Commonwealth Forestry News     {short description of image}

No. 11

December 2000

ISSN 1463-3868


Chairman's Column

Association News
     AGM 2001
     Branch meetings 2000
     Executive Committee
     In Memoriam

Around The World
     16th Commonwealth Forestry Conference
     UN Forest Forum
     FCCC - Forests and Global Warming
     APFC on Logging Bans
     Tropical Forest Update
     England's forestry strategy
     Scotland's forestry strategy
     Forestry in Russia
     Acknowledgement to FIU
     SAF Centenial
     Zambia takes forests to the people
     Information for UK forest industries

     Ultraviolet-B radiation – ozone depletion and forestry
     UNEP-INBAR and bamboo resources

     Wood science in UBC

News of members and friends

Forest Scenes
     Groundnuts, peanuts, or monkey nuts
     Tree race

International Forestry Review

CFA Membership

The international newsletter of the Commonwealth Forestry Association

"To promote the well-being of the world's forest and those who depend on them."

CFA. Administrative Office: Oxford Forestry Institute, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK. Telephone:[+44]01865 271037 Facsimile: [+44]01865 275074. E.mail:
Editor CFNews:
Philip Wardle, 3 Charles Hill, Elstead, GU8 6LE,Surrey,U.K.
Telephone, Facsimile:-[+44]01252702204.

Chairman's Column

The Chairman has asked the regions to contribute to the Chairman's column. The speech of Dr B.K. Bahuguna on the occasion of his receipt of the Queen's Award for Forestry in Kuala Lumpur in August carries an important message from South Asia.

I feel deeply honoured that the Queen's Award selection committee of the CFA found an Indian worthy of receiving this prestigious award for the year 2000. From the core of my heart I thank the CFA for choosing me as winner.

I am happy that the award was given to an Indian, a country with a population of one billion humans and around 550 million cattle. India occupies only 2% of the world's geographic area but has to meet the needs of 18% of the world's population. Around 350 million of them are heavily dependent on the forests. The task of managing forests in India is challenging indeed, but not so difficult considering the immense talent available among Indian foresters, scientists, academicians, social workers and other professionals working for the forests.

Change is a must in a dynamic world and foresters of India are changing and rising to the occasion to meet new challenges in forest management. They are changing fast and for the better. The change is manifesting itself as today around 15% of forests - 10 million ha - is being managed through 36,130 village level democratic institutions involving 100 million members of the larger civil society. The Queen's Award is a fitting tribute to this change in dimensions of forestry in India and I would like to dedicate the award to all those who are working for this cause throughout the length and breadth of the country. As Deputy Inspector General of Forests in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, working for evolving policies on forest protection and joint forest management (JFM), I have personal experience of getting valuable inputs from all these groups for policy formation.

I never realised that the award would generate instantaneous support and interest. After its announcement at a massive gathering of professionals and policy makers on the occasion of the CFA sponsored seminar on "India's Forests beyond 2000" in Delhi, the award received wide media coverage. This made CFA very popular and I was invited by the National Television to talk about the Commonwealth and its Forestry Association and signals the importance of organisations like the CFA.

In India, with the help of Peter Wood and Shyam Sunder, we have been able to make an impact and carve out a niche for CFA as a neutral forum for discussion of the emerging issues both at policy and at management unit levels. CFA India is providing a forum for the interface between foresters and other members of civil society for better synergy of action on forestry issues. We have been able to make an impact, as our membership has grown 15 to 20 times during the last one and a half years and many international organisations have been offering help in our activities.

CFA is an organisation binding us together across the globe and fostering networking and spreading the message of the Commonwealth. The Queen's Award has done yeoman's service to the cause.

from Vinod Bahuguna, India

Association News

AGM 2001

The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held in conjunction with the 16thCommonwealth Forestry Conference from 7 - 10 PM, Thursday 19th April 2001 in the Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Branch meetings 2000

In line with the new bye-law on national branches we hope to receive reports on local CFA meetings around the Commonwealth and let you know about them through these pages.


