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Tropical Rain Forests

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will outline the initiatives that are being taken in relation to the management, utilisation and conservation of tropical rain forests, particularly in the field of species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity; and if he will make a statement.

The Overseas Development Administration is currently implementing a forestry initiative with some 165 projects ongoing or in preparation, with a total value of £150 million. The aims include helping developing countries maximise the economic and social benefits they enjoy from their forests in a sustainable way, and conserving the planet's variety of plant and animal species, many of which are unique to tropical forests.In the field of species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity the ODA supports the research work of the Oxford Forestry Institute and other British institutes and universities. We are currently funding 23 projects worth some £4 million in these areas. We also finance such projects under our bilateral country programmes. Examples include the Limbe gardens conservation of genetic resources project in Cameroon; assistance to forestry conservation research in Nepal; assistance for the conservation of the forest genetic resources of Honduras; help with a project in Ghana to bring tropical moist forest under sustained yield management; assisting with forestry inventory and management work in the Oban hills of Nigeria. Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Government last year we hope to assist with the establishment of a biological reserve in the Caxiuna national forest. Internationally we are collaborating with other donors in the tropical forestry action plan and we support the work of the International Tropical Timber Organisation.