Chapter 3 - Ecological dimensions of nontimber forest product harvestThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Hundreds of plant and fungi species (chapter 2) are harvested each year for nontimber forest products (NTFPs) because they play important roles in the cultural (chapter 4), social (chapter 5), and economic (chapter 6) lives of individuals and communities across the United States. Most of these species are harvested from natural populations, where they play important ecological roles, including providing food, cover, and habitat for diverse wildlife, including pollinators, and contribute to nutrient cycling, hydrological cycles, and erosion control. The continued use of NTFPs is contingent on each species ability to persist over the long term in their landscapes and with the qualities that people value. Species persistence depends in part on their ecological characteristics, the human and plant communities in which they grow, as well as the threats they face. This chapter reviews the effects of NTFP harvest on plant individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems and then presents case studies of seven heavily harvested NTFPs in the United States. We conclude with a summary of key fndings and recommendations.