No. 3/11

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2011 International Year of Forests
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests. or











  • Bamboo: Ending the debate in India

Source: World Bamboo Organization Press Release, 5 February 2011

The World Bamboo Organization (WBO), a NGO based in Boston (USA), supports the position of Indian Union Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, to put an end to “the false Indian bamboo debate.”
In Paris (France), the new WBO President, Michel Abadie, said: “It is very strange to see a government debating on the classification of a plant like bamboo. Since the work of Carl von Linné, the father of modern taxonomy and modern ecology, everybody accepts that bamboo is not a tree. It is a giant graminoid (grass), of a family known now as Poaceae. Why do we need such debate? “
The debate over positioning bamboo started again in India just a few days ago when Nitin Sethi, journalist of The Indian Times published an article, “Bamboo puzzle stumps government” saying that: “The Union Forest and Environment Ministry has so far stuck to its guns and decided to call it a tree, in order to keep a tight control on the lucrative multi-crore business. Other ministries and departments have asked to define bamboo as a NTFP — allowing tribal and forest-dwelling people to secure better profits from selling it.  By simply putting bamboo on a list in the Forest Rights Act, the Forest Department has been able to control its use and trade, earning revenue for itself in return. Scientifically, bamboo has always been classified as grass and historically it was also treated as weed in the country when the colonial regulators wanted to clear it on a large scale.
Just consider that India, with 11 360 000 ha covered in bamboo, has by far a larger surface area than Brazil (with 9 300 000 ha) or China (with 5 444 000 ha). The world market for bamboo and bamboo products is fast growing with an amount of US$7 billion in 2010 and an expectation of US$15 -20 billion by 2017. One can easily see the perspectives of this very old but changing market, that the debate is more on development, economy and innovation. This is one reason why the WBO is coordinating the 9th World Bamboo Congress in 2012 on the future use of bamboo in Europe. The two-part event will take place 10-13 April 2012 in Antwerp (Belgium) and 17-21 September 2012 in Toulouse (France), focusing on innovations in bamboo development.
In India, many estimates put the annual trade in bamboo from Rs 10 000 crore to Rs 15 000 crore annually and suggest more than 15 percent annual growth in the business over the next five years with the paper pulp and construction industries being the lead buyers.
In a call to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture, Shri Sharad Pawar and Minister of State of Environment and Forest, Shri Jairam Ramesh, a group of people from the Centre for Civil Society in New Delhi declared, “We believe that the tribal communities need to be given better rights, control and revenue from the forests they live in or depend upon. And with declaration of bamboo as grass, we hope that the bamboo industry can flourish appropriately, helping save our forests and providing employment and livelihood to crores of people in the country.”
“Delisting bamboo from the 'timber list' is only the first step the government could take towards altering this regime in favour of people — the Environment Ministry is yet to do so formally. It is also not such a huge step, considering the Forest Rights Act already defines bamboo as a NTFP. So the government is merely acknowledging that it will adhere to the laws”, concludes Nitin Sethi.
For more information, please see:



  • Bushmeat: Chimpanzee meat found on sale in UK

Source: United Press International, 28 February 2011

Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain in a lucrative black market, authorities said.
Officials uncovered the illegal bushmeat from the endangered species while testing samples seized from vendors in the Midlands, the Daily Mail reported Monday.
"It is well known this practice is under way in the region but I was shocked to discover the meat that was tested was once a chimpanzee," a government source told the newspaper.
"Dubious meat is often tested, and has turned out to be things like rats and vermin in the past — but chimpanzee is unbelievable," the source said.
The word bushmeat is used to describe the flesh of wild animals hunted in places such as West and Central Africa, but also in Asia and the Americas. The meat, which can sell for more than US$15/pound, is part of a lucrative black market trade that experts say is "rife" in Europe.
At least five tons of bushmeat arrives in Europe every week to be distributed across the continent, said Marcus Rowcliffe, a research fellow at the Zoological Society of London. "I am not at all surprised that bushmeat is on sale in the Midlands because we know the trade is going on in the United Kingdom and that there is a regular flow of smuggled meat into the country," he said.
For full story, please see:



  • Chestnuts: American chestnut tree grows ready for a comeback

Source: Worcester Telegram in (USA), 30 January 2011

For decades the American chestnut — an icon of American and a vital component of Eastern U.S. forest ecology and economy — seemed lost for all time.
Even the combined resources of the Federal Government, state environmental agencies and plant scientists had failed to eradicate or slow the airborne pathogen that had killed billions of chestnut trees since first being identified in New York City in 1904.
But in 1983, a cadre of prominent plant scientists took another look at the American chestnut and its remorseless foe. Founding “The American Chestnut Foundation,” their goal was to develop a seed or nut that would produce a healthy chestnut tree with fully American chestnut characteristics, but above all: built into the chestnut's genetic makeup would be the blight resistance that allowed its cousin, the Chinese chestnut, to thrive throughout Asia, where the blight fungus originated.
It now appears that the foundation was successful.
The Foundation's path to success was predicated on breeding blight resistance from the Chinese chestnut tree into the American chestnut tree, while maintaining the American chestnut's characteristics.
Before the blight, wildlife species from birds to bears had come to rely on the productive chestnut's annual nut harvest. Humans competed for the same harvest, gathering chestnuts in bushel baskets to use or sell as inexpensive food for livestock, or for their own consumption.
In rural communities, the chestnut lumber industry flourished with the straight-grained and easily worked, lightweight and rot-resistant wood an ideal material for fashioning into fence posts, rail ties, barn beams, home construction and fine furniture.
For full story, please see:



  • Edible Insects: The buzz around eating insects

Source: Boston University News, 1 February 2011

James Traniello not only studies bugs, but he has eaten them, too. A researcher at Boston University, Traniello’s tastes might seem dangerously adventurous to many, but he is not alone. No less a body than the United Nations is among a growing crowd of experts endorsing the nutritional, environmental, and gustatory joys of Entomology.
Last fall, FAO created a website devoted to the bug. The UN says 2.5 billion people worldwide consume insects, which are dietary staples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The consensus among Boston University (BU) experts: nutritionally and environmentally, eating insects is a home run. But convincing bug-averse Americans to dig in is another story.
“The protein content is comparable to that of conventional meat,” says the UN site. “The essential amino acids are often present, but the protein quality of each insect should be considered. The fibre content (chitin from the exoskeleton) is higher than in conventional meat but comparable to that of cereal grains.” More than 1 000 species are eaten around the world, providing “a significant source of short-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, a good source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins.”
The body processes insect protein more efficiently than it does plant protein, says Caroline Apovian, a BU School of Medicine Associate Professor; for example, eating protein-rich legumes by themselves will not necessarily give you needed proteins. “You have got to have beans with your rice to get the complement of amino acids,” she says. “It is helpful to have a protein source with the full complement of amino acids, which bugs do.”
There is another benefit: in our era of global warming worries, bug-growing is more environmentally benign than raising livestock, an industry that contributes almost one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to Time magazine. It takes 869 gallons of water to produce one-third of a pound of beef, versus much less for the same amount of grasshoppers.
But how do you breed enough to produce appreciable volumes of food? Countries like Thailand have commercial insect farms; a 1992 paper by a University of Wisconsin Entomologist put the harvest of mopane worms (a caterpillar and key food source in Africa) in southern Africa at US$85 million and 10 billion bugs a year, although he acknowledged that insects would be a “small-farm production” industry. The New York Times, however, notes that most countries where insects are a staple still suffer from hunger.
For full story, please see:



  • Edible Insects: Speaking out for insect cuisine

Source: America Online News, 22 February 2011

"It was 10 years ago when I was getting my anthropology degree and studying pre-Columbian food in the Yucatan region of Mexico that I ate my first insect," reminisced Daniella Martin to AOL News.
Back before Christopher Columbus' arrival, the amount of big game in that area was very small, so the locals relied on insects for their protein in bugged-out dishes like "chapulines," a tasty treat from the Mexican state of Oaxaca that combines dry-roasted grasshoppers with lime and chili.
Edible insect advocate Daniella Martin loves creating insect treats, such as a scorpion cupcake made with a flour of ground-up crickets. "I actually was in Oaxaca and, as a lark, I purchased a small bag of chapulines," she said. "I started eating them and was immediately surrounded by street kids eating off my table." Martin found it to be a wonderful form of cultural immersion.
"There is no shortage of good logical science behind the idea of insects as food," she said. "They are a good source for animal protein and can be easily implemented in regions where it is hard to grow crops.
"However, insects need rebranding!" Martin is hoping to do just that by becoming "an edible insect advocate." One of her projects is “Girl Meets Bug,” a web site where she offers cooking tips on the proper way to prepare larva tacos. She is also part of a loose-knit cricket-eating collective of women who are trying show that bug eating is not exclusive to 8-year-old boys daring each other on the playground.
Designer Rosanna Yau is another woman who has plans on getting Americans —especially American women — to eat more bugs and did a thesis on whether elements such as branding or packaging would make the concept more palatable.
Rosanna Yau is studying ways that design might help influence Americans to be more open to eating insects such as mealworms.
"The biggest challenge is identifying a cultural identity with a product," she said. "Do people identify with insects? How do the people likely to eat insects see themselves? As foodies? As adventurous?"
Right now, the biggest markets for boosting bug-eating are "first adopting foodies," the folks most likely to jump on something that seems new or different, and people who are familiar with ethnic cultures where insects are eaten.
Yau has theorized about creating brands for foods, such as "Opoda," which is an offshoot of the word "arthropod," the word for creatures with crunchy exoskeletons, and experimenting with transparent packaging that would let people the product, but admits that we may be a few decades from converting the populous into insectivores.
"The question is now, how do you sell something that people are not sure they want?"
Dianne Guilfoyle may have the answer: by having it provide a solution for problems presented by other products on the market. Guilfoyle is working on Bug Muscle, a nutritional supplement for bodybuilders made from the phylum of various bugs.
"The exact amount of bugs can differ, but it is 80 percent crickets and grasshoppers," she said. The product's patent is still pending, but Guilfoyle is confident that Bug Muscle will make its way onto the market by the end of the year, mainly because her target market —bodybuilders and cage fighters — is looking for something different than what is on the market.”
Moreover, "Look at the impact farms have on ecosystems," she said. "Insects have much less. As the population increases, we will have to rely on insects for our diet."
For full story, please see:



