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  The cover of Etnoecolgica - which always features Latin American naf art - is one of nicest in the business. The inside pages are graced with black and white photographs, often by professional photographers who have lived in Mexico. Numbers 4 and 5 will form a special double issue of the journal.     -GJM    

  Etnoecolgica - edited by Victor Toledo of the Center of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico - is dedicated to the study of the traditional management and conservation of nature. Each edition contains five sections: editorial, which contains scientific articles as well as general commentaries; breves, which are short communications; debate, including opinion pieces; voces, carrying short reflections, often from indigenous people; and libros, which closes the journal with book reviews. Articles are accepted in English, Spanish or French. An annual subscription, which includes two issues, is available from the editor.    

  ‘If one looks at satellite imagery of a tropical region, for example the Amazon or the island of New Guinea, one sees a range of land use patterns. In some areas, one can see the impact of urban land use - complete conversion of natural habitats in the center with deforestation for fuelwood and expansion of neighborhoods and roadways radiating outward ... The negative conservation impacts of the people occupying these areas are obvious ... Mosaics that include the bastions of biodiversity - denser forests, relatively undisturbed grasslands, reefs, and waterways - are generally found associated with lands claimed by indigenous peoples.’ 

From: Alcorn, J. 1994. Noble savage or noble state?: northern myths and southern realities in biodiversity conservation. Etnoecolgica 3:7-19. 


  • Victor M. Toledo,  Apdo. Postal 41-H,  Sta. Ma. Guido, Morelia,  Michoacn 58090, Mexico;  Fax +52.43.241655


Plant Talk

  Hugh Synge, one of the co-editors of Plant Talk, has more than 20 years experience in international plant conservation, mostly with IUCN. He was largely responsible for the launch of the joint IUCN/WWF Plants Conservation Programme (1984 - 1990). The other editor, John Akeroyd, is a well-established plant taxonomist who has recently revised volume 1 of Flora Europaea.     -CL

  Plant Talk, a magazine dedicated to plant conservation around the world, is designed to provide encouragement, expertise and information to those attempting to save plants and their habitats. First published in March 1995, it is produced quarterly. Each issue includes a feature explaining techniques of plant conservation, an inspiring story of how conservationists have succeeded in saving plants in some part of the world, and news of the threats to plants and their habitats. Regular items cover new protected areas and recent Red Data Books and Floras . There are also regular updates on CITES, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species. The journal has sections for notices, recent publications and facts about plants. Comment and interpretation of the articles is given throughout by the editors. Letters and news from readers are welcomed. 

  ‘India’s medicinal heritage, one of the world’s oldest living traditions, has been in danger of sliding towards extinction. This ancient body of knowledge, based mostly on plants and built upon millennia of cultural diversification, is rooted in the rich biodiversity of the country. India’s medicinal plants, like so many plants and animals everywhere, are today under various degrees of threat; so also are the diverse cultural traditions that have sustained the use of these medicinal plants over centuries.’   

From: Tanden, V. & S. Thayil. 1995. Saving medicinal plants in South India. Plant Talk 1:16-17.    


  • Editorial:  John Akeroyd, P.O.Box 400, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7XJ,UK; Fax +44.1747.871507
  • Subscriptions: . Plant Talk, P.O.Box 400, richmond, Surrey TW10 7XJ, UK; Fax +44.181.9745127 or P.O.Box 65226, Tucson, AZ 85728-5226, USA


.Botany 2000 - Asia Newsletter

  Neville Marchant, Director of the Western Australian Herbarium in Perth, has been a driving force behind the Botany 2000-Asia Programme since its inception. In a visit to the Paris offices of UNESCO in 1995, he spoke of a growing interest in ethnobotany among the members of the Botany 2000-Asia network. Although the Programme is primarily focused on taxonomy, he expressed an interest in exploring the parallels between ethnobiological classification and biological systematics and the correct documentation of useful plants through collection of voucher specimens.     -MH

The Botany 2000-Asia Newsletter is published four times a year by the UNESCO Office, New Delhi. A typical issue contains news on workshops, training courses, databases, projects and forthcoming meetings as well as reports on unauthorized collection and export of medicinal plants from the region. The editor requests one to two page articles and reports of seminars and meetings of general relevance to botany and ethnobotany in Asia. Apart from producing the newsletter, the UNESCO Botany 2000-Asia Programme sponsors occasional workshops on the taxonomy, ethnobotany and chemistry of various plant families, as well as training courses in herbarium techniques and curation.  


  • Mohan Perera, Editor,  UNESCO Office, New Delhi, 8 Poorvi Marg,  Vasant Vishar, New Delhi 110057, India;  Tel. +91.11.677310 or 676285,  Fax +91.11.6873351


Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor

   The IK&DM is produced in close collaboration with 22 international, regional and national Indigenous Knowledge Resource Centres, some of which will be highlighted in future issues of the Handbook. People in the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and other countries now have to pay a modest subscription fee for the Monitor, but it is still free to colleagues from developing countries.     -GJM    

Published in The Hague, the Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor (IK&DM) is a publication of and for the international community of people who are interested in indigenous knowledge. The Monitor is produced by the Centre for International Research and Advisory Networks (CIRAN/Nuffic) in close cooperation with the Centre for Indigenous Knowledge for Agriculture and Rural Development (CIKARD), the Leiden Ethnosystems and Development Program (LEAD), and national and regional Indigenous Knowledge Resource Centres. The Monitor, which replaces CIKARD News, is published three times a year in two regular issues and one special issue. Each issue contains articles describing the contribution of indigenous knowledge to the process of sustainable development in a variety of disciplines and development policy sectors in many parts of the world. A section called Communications includes information on resource centers, networks, research, conferences, databases, publications and films.    

