Non-Wood Rainforest Products
Non-wood rain forest products help reduce the destruction of rainforests caused by industries that rely on wood. By identifying non-wood rainforest products that could help provide farmers and communities around rainforests, governments and NGO’s could find effective ways of preserving rain forests without taking away the livelihood of thousands of people.
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But first and foremost, these people need to be educated and informed about ways of preserving the rainforests and agricultural practices that would increase the chances of attaining the objective of preserving rainforests and their products. It has been shown that such type of sustainable and informed agriculture could replace logging as a viable economic activity for rainforest communities simple because of the sustainability of certain practices and by securing local and external markets that provide sure sales and income for these farmers, so that they are able to provide for their families on a reliable source of income in keeping with sustainable rainforest practices and industries.
Common non wood rainforest products include medicinal drugs, agricultural produce, rubber and food colorants.
In spite of the inroads made in developing medicines and discovering the properties of many rainforest products, animals and plants, there is still a lot that needs to be done to further develop this non wood rainforest product. Many medicinal drugs derived from the rainforest are obtained from the leaves of trees, roots, bark, fruits and herbs. Small sustainable are created in which medicinal farmers are able to provide local consumers with medical herbs and teas on a small scale. To further expand this to reach out to the entire population, special areas are developed for plant nurseries ad research in the medicinal properties of non wood rainforest products that have been identified for their medicinal properties. Rainforest products like these are sometimes processed and tested in labs and made available to hospitals and pharmacies on an international scale.
In addition to artificially made colorant for food, non wood rainforest products like turmeric and other spices used to manufacture curry, which is used in Indian and other spicy cuisine are healthy food colorant alternatives. Their production may be restricted to allow the plants to grow back for another harvest, thereby encouraging sustainability for the use of these non wood rainforest products. It is important to receive the necessary support from governments and other NGO’s so that farmers are provided with a secure market, and are assisted in producing at a level that meets international standards for improved product quality.
Nuts and fruits are almost synonymous with rainforests because of the significant number of birds that inhabit rainforests and depend on these rainforest products for nutrition. Nuts and fruits have been identified for their nutritional value by providing humans with necessary antioxidants and healthy fats. Nuts can be dried in accordance with international standards well packaged and exported. As a rainforest product, nuts make wonderful, healthy snacks, whilst fruits can be harvest seasonally and tinned for consumption on local and regional markets. Fruits can also be dried as a non wood rainforest product and dried along with fruits to produce healthy snacks and finger foods. The unification of regional markets in the Americas, for example, such as in the examples of CARICOM, MERCOSUR and ALBA, has provided countries with new markets for their produce and strengthened inter regional trade for non wood rainforest products. This type of trade is beneficial for regional cooperation and collaboration in finding solutions to the various economic and social problems which countries within the Americas face, as well as for promotion health and education. Other agricultural non wood rainforest products can also be traded amongst member countries at preferential prices to encourage economic activity and a steady source of income between member states.
In Brazil, evens during the 1980’s led to the conservation measures to protect the rubber industry. Rubber tapping provides a sustainable and significant source of income for rubber tappers. As a non wood rainforest product, rubber has many uses and can be converted into a variety of properties. Many commodities that are used on a regular basis for carrying out duties and simple tasks contain this rainforest product. Rubber tapping is a sustainable way of exploiting the natural resources of the rainforests without destroying the trees and causing long-term damage to the environment.
Trees are mainly cut for their wood, and though it appears almost impossible to obtain wood without cutting or destroying an entire tree, efforts have led Costa Rican authorities to develop sustainable ways of harnessing this rainforest product. As such, fallen branches and other wood found in the forests are gathered and properly processed for the manufacturing of furniture and wood products. In China the rattan reed has become very popular and has helped to significantly reduce the destruction of rainforests. Rattan furniture are exotic, natural and are excellent for blending in with earth tone colors and outside patio décor. Rattan reeds and production contribute billions of dollars annually to the Chinese economy.