African rattans have long been recognised by donor agencies and national governments as having a potential role to play on the world market as well as a great role within the regional Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) sector of Africa. However, the development of the rattan resource in Africa has until recently, been hindered by a lack of basic knowledge about the exact species used, their ecological requirements and the social context of their utilisation. Hence it has not been possible to design appropriate management strategies that might be implemented to ensure their sustainable, and equitable, exploitation. As increased interest is being shown in the potential role of high value NTFPs to contribute to the conservation and development paradigm, rattan has been one of the frequently mentioned products that could be developed and promoted in a meaningful way. Recent research has concentrated on the provision of information on the taxonomy, ecology and utilisation of these taxa. Now that this baseline information is available, rattan research in Africa is now concentrating of the development and promotion of the rattan resource from both ecological and socio-economic perspectives.
In: Rattan: current research issues and prospects for conservation and sustainable utilisation. Dransfield, j., Tesoro, F.O. and Manokoran, N. (Non-Wood Forest Products). pp. 77-87. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Rome, Italy.