  • Fungi that make fuel discovered

Source: Montana State University in, 25 February 2011

"Mycodiesel" is a novel name applied to the volatile organic products made by fungi that have fuel potential. The latest discovery is that of an endophytic Hypoxylon/Nodulosporium species, or one that lives within a plant, that makes the compound cineole along with a number of other cyclohexanes (colourless, flammable liquids found in petroleum crude oil and volcanic gases) and compounds with enormous fuel potential.
Cineole is of special interest since it has been shown that it can be added to gasoline. Cineole, having an odour of a eucalyptus tree, had in fact been previously known only from higher plant sources. Now it seems that it can be made by fermentation. Its placement in the market will have to await fungal strain improvement, and other developmental factors needed to optimize its production. In addition, engine testing will be necessary to learn if modifications in design will be needed to handle the new Mycodiesels.
Finally, a close examination of the volatile organic products of a number of endophytic fungi reveals that these products and their related substances are the principal ingredients of regular diesel fuel. Such compounds are the cyclic and straight-chained hydrocarbons such as octane, heptane and cyclohexane followed by the benzene and naphthalene derivatives.
It turns out that many of the compounds found in diesel fuel are either directly found as fungal products or other products that are closely related. This along with a number of other arguments suggests that some or all of the world's crude oil may have originated from microbial sources. Therefore, as the vast amount of organic matter in the world began the processes of decay, the reduced organic products resulting from these processes may have been trapped in the numerous shales of the Earth. It is from these sources that crude oil is mostly recovered.



  • Honey in the USA: Lawmakers in Nebraska advance bill to define honey

Source: The Associated Press in, 24 February 2011

Nebraska lawmakers have given second-round approval to a bill that would give the state an official definition of pure honey.
The bill by state Senator Annette Dubas would establish a formal definition for honey.
Dubas has said the measure is meant to ensure there would be a way to resolve disputes over whether a product being sold as pure honey is truly pure.
If the measure is enacted, products will not be labelled as honey unless they meet the standard trade groups suggested.
The bill must go through a final round of consideration to be passed.
For full story, please see:



  • Honey in Australia: Study produces sweet result for medicine

Source: (Australia), 1 March 2011

Honey from an Australian native myrtle (from the genus Lagerstroemia) has been found to contain the most powerful anti-bacterial properties of any medicinal honey in the world.
Medicinal honeys contain an anti-bacterial agent that can be used to treat wounds and viruses. A team including researchers from the University of Queensland (Australia) and the State Government found native myrtle honey has very high levels of the ingredient known as MGO (Methylglyoxal).
The chief executive of a company involved in the research, Carolyn MacGill, says the honey could prove useful in treating infections resistant to antibiotics.
"Recently there was a conference in New South Wales based on the overuse of penicillin and penicillin derivatives, and this hopefully will pose an option for them to look at this type of honey for MRSA and staph-type infections," she said.
Ms MacGill says the honey will also be beneficial in wound care. “It will have a huge impact, particularly in the wound care market as these patients become more resilient to the penicillin products," she said.
"They need to look for alternatives and fortunately this is a natural alternative that has been available for some time, but unknown," she said.



  • Maple syrup: U.S. maple sugaring season kicks off amid thaw

Source: Reuters, 18 February 2011

The sugar maple trees are tapped and their rich sap is starting to drain into buckets across New England (USA), as a midwinter thaw heralds the start of the fleeting syrup production season.
But challenges loom for local harvesters, racing against time and the elements to gather enough sap to boil into the sweet delicacy, first cultivated centuries ago by Native American communities.
Despite the thaw, snow piles of 3 ft in the northern woods and high snowbanks along back roads after the stormy January have complicated the start of sugaring season. The need to strap on bulky snowshoes or fire up snowmobiles to set taps and haul away sap in the widespread maple groves has slowed them down a bit, producers say. And if setting-up is delayed for what is a mere four-to six-week season, and temperatures become too warm, too fast, sugaring can seem like it is ending before it begins, experts say.
Harvesters need an extended pattern of mild days and chilly nights for the sap to run.
"It means getting started earlier than you normally would, because it is going to take a lot of time in the woods," said Brian Stowe, head of sugaring operations at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Centre, in Underhill Centre.
Snowfall hit its highest since 2001 in Vermont, the biggest U.S. maple syrup producer, Stowe said this week. "I have heard a lot of people say that they are a little bit behind this year on tapping," he said.
Vermont produced a whopping 890 000 gallons of maple syrup last year, nearly half of the nation's total haul of 1.96 million gallons. Further south in Massachusetts, hopes are high for a major turnaround after a dismal 2010 season, figured as the worst on record in many counties. Temperatures warmed too quickly last year, slashing the sap run to just three weeks.
Aside from weather, the Asian longhorned beetle, brought to North America from China, has plagued native U.S. hardwood trees, including sugar maples, in Massachusetts and New York, the nation's second-largest syrup producer. The insects are remarkably destructive to trees as they bore holes in the bark to deposit their eggs.
In Maine, the third-largest syrup producer, experts fret less about the snow and the beetles than they do about the unpredictability of February-to-April temperatures.
"Larger producers get started early, because with a big sugarbush (maple orchard), you have to get at it early on," said Kathy Hopkins with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Skowhegan. "So a lot of places are tapped and ready to go."
There are pluses to snow, too. If temperatures warm overly fast, snow helps trees stay cool at night, keeping the sap flowing longer into early spring. It also provides much-needed moisture to the maples.
Ideally, in the previous summer, trees will get abundant sunshine and some rain to help produce necessary carbohydrates internally, much of which maples store over wintertime.
To produce syrup, the purest sap is boiled until it concentrates into an amber nectar. Forty gallons of sap make about one gallon of syrup.
For full story, please see:



  • Medicinal plants: Special programme for inter-generational knowledge exchange in Sri Lanka

Source: Sri Lanka Daily News, 27 January 2011

A special program to transmit the medical healing methods and knowledge about medicinal plants to the children of the Aboriginal Community has been launched.
Under this program the Elders of the Aboriginal Community world are encouraged to impart their knowledge to their young ones. Action will also be taken to record data about medicinal plants and the biodiversity, a press release by the Ayurveda Department said.
The Aboriginal Community will also be educated about the medicinal plants of economic value so as to encourage them to cultivate them and earn an income by arranging marketing facilities.
For full story, please see:



  • Moringa to empower farmers in Benin

Source: Media Global, 10 February 2011

In the fields of Benin, a green revolution has placed local farmers at the forefront of the battle against malnutrition. With the establishment of Association Béninoise du Moringa (ABM), Beninese farmers have expanded the production and promotion of moringa to nourish the ailing West African nation.
Widely acclaimed as a “miracle tree,” Moringa oleifera  is fast-growing and possesses multiple benefits, from nutritional leaves, flowers, and seeds, to drought-resistant roots and bark. Moringa leaves are usually consumed fresh in green salads, or sautéed. In health programs, leaves are dried and ground into powder, then sprinkled on any dish for instant nutritional boost.
It has been traditionally used in South and Central Asia, India, and the Middle East as livestock feed, biofuel, medicine, water purifying agent, and soil fertilizer, among many other uses.
In the mid-1990s, the US Peace Corps initiated moringa promotion in the country in keeping with nutritional campaigns all over West Africa. Despite such assistance, however, Benin has long lagged behind in the region, as compared to Niger, which has been producing moringa as a cash crop, and Senegal, which integrated moringa into HIV and AIDS treatment in the late 1990s.
In 2008, a pilot project in the town of Goumori drew closer attention to moringa. The first batch of moringa powder produced was sold out in one week, encouraging farmers to share their knowledge so others could grow the plant. As communities increasingly grasped the nutritional and economic benefits of moringa, volunteers and farmers saw the need for a mechanism to manage the future of moringa in Benin. Thus, ABM was born.
“We envisioned an organization that would promote moringa on a national scale and facilitate a market for moringa thereby taking the responsibility of promoting moringa and creating a market off the farmers themselves,” former US Peace Corps volunteer Christoph Herby told MediaGlobal.
Last August, the vision came to fruition at the widely participated launch of ABM.
The moringa industry in Benin has flourished notably as ABM facilitates more farmers growing moringa alongside other crops as an additional source of income, and as an affordable supplement for malnutrition.
Through ABM, efforts of farmers, which were usually confined in their own fields and villages, are stretched out to markets and other moringa producers across the country. “Ultimately the goal is to create nationwide demand for moringa powder, satisfied by a network of well-supervised moringa plantations,” said Herby.



