5.11.00 - Non-wood forest products


Carsten Smith-Hall, Denmark


James Chamberlain, United States

A.L. (Tom) Hammett, United States

Sujanapal Puthiyapurayil, India

Pawel Staniszewski, Poland

About Unit

The Non-Wood Forest Products Group covers all aspects of the wide variety of non-wood products found in forests around the world, and works to promote the discovery, development, and wise use of these resources. This Group includes research on medicinal and aromatic plants, edible plant products and forest fungi, resins and gums, and many other so-called "minor forest products" which have long been important for rural and native people and which provide new opportunities for commercial development.

Forests capture more solar energy than any other terrestrial ecosystem. That energy is used to produce the wood of trees, as well as a vast array of materials found in the shedding parts of trees (leaves, fruits, nuts, bark, exudates, and sap) and In the smaller plants, fungi, and animals living in the forest. Some of these materials can be directly harvested and used by simple techniques; others exist in minute amounts and require the most advanced technology to produce the desired product In quantity. Research is needed to understand how simple harvesting techniques can be applied without doing harm to the forest so that future production of the resource is maintained. Research is needed to improve the discovery of unique compounds found in the forest and how to apply modern techniques of extraction, synthesis, and tissue culture, an well as the more traditional approaches of planting and cultivation to expand the forestry enterprise Into new areas. A much broader view of the role of non-wood forest products in forestry is needed so that the immediate needs of rural and native people are met, new products are brought to market, and the forest is sustained to yield both wood and nonwood products.

Major goals of the Research Group are:

  1. to coordinate existing research on non-wood forest products and to promote awareness of the resulting information,
  2. to encourage the expansion of research into both traditional and non-traditional uses of nonwood forest products, and
  3. to determine the beat practices of production which maintain a healthy, productive, and diverse forest.

International meetings and workshops to discuss research are encouraged, organized, and promoted as one means of exchanging research information about non-wood forest products.

The Research Group Coordinators and Deputies will work with the Working Party Coordinators to maintain an active program for the Non-Wood Forest Products Research Group, and will prepare annual progress reports for IUFRO and synthesis reports for the IUFRO World Congress. The Research Group and its Working Parties are pleased to welcome new members. We encourage everyone with an interest in non-wood forest products research to become involved and to actively participate. Please contact the Coordinators to learn more about Group activities.

State of Knowledge

A workshop on NTFPs was organized in Marrakech, Morocco on 1-2 December 2005, paralleling the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and immediately prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). A proposal was made to formally launch a Global NTFP Partnership with approval of GFAR under the Global Partnership Programme and a Global NTFP Partnership Strategy was formulated with inputs from the coordinators of this group.

The Partnership has a website at:  http://ntfp.inbar.int/wiki/index.php/Main_Page