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Non-timber forest products and forest stewardship plansAuthor(s): Becky Barlow; Tanner Filyaw; Sarah W. Workman
Source: USDA National Agroforestry Center Technical Note. AF Note – 48, Forest Farming #9.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (422.0 KB)
DescriptionTo many woodland owners “harvesting” typically means the removal of timber from forests. In recent years many landowners have become aware of the role non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can play in supplemental management strategies to produce income while preserving other forest qualities. NTFPs are a diverse group of craft, culinary, and medicinal products that have been traditionally harvested from the wild, but can be intentionally managed or cultivated on forestland. Cultivation on managed lands, in contrast with wild harvesting or wildcrafting, can help to meet landowner production and sustainability goals. By intentionally producing NTFPs, especially at a commercial scale, landowners can provide a conservation benefit by helping to satisfy market demand and reducing harvest pressure on wild populations, while simultaneously earning income. This is especially attractive to those interested in stewardship of the environment and sustainability. However, it is important to realize that not all NTFPs can be easily cultivated. Producing NTFPs does not have to be an exclusive management goal. Landowners can implement timber stand improvements, manage invasive species, and conduct other forest management practices along with NTFP production. Many of these practices may enhance NTFP production sites by altering shade levels and arrangement of understory vegetation. It is important to consider how NTFPs can add value to the forest and create additional economic incentives. While finding foresters and other natural resource professionals with NTFP expertise can be challenging, integrating NTFPs into Forest Stewardship Plans will create a more diverse forest ecosystem, and can increase landowners’ income-earning potential. Achieving landowner goals of good stewardship, sustainability and income requires planning and management of resources. A Forest Stewardship Plan is an excellent tool, recommended by the US Forest Service and State Forestry Agencies, to assist landowners in achieving their goals. Woodland owners can receive assistance to develop Forest Stewardship Plans from their State Forestry agency, Extension Forester or a consulting forester. Landowners may instead work with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a Forest Management Plan. With either type of plan, landowners will end up with a document that provides a thorough overview of their land, including an aerial photo and a map of the different woodland and plant communities and any unique resources. Based on the landowner’s desires, the plan will also describe the long-term goals and recommended activities to help meet those goals.
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CitationBarlow, Becky; Filyaw, Tanner; Workman, Sarah. 2015. Non-timber Forest Products and Forest Stewardship Plans. USDA National Agroforestry Center Technical Note. AF Note – 48, Forest Farming #9. 8 p.
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