  • Moringa, the “miracle tree” is launched in Sierra Leone

Source: ReliefWeb, 15 February 2011

For centuries, the people of northern India and many parts of Africa have known of the many benefits of Moringa oleifera. Its uses are as unique as the names by which it is known: Califer, Horseradish, and Drumstick, for instance, and, in East and West Africa, "Mother's Best Friend."
Native only to the foothills of the Himalayas, Moringa is now widely cultivated in Africa, Central America, South America, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This tree is nutritional dynamite. Virtually every part of it can be used, and there are hundreds of uses for it.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has played a pioneering role in the promotion of Moringa as a food supplement source in Africa for a decade. Its Sustainable Agriculture and Development unit (UMCOR SA&D) supports widespread cultivation and production of the plant in Ghana and Liberia.
UMCOR SA&D officially introduced Moringa into Sierra Leone in 2001. UMCOR SA&D provided formal training in Moringa cultivation to 150 farmers. They then taught other farmers about the plant and its uses. Afterward, the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) coordinated the efforts in the country to promote the use of moringa in for Africa.
These efforts culminated in the decision for a nationwide launch of the Moringa in Sierra Leone. Last October, a national conference was held in Freetown. It brought together interested and high-level participants from church and government.
Moringa leaves contain all of the amino acids that are essential to the human body, including two that are especially important for children. They also are the richest single natural source of vitamins and minerals on the face of the earth.
A family that has Moringa available for its use can virtually "grow multivitamins at their doorstep." This is because Moringa contains vitamins A,B1, B2, B3, C, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and zinc. Moringa contains some 46 antioxidants, which promote heart health and control the aging process. Moringa leaves and fruit are loaded with phytonutrients, which flush toxins from the body, purify the liver, bolster the immune system, help rebuild red blood cells, and rejuvenate the body at the cellular level.
For full story, please see:



  • Seabuckthorn may combat cancer

Source: Natural Products Insider, 23 February 2011

Sea buckthorn is a possible remedy for cancer, diabetes, thrombosis and inflammation, according to a recent study from the University of Manitoba (Canada). Researchers also noted the super fruit, a natural source of vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids, is also potentially a natural medicine for cardiovascular disease (CVD). They suggested clinical studies are needed to evaluate efficacy and safety in patients with CVD.
Lead by Yan-Jun Xua, researchers conducted what they termed a “mini review" of research conducted on sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides). They concluded the vitamins, carotenoids and flavonoids that have been found in sea buckthorn have been linked to lower cholesterol, platelet aggregation, blood pressure and blood sugar. In addition, sea buckthorn is considered to be useful in treating tumours, stomach ulcers, skin diseases and arsenic poisoning. They added that accumulating evidence suggests sea buckthorn is a promising plant that could serve as a natural remedy for the reduction of CVD risk and other health-related problems such as diabetes, inflammatory diseases, thrombosis and cancer.
However, they concluded double blind clinical trials need to be conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of sea buckthorn products in the prevention and therapy of CVD as well as other medical conditions.
Sea buckthorn grows naturally in the mountainous regions of China and Russia, though it can be cultivated at lower altitudes. The fruit are golden-orange and are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and other nutrients, flavonoids, oils rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs).
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  • Wildlife: Africa's vanishing wild: mammal populations cut in half

Source:, 27 January 2011

The big mammals for which Africa is so famous are vanishing in staggering numbers. According to a study published last year: Africa's large mammal populations have dropped by 59 percent in just 40 years. But what is even more alarming was that the study only looked at mammal populations residing in parks and wildlife areas, i.e. lands that are, at least on paper, under governmental protection. Surveying 78 protected areas for 69 species, the study included flagship species such as the African elephant, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, and even Africa's feline king, the lion.
"We were not surprised that populations had dropped but we were surprised by how large the drops had been," lead author Ian Craigie told in an interview.
Craigie says that there are a number of causes behind the observed declines, including agriculture, hunting, and the bushmeat trade. But all of them are due to human actions. In fact, he points to Africa's population explosion as one of the underlying factors.
In Africa man has successfully lived alongside large populations of wild animals for millennia but the advent of advanced technology and agriculture has lead to a 5-fold increase in African human populations since World War Two. All these extra humans are using and moving into previously natural habitats and squeezing out the wildlife," he says.
The study looked at three general regions across Africa: Southern African, East Africa, and West Africa. Wildlife in Southern African parks fared the best according to Craigie because "the level of funding for parks in Southern Africa is much greater than other regions" and the region has lower population densities. West Africa's parks came in last due to a culture of bushmeat hunting, poverty, and booming human populations.
The overall decline of African mammals is likely to be worse than even the study portrays for two reasons: mammal populations have almost certainly suffered worse outside of parks than inside, and Craigie and his team were not able to include parks that did not regularly survey their wildlife populations.
"The parks left out of this study, where animals were not counted, are likely to be those which are financially poorer or less well managed. So the large declines we found were from the best parks, if we were able to include the other parks the results may have been even worse," Craigie explains.
For full interview, please see:




  • Brazil: Amazon deforestation up 1000 percent from last year

Source: Amazon News, 24 February 2011

Over the last several years, the rate of forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon had been in steady decline, but the latest data is yet again proving that the problem is far from over.  According to figures released today, deforestation in the world's largest rainforest has increased nearly 1 000 percent from the same period the year before, marking the first rise in over two years —though only time will tell if it is merely a disappointing uptick, or a troubling reverse of trends.
A newly disclosed report from the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON) reveals that 175 km² of forest was cleared this past December, compared with just 16 km² reported last year for December 2009, a rise of 994 percent.
In addition to deforestation, areas of Amazon degradation have also increased at an alarming rate.  IMAZON notes that 541 km² were degraded in December 2010.  Throughout that month in 2009, only 11 km² were impacted — representing an astonishing increase of 4 818 percent.
Unfortunately, while last year ended poorly for the Amazon rainforest, the trend seems to be carrying into the new year. Just last month, 83 km² of forest were cleared and 376 km² degraded — representing increases over last year's rates of 22 and 637 percent, respectively.
The latest figures of devastation confirm concerns outlined by Brazil's Institute of Space Research (INP), which uses satellite imaging to monitor deforestation.  Infrastructure projects, like the construction of new dams and highways, and the expansion of agricultural areas are considered the most probable culprits for the dramatic rise in the rates of forest loss.  Recent figures released by INP indicate a 10 percent overall increase in deforestation for the period from August 2010 to January 2011.
These findings stand in stark contrast to the downward trend in deforestation over the last several years, and are the first indications of an increase in forest loss in more than two.  It may be too soon to tell whether or not the latest reports are simply outliers, or if the tides have changed for the largest and most important forest on Earth.
For full story, please see:



  • Brazil approves construction of the Belo Monte Dam Project

Source: Environmental News Network, 2 February 2011

The proposed Belo Monte Dam in northern Brazil would be the third largest hydro-electric dam in the world in terms of electrical output. The dam would be 3.75 miles long and generate over 11 000 megawatts, which could power up to 23 million homes. Government officials say that the dam is an essential step in supplying energy to the nation's growing population. However, the project is rife with environmental conflicts. The project requires the clearing of 588 acres of Amazon jungle, the displacement of over 20 000 indigenous people, flooding an area of 193 miles², and drying up a 62-mile stretch of the Xingu River.
Last week, Brazil's environmental agency, IBAMA, approved the commencement of work to construct the US$17 billion Belo Monte Dam. They issued licenses to the consortium behind the dam project, Norte Energia, which is made up of local construction companies, the state-run utility company, Eletrobras, and a large state pension fund, Petros.
The concept of the Belo Monte Dam has been around for 30 years, but until now has been held up. Conservationists and indigenous tribes have fought vigorously against its approval. The advocacy group, Greenpeace have been on the scene.
The presence of foreign advocacy groups has been quite troublesome for Brazil's government officials. Last year, President Lula denounced the "gringos" and told them to stay out of Brazil's business. Many believe that the dam project's detractors are misinformed, claiming that the flooding would not affect indigenous areas and that the dam's effects have been widely studied.
Other government officials, however, have been critical. The former head of IBAMA, Abelardo Bayma Azevedo had resisted the Energy Ministry's demands that they give the go-ahead to the dam project. He claimed that IBAMA could not approve due to its ongoing environmental investigation. Two weeks ago, he resigned amid pressures from the Energy Ministry. His resignation paved the way for IBAMA's approval, which has allowed the dam project to move forward.
More obstacles remain for the dam project, because this approval is merely for clearing the 588 acres of rainforest, about the size of Monaco. Other approvals will be required as the project moves toward the actual construction phase. Officials are expecting the dam project's completion by 2015, at which point it will begin producing electricity.
Meanwhile, critics of the project are not giving up. The dam will affect the Xingu River, a major tributary of the Amazon River, and home to rich biodiversity and endemic species. It will also affect the towns of Altamira and Vitoria do Xingu, whose residents will be forced to move. Moreover, indigenous people living downstream will have their water access cut. Not to speak of the increased greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated from the construction of the Dam.
For full story, please see:



  • Ecuador’s remarkable diversity and potential for ecotourism

Source: Calgary Herald (Canada), 10 February 2011

Ecuador is remarkably, richly diverse. Drive 20 minutes and everything changes, in this South American country: the topography, climate, plants and animals — even the culture.
The country is named for the equator that runs through its heart 24 km north of the capital Quito. Ecuador is not only tropical but is also home to many microclimates, including the snow capping the highest of the Avenue of Volcanoes' 55 peaks (of which 14 are active).
The climatic extremes are remarkable, but it is how fast it changes that is so startling. Above all, this nation of Ecuador nurtures one of just 17 biological megadiversity hot spots on the planet.
The numbers are staggering: 1 600 bird species on the mainland alone— 15 percent of the global population — and another 38  that are endemic to the Galapagos; 3 500 orchid species, the most on Earth; 4 500 or more butterflies; more than 16 000 plant species, 106 reptiles and 138 amphibians native to the country, and so on.
With so much natural beauty and diversity of terrain, Ecuador attracts wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Many tour operators are committed to genuine ecotourism and sustainable travel practices, ensuring low-impact treks and meeting and contributing directly to local peoples.
The nature-rich excursions at Napo Wildlife Centre, the newest eco-lodge in Amazonian Ecuador, owned by the indigenous Kichwas of Anangu, is also a worthy stop in the country. This ecotourism project largely supports the people and a private nature reserve in northern Yasuni National Park, a UNESCO biosphere reserve that numbers among the most biologically diverse areas on Earth.
Mindo, in the dense cloud forest covering the Andes' western slopes, is also a biodiversity hot spot. "It is the mecca of the birds," says Xavier Munoz, Neblina Forest's owner. It was also declared the world's first Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
In the Refugio Paz de Las Aves, owned by a campesino (farmer) turned to ecotourism operator, to see the Andean cock-of-the rock and three species of antpittas is also a highlight not to miss.
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  • Ghana: Calls for body to test quality of Shea butter

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle, 18 February 2011

The absence of a regulatory body to test the quality of Shea butter (extracted from the nut of the Vitellaria paradoxa tree) meant for export in Ghana, has often led to the exploitation of Shea butter producers by exporters of the commodity.
In order to curb this exploitation, the Natural Resources Officer of the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), Ms. Fati Abdulai, has proposed setting up a body to be responsible for the testing of the quality of Shea butter meant for export.
The Natural Resources Officer, who was speaking at a workshop on the effective management of the Shea tree, organized with the support from Oxfam, at Kongo in the Talensi-Nabdam district, indicated that unlike cocoa, Shea butter had not seen any serious support from governments.
She was therefore calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency, put in place measures to ensure that Shea butter receives maximum attention, just like cocoa, so that the product can gain strong international attention.
Highlighting the benefits of Shea, Ms. Abdulai said the whole of the tree can be used for several things, including medicinal purposes, food and for foreign exchange. She stated that the fruit from the tree is eaten, contributing to food security in areas where it is grown. She added that the fruits normally mature during the lean season, and therefore, supplement the meals of the rural people, especially, when they are on their farms.
On export, Ms. Abdulai said the price of Shea was higher than cocoa on the international market, and called on the government to consider giving the industry a boost, in order to reap the benefits of the tree.
According to the Widows and Orphans Movement, Shea butter has been used since time immemorial in cooking, and also as pomade for babies and adults.
As part of measures to ensure that Shea trees in the Kongo traditional area are protected, the participants, led by their chief and elders, set out rules and sanctions to punish people who destroy them.
Some of the sanctions include replanting trees to replace the destroyed ones, as well as payment of fines, as specified by the traditional authorities.