A seminar under the auspices of CFA India Branch "India's Forests Beyond 2000" was held in New Delhi in April. This was jointly sponsored by the CFA, the India Council for Forest Research and Education and financial support was generously provided by the Ford Foundation, DFID, UK and the Ministry of Forests and the Environment. There were 140 participants from government forestry, NGOs and the private sector and representing most States of India (See CFN9). The Branch is instituting an annual Brandis-Chaturvedi Memorial lecture, commemorating the initiation of scientific forestry in India by Brandis and the start of a new era with Mr M.D. Chaturvedi. The next CFA meeting will feature a debate on tiger conservation. The Branch is also promoting the idea of CFA India awards and medals, complemented by travel grants.


A special meeting of CFA was hosted by the Malaysia Branch at the IUFRO World Congress in Kuala Lumpur on August 11th. H.E. Mr G.H. Fry, British High Commissioner in Malaysia, presented the Queen's Award for Forestry 2000 to Dr V.K. Bahuguna of the Indian Forest Service, for distinguished contribution to the development of Joint Forest Management in India. Mr Fry also presented the CFA Asia Pacific Regional Award for Excellence to Y.Bhg. Dato' Dr Freezailah bin Che Yeom of Malaysia and to Dr David Flinn of Australia. (See CFN10)

United Kingdom

The UK Branch held a technical meeting "Relevant Advances in Forestry World-wide" on May 20 at the Oxford Forestry Institute providing a platform for younger foresters from throughout the Commonwealth. Twelve speakers addressed the themes "Conservation in production forest management", "Institutional change" and "Participatory research".


The CFA- Zambia Branch held its annual general meeting under the theme "Getting to know the CFA and its influence". The two days Annual Meeting held from 18-19th August, 2000 at the Copperbelt University, attracted participants drawn from various expertise and professions ranging from researchers, foresters, teachers, students, scientists and the media. (See CFN10)


Unfortunately, for lack of a quorum the CFA - Canadian Branch did not meet this year. We generally hold such meetings in the wings of the AGM of the Canadian Institute of Forestry. The next opportunity for us to meet will come up in August of 2001 when the CIF holds its meeting in Whistler, BC.

In Memoriam

We regret to announce the death of Johnny J.H. Francois of Ghana.

Executive Committee

By kind invitation of our President HE Mr J.E.K. Aggrey-Orleans, the 205th meeting of the Executive Committee was held at the Ghana High Commission in London on 4th October 2000. The President and seven members participated, the chair being taken by Julian Evans, Vice-Chairman of CFA.


Arising out of the AGM, the Schlich Award goes this year to Australia as hosts to the 16th Commonwealth Forestry Conference. Invitations are to be sent to Universities to make nominations for the Tom Gill Medal, awarded in recognition of excellence in "tropical silviculture and sustainable forest management." There is a call for funds to support this award.


A gift from the Worshipful Company of Builders Merchants has been used to support Mr Antwi Oduro to attend the MSc Forestry course at Oxford. A welcome lunch hosted by Prof Jeff Burley was held at the Radcliffe Camera to provide the opportunity for Mr Oduro to meet members of the Worshipful Company and the CFA.


CFA received 113 applicions for funding under the sponsorship programme to attend the Commonwealth Forestry Conference. The funding so far available - provided by the UK Department of International Development - allowed the selection of 15. The CFA is administering the fund and will hold a one day workshop "Issues facing small states and island nations of the Commonwealth on the forestry sector" in conjunction with CFC.

Queen's Award for Forestry

The winner of the Queen's Award for Forestry 2000, Dr V.K. Bahuguna will visit South Africa, Canada and the CFC in Fremantle, Australia, with the help of complementing funding from the Government of India.

Peter Wood has stepped down from the position of Chairman of the Queen's Award Committee and the post has been taken by Ralph Roberts of Canada.


