Western Sword Fern    Non-timber Forests Products: Historical and Current Use

Current Commercial Use of Non-Timber Forest Products

 1 | FN Historical
 2 | FN Current
 3 | Early Commercial
 4 | Current Commercial


Although slow in coming, recent years have seen more recognition by resource managers and policy makers of the importance of non-timber forest products to local and regional economies. The commercial development of non-timber forest products in BC has evolved from relatively small-scale activities to large-scale potential. Industry growth in response to market demands has led to an increase in harvesting and increased pressure on some non-timber forest resources. At the same time, advocates for sustainable communities see the potential in non-timber forest resources for the development of community-based, socially, ecologically, and environmentally sustainable businesses.

Current Floral Greenery Industry

A multitude of products can be harvested as floral greenery, but the market in BC and the US Pacific Northwest is currently dominated by one product: Salal (Gaultheria shallon). Perceived by some as a forest weed that competes for sunlight and nutrients with tree seedlings, the Salal harvest on the BC coast has an estimated value of up to 50 million dollars per year. Floral greenery businesses process these resources (18) to meet market demands (19). Although the demand for floral greenery remains strong, there is increasing concern about access and sustainable harvesting issues (20).

Click on the bracketed number above or the image below to view the corresponding video.

18 View the Resource Processing Video 19 View the Changing Demands Video 20 View the Harvesting Issues Video

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Current Mushroom Industry

Access and sustainable harvesting issues are also recurring themes in the wild mushroom industry. Communities, individuals and businesses that depend on harvesting, selling and buying mushrooms to generate income are concerned about continued access to standing forests. Some industry participants are actively working to raise awareness of the importance of these non-timber forest resources by encouraging resource managers and policy makers to include designated areas for mushroom harvesting in their management plansd (21).

Click on the bracketed number above or the image below to view the corresponding video.

21 View the Blackwater Management Plan Video
  Blackwater Management Plan
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Some in the industry believe that education programs and government policies will contribute to the long-term viability of the industry. Others are opposed to government involvement of any kind. As with many of the other sectors in the non-timber forest products industry, fluctuating markets, resource access issues, and sustainability concerns are features of the wild mushroom industry.

d For further information see Olivotto Timber Forest Modeling Consultants. Timber Harvesting Plan for the Blackwater Pine Mushroom Management Area, British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Squamish Forest District, Squamish, BC, 1994