  • Indonesia: Call to revamp trade and export of rattan

Source:, 23 February 2011

The Indonesian Supervisory Commission on Business Competition (KPPU) has urged the Indonesian Federal Government to revise the regulation on trade and export of rattan. According to KPPU, the supply of rattan has exceeded demand in the domestic market, thus harming the livelihoods of local rattan suppliers.
The Indonesian Rattan Businessmen Association (APRI) added that domestic consumption of rattan stands at about 40 000 tonnes/year, while production has reached 696 000 tonnes/year. Moreover, rattan processing in the country has declined over the past few years, further weakening the demand for rattan.
The Ministry of Trade Indonesia enforced the regulation on trade and export of rattan on 11 August 2009. The regulation outlines the export ban of several species of rattan as well as limits the export volume of semi-processed rattan to 35 000 tonnes. Furthermore, the regulation also requires that rattan producers and suppliers must obtain letters of approval from the local rattan industry declaring that they have met and satisfied the requirements of the local rattan market.
Indonesia exported a total of US$138 million worth of rattan products in 2010, down 21.5 percent from US$168 million recorded in 2009.
Indonesia accounts for 82 percent of the world’s total rattan production and there are 300 rattan species found across the country.
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  • Kenya: The unexploited herbal pharmacy

Source:, 27 January 2011

Kenya and other African states are sitting on a fortune in the form of unexploited natural cures and pharmacies. These natural remedies could help the country cope with its malaria burden and also cure many of the world’s diseases, and in the process earn billions of dollars.
In the first ever hard evidence of the extent of the country's potential in herbal medicine, researchers have publicly given a scientific backing in support of Kenyan herbalists.
.           Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute and the World Agroforestry Centre have published a list of 22 tree and shrub species with high potential for further development in treating malaria and acting as possible cash crops for small holder farmers.
Launching the publication last week at the National Museums of Kenya, lead author Dr Najma Dharani said the knowledge was gathered from practitioners and fellow scientists and the plants' chemical content had been thoroughly analyzed and found effective.
"We hope that the information provided in this guide will be useful for scientists in determining what species to direct their research activities," says the researcher.
It is this kind of research that has turned the growing of a previously little known weed from China, the Sweet Annie (Artemesia annua), into a huge global success, turning around the fortunes of peasant farmers and making billions for the pharmaceutical industry while saving many lives.
The Chinese wormwood or Artemisia annua now provides the world with the main ingredient for making a most effective first line malaria medicine. Several trees found in Kenya and other parts of East Africa were found to have the capacity to rival this money-maker. The pepper-bark tree for example, has similar chemical compounds found in the Chinese plant.
Some Kenyan communities including the Luo, Maasai and the Kipsigis have always used the pepper-bark tree or Warburgia ugandensis, for the treatment of malaria, stomach and tooth aches and the common cold. A compound in the plant, was found to be active against malaria parasites even those resistant to chloroquine. The Kenya Forestry Research Institute has shown that the propagation of the tree is possible through modern tissue culture techniques.
While some farmers are already growing the tree, the researchers advise that before doing so it is important to get expert guidance because some traits of the plant produce different medicinal qualities at different sites.
Another tree species with chemical compounds found to act against multi drug resistant malaria is the long pod cassia (Cassia abbreviata) or mbara in Kiswahili which has traditionally been used to treat malaria, pneumonia and other chest complications.
Unlike most other locally occurring trees, cassiais a fast growing shrub and requires only a few months in the nursery; it also can do with little water.
One of the most enduring treatments for complicated malaria across the world and in Kenya in particular is quinine which is classified in the chemical group of alkaloids. Several shrubs and trees in the region such as the bitter albizia (Albizia amara) — widely distributed along many river beds particularly in Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa — were found to contain alkaloids. A decoction made from the bitter albizia, taken three times a day, is used in treating malaria traditionally.
"In some East African countries the species is often incorporated in smallholder farming systems with cassava, maize, beans and fruit trees such as papaya, mango and orange," says the study.
And of course not to forget the famous neem tree, locally known as mwarubaini, for its 40 magical cures. The researchers confirm that apart from other cures, this tree — which is easy to grow and even easier to maintain — has very good anti-malarial activity.
The publication, Common Anti-malarial Trees and Shrubs of East Africa, is funded by the World Bank and the EU.
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  • Madagascar: New hope for world's rarest lemur

Source: BBC News, 1 March 2011

Greater bamboo lemurs in Madagascar are a step further from extinction. Fewer than 300 of the lemur, the world's rarest, were thought to remain.
But by following up reports from local people, conservationists have found new "lost" populations of the lemur, which extends the primate's range to twice that previously thought.
Researchers are now working with local communities to monitor and protect the rainforest-dwelling species from hunting and habitat destruction.
Like many of Madagascar's unique species, the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus) is endemic to the island.  As their name suggests, the lemurs feed primarily on bamboo. But this dependence on a single food-source makes them vulnerable to changes in their environment.
Variously described as "the world's rarest lemur species" and "one of the top 25 most endangered primates", the IUCN reports that fewer than 250 mature individuals exist.  Researchers from conservation charity Association Mitsinjo partnered with the Aspinall Foundation, Madagascan primate study group GERP and Conservation International Madagascar to learn more about the current state of the animals.
The team's initial search took place in the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor, a major part of Madagascar's remaining rainforest that runs along its eastern coast.
Dr Rainer Dolch coordinated the first population surveys in 2007. "[The lemurs] were thought to be confined to south-eastern Madagascar until we discovered a new population in the Torotorofotsy wetlands, the first individuals of the species to be discovered north of the Mangoro River [for] 130 years," he said.
The team returned last year to investigate isolated sites on the fringes of the corridor after collecting local people's reports of both lemurs and their favoured bamboo habitat.
The conservationists' efforts were rewarded with confirmed sightings of 65 individuals and evidence of the lemurs' existence in more than double the number of sites that were previously known to occur. The populations found extend the species' known range 85 km further north than previously recorded.
The researchers' findings are published in the American Journal of Primatology.
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  • Malaysia: Scientists use tropical fruits to make batteries

Source:, 7 February 2011

Malaysian engineers are harnessing the country's biodiversity to find alternative raw materials for high-tech electronic products such as electric vehicle batteries. They have discovered that bamboo, coconut shells and durian fruit skins can be converted into an activated form of carbon used to make the components of electric batteries known as “supercapacitors”.
Activated carbon is normally made from coal but now researchers say it could be sourced from a natural, renewable source, providing income to rural people.
Project leader Dino Isa, an engineering professor from the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC), said that the process of obtaining or cultivating the plant products and converting them to activated carbon could be outsourced as a cottage industry to those living in rural areas.
The plants are readily available in the tropical nation, allowing for sustainable and environmentally friendly sourcing of such components. And the new process will reduce the material cost of producing battery components by up to 30 percent, the researchers said.
"A lot of our tropical fruit are very good material for supercapacitors because they have good pores, meaning that there is more surface area for the electrostatic charges to be held, which increases the ability of the supercapacitor to store charges."
The researchers intend to make full use of this property by tailoring supercapacitors for specific purposes or applications, such as energy storage for wind and wave power plants, emergency doors on aeroplanes and mobile devices.
Awang Noor Abdul Ghani, an Associate Professor at the Forestry Faculty at Putra University, Malaysia, said that this project had a lot of potential. He predicted that more research will reveal new applications or uses of the abundant flora and fauna in Malaysia for technological purposes.
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  • Philippines: Bamboo production as alternative watershed protection tool

Source: Manila Bulletin (Philippines), 24 February 2011

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showcased several bamboo products as part of its advocacy campaign to promote the propagation of bamboo for furniture making and to encourage local residents to plant bamboo in order to help save and protect the deteriorating condition of the region’s watersheds.
DTI Trade and Industry Specialist Josephine Daliyong said that this is in line with the government's thrust to promote the material to encourage small and medium entrepreneurs using indigenous raw materials and local skills and talents in their production.
The development of the bamboo industry (supported by Executive Order 879 to promote the bamboo industry) will work to support three pillars of development — climate change mitigation, poverty alleviation and disaster risk management.
The sustainable propagation of bamboo is seen as an effective mitigation measure of climate change in that it will prevent the use of more trees for furniture making and building construction as it could effectively replace wood products.
This is also geared towards the attainment of the country’s commitment to reforest at least 500 000 ha with bamboo as part of its contribution to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) commitment of 10 million ha of new forest by 2020 as part of its initiatives to improve the environment.