On the difficult matter of income from membership, the editor of IFR has been asked to review the list of subscribers. Keith Jeddery-Fisher, membership secretary is looking at proposals for targeted membership rates and the possibility of collaborative affiliation arrangements with national organisations to secure access to wider membership, as is being explored with the Southern African Institute of Foresters.


Alan Pottinger has taken over as editor of the International Forestry Review. Peter Wood is developing the next edition of the Commonwealth Forestry Handbook to be available at the 16th CFC. Camera ready copy for The World Forests - Rio + 8 was expected to be available by November for publication by CFA. Thanks were expressed to the Canadian Branch for its initiative in establishing a CFA website and for hosting CFNews on it. Interest was expressed in further development in this area to support CFA dissemination and communications.

Next Executive Committee

Ghana High Commission in London on Tuesday 30th January 2001.

Around The World

16th Commonwealth Forestry Conference

Dates: 18-25 April 2001.

Venue: Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle, Western Australia

Theme: Forests in a Changing Landscape

For more information, please contact the Conference Secretariat:

Promaco Conventions Pty Ltd
P O Box 890
Canning Bridge
Western Australia 6153
Tel: +61 8 9332 2900; Fax: +61 8 9332 2911


Libby Jones, Secretary, Standing Committee on Commonwealth Forestry
Tel: +44 131 314 6137; Fax: + 44 131 334 0442

from LIBBY JONES, Forestry Commission, GB

CHOGM 2001

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to be held in Brisbane, Australia, on 6-9 October 2001, will have as its theme 'The Commonwealth in the 21st Century: Continuity and Renewal'.

This is the session to which CFC will report.

UNFF established

On 18 October 2000, ECOSOC adopted the Resolution entitled "Report of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests". By this Resolution ECOSOC established an international arrangement on forests, including the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). It was established as a subsidiary body of ECOSOC composed of all States Members of the United Nations and State Members of the specialized agencies with full and equal participation, including voting rights. This is the first new ECOSOC subsidiary body being created since the establishment of CSD in 1992.

The UNFF provides a high-level forest policy forum. Among its major functions are the promotion of the implementation of already agreed actions, enhancement of coordination of forest related issues, and strengthening political commitment to sustainable management of all types of forests. Within five years the UNFF will, inter alia, consider with a view to recommending the parameters of a mandate for developing a legal framework on all types of forests. Furthermore, it will, as a matter of priority in the context of the multi-year programme of work, take steps to devise approaches towards appropriate financial and technology transfer support to enable the implementation of sustainable forest management, as recommended under the IPF and IFF processes.

ECOSOC also invited the heads of relevant organisations to form a collaborative partnership on forests to support the work of the UNFF and to enhance cooperation and coordination among participants.

The President of ECOSOC, Ambassador Wibisono (Indonesia), expressed great appreciation to Ambassador Asadi (Iran) for his work and to all the delegations for the hard work they had done to reach the agreement.

The organisational meeting of the UNFF has been scheduled for 12 February 2001 to elect its Bureau and to consider all proposals and options on the location of the secretariat.

FCCC - Could Forests Speed Up Global Warming?

The Sixth session of the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in The Hague, Netherlands in November. Three years of negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol was designed to deliver the legally binding first step aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% on 1990 levels by 2010, as a start on the path to the 60% cut scientists say is needed. This final round of discussions in the Hague "promised to be politically difficult, highly technical and extraordinarily complex".

One of the most contentious issues to be discussed was the ability of forests to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and act as so called carbon "sinks" in countering greenhouse gas emissions. The use of forests is important for several countries, most notably the United States, but also Canada, Australia and Japan. At its simplest this involves the country planting forests on its own land, or in other countries, and counting the carbon saved in the tree trunks against its own domestic emissions. Detractors say the carbon saved is difficult to measure and question what happens to the credits gained if the forest is burnt or cut down. In addition they argue that widespread recourse to carbon sinks represents a loophole in the treaty as it reduces the need for countries to cut their use of fossil fuels. This, along with emission trading (the trade in hot air), is considered by the EU as a fundamentally moral issue, while others consider these a potentially good way to! improve cost effectiveness of emission cuts. Sadly this session failed to resolve these conflicts, postponing decision to the final meeting in May 2001 in Bonn.

