Ce qu’on peut retirer d’une forêt sans la détruire

La forêt peut produire autres choses que des arbres. Autrement dit, il y a moyen d’aller chercher dans la forêt des produits sans couper les arbres. Chaque acre de forêts qui est détruit aggrave d’un cran le réchauffement climatique. Un moyen de freiner à la fois la destruction des forêts et le réchauffement planétaire se trouve dans les produits de la forêt.

L’Institut internationale d’écologie (EII), situé à Hatfield Point, au Nouveau-
Brunswick, tente de s’attaquer au réchauffement climatique en faisant la promotion de produits forestiers autres que le bois. Ces produits pourraient éventuellement être commercialisés et rentabiliseraient les terres forestières de divers propriétaires. Donc, plus besoin de couper les arbres pour faire des sous. Des produits comestibles, des vernis et des huiles comptent parmi les produits pour lesquels il pourrait y avoir un marché.


Other CIDA funded articles:

The Kyoto Protocol

Climate Change

Pedal Power in El Salvador

Non-Timber Forest Products:
A Conservation Tool

Emily McMillan,
Ecological Institute International (www.eiii.org)
September 1998

t.gif (259 bytes)ropical rainforests cover just 7% of the earth's land area, yet they provide a substantial part of the earth's oxygen and absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Since 1960, 25% of Central America's forests have been destroyed to create grazing for cattle, a plight also common in Amazonia. Here in Canada, large tracts of our natural forests are being cut for timber and paper products and subsequently being replaced with an industrial forest. With every acre that is destroyed, the global warming problem is made that much worse. The Ecologic Institute International (EII), a non-profit organization based in Hatfield Point, New Brunswick, Canada, is taking on the problem of climate change in its own unique way. EII thought that a multi-lateral cooperative investment was needed to bring about improved methods of truly sustainable land use.

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As part of this initiative EII has been developing a program, entitled "Research and Development of Non-timber Forest Products"

Working together with many collaborative organizations, EII is developing conservation projects that work toward a more equitable and sustainable future within forest-dependent rural societies. One such initiative is focusing on maintaining the forest canopy by promoting non-timber forest products with the goal of changing the "pulp mentality" into a "conservation mentality". As part of this initiative EII has been developing a program, entitled "Research and Development of Non-timber Forest Products", which has components in Mexico, Bolivia and Canada. The Mexican portion of this program has three components: forest foliage as animal fodder, utilization of forest fruits, and utilization of forest oils, waxes and resins as wood finishing products. In Bolivia the focus is toward the development of various projects, including the commercialization of "algadon de la selva" (jungle cotton), improving artisan products and research with copaiba oil. And in Canada, EII has started an innovative program of planting wild-simulated ginseng. Expanding upon the successes of non-timber forest products currently realized (i.e., chicle latex tapping in S.E. Mexico, rubber and copaiba tapping in Bolivia, and maple syrup tapping in Eastern Canada) would only serve to create new opportunities.

In Central America, the use of fodder trees and shrubs, such as ramon, is being promoted as an alternative to pasture feeding. This would cut down on the need to clear forest for grazing land, a practice which has not proven to be effective.

Fodder trees and shrubs have many benefits to farmers: besides providing fodder year around, these trees provide good shade and windbreaks, increase soil fertility, and help to conserve soil and water. Wildlife management, supplemented with tree foliage as forage, can be an attractive economic possibility to the local communities, and at the same time offer a way to slow climate change through preserving the forest canopy.

EII will also study another non-timber forest product: forest fruits. Research will be conducted on the potential of fruits from selected tree species (i.e., zapote, ciricote, etc.) for use in a number of products. These may include home-made marmalades, jellies, fruit juices, and, sun-dried, for the ice cream and yogurt sectors. Known throughout this region as one of the most flavorful forest fruits, chicozapote has been long enjoyed by residents of this forest region. However, the limited shelf-life ( two days) of this delicate treat prohibits its commercialization for sale in nearby markets. The zapote tree, which produces both the chicozapote fruit and the chicle latex resin (used to make chewing gum, known as "chiclets"), is the most commonly occurring tree in this region. It holds strong promise to aid in the well-being of both the people and the forest canopy, if the economic potential can be translated into a sustainable reality.

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(photo: Ecologic Institute Interntaional)

Chiclero extracting chicle latex from a zapote tree (manilkara zapote) in
the dry-tropical rainforest of S.E. Mexico

Utilization of local resins and oils as raw materials for such products as varnishes or finishing oils is another area where EII noticed a locally producible sustainable opportunity. Extensive research has begun into the possible use of resins and oils extracted from selected forest products. Contacts have been made by EII with various research institutions, and a collaborative project has been initiated. The project will analyze the potential raw materials which are suitable for use in developing such finishing oils/varnishes (i.e., copal resin, pimienta gorda waxes, bees wax, seed & nut oils, orange terpines, etc.). Raw materials will be collected by local residents for our Mexican laboratory, and analyzed for such properties as stability (anti-rancidity), inner-compatibilities, drying and durability, toxicity, and adaptability to current product demand (i.e., ease of use, acceptable sheen, pleasant odor, etc.). One of our Institute’s goals is to replace the current use of imported toxic two-component urethane-type finishing oils, presently in wide use throughout the region by local woodworkers and artisans, with a natural plant-based finishing oil, that has been sourced by local residents from renewable resources and in a sustainable manner.

In Bolivia, our Institute has been invited to co-develop various non-timber forest product projects, with national organizations (such as the Aboriginal Artisans Cooperative and the University of Santa Cruz0, and other non-governmental and governmental organizations. At present we are working on developing three such projects: Aboriginal Artisans Design, Creation & Marketing Forum, and R&D on the copaiba oil on algadon de la selva (jungle cotton). All three of these projects may have positive effects on maintaining natural forests (the source of the raw materials used) while enhancing the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the region.

The Canadian portion of this non-timber forest products research and development program evolved in part due to EII's detection of the progressive deterioration of the natural wooded areas throughout Atlantic Canada. This situation is caused by: the unsustainable appetite of the pulp and lumber industry; the economic necessity of generating income from the wood lots of the area; and a lack of educational tools which would better enable woodlot owners/operators to select a more appropriate approach to their management plans. The cultural harvesting practices often utilized rely heavily on the clear-cut method followed by either natural regeneration or replanting of monocultural species. This tends to create industrial forests and plantations rather than natural forests. EII's intention is to create a new method of utilizing our natural forest resource base, by encouraging the planting of ginseng (Panax quinquefolium). Ginseng is an economically viable and ecologically sound alternative.

3 to 4 year old wild-simulated grown ginseng plant in NB woodlot

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(Photo: Ecologic Institute International)

EII will coordinate programs which will identify and implement these and other sustainable non-timber forest product options. Partners in thse programs will be Universities, Centers of Investigation, Local Forest (Ejido) Organizations, Government Departments and other NGO's throughout SE Mexico, Bolivia and beyond, This will lead to a more sustainable way of life, environmentally, economically and socially. Once these newly identified non-timber forest products are proven to be sustainable, EII is confident that promoting land use such as this would prevent the farmers/woodlot owners from succumbing to the temptation to clear-cut their land. This is good for the forest, good for the forester and good for the climate.

For further information on these and other programs, please contact the Institute, at:

Ecologic Institute International
Hwy.124, #2874
RR 1, Hatfield Point, New Brunswick, Canada
E0G 2A0

Tel: 506 485-2967;  Fax: 506 485-1088
Email: kentrose@nbnet.nb.ca

"Produced with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)";
«Produit en collaboration avec l'Agence canadienne de développement international (ACDI)»