  • Philippines: Versatile bamboo to be widely propagated in Pampanga

Source: Philippine information agency, 25 February 2011

Fourteen towns and 27 cooperators are now involved in the bamboo development project of Pampanga province. To date, 6 100 bamboo propagules have been planted and 7 400 propagules are to be planted at the onset of the rainy season. Of the 35 sites validated for utilization, nine sites are still unplanted.
The Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) through its Project Officer Eddie Salenga said most of the areas to be planted with bamboo are situated along dikes, river banks, and isolated streets. In Minalin town, a 5 km stretch of dike will be planted with 1 000 propagules; 2 km along the Pampanga River in San Simon and another 2 km along the Megadike in Sta Rita are still to be planted with 800 propagules.
Moreover, some 10 ha will be planted by co-operators. Two farmers associations, are  slated to plant bamboo in some 30 ha of land.
The other towns, Macabebe, Arayat, Porac, Guagua, Lubao, Bacolor, and the cities of Angeles and San Fernando will start planting this coming rainy season in June.
Executive Order 879, moreover, was created by the Philippine Development Council to promote the bamboo industry. The Order also directed the use of bamboo for at least 25 percent of desks and other furniture required for public elementary and high schools and also government facilities.
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25. Tanzania: Bushmeat hunting “threat to wildlife”
Source: The Citizen (Tanzania), 19 February 2011

Experts have warned on several occasions that conservation activities in Tanzania are seriously impaired by shortage of funding, which consequently exposes the country’s forests and wildlife — especially rare species — to imminent threats of extinction.
The funding shortfall is undermining protection of the nation’s ecology and biodiversity, which are threatened by and left vulnerable to illegal human activities, such as poaching, logging and farming.
But a recent report shows that in some areas, conservation efforts are derailed by widespread hunting for bushmeat, in addition to other human encroachment activities. To address the situation, the experts want to see more investment in conservation, to help the government recruit and train more personnel and partner with local communities in the management of natural resources.
“Tanzania is hugely under-resourced for conservation tasks; this is a major problem,” says Mr Trevor Jones of the Udzungwa Elephant Project, who cautions that the country is facing increasing difficulties to conserve its remaining natural riches.
But his comments come in the wake of a new report released early this month, which warns that “the populations of several animal species in southern Tanzanian forests are suffering alarming declines due to bushmeat hunting and habitat degradation”.
The report, prepared by Tanzanian and international scientists and conservation organizations, describes the results of three separate research projects focusing on the threats to biodiversity in Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve in southern Tanzania since 2004. It shows that Tanzania’s wildlife has been hugely impacted by human activities and recommends that action be taken urgently to protect it. Also affected is the biodiversity critical to the health of the ecosystems which many Tanzanians rely on for water, soil fertility and other services.
“Tanzania has an amazing conservation record, but the increase in human population, and other external pressures such as the increased demand for ivory and other animal products from China, means it will get harder and harder for the country to conserve the incredible natural riches it still has,” Mr Jones, a biologist in the team which compiled the report, further noted.
Another member of the team, Sokoine University lecturer Amani Kitegile, says bushmeat hunting is also becoming a serious threat to wildlife in Tanzania. He told The Citizen that apart from fire, hunting is an immediate threat to wildlife populations and a major conservation problem for the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve.
Fires and bushmeat hunting aside, other human activities like pole cutting and illegal logging have also exacerbated the problem, as they lead to further deforestation and soil degradation. According to Mr Kitegile, the government needs to revisit its policies and approaches towards conservation issues to tackle the problem holistically.
“Increased law enforcement will have some immediate effect at decreasing human pressure on the forest. But the costs will be high if other options are not considered; and these include providing alternative sources of protein (meat) and income and some level of assurance that the preservation measures will benefit local people in the long term,” he noted.
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26. UK: Disease fells avenue of horse chestnuts
Source: The Independent (UK), 26 February 2011,

A sad milestone in the spread of a disease mortally affecting Britain's horse chestnut trees (Aesculus hippocastanum) was passed this week when one of the country's noblest horse chestnut avenues was finally cut down.
The trees lining the drive of 16th-century Barrington Court at Ilminster in Somerset, had become stricken with bleeding canker, an infection caused by a virulent bacterium that produces a rust-coloured liquid which oozes from the bark and eventually kills the tree.
Barrington Court is owned by the National Trust — it was one of the first properties the Trust bought, in 1907 — and Trust staff had been trying to save the avenue of 68 majestic trees which have lined the approach to the Tudor manor, built in 1514, for nearly a century. But they had to admit defeat and this week the final 23 horse chestnuts were cut down by tree surgeons. They will be replaced with disease-resistant chestnut-leaved oaks.
It is just the latest effect of a disease which has been taking an increasing toll on Britain's conker trees in the last five years, and looks as if it may threaten the conker's very existence.
The bleeding was first thought to be caused by Phytophthora ramorum, the agent which causes another serious tree infection known as sudden oak death, but investigations have shown it is caused by a separate pathogen, a bacterium named Pseudomonas syringae, a variant of which targets horse chestnuts.
The disease is now widespread in Britain and a survey undertaken by the research arm of the Forestry Commission in 2007 found that just under half of all horse chestnuts assessed were showing symptoms of the infection to some degree, although the extent of the disease varies in different parts of the country. Thousands of horse chestnuts — of which there may be half a million in Britain — are thought to have been already cut down because of it.
The situation has been made worse by the fact that conker trees are being devastated by a quite separate infestation, caused by an insect — the horse chestnut leaf-miner moth, whose larvae burrow into the leaves in their millions and cause them to turn brown in high summer rather than in autumn. The moth is thought to have reached Britain, perhaps on a long-distance lorry, in about 2000 or 2001 from the Balkans where it was first recorded as a new species in Macedonia in northern Greece in the late 1970s.
It was first noticed in trees on Wimbledon Common, south-west London in the summer of 2002 and has spread rapidly, just like bleeding canker. Virtually all of lowland England below Lancashire and Yorkshire is now affected, apart from the West Country.
Horse chestnuts originated in the Balkans and are thought to have been introduced to Britain in the 1500s. They have become familiar as ornamental trees of parks, gardens and streets, and are prized for their large blossoms.
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27. UK: Forest sell-off: the questions we still need answering
Source: The Ecologist, 20 February 2011

The Government’s “U-turn” on selling off our public forests is a victory for activists who now need to push for better protection and improvement says Gavin Thomson, a volunteer with the campaign group “38 Degrees.”
The half a million people who joined the campaign to save Britain’s forests breathed a sigh of relief when the government backed down and decided to keep the forests safe in public hands. This campaign victory was achieved by working alongside local groups, national organizations and some famous faces. It is a great example of that all-important truth: people power works.
When the government’s plans to privatize Britain’s woodlands were first revealed last year, thousands of “38 Degrees” members discussed the plans on the Ecologist website and Facebook page, and quickly voted to launch a campaign. The petition was started in October and eventually grew to be 530 000 strong. But, while it was widely discussed in Parliament and in the media, in many ways the petition was just the beginning.

To move the campaign forward, and prove the size of the opposition to the Government’s plans, “38 Degrees” members clubbed together to pay for an opinion poll. The polling discovered that 84 percent of the general public wants Britain’s forests to stay in public hands for future generations.
“38 Degrees” members went on to raise a further £60 000 to place advertisements in national newspapers, publicizing the poll result on the morning of an important vote in Parliament. Over 100 000 people wrote to local Members of Parliament (MPs) before the vote and, from the moment the vote was over, wrote to them again to challenge or congratulate them, depending on how they voted.

Nevertheless, there are still questions that need to be answered. A week before the big victory, MP Caroline Spelman was persuaded to postpone a sale of 15 percent of Britain’s forests pending the consultation — which is now cancelled. Is this sale of 15 percent been scrapped along with the consultation? It is not yet clear. The cuts currently being imposed on the Forestry Commission — how will that impact woodland? Will they have a negative impact? Are they justified? Further, how will levels of protection for Britain’s ancient woodlands be enhanced, in the way that others, such as The Woodland Trust, argue they should be?
Public rights to the national forests go back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and have come to form an important aspect of Britain’s national identity. When “38 Degrees” members commissioned a YouGov poll, support for publicly-owned woodland was unified across town and country, north and south, and supporters of all, or no, political parties.
It is impossible for the price of the forests, as determined by auctioneers, to reflect their value to our society - present and future. These areas are visited by millions of us, and the benefit our society in a myriad of ways. They provide a free day out to those on stretched incomes living in cities. In addition, it has been proven that woodland offers relief from stress and is beneficial for mental health problems.
Perhaps the most important benefit of our public forests is on wildlife. Currently, Britain’s forests are a large body of land that is managed to high conservation standards and provides critical habitats. Clearly, this is only going to get more important in times of ecological stress caused by climate change.
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28. Biopiracy leaves native groups out in the cold
Source: International Press Service (IPS), 9 February 2011

