1.08.00 - Silviculture for edible non-wood forest products
The Research Group on Silviculture for edible non-wood forest products focusses on aspects of forest management for co-production of timber and forest foods. It has linkages to other Research Groups and Divisions, namely RG 5.11.00 on NWFP in Division 5.
Although consumption of forest foods is older than agriculture, and has influenced forest composition since ancient times, western science-based forest management has been overwhelmingly targeted towards wood products. Currently there is a clear recognition, however, of the importance of non-wood products and ecosystem services from forests around and of concepts such as multiple-purpose forestry. In this context, there is an increasing interest in the silviculture for production of wild food:
- Selecting appropriate species or mixtures;
- Initial spacing and subsequent thinning can favour fruit species;
- Thinning and pruning criteria needs to incorporate information about tree fruit production;
- When fruit production is the main objective special operations such as grafting might be considered, the shift to forest farming being gradual;
- Fertilization might be important for fruit production.
The development of forestry, agroforestry, and orchard management guidelines are a matter of ongoing research.
There are examples of broadleaf forest tree from the temperate zone with interest for fruit or combined fruit and timber production, such as walnut (Juglans sp.) or chestnuts (Castanea sp.), or conifers like the Mediterranean stone pine (Pinus pinea) and other pine species with edible pine nuts, viz. Korean pine (P. koraiensis), chilgoza (P. gerardiana), Siberian cedar or pine (P. sibirica), and the American pinyons in the SW States and Mexico (group P. cembroides). In the southern hemisphere several Araucaria species bear cones with edible seeds. Forest foods play a special role for livelihood and poverty alleviation in rural areas in the tropics, and can be relevant cash crops for forest dwellers.