Developing Inventory Techniques For Africa

Project Title

Development of inventory techniques for non-wood forest products in Africa

FAO project number


Title of Project

Sustainable forest management programme in African ACP countries

Contract Contribution

Development of techniques to assess non-wood forest products

Geographic Focus

African ACP countries (Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Benin, Cameroon & Central African Republic)

Principal Funder


This contract ran for three years and was concerned with the development of guidelines for NWFP inventory in African ACP countries. As part of this work two meetings of African inventory experts were held in Lusaka, Zambia and Yaounde, Cameroon. Each meeting commissioned three case studies to address priority problems in NWFP inventory. The case studies were intended to provide experience and tested protocols for use in guidelines to be developed by the project. The six case studies were:







Leaf yield per shrub

Shrubs which form a continuous canopy are difficult to count – how could leaf biomass on a shrub canopy be measured?



Bark mass per tree

Normally, only the bark on tree boles is measured, but it would be useful to be able to estimate branch bark volumes – how might this be done?

Central African Republic

Poto (eru)

Plant density per ha

These lianas are difficult to locate and are loosly clumped in the forest – how can they be sampled efficiently?



Fruit numbers per tree

Counting fruit on large trees is time consuming and difficult – is it possible to efficiently sample within a tree crown?


Edible mushrooms

Seasonal cap yield per ha

Objectively chosen sites do not seem to reflect the abundance or variety of mushrooms in the market – could the use of local knowledge improve on the representiveness of field monitoring data?


Tree fruit and bulbous herbs

Plant density per ha

What are the costs and benefits of optimising sampling for specific species over using a standardised design for all species?


FOPW/03/4 Expert meeting for development on inventory techniques to assess non-wood forest product resources in African ACP countries, Lusaka, Zambia. 15-17 October 2001.

FOPW/03/5 Réunion des experts des pays francophones d’Afrique sur le développement des techniques pour l’évaluation des produits forestiers non ligneux. Yaoundé, Cameroun. 15-17 Février 2002.

FOPW/03/6 Summary of six case study reports as a contribution to development of practical techniques to assess non-wood forest product resources.

Free of charge from: Forest Products and Economics Division, Forestry Department,
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39 0657055137;

The guidelines document which incorporates lessons from the case studies along with advice on the design of NWFP inventory is presently in the form of a first draft and is incomplete.


Reports are prepared in Adobe Acrobat Software. If you can not view these files, please download your free copy of this software from the Adobe web site.

get Adobe Acrobat

Please contact Wild Resources Limited if you would like further information about this project.