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ForestHarvest :   non-timber forest products in Scotland


NTFP benefits

Non-timber forest products offer a range of benefits for Scotland's environment and people:

Environmental and biodiversity benefits

Management of woodlands for sustainable NTFP production often results in greater habitat and species diversity. It can also provide a positive impetus for the planting of new woodlands.

Social benefits

Gathering NTFPs is an enjoyable and satisfying activity providing a diverse range of educational and health benefits. It strengthens links between people and the environment, and helps to foster appreciation of the natural world. It also sustains a connection with our cultural heritage.

Economic benefits

Gathering NTFPs for commercial use can provide subsidiary income for people living in rural areas. In a few cases these products form the basis of significant businesses, providing local jobs and helping to strengthen the rural economy. At present this is not of enormous economic importance in Scotland as a whole, particularly if compared with the situation overseas. Nevertheless, NTFP can provide significant benefits at the local level.


Frog on Sphagnum moss
Berries and health

Collecting berries such as blaeberries and cowberries from the woods is a popular pastime in Scandinavian countries. School children are sometimes allowed time off school specifically to gather these fruits, which are frozen for winter use. These provide a valuable source of Vitamin C and other beneficial compounds. In Finland, berry picking is actively encouraged in the belief that it benefits the nation's health.