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ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland


Non-timber forest products overseas

Fundamental resources from the forests

In many countries, particularly in the developing world, non-timber forest products continue to play vital roles in the lives of local people. Some forest communities are still almost entirely reliant on these resources for their subsistence requirements. The forest supplies them with food, medicines, tools, fibres, poisons, dyes and many other useful materials.

NTFPs and the economy

In addition, a number of NTFPs form the basis for substantial forest industries, sometimes playing crucial roles in local economies.

Rubber, for example, is still collected from wild forest trees by seringueiros (rubber tappers) in some parts of the Brazilian Amazon. These people are dependent on the continuing survival of the rubber trees for their incomes, and as such are ardent defenders of the rainforest.

NTFP research

The growing recognition of the importance of NTFPs in such countries, and of their value not only for local people but also (indirectly) for forest conservation, has spawned numerous research projects in recent years. As a result, we probably now know more about NTFPs overseas than we do in Britain.

Although the species, products, environments and social situations are different in these countries, the results of this research may provide valuable lessons for sustainable NTFP management in Scotland.

PDF: NTFPs - their role in sustainable forest management in the tropics


Yanomami man in Brazil
Case studies

Brazil nuts


Maple syrup



Pine resin in the Mediterranean

Resin is collected from Aleppo pines for the production of turpentine, rosin, varnishes and drinks (e.g. retsina).

This provides an important source of labour in rural areas. One tree can yield 3-4kg per year.

Portugal, Greece, Spain, France and Italy together produce 290,000 tonnes per year.