Rattans are climbing palms exploited for their flexible stems that form the basis of a significant market for cane and cane products. The thriving international and domestic trade in rattan and rattan products has led to substantial over-exploitation of the wild rattan resource. This exploitation, coupled with the loss of forest cover through logging and subsequent agricultural activities, is threatening the long-term survival of the rattan industry, particularly in Southeast Asia (Dransfield, 1988). The detrimental impact of the decline of wild rattan resources on local rattan collectors who harvest the majority of the traded cane, is often over-shadowed by the more publicised concerns of the rattan industry itself. In many areas, the sustainable exploitation of the rattan resource is hindered by the lack of a sound taxonomic base in order that meaningful inventories and studies of population dynamics can be carried out. In addition, lack of resource tenure also precludes any attempts at long-term and sustainable harvesting; the fact that rattan is considered an \"open-access\" resource throughout much of its range hinders any effective attempts at long-term management of rattan in the wild.
In: Rattan: current research issues and prospects for conservation and sustainable utilisation. DRANSFIELD, J., TESORO, F.O. & MANOKARAN N. (Eds.). pp. 9-22. FAO. ISBN:92-5-104691-3.