This conference, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Forestry and organized by the International Tropical Timber Organization in collaboration with the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, was attended by 120 people from 42 developed and developing countries, including officials from forestry agencies in tropical countries, researchers, project managers, and representatives of national and international non-governmental and development assistance organizations.
The conference was convened at a time when some non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are emerging rapidly in the global market place and as markets for the environmental services of forests are being increasingly promoted. Many countries and organizations see a great deal of potential for these forest products and services to assist the process of sustainable development and to help alleviate poverty in some of the world’s poorest places. The conference was held in China, a country that is at the forefront of many of the most dramatic developments in the utilization of NTFPs. A study visit to Anji Province in southern China showed how a huge bamboo resource there is being used in a wide range of industrial processes, from reconstituted boards to rugs and curtains, aiding the province’s rapid development process.
The papers presented at the conference and the discussions they provoked were wide-ranging. The conference received an overview of the global NWFP and services sector, considered the growing significance of community forest enterprises in the production of forest products and services, and discussed policy and practical issues related to the development of markets for carbon and other forest services. It also learned of experiences in a number of ITTO-funded projects and canvassed issues related to NTFPs and environmental services in Brazil, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Republic of Congo, Germany, India, Indonesia, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru and the Philippines.