Non-Timber Forest Products

What's New
Current Activities
Recent Publications/Presentations
Older Publications
Web Sites of Interest
Ministry Contacts


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines non-timber forest products as: “products of biological origin other than wood derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests. They may be gathered from the wild, or produced in forest plantations, agroforestry schemes and from trees outside forests.” Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) include forest plant and mushroom products and services. 

This rapidly growing sector contributes to the economic diversification of the province. In 1997 the sector was valued at $600M per year, with over 30 000 British Columbians earning all or part of their living from the sector.  Over 200 species are harvested for sale, with mushrooms and floral greenery the largest “crops.”  There is increasing interest in the potential of the wild-harvested nutraceutical and bio-products sub-sectors. 

There are many NTFP-related initiatives currently under way by the Ministry of Forests and Range, other provincial Ministries, First Nations, Royal Roads University, and others.  The Research Branch supports a variety of research and extension activities for the management of NTFPs, and has taken the lead to establish partnerships with a cross-section of agencies provincially, nationally, and internationally.

The Research Branch Ecology and Earth Sciences Section has undertaken several interdisciplinary research and extension initiatives, and provided support to many initiatives conducted by the Centre for Non Timber Resources at Royal Roads University. Research Branch staff have provided leadership and support to several strategic Ministry programs and initiatives, including Mountain Pine Beetle mitigation strategies, the Forest and Range Practices Act Forest Resource Evaluation Program (FRPA/FREP) and Forest Stewardship planning.

The purpose of this web page is to provide information on NTFP initiatives associated with the Research Branch, both past and present. It will also provide links to current NTFP information for British Columbia, with the intention of supporting NTFP activities for District staff, researchers, the NTFP industry, harvesters, and communities.


What's New

Buy BCwild Directory - The Centre for Non Timber Resources' 2007/08 Buy BCwild Directory is available for download. The directory is a free resource listing hundreds of businesses and wild products from British Columbia. From wild foods, native plants, and natural health care products, to First Nations art, to cultural and recreational opportunities, this Directory is full of wild and wonderful things to discover.

Canadian Directory of Who's Who in NTFPs - The purpose of this directory is to provide information about individuals and organizations involved in the Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) field within Canada. [Link

Sustainable Forest Management Network Case Studies - Case studies outline the challenges, opportunities, issues, and recommendations for several NTFP species in British Columbia. Case studies on the following species are currently available: morel mushrooms, Canada yew, salal, essential oils, specialty tree syrups, sweetgrass (limited), senga (limited), and huckleberry. [link

Current Activities

  • Developing management guidelines for huckleberry production.
  • Developing vegetation inventory standards for evaluating key NTFPs.
  • Determining the productivity of chanterelle mushrooms on northern Vancouver Island.
  • Collaborating and consulting with the Neskonlith Indian Band to determine the effect of different logging practices on culturally important plant species within the interior Cedar-Hemlock and Interior Douglas-Fir biogeoclimatic zones.
  • Parameterizing current stand development models to predict variables other than tree growth, such as optimum light conditions for non-timber forest products (e.g., berry and mushroom production).
  • Describing and mapping chanterelle and pine mushroom habitat to contribute to Northern Interior regional efforts to manage the habitat of these commercially important non-timber forest resources.
  • Providing technical expertise as requested to Southern Interior First Nations groups on the ecology of non-timber forest resources and the impact of forest management and range practices.
  • Developing tools to more effectively monitor the effects of the mountain pine beetle epidemic on the spatial distribution of pine mushrooms. [more]
  • Developing keys to identify the macrofungi of British Columbia, including commonly harvested forest mushrooms such as pine mushroom; chanterelles, and morels.
  • Ongoing involvement on the Interagency Committee on Non-Timber Forest Products has ensured co-ordination and collaboration between the various government agencies interested in non-timber forest products.
  • Implementing an NTFP strategy and providing strategic direction on addressing NTFPs in Forest Stewardship plans. Working closely with First Nations Forestry Council and First Nations Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative.
  • Developed an application to be submitted to Statistics Canada for changes to the commodity codes currently used to measure the value and economic impact of non-timber forest products industries.
  • Providing direction, advice and funding to support a variety of Centre for Non Timber Resources extension products to promote and support the sector, including the Buy BCwild catalogue of NTFP businesses and products.
  • Comparing the abundance of vegetation in similar ecosystems on the Queen Charlotte Islands and North Coast mainland to identify sites on the Islands that have the greatest potential, once deer are excluded, for producing forest plants valued by the Haida First Nation.
  • Preparing a photographic field guide to common bryophytes of the B.C. Southern Interior.
  • Identifying the ecological factors that influence productivity of non-timber forest plants important to First Nations.
  • Identifying the factors affecting productivity of a wild, rangeland food plant valued by the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation.Top


Given the interdisciplinary nature of NTFP research and extension, Forest Science Program scientists and managers actively work in partnership and consultation with other Ministry of Forests and Range branch staff, such as Range, Aboriginal Affairs, Forest Practices, and Resource Tenures branches, as well the Mountain Pine Beetle Response Team, and the FRPA/FREP Cultural Heritage Resource Values Team. Consultations occur with external agencies, including the Centre for Non Timber Resources at Royal Roads University, First Nations resource managers, federal agencies such as Statistics Canada, small business operators, and industry forestry managers.

