Wild Harvests from Scottish Woodlands:

Social, cultural and economic values of contemporary
non-timber forest products

Marla Emery, Suzanne Martin and Alison Dyke

Forestry Commission, Edinburgh, May 2006

Wild Harvests and NTFPs - a definition

"The term non-timber forest products, or NTFPs, is used in the context of this study to refer to the plant and fungal material that is harvested as well as items that may be made from these materials. The species documented in this study include those which are not purely forest-related. This reflects the fact that woodlands contain open spaces, that peoples’ gathering activities occur across different habitats and also that species do not necessarily occur where we might expect them."

Summary of the report findings:

From a member of the House of Lords in his castle to an unemployed gentleman in a fisherman's cottage, from a biology teacher on the outskirts of Dumfries to a young farmer on the Black Isle, collecting non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is a source of joy and satisfaction for many in contemporary Scotland. In the autumn of 2004, as part of the Wild Harvests From Scottish Woodlands project, more than thirty people were interviewed about the wild edibles, medicinals, and craft materials they collect and the part that collecting plays in their lives.

As a group, research participants mentioned 208 NTFPs derived from 97 vascular plants and 76 fungi and other non-vascular species. Edibles uses were most common, followed by beverages, craft, garden and medical uses. Most NTFP gathering is for personal and family use, followed in importance by gifts, informal economy, and barter. Gatherer profiles are used to illustrate that with commercial collection, often 'the sums don't add up', but the importance of NTFP collection for personal and cultural identity, social cohesion, public health and happiness is vast.

The results suggest there is potential for active management of NTFPs in public and private woodlands as well as some cautions. A number of recommendations for policy, practice and future research are made.

Full report available online from Forest Research

More details about the Wild Harvests project on the projects page

Wild Harvests data on ForestHarvest species database