ASEAN forestry initiatives to include herbal database and expansion of REDD scheme

ASEAN forestry officials have agreed to strengthen cooperation on sustainable forest management including the creation of a database of information compiled about herbal plant species found in South East Asian forests.

ASEAN members will also pursue revisions to the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in South Africa in December,to ensure that efforts to protect woodlands in the region continue.

Delegates at the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry meeting held in Bangkok agreed to push for extending the United Nations' Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme, which aims to cut carbon emissions that result from forest destruction, such as flooding and deforestation. As only forest plantations are eligible for financial support from the scheme, ASEAN wants to expand the program to include natural forests, such as wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

"ASEAN countries think the REDD scheme, which was drafted mainly by European countries, should be more flexible and practical for developing countries," Thailand's forestry chief, Suwit Rattanamanee, told The Bangkok Post.


  1. The article in the Bangkok Post states that the REDD forests would be restricted not allowing locals access. This direction might best be rethought. On the positive side the article also states at the end that data would be collected regarding herbs. This is wonderful news. For example in the Philippines we have more than 300 kinds of edible fruit and as the research continues we are finding medicinal value in most of the fruit trees, whether in their bark, leaves, pulp, fruit or the seeds. Pharmaceutical companies have conducted research over the past several decades, however, when synthesizing avoids them the research does not conclude and the data is closely held while their efforts seem to move further away from natural remedies. With proper attention it is nearly certain that countless discoveries may be made and the data recorded and added to open source material. The matryx of activity that can develop from such a data-collection-direction would shed a different light on the value of the forest to the locals and their interests in preserving the forest would become the greatest protector of it, therefore we should not be so hasty to exclude them from their own forests.


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