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WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1993; 14(4):390-5.About 80% of the world's people depend largely on traditional plant-derived drugs for their primary health care (PHC). Medicinal plants serve as sources of direct therapeutic agents and raw materials for the manufacture of more complex compounds, as models for new synthetic products, and as taxonomic markers. Some essential plant-derived drugs are atropine, codeine, morphine, digitoxin/digoxin, and quinine/artemisinin. Use of indigenous medicinal plants reduces developing countries' reliance on drug imports. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of its land to preserve the forests, in part to provide plants and other materials for possible pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. The Napralert database at the University of Illinois establishes ethnomedical uses for about 9200 of 33,000 species of monocotyledons, dicotyledons, gymnosperms, lichens, pteridophytes, and bryophytes. Sales of crude plant drugs during 1985 in China equaled US$1400 million. Even though many people use medicinal plants, pharmaceutical firms in industrialized nations do not want to explore plants as sources of new drugs. Scientists in China, Germany, and Japan are doing so, however. Screening, chemical analysis, clinical trials, and regulatory measures are needed to ensure safety of herbal medicines. WHO has hosted interregional workshops to address methodologies for the selection and use of traditional medicines in national PHC programs. WHO, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the World Wide Fund for Nature developed guidelines for conservation of medicinal plants. Their 2-pronged strategy includes prevention of the disappearance of forests and associated species and the establishment of botanical gardens. WHO's Traditional Medicine Programme hopes that people will apply known and effective agroindustrial technologies to the cultivation and processing of medicinal plants and the production of herbal medicines and the creation of large-scale networks for the distribution of seeds and plants.
Conservation of West and Central African rainforests. Conservation de la foret dense en Afrique centrale et de l'Ouest.
Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1992. xi, 353 p. (World Bank Environment Paper No. 1)This World Bank publication is a collection of selected papers presented at the Conference on Conservation of West and Central African Rainforests in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in November 1990. These rainforests are very important to the stability of the regional and global environment, yet human activity is destroying them at a rate of 2 million hectares/year. Causes of forest destruction are commercial logging for export, conversion of forests into farmland, cutting of forests for fuelwood, and open-access land tenure systems. Other than an introduction and conclusion, this document is divided into 8 broad topics: country strategies, agricultural nexus, natural forestry management, biodiversity and conservation, forest peoples and products, economic values, fiscal issues, and institutional and private participation issues. Countries addressed in the country strategies section include Zaire, Cameroon, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nigeria. The forest peoples and products section has the most papers: wood products and residual from forestry operations in the Congo; Kutafuta Maisha: searching for life on Zaire's Ituri forest frontier; development in the Central African rainforest: concern for forest peoples; concern for Africa's forest peoples: a touchstone of a sustainable development policy; Tropical Forestry Action Plans and indigenous people: the case of Cameroon; forest people and people in the forest: investing in local community development; and women and the forest: use and conservation of forestry resources other than wood. Topics in the economic values section range from debt-for-nature swaps to environmental labeling. Forestry taxation and forest revenue systems are discussed under fiscal issues. The conclusion discusses saving Africa's rainforests.