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First-ever book on Mekong rattan species aims to promote sustainable practices
Date:2/14/2014

material for shelter, and products with export value such as rattan furniture. However, forest conversion and unsustainable harvesting are leading to serious declines in rattan stocks, threatening the potential growth and sustainability of the region's rattan industry.

The book, which is available in English, Khmer, Vietnamese and Lao language versions, aims to help both naturalists and those in the rattan industry in identifying rattan species, while providing guidance in maximizing yields and achieving sustainable production of rattan resources. It also details lessons learned in numerous aspects of the rattan industry, from sustainable management planning to processing and export policies.

"We are delighted to launch this book, which clearly demonstrates that sustainable rattan management, production and trade is the only way to ensure the Mekong rattan industry will continue and thrive into the future," said Chhith Sam Ath, WWF-Cambodia's Country Director. "We urge Greater Mekong governments to use this resource as they urgently develop and implement rattan management plans."

To ensure rattan harvesting and processing do not endanger rattan and forest resources but instead offer new sources of long-term income for rural people, WWF has embarked on an ambitious project with communities and companies in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. The end goal is to help improve management of rattan in the Greater Mekong region.

Chhith noted that local communities in Siem Reap and the Tonle Sap region are using a rattan species found only in Cambodia (Calamus salicifolius, known in Khmer as Lpeak) to produce high-quality baskets and handicrafts that are exported to Thailand and other international markets. "This unique species is only found in Cambodia and is therefore critical to our country's biodiversity and the future of our rattan industry," Chhith said.

The book is the result of a collaboration between The New York Botani
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Contact: Stevenson Swanson
sswanson@nybg.org
718-817-8512
The New York Botanical Garden
Source:Eurekalert  

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