Forests have always been a rich source of edible plants, berries, nuts and mushrooms for people almost all over the world. In developing countries the traditional use of herbal plants as medicine is still of great importance. It is well-recognized that the diversity of forest plants supports the livelihood of rural communities. Therefore, for sustainable use of forest resources, we should also pay attention to endangered indigenous plant species.
Diversity of wild edible tree species
- a case study from West Africa
In Africa, the diversity of plant species has brought great benefits to the lives of rural communities. Many indigenous species provide important environmental services or economically valuable products.
A database of food from forests
Plants are the major component in forests. Utilization of other products than wood has been a long tradition in human history. This study conducted by scientists from Norway, Japan and USA, aim develop a comprehensive database consisting of the antioxidant content of typical forest foods as well as other dietary items such as traditional medicine plants, herbs and spices and dietary supplements.
Research builds an essential bridge between the natural and the human
Consuming edible mushrooms has a very long history in China. The first reliable evidence of mushroom consumption dates back to several hundred years BC in China. People had different ways of using this natural product for its nutritional and medicinal values.
features and commentary
Forests are more than just carbon
The United Nations General Assembly named 2011 as the International Year of Forests. Interest in the world’s forests has grown to unprecedented levels as people are slowly realizing that forests are more than just carbon.
New messages from international organizations
The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) stated in October 2011 that forests can play an even greater role in feeding the world, with products ranging from vitamin-rich leaves to fruits and roots. According to UN reports, there are over 1.6 billion people in the world, whose livelihoods depend on forests. For the rural poor, access to food, fuel, water and medicine is vital; forest products often help these basic subsistence needs..
What is the value of forests, trees to human health?
The aim of the European Union’s COST Action E39 ‘Forests, Trees and Human Health and Wellbeing’ was specifically to set out the key health priorities identifiable within European countries and assess how forestry can contribute to meeting them, to engage health policy interests in the identification of information gaps in this field and to develop a network of researchers, and research institutions in forestry, health, the environment and social sciences.
This is the newsletter of the Forests and Human Health task force of IUFRO (The International Union of Forest Research Organizations). It is distributed electronically to members of the task force and all others interested.
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