content, and a new structure to guide the site content and navigation.

Feed back on the LearningForSustainability site - - is welcomed. If you have particular guides on the Internet that you find useful in practice please suggest them as a future resource to add and share with others.

For more information, please contact:

Dr Will Allen
E-mail: [email protected]

Rainforest educational resource, a leading tropical rainforest information web site, has now made available a rainforest educational resource in 19 languages. The site explains what constitutes a tropical rainforest, why they are important, why they are threatened, and how they can be saved.



52 China tiger trade ban won't last, official says

Source: Reuters, 19 June 2007 (in ENN News)

BEIJING -- China will inevitably lift its ban on the trade of tiger bones and body parts, a wildlife official told state media, saying groups seeking to profit from the government's captive-bred tigers were too strong to resist.

China was rebuked last week at a U.N. wildlife conference after it said it planned to lift a domestic ban that has been in place since 1993 if a scientific review proved it would reduce poaching and help stocks of wild tigers worldwide.

"The ban is in place," Wang Wei, wildlife deputy director at the State Forestry Administration told Tuesday's China Daily. "But it is open for review ... The ban won't be there forever, given the strong voices from tiger farmers, experts and society," Wang said. "It will be a waste if the resources of dead tigers are not used in traditional medicine," he added.

Beijing has come under intense pressure from companies seeking to cash in on local demand for tiger bones and parts in traditional Chinese medicine. Tiger bones are used to treat everything from skin disease and convulsions to laziness, malaria and rheumatism.

The country only has about 30 tigers left in the wild but keeps about 5,000 in several commercial breeding farms around the country.

At a meeting in The Hague last week, John Sellar, senior enforcement officer at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), criticised China's intensive breeding programmes as having "limited" potential for conservation.

A farm in the country's south also had openly flouted the tiger trade ban by serving tiger meat in its on-site restaurant, Sellar said.

Wang said Chinese research suggested the trade in captive-bred tigers, growing at about 1,000 every year, would not affect conservation efforts. "Authorised breeding and trade might, in fact, benefit the survival of the tiger", Wang said, given that people "would not risk penalties to hunt in the wild".

But conservationists warn that any relaxation in the ban would result in a massive surge in demand for tiger parts and increased poaching of wild tigers.

There are believed to be only 5,000 to 7,000 tigers remaining in the wild.

For full story, please see:


53. New species of tree discovered

Source: BBC News UK, 14 June 2007

A new species of tree that is not thought to grow anywhere else in the world has been found on an island off the west coast of Scotland.

Two specimens of the newly-named Catacol whitebeam (Sorbus pseudomeincichii) were discovered by researchers on the Isle of Arran.

The tree is cross between the native rowan and whitebeam.

The discovery followed work by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Dougarie Estate and Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens.

A team from the Royal Botanic Gardens has been collecting seeds and cuttings to ensure the long-term survival of the trees.

Work is also underway to protect the two specimens on Arran.

For full story, please see:


54. One billion trees plan on track

Source: Reuters, 23.5.07 in Carbon Positive, Netherlands

A campaign to plant a billion trees is on track for success after worldwide commitments reached the magic number this week.

Total planting pledges reached 1.01 billion when Ethiopia announced a plan to plant 60 million trees under the campaign. The UN Environment Programme is overseeing the campaign and will verify all pledges.

So far only 14 million seedlings have been planted and the campaign’s initiator, Kenya’s Wangari Maathai, says “the challenge now is to tell the world to go dig holes and plant seedlings. I've no doubt we will achieve our goal.”

The initiative is designed to offset the 13 million hectares of forest lost each year globally, mainly in Africa, Asia and South America.

Maathai’s Green Belt Movement has previously succeeded in a programme to plant 30 million trees in Africa, earning her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.

For full story, please see:


55. Republic of Korea begins program to plant 1.5 million trees in Mongolia desert

Source: Mongolia Web News, Mongolia, 8 June 2007

The Republic of Korea has launched a program to plant over 1.5 million trees in Mongolia to stem the encroaching desert.

During a Sunday ceremony in Ulaabaatur, officials of the Korea Forestry Service (KFS) were joined by Mongolian officials to begin the $9.5 million U.S. program.

The Republic of Korea’s interest in planting trees is to reduce yellow dust and sandstorms originating in Mongolia. The tree planting program is an outcome of a 2006 agreement reached on environmental issues between Mongolia and the Republic of Korea.

The trees will be planted in designated green belt areas in Dalanzadgad and Lung Soum.

Some ten types of trees will be planted including Chinese pea trees and aspens, which are able to thrive in desert areas.

For full story, please see:



This list is for information related to any aspect of non-wood forest products.

Cross-postings related to non-wood forest products are welcome.

Information on this mailing list can be reproduced and distributed freely as long as they are cited.

Contributions are edited primarily for formatting purposes. Diverse views and materials relevant to NWFPs are encouraged. Submissions usually appear in the next issue. Issues are bi-monthly on average.

To join the list, please send an e-mail to: [email protected] with the message: subscribe NWFP-Digest-L

To make a contribution once on the list, please send an e-mail to the following address: [email protected]

To unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to: [email protected]

with the message: unsubscribe NWFP-Digest-L

For technical help or questions contact [email protected]

Your information is secure--We will never sell, give or distribute your address or subscription information to any third party.

The designations employed and the presentation of materials in the NWFP-Digest-L do not necessarily imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

NWFP-Digest-L Sponsor:
Non-Wood Forest Products Programme
Forestry Department
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Fax: +39-06-570-55618
Web site NWFP programme:

last updated:  Friday, August 28, 2009