Producers, production, marketing, and sales of non-timber forest products in the United States: a review and synthesis
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are derived from natural populations of plants or fungi, or farmed in forests. Harvesters and producers often benefit from NTFPs by selling them to generate income. This article explores research on the producers, production, marketing, and sales of NTFPs in the United States, including the continuum of production from wild-harvesting to forest farming of NTFPs, and their costs and benefits. Specific examples are presented, but the concepts and generalizations are broadly applicable to many NTFPs throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world. Integrating NTFPs into forest management can enhance economic opportunities but also will increase complexity, and will entail balancing multiple and potentially conflicting objectives among a diverse community of stakeholders. We identify information gaps including the need for inventories and yield models of NTFPs, understanding the effect of silvicultural activities on NTFP survival and yield, time series and trends in collection of NTFPs by U.S. households, identification of vulnerable and marginalized communities associated with NTFP harvest, and harvesters’ motivations and drivers.