Non-Timber Forest Products
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) include all woodland resources, both plant and animal, other than timber. Examples include:
- Food - fruits, nuts, wild fungi, honey and herbs; fruits can be used to make wine and preserves
- Decorative products - branches, leaves and ferns
- Herbal medicines - leaves, berries, roots and tree bark can all be processed and/or dried, and used to make herbs and tinctures
- Pharmaceuticals and chemicals - plant material can be used to make aromatics, cosmetics, dyes and oils
NTFPs represent another alternative use of forestry which has been promoted by Reforesting Scotland and which has subsequently started to become more mainstream.
Reforesting Scotland projects involving NTFPs have also been described as "Forest Harvest" and "Wild Harvests" projects. This more accessible language often seems more appropriate for communicating such immediate and engaging activities.
1. NTFP seminars
In 2004 Reforesting Scotland took on the maintainance & development of the ForestHarvest website, Scotland's only website dedicated to providing information about the diversity of products available from Scottish woodlands.
One of the purposes of this site is to help develop the untapped market potential of these products, and it includes information on gathering, management and trading of NTFPs, including a database of buyers and case studies of operating businesses.
3. Rural Alternatives Shared Futures project
The Rural Alternatives Shared Futures project supported four partner communities in developing NTFP use locally, to demonstrate the potential of NTFPs to provide cultural, environmental and economic benefits throughout Scotland.
See the Rural Alternatives Shared Futures page and the Rural Alternatives Shared Futures project reports page for more details.
Responding to recommendations made at the 2006 Wild Harvests seminar in Beauly, this project evaluated the potential for a trade body to represent and support NTFP enterprises in Scotland, and discussed ideas for a labelling scheme to identify sustainable wild-harvested and woodland products from Scotland. Representatives of a range of businesses took part in in-depth interviews, so we could learn more about their needs and views. They also helped us to build up a picture of trends and the economic value of the sector.
This project was funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, and the research was conducted between January 2007 and March 2007.
The Scottish Working Woods label is designed to promote both timber and non-timber products from Scotland's woods. Reforesting Scotland helped to ensure that the label procedures will work for non-timber businesses, reporting on the findings of the NTFP Sector Research and Development Project.
The label was launched at the Touchwood festival in June 2007, with representatives from trade associations, the Forestry Commission, the press, and woodland products businesses, among others. Refreshments included wild garlic cheese and rowan berry jelly kindly donated by local businesses and sourced by Reforesting Scotland. Reforesting Scotland also arranged a display of products from NTFP businesses, which was displayed at Touchwood and then later in the month at Edinburgh Treefest and at the Big Tent in Falkland.
The label is owned and managed by a consortium of trade associations in Scotland. In the absence of a trade association for non-timber products, Reforesting Scotland agreed to act as a contact point for non-timber businesses interested in using the label. With the successful conclusion of the Wild Harvests Sector Support project in summer 2009, this role passed on to the Scottish Wild Harvests Association. Individual Reforesting Scotland members continue to be involved in the running of the label scheme.
The Scottish Working Woods label development and launch were funded by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Enterprise. To find out more, visit the Scottish Working Woods website.
6. Sustainable Forest Harvest project
This project, which ran from December 2007 to summer 2009, was a response to calls for more work towards monitoring NTFP harvests in Scotland, and towards establishing a culture of sustainable harvesting.
See the Sustainable Forest Harvest project page for more details.
7. Wild Harvests Sector Support project
This project focused on people who base their livelihoods around Scotland's wild and woodland products. It ran a series of meetings for wild harvests businesses, culminating in the launch of the Scottish Wild Harvests Association in July 2009.
See the Wild Harvests Sector Support project page for more details.
The ForestHarvest website continues to be the main source of information on NTFPs in Scotland.
Reforesting Scotland Journal
Issue 29 (Spring 2003) of the Reforesting Scotland Journal has a special feature on non-timber forest products, and contains the following articles:
- Growing edible exotic mushrooms in Scotland
- Welsh Moss - finding a niche in the market for moss
- A beekeeper's year - a diary of a beekeeper through the four seasons, from August to July
- Sourcing and marketing non-timber forest products
- Who says money doesn't grow on trees? - suggestions for making an income through growing and selling mushrooms
- Forest fruits - berry growing in the Highlands
If you wish to buy this issue, please see the information on ordering back issues on the Reforesting Scotland Journal page.
Community Woodland information sheet
Reforesting Scotland has also published an information sheet on non-timber forest products as part of the Community Woodland Information Pack. The sheet is divided into the following sections:
- Examples of non-timber forest products
- Edible species - berries, flowers, herbs, wild fungi, cultivatable fungi
- Decoratives - branches and tops, leaves, other types
- Herbal medicines - leaves, berries, roots, bark, needle and sap, flowering tops
- Pharmaceutical and chemical products - wild species, field cultivated aromatics
- Planning controls
- A list of companies, co-operatives and businesses to contact, and relevant databases, books and articles to consult
Information on ordering this sheet can be found on the information sheets page.