In the mean time it is reported that a South East Asian logging company is already selling pollution permits to an electricity company in the US, claiming, in the looking glass world of carbon trading, that it is sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere by replacing the virgin forests that it is cutting with plantations.

from THE GUARDIAN and FINANCIAL TIMES, UK, November 2000

ITTO works with Indonesia

The International Tropical Timber Organization will send a four-person team of experts to Indonesia to assist the government there in developing plans for sustainable forest management. This is one outcome of the 29th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, from six days of intense discussion and negotiation.

from ITTO, Yokohama, Japan

Tropical Forest Update

ITTO has recently launched an electronic newsletter to introduce articles published in the most recent edition of ITTO's free journal, Tropical Forest Update (TFU).

TFU is published every three months, both in hardcopy and on the ITTO website, to promote the conservation and sustainable development of tropical forests. If you would also like to receive the printed version of the newsletter, please send your full postal address to the editor.

The first summary on the web page says that according to a recent ITTO report, most ITTO producer member countries now have the legislation and policies in place to achieve sustainable forest management. The next step is to put them into practice. This is not easy, but ITTO initiatives are aiming to speed the process.

Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission on Logging Bans

An Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) study of the decade-long experiences in implementing logging bans in selected Asian countries, and the struggles of other countries recently attempting to establish logging restrictions, demonstrates the shortcomings of such bans as measures to conserve and protect natural forests. Often enacted as a result of political pressures or in response to natural disasters, logging bans have seldom received the careful planning and analysis required for successful strategic policy development.

While imposition of logging bans may swiftly add thousands of hectares to lists of protected areas, many factors constrain the realisation of actual forest conservation. These include failure to identify clear conservation objectives, lack of public consensus on protection goals, shortages of personnel and financial resources, and weak public involvement in decision making. The result is that implementation of logging bans often turns into a battle for legal enforcement rather than effective long-term conservation strategies.

Without adequate plantation resources or other non-forest sources of wood, both forest-dependent people and consumers may be affected negatively by logging bans, which often force countries to rely more heavily on imported wood. This, in turn, introduces the potential for "exporting" environmental damage, illegal logging, and further deforestation to other supplier countries where harvesting regulations and enforcement may be lax.

Thailand and the Philippines continue to experience difficulties in implementing logging bans introduced over a decade ago and still lack effective conservation and protection of natural forests. New Zealand and Sri Lanka, in contrast, demonstrate the benefits of establishing clear goals for logging bans, implementing bans in a strategic manner, and ensuring adequate alternative sources of timber. An active role for the private sector and broad public participation were also positive factors contributing to effective bans and to forest conservation in general. China and Vietnam are in the early stages of developing comprehensive logging bans. These countries' experiences provide insights into the benefits of strategic planning and strong political commitment for conservation and protection efforts.

Logging bans and moratoriums can help reduce adverse impacts of logging in the short term, buying time for careful analysis of underlying issues and conflicts in forest land use and identifying priorities for sustainable forest management. Inefficiencies throughout the forestry sector may also be addressed, and well-designed and supported conservation and protection schemes can be implemented in a phased approach. Success depends on subsequent follow-up, strong public support and provisions for alternative timber sourcing (domestic, plantations, or imports).

Inadequate monitoring and evaluation of the successes and problems with logging bans vis-à-vis alternative measures for conserving and protecting forests leaves the future of logging bans as a policy instrument in doubt. The emphasis to date has clearly been on enforcement of logging restrictions rather than the more difficult task of balanced conservation, protection and multiple-use management for both commodity and environmental benefits.

