A W F Projects   |   Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleinn - Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Verena Lamy
Developing biometric sampling systems and optimal harvesting methods for medicinal tree bark in southern Africa

 Field of Activity

Non-wood forest products


Tree bark from more than 700 species is used in southern African traditional medicine. Among the priority species are for example Prunus africana, a prostate disorder remedy, or Ocotea bullata and Warburgia salutaris, which have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties respectively. Traditionally, bark harvesting for medicinal use is a sustainable practice. Traditional healers and their harvesters collect enough for their needs and not more. But as the population grows and becomes urbanized, forests diminish and trade in bark for medicinal purposes is commercialized. Unsustainable extraction methods, involving excessive debarking that may ultimately kill the tree, become common and threaten the species. For some species the bark is also internationally traded and export demand increases pressure on the preferred species. The harvest of Prunus africana for example is estimated at 3,500 tons a year to fuel a US$220 million market in Europe and North America. Consequently, certain popularly traded species such as Warburgia salutaris and Prunus africana are experiencing serious decline and regarded as rare in many areas. A possibility to prevent the overexploita-tion of these species will be the implementation of sustainable resource management.


Resource management requires quantitative data of resource availability and growth rates. Therefore, the project will develop suitable methods for quantifying bark quantities, growth rates and optimal harvesting strategies for selected tree species in afromontane forest and miombo woodland. The project component we are dealing with, is the development of optimal sampling methods for determining the stocking of a particular species as well as the development of a bark growth and yield model to evaluate the sustained bark production and yield from different management systems.


Copperbelt University, Zambia (Mr. Mazuba Fabian Malambo)
Forestry Research Institute of Malawi, Malawi (Mr. Gerald Simeon Meke)
ForestWood cc, South Africa (Dr. Coert Geldenhuys)


Overall Project:
Dr. Jenny Wong
Wild Resources Ltd., Bangor, UK

IWW Component:
Prof. Dr. Christoph Kleinn
Institut für Waldinventur und Waldwachstum
Büsgenweg 5, 37077 Göttingen
Tel. +49 551 39 3472


Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Verena Lamy



 Time Frame

1 May 2003 – 30 November 2005