Spotlight #80 - Becoming visible – non-timber forest products and a sustainable economy
One positive and largely overlooked outcome of the current coronavirus could be a stronger bioeconomy. "I think the pandemic is going to spur the bioeconomy," said Dr. James Chamberlain of the United States Forest Service, Southern Research Station in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Coordinator of IUFRO's Unlocking the Bioeconomy and Non-Timber Forest Products Task Force
Dr. Carsten Smith-Hall of the University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics, and Deputy Coordinator of the Task Force concurs. "A bioeconomy approach," he says, "offers an opportunity to refocus and strengthen efforts to achieve sustainable management of renewable natural resources, including forests. What works locally and how can that be scaled up?"
The impetus for the bioeconomy movement was biotechnology oriented – contributing to replacing fossil fuels with biofuels. By pointing to shea nuts in Burkina Faso and medicinal plants in Nepal as examples, he maintains that non-timber forest products (NTFPs) can become a major component in local, and even national, economies, provided supporting legislative and socio-economic environments are created.
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