Preliminary findings are now available (E-mail: and reports will be published in early 2001.

from PATRICK DURST, FAO, Bangkok

England's forestry strategy

A discretionary approach to new planting applications in England under the Woodland Grant

Scheme, was announced on 20 January 2000, with the introduction of a scoring system. This involves a simple scoring form which applicants are asked to complete in respect of the following criteria: creating larger woodlands; involving the community; contribution to rural economies; contribution to economic regeneration; new recreational opportunities; enhancing nature conservation; enhancing the landscape.


Scotland's forestry strategy

Forestry is a devolved subject, allowing the Scottish Executive to implement distinctive forestry policies for Scotland within the framework of the UK Government's overall forestry policy and the UK's international commitments to biodiversity and sustainability.

Forestry Minister Rhona Brankin launched Scotland's Forestry Strategy in November. The Scottish Executive's forestry policy is closely integrated with other aspects of land use policy, such as agriculture and rural development. It involves commitment to supporting the restoration or creation of a further 15,000 hectares of native woodland by 2003. The Central Scotland Forest is a Ministerial initiative that aims to create substantial areas of new woodland and other environmental improvements in West Lothian, North Lanarkshire, Falkirk and parts of South Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire, while the Grampian Forest is an initiative to establish substantial areas of productive woodland in the area of north-east Scotland. The strategy is supported by "forestry challenge funds", a mechanism by which the Scottish Executive targets extra help under the Woodland Grant

Scheme on areas of the country where woodland planting, regeneration, management or improvement are considered a priority for economic, social or environmental reasons.

Scotland's woods and forests directly support more than 10,000 jobs in the forestry and wood-processing industries. They are one of the biggest recreational resources in Scotland, hosting about 22 million day visits from home every year, in addition to visits by tourists and holidaymakers.


Forestry in Russia

The government ecology committee and the forest department were abolished by presidential decree in May 2000. (President Putin established a new Ministry of Natural Resources having four departments: oil, minerals, waters and forests. Environment became just a commission somewhere in the ministry.)

from LE MONDE, France, November 2000

Acknowledgement to FIU

Several articles in this and previous issues of CFNews originates from Forest Information Update published by Gyde Lund. FIU is a free weekly email newsletter sent to people interested in the inventorying and monitoring of natural resources. FIU is produced by Forest Information Services ( and is supported by organisations, agencies and individuals working in the natural resources field. Back issues of FIU may be found at Currently FIU is sent to about 4000 email addresses world-wide. Many of these recipients forward FIU to their own mailing lists. To subscribe or sponsor, contact Gyde at

Society of American Foresters Centenary

International Society of Tropical Foresters Golden Jubilee

The Centenary celebration of the Society of American Foresters was an impressive convention in Washington DC attended by some 1700 participants. The occasion was also the 50th anniversary of founding the International Society of Tropical Foresters which held a half-day symposium as part of the SAF science colloquium on the theme of the future of tropical forests. The CFA was well represented with papers was by Ralph Roberts, (CFA's Regional Vice-Chairman North America), about international issues, and from myself on the role of tropical plantations.

But how does an organisation like the SAF, the world's largest forestry association, with 17,000 members, mark a centenary? The convention itself was clearly different from what many participants were used to, with only one day devoted to standard conference fare of papers and presentations on issues and developments in forestry. There were several events that were distinctly centennial: a gala ball, the letter of greetings from President Clinton; an inspirational address by a leader of a charity devoted to helping the disadvantaged and greetings from many organisations and one from Clifford Pinchot's grandson – Pinchot founded the SAF and, indeed, the Federal Forest Service.

One day had about 500 of us meet in the large ballroom with facilitator who developed 'open space' technology – basically a means of communication – we were encouraged to identify issues considered urgent and pressing. Groups were formed to discuss these over the day and by the next morning a fat report was prepared highlighting some 40 topics to which we were asked to assign a priority by computer ballot, hopefully to work better than Florida's! The themes that emerged focused on environmental controversy, though surprisingly not climate change, taxation and land issues, the place of the profession in society and so on. American emphasis on private rights and land issues were, perhaps to be expected.