  • Inter-Agency Non Timber Forest Resources Committee (IANTFRC) - An ad hoc inter-ministry committee formed in January 2006 under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture and Land and Ministry Of Forests and Range to facilitate communication within the provincial government Ministries about NTFP issues. The committee includes staff from the Ministries of Economic Development, Community Services, Health, Advanced Education, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, as well as Agriculture and Lands and Forests and Range.
  • Centre for Non Timber Resources, Royal Roads University, Advisory Committee - The Centre for Non Timber Resources (CNTR) at Royal Roads University has been a key agency involved in NTFP issues in the province for several years. They have led numerous studies and needs assessments, hosted international events, delivered training sessions and advised on policy. The Ministry of Forests and Range has supported and funded the Centre.
  • First Nations Forestry Council
  • First Nations Mountain Pine Beetle InitiativeTop

Recent Publications/Presentations

Bravi, B. and B.K. Chapman. 2009. Managing for Pine Mushrooms through the Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic in the West Chilcotin: Second Edition. B.C. Min. For. Range, S. Int. For. Reg., Kamloops, B.C. Exten. Note 09.

Ehlers, T., S. Fredrickson, and S.M. Berch. 2008. Pine mushroom habitat characteristics and management strategies in the West Kootenay Region of British Columbia. B. C. J. Ecosystems and Manage. 8(3):76-83. [pdf

Berch, S.M., T. Ehlers, and R. Winder. 2007. Compatible management of timber and ectomycorrhizal mushrooms, especially pine mushroom and chanterelle. Presentation at 6th Annual North American Forest Ecology Workshop, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Jun. 18-22, 2007. [abstract

Berch, S.M., K.-H. Ka, H. Park, and R. Winder. 2007. Development and potential of the cultivated and wild-harvested mushroom industries in the Republic of Korea and British Columbia. B.C. J. Ecosystems and Manage. 8(3):53-75. [pdf]

Berch, S.M. and R., Winder. 2007. From tinder to truffles - fungi in the NTFP – agroforestry continuum. Presentation at Agroforestry Conference, Jun. 12 – 13, Université Laval, Québec City, Que. [link]

Hamilton, E.H. 2007. Session: Non timber forest resources: compatible management and sustainability. 6th Annual North America Forest Ecology Workshop. June 18 – 22, 2007. University of British Columbia. Vancouver, B.C. [pdf

Keefer, M., E. Hamilton, F. Sampson, and P. Burton. 2007. The development of guidelines for the management of BC's wild berries. Presentation at the 6th Annual North America Forest Ecology Workshop. June 18 – 22, 2007. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. [pdf]

Berch, S.M. 2006. Commercially harvested forest mushrooms of BC: challenges and advances. Presentation at the Canadian Botanical Association Meeting, Jun. 26-28, Concordia Univ. Montreal, Que. 

Cocksedge, W. and B. Titus. 2006. "Estimation of biomass of salal (Gaultheria shallon Pursh) removed through commercial harvesting and its effect on subsequent year’s above-ground growth." Agroforestry Systems. Jan 2006, Pages 1 - 9, DOI 10.1007/s10457-006-9001-1, URL [link] 

Meidinger, D. and A. MacKinnon. 2006. Using the tools: biogeoclimatic ecosystem classification, terrestrial ecosystem mapping and predictive ecosystem mapping. In: Incorporating non-timber forest products into sustainable forest management. An overview for forest managers. W. Cocksedge (compiler) Royal Roads Univ. Victoria, B.C., pp. 26–38. 

Mitchell, D., W. Cocksedge, E. Hamilton, and S. Tedder. 2006. "Non-timber forest products in Canada: Emerging sector, emerging issues." International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. Vancouver. June 2006. 

Mitchell, D., T. Hobby, T. Brigham, E. Hamilton,  and S. Robertson. 2006. Canadian non-timber forest products: Strategies for sustainable management, community development and policy implementation.  Discussion Forum 7. Sustainable Forest Management Network 2006 Conference, Sustaining Canada’s Forests: Building Momentum. Jun. 20 – 22, 2006, Edmonton, Alta. [pdf]Top

Older Publications

Berch, S.M. and W. Cocksedge. 2003. Commercially important wild mushrooms and fungi of British Columbia: What the buyers are buying. B.C. Min. For. Forest For. Sci. Prog., Tech. Rep. 006. [pdf

Berch, S.M. and A.M. Wiensczyk. 2001. Ecological description and classification of some pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat in British Columbia. [pdf

de Geus, N. and S.M. Berch. 1996. Pine mushroom management: A British Columbia perspective. In Mycology in sustainable development: expanding concepts, vanishing borders. I.H. Chapela and M.E. Palm (editors) Parkaway Publishers Inc., Boone, N.C. 

de Geus, N. 1995. Botanical forest products in British Columbia: an overview. B.C. Min. For,, Integrated Resources Branch, Victoria, B.C. 

