Nontimber forest products (NTFPs) provide cultural ecosystem services for peoples throughout the United States and its affliated territories. Cultural ecosystem services of NTFPs are those tangible and intangible functions that contribute to the traditions, livelihoods, and wellbeing of social groups including, but not limited to, indigenous and minority communities (Daniel et al. 2012, Hernadez-Morcillo et al. 2013). The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) recognized six services of ecosystems necessary to support cultural landscapes and traditions: heritage values, cultural identity, spiritual functions, inspiration, aesthetic appreciation, and recreational tourism (Tengberg et al. 2012). Some NTFP species are so fundamental to the cultural identity of a people because of their diverse roles in diet, materials, medicine, and spiritual practices that they may be thought of as cultural keystone species, with loss of access presenting a risk to cultural survival (Emery et al. 2014, Garibaldi and Turner 2004).
Lake, Frank K.; Emery, Marla R.; Baumflek, Michelle J.; Friday, Kathleen S.; Kamelamela, Katie; Kruger, Linda; Grewe, Nicole; Gilbert, Jonathan; Reo, Nicholas J. 2018. Chapter 4 - Cultural dimensions of nontimber products. In: Chamberlain, James L.; Emery, Marla R.; Patel-Weynand, Toral, eds. 2018. Assessment of nontimber forest products in the United States under changing conditions. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS 232. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. (pages 84-99) 16 p.