Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project S084007

    Co-production of non-timber forest products with timber and other non-timber goods and services: research findings and knowledge gaps
Project lead: Mitchell, Darcy (Royal Roads University)
Author: Mitchell, Darcy A.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are biological goods of the forest other than timber, pulpwood, firewood, and other conventional timber products. In British Columbia, NTFPs are generally thought of as plant and animal species. Recognition of the existence and importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) in B.C. is emerging in many contexts, including the cultural and economic interests of First Nations, the challenge of achieving resource and economic diversification in the wake of the mountain pine beetle (MPB) epidemic, and ecosystem-based sustainable forest management that reflects a full range of forest values. However, the generation and transfer of knowledge needed to successfully incorporate NTFP management into the social, economic and environmental goals of sustainable forest management have not kept pace with the increasing profile and importance of NTFPs.
Historically, as new forest values or management objectives, such as wildlife or biodiversity, emerged and increased in importance, a body of research evolved that focussed on the new value. Unfortunately, these new fields often developed in isolation of other bodies of potentially relevant research. It is possible, however, to pursue another approach at this early stage in the development of NTFPs as a field of research and practice by integrating knowledge and research efforts, rather than creating silos among practitioners and researchers that isolate different disciplines. As a team of experts in diverse fields, we propose to jointly mine several different bodies of research to determine the knowledge that already exists on (i) compatible management (or co-production) of timber and NTFPs, and (ii) the co-production of NTFPs and other non-timber values such as wildlife, biodiversity, and forest-based recreation. In essence, this project will ask the question “What does the research in one area of sustainable forest or ecosystem management (e.g., protection of habitat for ungulate winter range) tell us about how to manage for key non-timber forest product species?”
In the process of synthesizing knowledge from diverse disciplines, we will also identify knowledge gaps. For example, we currently have little information that can be applied to compatible management for NTFPs, but assume that some of this has been collected for other purposes. However, we do not know if this assumption is correct: perceived knowledge gaps may or may not exist. Future research on NTFPs and compatible management could be much more effective and efficient if we are able to identify where there are actual knowledge gaps (e.g., habitat requirements for good Boletus production) and where there is simply a need for linkages between different disciplines, and extension of information which already exists.
The project will analyse clusters of study which are currently incorporated into sustainable forest management, including wildlife, biodiversity, First Nations and recreation tourism. The analysis will look for results and information which could be applied to NTFPs and compatible management (e.g., there may be extensive information about management of Vaccinium species, but little about management of Boletus species).
The intended scope of the project is research undertaken in B.C. and the Pacific Northwest within the past 15 years. This project will complement the emerging body of literature on NTFP management in B.C. (Cocksedge 2006; CNTR 2006; BC Forest Practices Board 2004; Titus et al 2004; Ehlers et al. 2003; Tedder et al. 2002; Tittler et al 2001) and will help create an efficient and focussed agenda for future research. This synthesis will assist practitioners in using available research in new ways and will help avoid unnecessary research effort by mining other literature for relevant information, while identifying true gaps that need to be addressed through new research
Contact: Mitchell, Darcy, (250) 285-2739,


Executive Summary (23Kb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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