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Individual Highlight

Volumes and values of nontimber forest products in the United States

Photo of People harvest thousands of pounds of black cohosh root for its medicinal value every year. The wild-harvesting of this and other nontimber forest products contributes millions of dollars to rural economies. Evidence indicates that the ecological impacts of harvesting may be significant, albeitnot well documented.
People harvest thousands of pounds of black cohosh root for its medicinal value every year. The wild-harvesting of this and other nontimber forest products contributes millions of dollars to rural economies. Evidence indicates that the ecological impacts of harvesting may be significant, albeitnot well documented. Snapshot : Wild-harvested plants and fungi from U.S. forests are critical to the food and financial security of millions of Americans. These nontimber products are essential to healthy, vibrant, and resilient forests. The National Assessment is a comprehensive synthesis of the state-of-scientific knowledge that provides valuable insights to advance conservation and management of under-recognized natural resources and products.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Chamberlain, James L. 
Research Location : United States
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2018
Highlight ID : 1484

Summary

Every year, more than $1 billion is contributed to the wholesale economy of this country from wild-harvested nontimber forest products. The food and medicine that are sourced from U.S. forests contribute directly to the health, well-being, nutrition, and food security of millions of American citizens -- often people who are economically marginalized. Every region of this country produces important nontimber forest products. Wild-harvested plants and fungi are critical to forest health and resiliency, although the ecological impacts of harvesting and climate change are not thoroughly understood. The National Assessment (GTR-SRS-232) provides a comprehensive synthesis of the science-based knowledge relative to the production, ecology, economics, social and cultural importance, and policy and regulations of nontimber forest products with implications of a changing climate. Many of the plants and fungi valued as nontimber products are cultural icons that are also valuable to people’s cultural identity. If they disappear due to changes in climate, habitat, or lack of management, these cultures will be irreversibly impacted. SRS scientist James Chamberlain led a team of 60 experts from across the country to produce this report that highlights the importance of these products and the knowledge necessary to advance conservation and management of these important natural resources.?

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • USDA Forest Service Region 10
  • Washington Office
  •  International Institute of Tropical Forestry 
  •  Northern Research Station
  •  Pacific Northwest Research Station
  •  Pacific Southwest Research Station
  • Dartmouth College
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Highlands Biological Station 
  • National Council for Air and Stream Improvement
  • North Carolina Arboretum
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northwest Forest Workers Center
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Portland State University
  • Radford University
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Missouri
  • Ursinus College
  • Virginia Tech
  • Yale University
  •  Alabama A&M University
  •  Auburn University
  •  Bureau of Land Management
  •  California State University
  •  Cornell University
  •  Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Commission
  •  Institute of Pacific Island Forestry
  •  Missouri Valley College
  •  National Park Service
  •  North Carolina State University
  •  University of Hawaii
  •  University of Maine
  •  University of Nevada
  •  Warren Wilson College
  •  Washington State University
  •   US Fish and Wildlife Service