SFP's. was: Lying bastards and tree huggers

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Thu Apr 16 13:47:01 EST 1998

In article <3534E2EE.BEF8C5F2 at olympus.net>,
  Mike Hagen <mhagen at olympus.net> wrote:
> I guess I've got two cents to toss into this free for all...
> Went to the Special Forest Products conference in Bend last week and
> was well rewarded for the very long drive. There was so much info
> being passed around and discussed I'm still sorting the contradictory
> statements.  There were many present that were hopeful SFP's could
> replace the lost timber revenue of the good ol days. There were
> equally many who were positive, based on what's known to their
> agencys, that that was wishful thinking. And that's the rub.
>   A well informed minority of those in the "trade" are positive that:
> 1) what is known about SFP's or "nontimber forest products" is like
> the part of the iceberg you don't see, 80% is invisible to the
> regulators. The bulk of the SFP trade may be the second to the last
> truly grass roots, unregulated, underground market.

With several hundred species of hypogeous (underground) fungi already known
from the PNW, this is literally a case of not seeing the forest for the trees.

> 2) multinationals are depressing prices and production to the lowest
> common denominators world wide

Sounds kind of like logging, doesn't it? ;)

> 3) NAFTA 's update will be very bad for North American owned SFP
> traders

It may be bad for some, certainly it isn't bad for all.

> 4) successful SFP businesses need a value added factor (engineering or
> processing) to make it. Bulk sales are what the international
> companies excel at.

Perhaps not engineering or processing. Certainly, most of the markets need
tremendously more advertising. Most people in the US still don't know any of
the SFP's or NTFP's.

> 5) With the exception of a few special products, particularly
> matsutake, truffles and some pharmaceuticals, nobody is getting rich
> at this or even making much of a living.

I think I smell a smoke screen here.

> 6) The decision to make a business from nontimber forest products is a
> sometimes a lifestyle choice, which the users deeply appreciate. In
> other situations it's all there is left to do after timber harvest is
> shut down.
> The general feeling was that this was the first time that pickers,
> regulators, researchers and buyers have gotten together to talk and
> the channels were open.  The picture was much more complicated than
> many of the agency types were expecting, but not so "wild west" as the
> regulators suspected. Pickers were pretty open about resenting the
> heavy handed treatment they get from regulators and land owners, while
> the buyers let everyone know that they had the same troubles plus
> international competition.

It *definately* is not the first time. Dr. William Dennison sponsored a
similar meeting in 1988. Similar conferences have been held at Hillsboro,
Portland, Corvallis and Vancouver in the 10 years since. From my experience
attending these, they tend to be mostly commissuration conclaves.

Thus these SFPs, such as salal, boughs,
> > ferns, fungi, Native American uses, berry harvest, beargrass, and medicinals
> > (including taxol and St. John's wart) not only provide greater income than
> > timber but also less invasive harvesting methods.
> >
> > Daniel B. Wheeler
> > http://www.oregonwhitetruffles.com
> >
> > -----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
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Daniel B. Wheeler

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