Non timber forest products

Michael Hagen mhagen at
Tue Feb 4 12:05:59 EST 1997

Ron Wenrich wrote:
> I recieved the Sep/Oct edition of TREE FARMER magazine just last week
> (their mailings could be imoproved), and there was quite a bit of talk
> about non-timber forest products.  Sounds alot like agroforestry.
> There were several articles about different forest products, ones that most
> foresters probably fail to recognize.  Collecting berries and nuts didn't
> seem to be much as far as income generators.  One landowner sold greens at
> Christmas and managed to pay half of his property tax from the proceeds.
> However, there was an article on truffles.  The Oregon white truffle was
> being sold to fancy restaurants in Portland for $60 per pound.  Another
> landower was growing shitake mushrooms, converting one cord of wood into
> $600 of mushrooms.  Of course, there was an article about maple syrup.
> Finally, there was talk about herbs and medicinals.  I know that ginseng
> fetches a high price, however, interest in growing ginseng seems to be very
> localized.   The magazine even gave a name of a distributor in forest
> botanicals.
> I was wondering if, as consultants, we should be investigating other
> non-timber forest products (NTFP)?  Afterall, aren't we supposed to be
> maximizing the yield of the forest for our clients?  Does this only mean
> fiber?
> Aside from wildlife management and recreation, are there any other NTFPs we
> should be considering?
> Time to dust off the old Euell Gibbons books!

It's true.  When I last worked for a major landholder part of my job was
running the "specialized forest product" permitting and sales.  This was
one of those jobs no one wanted. The attitude was "it ain't worth
much".  Since I was as timber oriented as everyone else it took a while
before I caught on to the value in florist supplies :ferns, brush, and
mushrooms etc. The underground market is enormous. These were allowing a
small number of wholesalers to make very large profits because they paid
virtually nothing per acre to lease harvest rights, they paid the
pickers almost nothing and they had slipped through the cracks of the
state taxation machine.  
	Now I recommend s.f.p. planting as part of all stream and bufferzone
management plans.  I add ginseng to the owners options now that its
becoming better known hereabouts.
Mike Hagen

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