At a 'brunch', delegates were invited to make predictions for forestry in 2100. For me the only really clear theme was that plantations will increasingly supply industrial wood and may indeed become the dominant wood basket worldwide. This will relieve some of the pressures on natural forests many of which it was hoped would survive to continue to provide all the many benefits forests confer on society.

A visit was made to the remarkable eastern hardwood forests of West Virginia dominated by oak, cherry, yellow poplar (Liquidambar) and maples. Four-fifths of this state is under forest and the resource of fine hardwoods is impressive. Although much is in private ownership it is a pity that all cutting in Federal forests is now banned and silviculturists are unable to exercise their art despite massive natural regeneration being the rule not the exception. Such is the power of environmental pressures. Surely this imbalance won't last for the next 100 years!

from JULIAN EVANS, Vice-Chairman

Zambia takes forests to the people

To those living outside the real understanding of forests, the resource might seem pretty unimportant, let alone uneconomic. For some people, forests are merely part of a pleasant rural scene. But for Zambia and Finland there is certainly a physical link between the trees, the books we read and the roofs over our heads. The two governments have demonstrated this by launching of the Second Phase of the Forestry Action Programme, through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

The multi-million dollar programme will run in three provinces of the country with the aim of alleviating poverty through sustainable use of forestry resources by communities. The programme is expected to run for the period 2000-2003 and will be jointly implemented by local communities, the private sector, government and other stakeholders.

The Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Kari Karanko said his government had been involved as a partner in Zambian forestry for more than 30 years: - "We started together from the forest utilisation, industrial use and forest harvesting. Then our support was extended to Mwekera Forest College, Forest Research Institute in Zambia and Forest Tree Improvement".

The head of the Zambia Forestry Department Anne Chileshe said that with the enactment of the new Forestry Act, the concept of community participation will obviously become more pronounced. The Forestry Department, an autonomous forestry body and official custodian of the country's 60 million hectares of forests, realises that the involvement of communities in the management of forests will provide sources of income for community projects and activities. In turn, communities especially in rural areas will no longer regard themselves as recipients of handouts from the state but as empowered individuals and communities which can plan their own development.


Information for UK forest industries

The 1998 Jaakko Pöyry study of the prospects for market development in the UK identified a considerable weakness in the availability of trade information between businesses in the forest and forest products industries. Subsequent discussions by the industry, and the work of the Scottish Forest Industries Cluster, have confirmed the validity of this observation.

The UK Forest Products Association, the Forestry Commission and Scottish Enterprise have now jointly commissioned a partnership of The BioComposites Centre/Centre for Advanced & Renewable Materials and the School for Agriculture and Forest Sciences at the University of Wales, Bangor, to carry out a scoping study that could eventually lead to steps to provide better quality trade information to the forestry and forest products industries.



Ultraviolet-B radiation – ozone depletion and forestry?

Enhanced UV-B intensity resulting from stratospheric ozone depletion has raised concerns about consequences for human and animal health as well as yields in agriculture and forestry. Numerous experimental studies on radiation effects on plants have used artificial light with wavelength distributions that exceeded by far any realistic future scenario. A recent project at the Frauenhofer Institute for Atmospheric Environment Research, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, however, used the naturally enhanced short-wave radiation in high altitudes to investigate effects on Norway Spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.).

Cloned trees were exposed under controlled conditions to different UV-B intensities at an altitude of 1780 m. The cellular concentration of phenolic screening substances was quantified by biochemical analyses and localised by laser scanning microscopy. A rise of screening pigments during early needle development in spring, parallel to increasing UV-B intensities was shown. Their location on the epidermal cell walls and around the nuclei indicates the formation of a protective shield for the living cells. The high efficiency of the screening was shown by calculating the epidermal extinction based on the compounds' absorption spectrum and concentration. (Experimental results and discussion will be published elsewhere.)

