Current issue: 54(3)
Under compilation: 54(4)
In northern Europe, largest part of non-wood forest products (NWFPs) are gathered for recreational purposes and household consumption, but considerable amount of forest berries and mushrooms are sold as well. Retail market, largely invisible for the official statistics, reveals the lifestyle-related aspects of NWFP trade and may help to understand the flows of this ecosystem service when information on wholesale trade is inaccessible. The prices and flows of most common NWFPs – edible berries, mushrooms and tree sap – in the retail market in Latvia in 2017 and 2018 were analysed based on direct interviews with the sellers in marketplaces and telephone interviews with online retailers. The mean retail prices of NWFPs were compared between statistical regions and years and correlated with socio-economic data and forest characteristics. The directions of the NWFP flows were analysed according to the place of origin and place of retail sales. The highest prices were recorded for stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus Pers.) and Boletes spp. among mushrooms, for wild strawberries (Fragaria vesca L.) among berries and for maple (Acer platanoides L.) sap in the product group of tree sap. The retail price of the same products differed between years, most likely due to the product availability, largely caused by meteorological conditions. In more than half of the cases of recorded sales, NWFPs were consumed in the same region as they were gathered. For other cases of sales, the capital, Rīga, was the main service benefitting area of NWFP retail trade, and the largest part of the products originated from the two closest statistical regions.
The paper first reviews the desertification/land degradation syndrome, the shortcomings of attempts to control it and the consequences of this failure, including to climate change and biodiversity. It then examines the experience gained by carbon and biodiversity offsets that helped adapting the offsetting principle to the context of land degradation, by emphasizing the restoration of the many already degraded lands on earth, as major component of the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) mechanism. LDN is a new voluntary and aspirational target of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, aimed at neutralizing the rate of lands coming under degrading use of their productivity. This by balancing the ongoing added degradation with similar rate of restoring equivalent lands whose productivity had been already degraded. If extensively implemented, LDN would stabilize the global amount of productive land by 2030. This would increase global food security and reduce poverty of land users, thus contributing to global sustainability. This review maintains that the failure of United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to reduce desertification triggered the emergence of LDN as a mechanism for addressing land degradation globally, rather than just desertification in the drylands. LDN accepted as target of a Sustainable Development Goal also legitimized UNCCD to lead and oversee the aspired process of achieving land degradation neutral world. This paper reviews the development of the LDN concept expressed in scientific deliberations and political advocacy, throughout the five years from inception in 2011 at the UNCCD Secretariat, to early 2016. It notes the fast and increasing acceptance of LDN, expressed in the initiation of implementation already in April 2015 by an increasing number of countries, and in the growing interest and engagement of scientists and policy-makers. But the paper also express concern regarding potential misuse of the concept.