Ehlers, T., S.M. Berch, and A. MacKinnon. 2004. Inventory of non-timber forest product plant and fungal species in the Robson Valley. B.C. J. Ecosystems and Manage. 4:1. [pdf

Forest Practices Board Special Report. Integrating Non-Timber Forest Products into Forest Planning and Practices in British Columbia NTFPs. FPB/SR/19. [pdf

Hamilton, E. 1998. An overview of the current situation of non-timber forest products in British Columbia. In Non-Timber Forest Products Workshop Proceedings. April 3-5, 1998. Alert Bay, B.C. Inner Coast Natural Resources Centre, pp.10-14. 

Hamilton, E. and D. Meidinger. 2005. Ecosystem classification and mapping and species distribution information: Use in non-timber forest resource management in British Columbia. Presentation at A Future Beneath the Trees - Academic symposium. Aug. 25-27, 2005, Royal Roads University, Victoria, B.C. Abstract [link

Kranabetter, J.M., R. Trowbridge, A. Macadam, D. McLennan, and J. Friesen. 2002. Ecological descriptions of pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat and estimates of its extent in northwestern British Columbia. For. Ecol. and Manage. 158: 249-261. 

Lim, S.R., A. Fischer, M. Berbeee, and S.M. Berch. 2003. Is the booted tricholoma in British Columbia really Japanese matsutake? B.C. J. Ecosystems and Manage. 3:1. [pdf

Mah, S. 1997. Ktunaxa ethnobotany and fire ecology. FRBC Project KB96095-RE B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, B.C. Final Report and Literature Review. 

Non-timber Forest Products Publication Sampler.  B.C. Ministry of Forests and Range. [pdf

Presentation Abstracts from A Future Beneath the Trees Academic Symposium. Aug. 25-27, 2005. Royal Roads Univ., Victoria, B.C. [link

Tedder, S. 2005. Managing non-timber forest products: Contrasting approaches between the U.S. Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Canada. Presentation at A Future Beneath the Trees - Academic symposium Aug. 25-27, 2005, Royal Roads University, Victoria, B.C. Abstract. [Link

Tedder, S., A. Hillyer, and D. Mitchell. 2002. Property rights in the sustainable management of non-timber forest products. [pdf

Tedder, S., D. Mitchell, and R. Farran. 2000. Seeing the forest beneath the trees: the social and economic potential of non-timber forest products and services in the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii. [pdf]


Web Sites of Interest

Canadian Forest Service – A network whose long-term goal is to create a network of people who have an interest and expertise in various aspects of non-timber forest products. While NTFP businesses may never come close to matching the economic contribution of the timber industry, they may still be important in the rural Maritime economy. [web site]

FAO Non-wood Forest Products, United Nations - Established in 1991 in the Forest Products Division (now the Forest Products and Industries Division), the program Promotion and Development of Non-wood Forest Products (NWFP) is one of the priority areas of FAO's Forestry Department. Their mission is to improve the sustainable utilization of NWFPs in order to contribute to the wise management of the world's forests, to conserve their biodiversity, and to improve income-generation and food security. [web site]

Fire Locations – Fire locations and size used by morel buyers and harvesters to help plan harvesting for following year. [web site]

Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, BC Specialty Crops Industry - A specialty crop in British Columbia is a new commodity, a new use for an established commodity, or an established crop new to another region. They are commodities generally not part of mainstream agriculture. Examples include hemp, ginseng, sea buckthorn, Saint John’s wort, sage, Echinacea, and culinary herbs. Special crops fall into non-traditional use areas such as: aromatherapy, essential oils, herbal medicines, nutraceuticals, functional foods, fibre, floriculture, craft products, and specialty oils, and generally have little or no marketing structures in place. [web site]

Mushroom Picking [web site

Non-Timber Forest Products of British Columbia [web site]

Non Timber Forest Products, United States – A web site with tools for the conservation and management of non-timber forest products (NTFPs). [web site]

Non-Timber Forest Products, United States - The Virginia Tech Department of Wood Science and Forest Products, the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station, and the Top of the Ozarks RC&D in Missouri develop and operate this web site devoted to gathering information on NTF products and markets. They seek to provide information in simple formats and serve as a national clearing house useful to NTFP harvesters and growers, marketers, processors, and end-users. [web site]

Northern Forest Diversification Centre, Manitoba - The mission of the NFDC is to work with marginalized forest communities and individuals to develop economic opportunities that are aligned with local values, based on local resources, and for the benefit of local people.  The Centre acts as a research, training, marketing, sales and service centre for the provincial Non-Timber Forest Product industry. [web site]

Royal Roads University - Centre for Non-Timber Resources - The purpose of the Centre is to support and encourage sustainable utilization of non-timber forest resources in the temperate and boreal regions of the world. The activities of the Centre include research, education and capacity-building, policy and stewardship, industry building, developing resources, and publications. [web site]

Ministry Contacts

Evelyn Hamilton, Manager, Ecology and Earth Sciences Section

Ministry contact: Evelyn Hamilton.
Please direct questions regarding webpage to
Updated September 2009