Non timber forest products

Don Staples dstaples at
Wed Feb 5 12:48:28 EST 1997

Joseph Zorzin wrote:  In response to Ron W.
> Ron Wenrich wrote:

> But, realistically these alternative income sources are only going to
> work if the landowner is willing to invest his time to do the work. I
> don't think I could harvest enough mushrooms or herbs at my outrageous
> hourly fee to make any profit for the landowner. Most of my clients
> couldn't care less about doing this work. They retain me since in my
> state (Mass.)I can get their property tax reduced by 95% and make them a
> substantial profit from timber sales. Mushroom and herbs just don't get
> factored in.
> I'd like to see an essay on this subject. Maybe you could convince we
> "mud on our boots timber beasts" that we should slow down a little and
> go looking for herbs.

There is also the problem of having a market for the product.  Texas has made an effort 
to use one of our trash trees for a source bed for the shitake mushroom. We have a 
rudimentary industry now, but the market has not developed as expected.  We have a 
source for wild materials used in florests shops, a cottage industry that serves very 
small areas, but not designed for full blown species identification and propagation.

US forestry has not developed to the point of European usage of total production per 
acre.  We have been blessed with abundance, and have squandered parts of the resource.  
Some or our brothern have been managing for an ecological system for years, others the 
pine plantation, and it is the market forces that prevent total utilization.  Hell, we 
can't move top wood in Texas, too labor intensive, too low a value and a marginal 

When the demand is created, we'll grown what is necessary to fill the demand.  
Meanwhile, some of us work to keep our little portion of the world as wild as possible. 
Occasionally we are successful.

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