Millions of cancer patients around the world benefit from a medication called Paclitaxel (Taxol), which may begin to be produced from a new source: fungi found at the summit of Venezuela's flat-topped mountains. But the indigenous communities who have lived in that area since time immemorial will receive no benefits, and were not even consulted on the matter.
In another case, researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, after signing an agreement with the Venezuelan government in 1998, began to do field work early this decade among Yanomami communities in the extreme southern part of this South American country. They studied and collected medicinal plants used by the Yanomami, an Amazon jungle people, as well as learning from their strategies of managing these natural resources.
"Our countries are highly vulnerable to biopiracy, to what is practically an invasion by global pharmaceutical companies," Julio César Centeno, a forestry specialist at the University of Los Andes in Venezuela, told IPS. "They evade international agreements and take advantage of the weak monitoring of biodiversity in our country."
María Elisa Febres, a lawyer for the Vitales environmental organization, told IPS that "continued efforts to bring this issue to light and to pursue cases in the Andean and Amazon regions has helped bring about progress, like the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, last October."
The protocol adopted in the Japanese city of Nagoya is aimed at managing access to the natural genetic resources from plants and animals and the sharing of benefits derived by pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies from the use of such resources with the developing nations and indigenous communities where they are found.
Vitalis has documented the case of Taxol, the commercial name under which the New York-based Bristol Myers Squibb registered Paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, and AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. It is also potentially useful to treat psoriasis, congenital polycystic kidney disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease.
By 2000, Bristol's annual sales of Taxol amounted to nearly US$1.6 billion, and by 2003 the drug had been used to treat one million patients. Paclitaxel was originally extracted from the bark of the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia), native to the northwest coastal region of the U.S. But it is a small, scarce, extremely slow-growing tree, and the drug's active ingredient is concentrated in the bark, in small quantities (1 g/14 kg of bark). That means at least three trees must be destroyed to obtain enough Paclitaxel to treat just one patient.
For this reason, a furor began two decades ago to obtain Paclitaxel from other sources: first, other trees of the genus Taxus, and later from fungi that could be produced more easily and at a lower cost, using biotechnology, said Gary Strobel, a plant biologist at Montana State University (North-west USA).
Strobel visited remote areas on four continents, and found Paclitaxel in organisms present in plants in Australia, Nepal and Venezuela. In Venezuela, he discovered it in Stegolerium kukenani and Seimatoantlerium tepuiense, fungi that grow on plants found at the top of the Kukenán and Roraima tepuis, table-top mountains or mesas in the highlands area straddling the borders of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana.
He also found the Serratia marcescens bacterium, capable of producing Oocydin A, tested as an anti-cancer agent. The area where the researchers extracted plant samples, without informing or receiving permission from local communities, is the 30 000 km² Canaima National Park best known for the ancient flat-topped, steep-sided tepuis, which harbour ecosystems composed of unique plant and animal species. The park is home to some 30 000 Pemón indigenous people.
Strobel's research has given rise, in the United States, to some 50 patents for Montana State University in association with pharmaceutical giants like Bristol Myers Squibb and Cytoclonal Pharmaceutics; some of the patents broadly cover "microorganisms from any source" that are capable of producing Paclitaxel.
In the case of the Yanomami, perhaps the most ancient living tribe in Latin America, who apparently have lived in the area that is today southern Venezuela and northern Brazil for 25 000 years or more, Centeno pointed out that the agreement between the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and the Venezuelan Government allowed eight Swiss researchers to study the Amerindian group's medicinal plants and practices.
Centeno said "The knowledge collected among the Yanomami — which missionaries from the U.S. did for years — and substances gathered in the areas where they live is being presented, in Zurich for example, as a discovery that brings prestige and money to beneficiaries in Europe."
He said researchers from universities in Venezuela have also carried out studies on plants and indigenous knowledge among communities like the Yanomami "under the argument, perhaps plausible, that this information should be compiled before it is lost due to the shrinking of their territory or of the native groups themselves."
But, he stressed, "we should set an example by consulting the indigenous communities that live in Venezuela's border areas, allowing them to participate, and we must share the benefits with these people who live in a state of such great material need."
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29. CITES Secretary General emphasizes CITES’ contribution to IYF goals
Source: IISD News, 31 January 2011

John Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), recalling that 2011 is both the start of the UN Decade on Biodiversity and the International Year of Forests (IYF), has announced that CITES is responding to the UN General Assembly call for governments, relevant regional and international organizations, and major groups to support activities related to IYF.
Scanlon highlighted the CITES framework for tracing international trade in the approximately 34 000 species it protects (which includes around 200 tree species) and ensuring that their derivative products are from legal and sustainable sources. He indicated that the number of tree species protected by the Convention has risen in recent years, partly through the increase in exploitation and partly because the Convention is increasingly seen as an effective tool for ensuring sustainable use of commercial tree species, and described, inter alia, increasing calls for inclusion of commercially-important native trees in Appendix III (species subject to domestic regulation by a party requesting the cooperation of other parties to control international trade in that species).
Scanlon urged active cooperation to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s forests, referring to CITES' existing collaboration with key international organizations in the field such as the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) as well as efforts that are expected to come to fruition in 2011, including cooperation with: the Forestry Department of the FAO; the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); the Global Environment Facility (GEF); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime.
He emphasized that the CITES Secretariat will pay particular attention to the goals of the IYF, and will be doing its best to further promote the important role of the Convention in achieving better forest management for the benefit of forest species and of the people who depend upon them.
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30. South-South exchange of ideas for food security
Source: Radio Netherlands, 26 January 2011

Developing countries helping each other. Initially, they get a bit of support from outside but after a while they are on their own. The Dutch idea is producing such good results that the European Union looks set to use it as a basis for a new approach to development aid.
The South-South Cooperation project was launched ten years ago. The Netherlands provided the initial impetus and Costa Rica in Central America, Benin in West Africa, and Bhutan in South Asia took part. It led to 34 separate progammes in which the countries helped each other in radically different ways.
Miriam van Reisen, founder-director of Europe External Policy Advisors, says: “A great example is how Benin people taught Costa Rican farmers how to produce and market edible insects. They are very nutritious and can be produced economically. That was a success. It was interesting because there are lots of cultural aspects to what people are willing to eat.”
The insects are considered normal food in Benin where people are just as poor as in Costa Rica. This was why the Costa Rican farmers acted on the advice they received from their African colleagues.
The same thing happened again and again: Costa Rica taught Benin how to grow organic pineapples. The project’s third partner, Bhutan, introduced its profitable and easily grown “red rice” into Costa Rica.
Hundreds of jobs have been created and people’s earnings have increased as a result of the project.
Meetings are taking place in Brussels at the moment to decide the future funding of European Union development aid. Ms Van Riesen says the “South-South” method is high on the agenda. “It is being seen as a programme which has added value, which uses aid in a highly effective way.”
She says the enthusiasm in Brussels is not just down to the affordability of the approach. It is also ‘development new style’ which works directly with ordinary people in the developing world.
Labour MP and development aid spokeswoman Sjoera Dikkers explains, “It is completely different from an expensive consultant being flown in from the West to lecture poor farmers on how they should change the way they do things. People have taken the initiative themselves. The innovations have been made possible through the exchange of experience and techniques between the countries themselves.”
Ms Dikkers thinks it is an outstanding example of how development aid can work: “It is important that countries which have something to teach each other are able to find each other. They are also acquainted with the problems at home and that makes the solutions they come up with credible.”
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31. UN recognizes threatened world forests and calls for more citizen attention
Source: AFP in Times of Malta, 28 January 2011

No better year than this one to hold the significant title of the International Year of Forests. The UN announced 2011’s campaign focus on 14 December, 2010, with the official launch of the International Year of Forests taking place on 2 February 2011 at the UN headquarters.
The title holds great weight for a number of reasons. Forests are a major contributing factor to the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people around the world, are home to millions of species, and play a fundamental role in mitigating the negative effects of global climate change.
Despite these undeniable facts, approximately 50 000 miles² of forest are destroyed every year through deforestation. Since 1950, the world has lost half of its natural forests.
“I think this is an excellent move on the part of the UN,” Michael Ackerman, chief operating officer of EcoForests, a forestry investment management company, said.
“Our world’s forests are in a highly-vulnerable state and yet the majority of citizens lack awareness of the profound implications of the situation. The UN campaign will aim to establish a new global understanding of the need for the sustainable management, preservation and development of forests.”
Forests cover 31 per cent of total land area and are home to 80 percent of our terrestrial biodiversity. Having been stripped of their natural homes, deforestation has resulted in the extinction of millions of animal species around the world. If deforestation continues at today’s rate, this number will only grow.
Global warming presents a disquieting argument for the conservation of our forests. With emissions accounting for up to one fifth of greenhouse gases, deforestation is a deadly activity in today’s environment. Forests play a critical role in the natural regulation of our global climate and without them, the negative effects of global warming will only hit harder and faster.
Forests provide shelter to people and animals, and are an important source of food, medicine and clean water. Forests are essential to the survival of mankind and without the implementation of sustainable forestry practices, we pose an enormous threat to future generations.
If deforestation persists at its current rate, authorities claim that all remaining natural forests will be depleted by the middle of the 21st century.
For full story, please see:


32. UN forest protection plans linked to “land grabbing”
Source: The Ecologist in, 24 January 2011

REDD-type forest agreements ignore indigenous populations and are seeing a scramble for forest “carbon credits” by governments and individuals, warns study
Schemes that pay countries to protect their forests are failing to stop deforestation because they ignore economic drivers such as land scarcity, demand for food, and biofuels, according to a study published this week.
At the UN climate talks in Mexico last December the international community agreed to provide money to less industrialized countries for projects that protect their rainforests (projects loosely termed as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)). Over the next decade it has been estimated as much as US$35 billion could be provided to such schemes every year to reduce deforestation.
However, this has resulted in a growing number of land grabs by governments and individuals who are motivated by a desire to take advantage of forest-based carbon credits, says a study by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO).
The authors say the UN-led forest protection plan to transform forests into storehouses for carbon, or for biodiversity or some other narrow purpose, will fail. Instead, they say, REDD-type projects should focus more on supporting regional and national efforts to tackle the economic and local factors driving deforestation.
“Unless all sectors work together to address the impact of global consumption, including growing demand for food and biofuels, and problems of land scarcity, REDD will fail to arrest environmental degradation and will heighten poverty,” said co-author Constance McDermott, from the Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute.
“We are not saying we need to abandon a global approach to forest governance, but we do need to establish the appropriate roles,” said Professor Jeremy Rayner, chair of the IUFRO panel that produced the report. “The REDD process, for example, might provide a great way to raise money for sustainable forest management and other forest programs, but much of the details and operational aspects would be undertaken at the regional and national levels.”
For full story, please see:


33. UNEP’s 2011 Sasakawa prize winners focus on forest conservation
Source: IISD Reporting Services, 23 February 2011

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced two projects aimed at conserving forests and promoting sustainable development in remote rural communities in Latin America and Asia, as the 2011 recipients of the Sasakawa Prize.
The 2011 theme of the Prize was “Forests for People and for Green Growth,” in support of the 2011 International Year of Forests, and highlighting the central role of forests in the pursuit of a global Green Economy. The co-winners are the "Asociación Forestal Integral San Andrés, Petén" (AFISAP) in Guatemala, and the Manahari Development Institute in Nepal (MDI-Nepal). The first is focused on preserving forests on a 52 000 ha concession within the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, in the San Andres, and its activities play a critical role in regional conservation efforts.
The MDI-Nepal is using agroforestry to improve crop productivity and water irrigation systems, to reduce soil erosion on the forested hills and mountainous areas. According to UNEP, these measures have significantly improved food security and living standards of the rural communities living on the steep slopes of Nepal, with MDI-Nepal and the indigenous community delivering economic and social benefits to more than 2 000 households by improving the productivity of marginal lands with the planting of fruit crops.
The US$200 000 cash prize is awarded annually to a grassroots organization judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the protection and management of the environment and to social development. In 2011, the jury paid particular attention to projects that: promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests; contribute to a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions caused by deforestation or forest degradation; maintain forest ecosystems to improve resilience to climate change; support development among forest-dependent communities; and conserve biodiversity and help protect ecosystems in forests.
For full story, please see:



34. FAO Vacancy: Forest Officer (Statistics)
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme, 21 February 2011

Under the direct supervision of the Team Leader, Forest Assessment and Reporting Team, the incumbent shall be responsible for the maintenance and development of statistical information on forestry, forest products and forest industries. In particular, he/she will:
• participate in the design and develop new statistical methods and quantitative models for analysis and projections on forest products and forest industry at the global level;
• maintain and run the computerized database on global forest products statistics;
• analyze and disseminate the information on forestry, forest products and forest industry and prepare Forest Statistics’ material for publications, including the Yearbook of Forest Products;
• represent the Division at international forestry related meetings and act as Secretary to the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Forest Sector Statistics;
• conduct research to standardize structure and classification of definitions for statistical information on forest industries and forest products especially production, trade and industry capacity;
• promote cooperation and maintain liaison with other international organizations and institutions working with forestry statistics, including the International Tropical Timber Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and EUROSTAT, as well as national statistical agencies, for better coordination of statistical programmes and elimination of unnecessary duplication;
• establish and maintain effective working relations with country statistical focal points in order to facilitate the sharing of statistical information;
• organize seminars, training workshops, expert meetings etc. in order to provide direct support to country capacity building in the area of forest statistics;
• prepare draft technical documents for meetings and publication;
• perform other related duties as required.
Candidates should have a University Degree in Forestry, Economics, Statistics or a related field and five years of relevant experience in the field of forest products statistics which included international working experience in developing countries or countries in transition.
Deadline for application is: 17 March 2011.
Send your application to:
V.A 2505-FOM
Director, FOM, Forestry Department
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome ITALY
Fax No: +39 06 57055137
E-mail: [email protected]


35. FAO Vacancy: Forest Officer (Global Forest Resources Assessment)
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme, 21 February 2011

Under the overall guidance of the Team Leader, Forest Assessment and Reporting Team and the direct supervision of the Senior Officer (Global Forest Resources Assessment), with wide latitude for personal initiative, the incumbent shall:
• regularly assess user needs and expectations with regard to information on forest resources, products and institutions as well as opportunities to enhance data collection and dissemination through internal or external partnerships;
• provide advice and technical assistance to countries in the Africa and/or Latin America Regions for the elaboration of national reports for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) programme, as requested;
• participate in the coordination and implementation of selected special studies related to the FRA programme;
• further develop/strengthen networks of national correspondents to the FRA process; support existing regional and sub-regional networks on forest monitoring and assessment and foster exchange of information and experiences among countries; foster strategic alliances and partnership with regional key partners;
• liaise with staff within and outside of the Forestry Department to obtain specific technical inputs for FRA outreach activities to external stakeholders, partners and end-users; disseminate information through various media, including an active website on the FRA programme, aimed at various audiences;
• plan and participate in expert consultations, technical meetings and workshops at national, regional and global level;
• perform other related duties as required.
Candidates should have a University Degree in Forestry or a related field and five years of relevant experience in the assessment of forest resources, products and institutions which included international working experience in networking and outreach in developing countries or countries in transition.
Deadline for applications is 17 March 2011.
Send your application to:
V.A 2506-FOM
Director, FOM, Forestry Department
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153, Rome, ITALY
Fax No: +39 06 57055137
E-mail: [email protected]



Forest-Europe Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
14-16 June 2011
Oslo, Norway
The Forest-Europe Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe represents a major European contribution to the International Year of Forests. At this Ministerial Conference, European countries will take decisions aimed at the preservation of forests and the safeguarding of their environmental, societal and economic benefits for present and future generations. Ministers are expected to adopt a vision, goals and targets for Europe’s forests and address ways to strengthen cooperation on sustainable forest management in Europe. In this context, they will consider opening negotiations on a legally binding agreement on forests and their management in Europe.
For more information, please contact:
Kristin Dawes
Communications and Public Affairs, Forest-Europe
Liaison Unit Oslo
Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe
P.O. Box 115
NO-1431 Aas, Norway
Tel: +47 64 94 89 30
Fax: +47 64 94 89 39
E-mail: [email protected]


CIFOR workshop
15-17 June 2011
The Royal Society, London, UK
CIFOR and partners will host a global forum on the role of environmental income and forests in rural livelihoods and poverty alleviation. The two-day science workshop organized by CIFOR and partners is about the role of forest and environmental resources in rural livelihoods and poverty alleviation throughout the developing world.
Results from the PEN global study and other large-scale comparative research projects will be presented. The aim is to strengthen the case for institutionalizing data collection of previously “hidden” environmental income.
For more information and to register, visit or e-mail: [email protected]
For more information, please contact:
Nick Hogarth
Poverty Environment Network (PEN)
CIFOR (Centre for International Forestry Research)
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +62 251 8 622 622
Fax: +62 251 8 622 100
Mailing Address:
PO Box 0113 BOCBD
Bogor 16000


INBAR Course on Integrated Sustainable Development in Mountain Areas and NTFPs Industrial and Commercial Development
6-26 September 2011
Zhejiang Province, China
Mountain areas cover 20 percent of the world’s land area and are rich in resources, including forests and minerals, and are the source of much of the world’s freshwater. Forests in mountain areas provide essential ecosystem services, protect biodiversity and are essential for the mitigation of and to adaptation to climate change. In many countries, especially in developing countries, mountain areas are home to a disproportionately high percentage of poor people who depend on these resources for their lives and livelihoods. However, in many countries, especially in developing nations, these regions are homes to large populations of relatively poor people, whose lives and livelihoods depend on effective and appropriate management of the natural resources around them. How to make a balance between ecosystem and forest conservation and local economic and livelihood development, and achieve sustainability in both aspects has been a long standing problem that needs urgent solutions. To date, the utilization and development NTFPs is identified and considered to be one of the most important feasible solutions for forest sustainable management and local community sustainable development.
This workshop will be held in Lin’an and Anji, both locations are commonly recognized in China and the international community as successful examples of integrated sustainable development in mountain areas. The well-developed NTFPs industries and ecotourism, the affluent and modern mountain villages, the beautiful forest environments, are all signs of success.
This workshop will provide a platform for people from various levels and fields of works who are concerned with mountainous development, rural development, environmental protection and natural resource management, and so on to share and explore the best practices in sustainable and integrated development in mountainous regions, especially, the technologies and products of NTFPs.
The training workshop is designed to provide a platform for participating countries to share and exchange the best practices and experiences in mountain sustainable development, as well as experiences in NTFPs industrialization and commercialization.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. JIN Wei
Public Awareness Coordinator
Development and Communications Unit
8, Futong Dong Da Jie, Wangjing, Chaoyang District
P. O. Box 100102-86, Beijing 100102, P. R. China
Tel: +86-10-64706161, ext. 310
Fax: +86-10-64702166
Email: [email protected]


International Conference on the Art and Joy of Wood
19-22 October 2011
Bangalore, India
In collaboration with the Government of India, FAO will be holding an international conference about wood products and sustainable development. The overall aim of the conference will be to examine how the production and use of wood products can contribute to sustainable development and how greater demands for sustainability might present new opportunities for development of the wood products sector.
Within this general direction, three themes for the conference are proposed: (1) emerging trends in economies and lifestyles: what are the main trends affecting wood use and how can these be utilised to strengthen the forest products sector?; (2) stories portraying the winds of change: case studies showing how some wood producers and users have already developed strategies or innovated to build successful enterprises based on changing consumer demands and needs; (3) wooden paths to a sustainable future: how can the linkages between wood use and sustainable development be strengthened and used to promote more and higher-value wood use?
This conference will focus in particular on the social, aesthetic, cultural and traditional aspects of wood use and how the strong linkages between wood and society might be used to support the future development of the sector as a whole.
For more information, please contact:
Adrian Whiteman, Senior Forestry Officer
Forest Products and Industries Division, Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153, Rome, Italy
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected] or



40. IUCN marks IYF with Report on the Value of Investing in Locally-controlled Forestry
Source: IISD News, 1 February 2011

According to IUCN's latest report, titled The Value of Investing in Locally-controlled Forestry: The economic impacts of scaling up LLS experiences in Africa, Asia & Latin America, better evaluation of what forests are worth will generate direct benefits for poor forest dwellers, open up new markets and affect global economic growth.
The aim of the report, which was launched at the celebration to open the International Year of Forests (IYF), is to demonstrate the global economic impact that forests can have if they are managed and controlled by the people who live in and around them.
Stewart Maginnis, IUCN’s Director of Environment and Development, noted that "locally-controlled forest management is a highly profitable public investment and development assistance option." According to the report, the direct livelihood values, such as food, medicines, fuel, energy, income and employment, are estimated at US$130 billion a year.
For more information, please see:


41. State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet
From: Worldwatch Institute. January, 2011

Over the last two years, Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet team has travelled to 25 sub-Saharan African nations — the places where hunger is greatest — and uncovered a treasure trove of innovations from farmers’ groups, private voluntary organizations, universities, and even agribusiness companies. These innovations offer global benefits — from the continent’s role in preventing disastrous climate change to the way urban farmers are feeding people in cities and why even determined locavores (people interested in sustainability and eco-consciousness) are sustained by the crop diversity preserved by farmers thousands of miles away.
This book assesses the state of agricultural innovations from cropping methods to irrigation technology to agricultural policy with an emphasis on sustainability, diversity, and ecosystem health in the hope of guiding governments, foundations, and concerned citizens in their efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty.
Published annually in 28 languages, State of the World is long established as the most authoritative and accessible annual guide to our progress towards a sustainable future. It is relied upon by national governments, UN agencies, development workers and law-makers for its up-to-the-minute analysis and information.


42. OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section Newsletter
From: Sushil Raj, Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section. OHCHR, 22 February 2011

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) represents the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity. It has a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights.
The Indigenous Peoples and Minorities section of the OHCHR in particular is dedicated to tackling issues affecting minorities and indigenous peoples. In recent years, a well defined interest in tackling issues affecting minorities has emerged. Awareness is growing that by meeting the legitimate interests of national or ethnic, religious and linguistic groups the principles of the United Nations Charter may be furthered. Thus, minority rights are being increasingly recognized as an integral part of the United Nation's work for the promotion and protection of human rights, sustainable human development, peace and security.
This newsletter is designed to inform interested persons on the activities of the OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section. The newsletter is available at:
For more information, please contact:
Sushil Raj
Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section
Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
48 Giuseppe Motta, Office 2-20
CH-1211, Geneva 10
Tel: +41-22-928-9347
Fax: +41-22-928-9066
Email: [email protected]


43. Biosoc returns
From: BioSoc Issue No.27, 31 January 2011

January 2011 sees the return of BioSoc — the bulletin highlighting new research and policy developments on the theme of biodiversity and society. This year BioSoc aims to give more exposure to research and writing from developing countries and invites contributions.
BioSoc reviews should be a maximum of 500–600 words, written in clear and simple language, and should highlight new developments or critical issues. All publications reviewed must be freely accessible to the reader. The review must include the full citation and relevant download details.
Please send ideas to [email protected]


44. Other publications of interest
From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

Brown, Lester. 2011. World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse. UK: Earthscan.

Crosti, R. 2010. Invasiveness of biofuel crops and potential harm to natural habitats and native species report. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Dharani, N et al. 2010. Common Anti-malarial Trees and Shrubs of East Africa. World Agroforestry Centre and the Kenya Medical Research Institute. Kenya: Nairobi.

Freudenthal, E., Nnah, S. and Kenrick, J. 2011. Redd and Rights in Cameroon: A review of the treatment of indigenous peoples and local communities in policies and projects. Rights, Forests and Climate Briefing Series. UK: Forest Peoples Programme.

Mishra, M. and P.C. Kotwal. 2009. Premature harvesting of wild musli (Chlorophytum borivilianum, Baker) and its impact on raw material quality: a case of Katni forest division, Madhya Pradesh. Journal of Applied and Natural Science. An international Research journal of Life Sciences, Earth and Environment. Vol.1(1): 66-70.

Mishra, M. and P.C. Kotwal. 2009. Current harvesting practices of Bach (Acorus calamus) L. rhizomes traded in the market of Dhamtari, Chattisgarh,India. Asian Journal of Environmental Sciences. Vol.4(1): 4-11.

Mishra, M. and P. C. Kotwal. 2009.Traditional harvesting and processing methods of Dioscorea daemona (Baichandi) tubers in the forests of Madhya Pradesh, India. Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants (Malaysia). Vol. 10 (1):113-118. June- Dec., 2009.

Mishra, M. and P.C. Kotwal. 2009. Harvesting of Aonla fruits (Emblica officinalis) and its impact on raw material quality: a case of Katni market, Madhya Pradesh. Indian Journal of Arecanut, Spices & Medicinal Plants.Vol. 11(2): 69-76.

Mishra, M. P.C. Kotwal and C. Prasad. 2009. Unsustainable harvesting of some medicinal plants and its impact on raw material quality. Flora & Fauna. Vol. 15 (1):66-72.

Mishra, M., S.P. Singh and Chandan Prasad. 2009. Protection of consumers from inferior NTFPs products and changing consumer behaviour in local market of Mahakaushal region. International Journal of Rural Development and Management Studies. Vol.3(2): 325-332. Dec.,2009.

Mishra, M. and SP Singh. 2009. Indigenous community participation in India. European Tropical Forest Research Network. Special Issue on Climate Change ETFRN News. Vol. 50:84-90. Nov., 2009.

Mishra, M and P C Kotwal. 2009. Sustainable management and conservation of biodiversity in the natural forests of central India: a case of two medicinally important species. Sustainable management & conservation of Biodiversity. PP:69-80. New Delhi: Narendra Publishing House.


From: FAO’s NWFP Programme

FAO Forestry publications
FAO has launched an improved Forestry publications site. The home page features the most recent publications from a number of series produced by the Forestry Department, both at headquarters and regional offices. Besides the Department’s flagship publications, such as the State of the World’s Forests and Unasylva, FAO Forestry papers, working paper series, recent books, co-publications and other non-series titles are displayed. The home page also has slots for recent publications from each region.

Earth Child Institute
2.2 billion: The power of One Child + One Tree = A sustainable future for all

Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology Chronicle
The Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology (CLE) at Royal Roads University (British Columbia, Canada) is pleased to present the CLE Chronicle — the new monthly electronic news bulletin updating colleagues, partners and friends on the CLE’s ongoing activities. For more information, please contact: [email protected]



46. Aboriginal community focuses on the young to keep language alive
Source: Sunday Mail (Australia) in Traditional Knowledge Bulletin, 23 February 2011

An Aboriginal community risks losing its language because too much emphasis is placed on Pitjantjatjara, a dialect of the Western Desert Language in Australia, traditionally spoken by the Pitjantjatjara people. Scotdesco Aboriginal Community says the Wirangu language is "critically endangered" with just two remaining elders — Gladys and Doreen Miller — fluent in the native tongue.
"Pitjantjatjara is all about inland heritage but food-hunting techniques on the coast, and the words surrounding them, are unique to this area which is being lost," Scotdesco community Development Officer Michelle Anderson said. "We need to move away from just Pitjantjatjara."
Ms Anderson said Scotdesco, 94km west of Ceduna, South Australia, had embarked on a three-year project to preserve and regenerate the dying language.
"Cultural instructors from Scotdesco are learning Wirangu from the elders and then teaching it to the students of Koonibba Aboriginal School through outdoor activities like fishing, reef walking and painting," she said.
"We find it works better because the Aboriginal people are teaching it where they are most comfortable and the kids retain so much more from seeing it."
Koonibba principal Wade Branford said the natural environment was one of the best resources for teaching. "Without question, when you come back to the classroom they are more engaged in journal writing about what they have seen and we also do things in oral form," Mr Branford said.
"It is so important that we keep this language alive."
Two other at-risk languages, Gugada and Mirning, are also taught by the instructors.
Dr Paul Monaghan, linguist with the mobile language team at Adelaide University, said Pitjantjatjara had become such a powerful language that it had taken over and that many schools opted to teach it simply because the resources were easier to obtain. He said it was critical to develop educational materials to preserve Wirangu.
"Any Aboriginal language is threatened so to have just two people left, the threat is very real," Dr Monaghan said. "Even if you had 5 000 speakers like Pitjantjatjara does, if none of these speakers is under the age of 20, you are doomed."


47. Changes in wildlife migration could alter disease risk
Source:, 24 January 2011

The risk of animals passing diseases to humans could increase in some cases, but decrease in others, as people encroach on and disrupt wildlife migration paths, according to a review in Science (21 January).
Climate change is also affecting migration patterns, and the review says there is an urgent need for research on how changes in habitat and climate will affect disease in migratory animals, to predict risks for both people and wildlife.
Although there is a general assumption that long-distance movements of migrating animals can increase the spread of pathogens, including zoonotic pathogens that jump from animals to humans, such as Ebola virus in bats and avian flu viruses in birds, the evidence for this is scarce, the review says.
"There are examples that suggest that most wild birds are not likely to spread the most pathogenic strains of avian flu over long distances, as was previously suspected," Sonia Altizer, at the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, United States, told SciDev.Net.
There might even be a decrease in transmission risk for some diseases, according to the review, but more research is needed to make accurate predictions.
"One of the biggest surprises is that there are not a lot of clear, published cases of migratory species carrying infectious diseases. This could be partly because of the challenges of studying species across international borders," Altizer said.
Some long-distance migrations are a known disease threat to humans and livestock. For example, the deadly Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been linked to an influx of migratory fruit bats. But now shifts in natural migration patterns may change where and how such disease outbreaks occur.
Destruction of habitats by urbanization or agriculture can eliminate stopover areas and herd more animals to the few remaining sites. This, in turn, could create hotspots for disease transmission, the review says. Human encroachment on these natural sites could also increase the risk of contact with diseased animals.
Outbreaks of the Nipah and Hendra viruses in Malaysia and Australia, affecting pigs and horses respectively, have been traced to changing habits of previously migratory fruit bats — instead of migrating in search of ephemeral food sources they now settle around fruit orchards that provide year-round fruit. The location of the orchards brought the fruit bats close to pigs and horses.
Migration could reduce the amount of disease as infected animals are left behind to die, but changes in migration might prevent such natural purging of infections, the review says. Fences and dams might also force some animals to stop migrating, which could increase the prevalence of pathogens in the population.
Jeff Waage, a biosafety expert and director of the UK's London International Development Centre, told SciDev.Net: "This is the first time that people have looked at migratory species from a disease point of view, including how migration may affect humans and livestock. It is interesting because only ten years ago we had no idea that bats were an alternative host of some of the most serious human diseases, such as Ebola."
Kate Jones, a wildlife epidemiologist at the UK's Institute of Zoology in London, told SciDev.Net this review "has pulled together all of the complex issues regarding migration and infectious diseases, and has laid the foundation and a direction for future research."
For full story, please see:



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last updated:  Monday, April 30, 2012