Many more questions remain open. How do other conifers and broadleaved species react, particularly in tropical, high intensity radiation climates? What long-term effects occur? How is the chemo-ecology of pests, pathogens and symbionts affected? More research integrating biochemical and ecological aspects of tree photo-biology is required to provide a broad scientific basis for forest management in a changing climate.

University of Freiburg, Oxford Forestry Institute

UNEP-WCMC, INBAR and Bamboo Resources

Over 1,000 known bamboo species grow over wide areas of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America and contribute to the livelihoods of millions of people. Despite its economic significance, statistics on bamboo resources, especially in natural stands, are very poor. As a first step to improve the information available, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) are jointly initiating a project to estimate the magnitude and distribution of bamboo resources within natural stands. In the first instance, the project will combine information on the distribution of individual taxa with floristic data and global data on forest cover to generate a global distribution and to estimate the total area of forest containing bamboo. For this we are seeking advice and information about bamboo occurrence and distribution and would be grateful for any information concerning: the species of bamboo! present in particular areas; physical factors that determine their distribution; the abundance of bamboo resources; the abundance of bamboo within particular forest types; additional sources of information or contacts we should make.

Email: or


in Forest Information Update 34


Oxford Forestry Library

As part of a major reorganisation of library services in the University of Oxford, the Plant Sciences Library and CABI-OFI Forestry Information Service are to be managed by the newly created Oxford University Library Services under its Director, Reg Carr. Although no longer administered by the Department of Plant Sciences & Oxford Forestry Institute, the library remains within the Department and all materials remain accessible to anyone with a serious interest in plant sciences or forestry.

The Library and the associated Forestry Information Service will now remain intact and will be developed in co-ordination with other libraries in Oxford and, in recognition of the significant national and international role of the collections, with related libraries and information services in the UK and the rest of the world. The long-standing association with CAB International continues and opportunities for developing new services within the context of the emerging Global Forest Information Service are now under discussion.



Wood Science in UBC

Applications are invited for the position of the Head of the Department of Wood Science at The University of British Columbia, Canada. The successful candidate will be eligible to be appointed as a full professor. Starting date will be July 1, 2001. The closing date for applications is January 31, 2001.

from Forest Information Update 34

News of members and friends


Dr S.K. Adeyoju, who was first appointed as a Training Fellow in 1965 under the auspices of the UNDP/FAO Forestry Education Project at the University of Ibadan, has now retired. He was the first Nigerian Professor of Forestry in 1976. Over the years, he has undertaken numerous assignments on behalf of FAO, UNDP, UNU, UNEP and The World Bank in varied locations, as well as serving the State and Federal forestry institutions of Nigeria in many capacities. Upon his recent retirement, Dr Adeyoju was appointed Emeritus Professor of Forestry, by the Governing Council of the University of Ibadan.


The Board of European Forest Institute has appointed Dr Risto Päivinen (Finland) as the new Director of the European Forest Institute (EFI) in Joensuu, Finland. He began his term on 1 October 2000. Dr Päivinen has been the Deputy Director of the Institute since its establishment in 1993.

Forest Scenes

Groundnuts, peanuts, or monkey nuts

Fifty years ago the Tanganyika "groundnut scheme" was getting under way, run by the British government's Overseas Food Corporation (OFC) as a response to the worldwide shortage of vegetable oils. It was an early example of development aid. It also had forestry significance.

Large areas of woodland were cleared, which caused some concern for the environment. Efforts were made to mitigate adverse effects by leaving strips uncleared, but they did not work well, as the strips themselves suffered from the clearing, and were soon full of dead and dying trees. To salvage valuable timber, particularly in the southern Nachingwea area, the Forest Department advised the use of small sawmills, easy to dismantle and move, but this advice was rejected, in favour of a large central mill.

A senior OFC man asked, at the Department's headquarters in Morogoro, about the dangers to which field staff would be exposed and was told "wild bees and the buffalo bean"! The ferocity of African bees is, perhaps, widely known, but it may be necessary to explain that the "buffalo bean" (unrelated to the American one) is among the most irritating of all plants, its pods being covered in tiny barbed hairs. A close encounter with it is unforgettable.