  ‘There are a number of reasons to carry out ethnobotanic research in Ethiopia. First, such research contributes to our scientific knowledge of the range and variety of plants in Ethiopia. Second, it can promote the further study of the potentially useful medicinal properties of plants and their development for wider national use. Third, it may shed light on the relation between plant species and cultural ... practices in rural Ethiopia. The knowledge and use of plants is an integrated aspect of many ethnic rural cultures in Ethiopia, the extent of which has not yet been studied in depth. Plants have not only nutritional value but also - in the eyes of local people - medicinal and ritual or magical value. This is where an understanding of the cultural context is of vital importance. And finally, research on indigenous plant use can help to correct the dominant ‘official’ scientific view among Ethiopian government representatives - which tends to devalue local traditions - and thus stimulate development from within the ethnic groups themselves.’   

From: Abbink, J. 1995. Medicinal and ritual plants of the Ethiopian southwest: an account of recent research. IK&DM 3(2):6. 


  • Ms. Akke W. Tick, CIRAN/Nuffic  P.O. Box 29 777, 2502 LT The Hague, The Netherlands;  Tel. +31.70.4260321,  Fax +31.70.4260329,  e-mail tick@nufficcs.nl


Biological Conservation Newsletter

  With its distinctive green color showing through a Smithsonian envelope, the Biological Conservation Newsletter arrives punctually every month thanks to Jane Villa-Lobos. I particularly like the extensive ‘current literature’ section, which contains references from journals that I don ‘t read regularly, but probably should.     -GJM

  The Biological Conservation Newsletter, edited by Jane Villa-Lobos of the Smithsonian Institution, contains four to six pages of short contributed articles; notes on educational materials, new publications and courses; announcements of meetings and job opportunities; and citations of current literature. It is currently being sent to more than 1200 people in over 90 countries.

  ‘Isolated oceanic islands contain some of the world’s most threatened ecosystems. These unique communities are home to many species found nowhere else on earth and provide a real challenge to conservationists. However, the main phase of environmental destruction for a number of islands has passed, and the opportunity now exists to both restore degraded habitats and reintroduce lost and threatened species.   

 Mauritius and Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean are recognized as centres of endemism for vascular plants, birds, reptiles and molluscs. The islands contain some of the world’s rarest plant and animal species. Between 800 and 900 plant species occur on Mauritius, including 8 endemic genera. Three hundred species of plants are found only on Mauritius, and of these about 80% are threatened with extinction.’ 

From: Maunder, M. 1995. Conservation in Mauritius and Rodrigues. Biological Conservation Newsletter. 142:1.  


  • Jane Villa-Lobos,  c/o Biological Conservation Newsletter,  Smithsonian Institution,  Department of Botany,  NHB 166, Washington,  DC 20560, USA;  Tel. +1.202.3572027,  Fax +1.202.7862563,  e-mail mnhbo019@sivm.si.edu


Non-Wood News

  In the words of C. Chandrasekharan, former chief of the Non-Wood Products and Energy Branch of FAO, ‘The purpose of Non-Wood News is to provide readers with useful information and insights about the promise that the future holds in the field of non-wood forest products and the issues to be addressed with regard to their sustainable development.’ I only regret it comes out but once a year.     -GJM .  

Non-Wood News is an annual newsletter produced by the FAO on non-wood forest products (NWFPs). The aim is to provide readers with information on the potential of NWFPs, and some insight into the issues regarding their sustainable development. Non-Wood News includes information on current developments, initiatives and research in this field from around the world. Updates are given on the activities of organizations and networks, at both the national and international levels. An overview of the status of NWFPs is given in two sections; one focuses on particular products and markets, and the other is organized by country. The newsletter also reports on recent and forthcoming meetings and conferences, and lists new publications of relevance to NWFPs. 

  ‘The use of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) is as old as human existence. In subsistence and rural economies, the role and contributions of NWFPs were crucial because of their richness of variety, as sources of food, fodder, fibre, fertilizers, herbal potions, organic construction materials and cosmetic and cultural products. They supported village-level artisanal and craft activity. Furthermore, NWFPs can provide raw material to support processing enterprises such as those of rattan and bamboo furniture, essential oils, resin and pharmaceuticals. Small-scale units of these can be linked to central refining and further processing units. Some NWFPs are internationally traded commodities used in food, flavorings, perfumes, medicines, confectionery, paints and polishes ...    

  The development of NWFPs is a challenging field, because it involves a fundamental change in approach to ecological, silvicultural, socio-economic and trade issues associated with forestry. However, authentic information on NWFPs is generally lacking and there is a need for facilitating improved availability of vital information.’   

From: Chandrasekharan, C. personal communication.  


  • Chief, Non-Wood Products & Energy Branch,  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,  Viale delle Terme di Caracalla,  0100 Rome, Italy;  Tel. +39.6.52251,  Fax +39.6.52253152 


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