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ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland



Managing Scottish NTFPs

Most of Scotland's 'natural' woodlands have at some point been managed in the past. Many of our oakwoods, for example, were intensively coppiced for the production of bark for tanning leather between the 17th and 19th centuries.

Management today

Woodlands can be actively managed to enhance their potential for non-timber forest products. Suitable techniques, depending on the habitat and the desired product, might include thinning (to increase light levels on the forest floor), enrichment planting, creation of woodland clearings (for habitat diversification), animal husbandry and culling (population control). Cultivation may also be an option for some species.

Wider management strategies

Appropriate management strategies are determined by various factors including the woodland's overall 'purpose' (timber production, biodiversity conservation, amenity use, etc.) and its ownership. There are increasing numbers of community woodlands in Scotland, for example, which demand particular magagement approaches. One of the first steps in NTFP management is usually inventory.

Argyll oak woods
NTFPs from the landowner's perspective

Non-timber forest products are often regarded as a 'free' resource. But they also offer woodland owners a possible way of increasing the revenue from their land.

There is not necessarily a conflict of interest between collectors and landowners, but finding a balance requires a certain amount of mutual understanding. Find out more about the challenges and opportunities for woodland owners.