The scheme was conceived as something new and bold, on quasi-military lines, a modern version of swords into ploughshares. Money was poured in, expat staff recruited, housing built, and heavy machinery imported. Docks were planned at Mtwara, connected to Nachingwea by a railway and a fuel pipeline.

Everything went wrong. Part of the new docks collapsed into the sea. The railway was never started – although after top-level discussions it was to have been prolonged inland, for the general benefit of the country, to "Lumesule Juu", so named on old maps, actually the site of a long-abandoned shifting-cultivation village. The imports needed for the main Kongwa site overtaxed the old Central Railway (as the railway officials had warned they would) and piled up on the quays in Dar-es-Salaam. Kongwa, HQ of the scheme, had practically no water so that had to be tankered in from fifty miles away. The site had been chosen because the local people had once been seen growing groundnuts, but belated inquiries revealed that they only got a decent crop one year in five. Abrasive soil ruined the modern harvesting machines. International market forces stimulated the ordinary economic production of vegetable oils elsewhere.

After only a few years, houses were being demolished, employees paid off, and equipment auctioned. The big sawmill shed in Nachingwea stood gaunt and empty for a long time afterwards. The machinery ordered for it was diverted at sea and sold in Australia. The end was marked by investigations of corruption, theft, and fraud. By present-day standards this prodigious misuse of some £70 million may seem "like peanuts", but in those days it was a lot of money, and there were heated exchanges about it in the British parliament.


Tree race

Heard on the BBC on the occasion of World Habitat Day: "100 000 trees were planted in Malaysia in one minute, setting a new record for tree planting and earning a place in the Guinness Book of Records".


Put a Cork in it

Stripping Quercus suber, the cork oak, is a skilled craft that has gone on for hundreds of years in Portugal, producer of more than half the world's cork. The cork is harvested every nine years, without damaging the tree, which after stripping commences to grow the next crop to be ready after another nine years. The vast majority of the cork is used for stoppers in bottling wine.

The cork industry is fundamental to traditional sustainable agro-ecosystems, with low levels of disturbance providing income for people, food for livestock and food and shelter for some of Europe's most unusual wildlife including the Iberian lynx, says the Nature Conservation League of Portugal.

Cork bark is infecting wine with bacteria and the industry is environmentally unfriendly due to the necessity to cut the trees and drive out the wild pigs, say the exponents of plastic stoppers.

What has kept the cork forests in place is their economic value for making cork. If we lose the cork industry then everything that depends on this system of forest agriculture will go. If the demand for cork drops these forests will be cut and replaced with something more profitable, say the cork farmers.

from THE GUARDIAN, UK, June 2000

Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth

RASC is organising the 19th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference in Durban, South Africa 6-8 March 2001 with the theme "Providing for growing populations" The opening will be with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, President Mbeki and HE The Secretary General of the Commonwealth. The preconference tour includes a visit to Mondi Forest Zululand operations.

(Pictures top of page 8)

Seasons greetings

Commonwealth Forestry News needs your contributions - from the branches! - from the roots!

International Forestry Review

4/2 December 2000


Setting Critical Limits to Ecological Indicators of Sustainable Tropical Forestry

Logging and Conservation of Tropical Forests in Bolivia

The Democratisation of Forest Management in Eastern & Southern Africa

Ecology for tropical forest management

Towards a new forest policy in Swaziland

A physiological approach to pruning

Industrial plantations or agriculture: an analysis of landuse options in Kenya

CFA Membership

Membership and Subscription rates

£ £
Ordinary member 45       Corporate member 150
Developing Country member 10 Subscriber 150
Student member 10

Membership is available to anyone throughout the world with an interest in forestry!


Membership Application form

Oxford Forestry Institute
South Parks Road
Oxford OX1 3RB

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