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Nontimber Forest Products in the United States

Edited by Eric T. Jones, Rebecca J. McLain, and James Weigand

May 2002
424 pages, 1 map, 2 graphs, 6 x 9
Development of Western Resources
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1165-2, $60.00
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-1166-9, $29.95

Book cover imageA quiet revolution is taking place in America's forests. Once seen primarily as stands of timber, our woodlands are now prized as a rich source of a wide range of commodities, from wild mushrooms and maple sugar to hundreds of medicinal plants whose uses have only begun to be fully realized. Now as timber harvesting becomes more mechanized and requires less labor, the image of the lumber-jack is being replaced by that of the forager.

This book provides the first comprehensive examination of nontimber forest products (NTFPs) in the United States, illustrating their diverse importance, describing the people who harvest them, and outlining the steps that are being taken to ensure access to them. As the first extensive national overview of NTFP policy and management specific to the United States, it brings together research from numerous disciplines and analytical perspectives--such as economics, mycology, history, ecology, law, entomology, forestry, geography, and anthropology--
in order to provide a cohesive picture of the current and potential role of NTFPs.

The contributors review the state of scientific knowledge of NTFPs by offering a survey of
commercial and noncommercial products, an overview of uses and users, and discussions of sustainable management issues associated with ecology, cultural traditions, forest policy, and commerce. They examine some of the major social, economic, and biological benefits of NTFPs, while also addressing the potential negative consequences of NTFP harvesting on forest ecosystems and on NTFP species populations.

Within this wealth of information are rich accounts of NTFP use drawn from all parts of the American landscape--from the Pacific Northwest to the Caribbean. From honey production to a review of nontimber forest economies still active in the United States--such as the Ojibway "harvest of plants" recounted here--the book takes in the whole breadth of recent NTFP issues, including ecological concerns associated with the expansion of NTFP markets and NTFP tenure issues on federally managed lands.

No other volume offers such a comprehensive overview of NTFPs in North America. By examining all aspects of these products, it contributes to the development of more sophisticated policy and management frameworks for not only ensuring their ongoing use but also protecting the future of our forests.

"If you've ever bought a wreath of fresh forest boughs, a packet of ginseng, or a carton of wild strawberries and wondered where these materials came from--and whether the supply will last--this excellent volume will help answer your questions, while provoking many more. A must book for everyone who believes that the forests of America and their rich abundance of species are worth saving."--Virginia Morell, coauthor of Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures

"By focusing on the most critical issues in NTFP policy and management, this long-awaited work sets the agenda for future NTFP research in the United States and will be relevant for years to come."--Yvonne Everett, Natural Resources Planning and Interpretation, Humboldt State University

ERIC T. JONES and REBECCA J. McLAIN are codirectors and researchers for the Institute for Culture and Ecology in Portland, Oregon.

JAMES WEIGAND is a natural resource economist for the U.S. Forest Service.

See for additional information about NTFPs harvested in the United States.

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