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Criterion 6 Indicator 34
Supply and consumption/use of non-wood forest products.
Non-wood forest products are important to many people, as sources of food and medicines, for use in decorating homes at holidays or landscaping home gardens, for use in floral designs, or for use as posts, poles, and firewood. People use many non-wood forest products in Oregon, including many understory plants, conifer boughs, fungi, wood byproducts, and wild edible plants.
Concern has been expressed about the harvest rate of some non-wood forest products, particularly those for which demand has recently increased considerably (such as wild edible mushrooms) and those whose distribution and biology is not well known (such as many riparian species in demand for medicinal uses). Information is often lacking about what is being harvested, in what quantities, and the impact of harvest on the species and its distribution.
Recently many landowners have started to require permits for the harvest of non-wood forest products. The state of Oregon has maximum possession rules that govern how large a quantity of non-wood forest products can be transported for personal use. There is some information available in various studies about the commercial non-wood forest products industry (e.g., Blatner and Alexander, 1998: Blatner and Schlosser, 1997; Pilz, et. al., 1999; Redhead, 1997), but there is very little information about the supply or consumption of non-wood forest products for personal use by individuals.

Can This Indicator Be Quantified
There is no statewide collection of numeric data on the supply of any non-wood forest product. Many large landowners, such as the federal government, state of Oregon, and some large private landowners, keep track of the products on their land for which they receive requests. Some landowners keep track of their permits, both personal and commercial, by species and volume. However, many landowners do not issue permits and may not allow harvest of non-wood forest products on their land. Landowners do not track actual volume harvested for the vast majority of permits issued. Personal use is particularly undocumented as most of it occurs in small volumes and no permit is required by many landowners that allow public access.
Most non-wood forest products have been byproducts of forest management, not the intended goal. For example, firewood, posts and poles, and species that grow in the first few years after disturbances, such as morel mushrooms and some medicinal plants, are byproducts of timber harvest, fire, or other disturbances. Huckleberries produce the best fruit when they are not shaded by an overstory. Some mushrooms, such as yellow chanterelles, produce best in stands 40 to 100 years old, and other mushrooms, such as white chanterelles and pine mushrooms, produce best in older or mixed stands.
Concern has been expressed that an emphasis on management for one forest type will reduce or eliminate the supply of species dependent on other forest types. Although the supply and consumption of non-wood forest products can not be quantified for either personal or commercial use, the required conditions for many of the products are becoming better understood. The more that is learned about the range of products used in Oregon, the better that managers can understand what forest types and conditions are needed to ensure the continued availability of many non-wood forest products.

Non-wood forest products have been an integral part of Native American life for thousands of years, and are still important in diet and ceremony. Settlers depended on non-wood forest products, and many people still harvest a variety of products from Oregon forests for personal use. Use of medicinal plants is becoming more popular, increasing the pressure on some species and the incidence of trespass, and also increasing the possibility of conflict between traditional users and commercial harvesters. Mushroom harvesting is becoming more popular with commercial and recreational users.
The non-wood forest products industry has been in existence since the early 1900s and will likely remain an important component of the regional economy for many years to come. Traditionally exports have been important, but domestic demand is expanding for many products. Many people who have harvested non-wood forest products for a long time feel that fire suppression and decreasing timber harvests have decreased the availability of some products. There have been concerns expressed that increased harvesting pressure on sensitive species might decrease the availability or occurrence of those species, but the lack of inventories, monitoring, and biological information makes these issues difficult to assess.

Data Source and Availability
There is no regularly collected, publicly available data on the supply and use of non-wood forest products. The U.S. Forest Service is designing a national system to collect data on permits issued by national forests. Summaries of this data will be available on the U.S. Forest Service web page for the year 2000 and beyond. The Bureau of Land Management collects permit data and makes summary reports available from BLM district offices. District offices of the Oregon Department of Forestry produce annual reports of private and commercial permits, with information about species and permit revenues.
For a few selected species, biological production is being studied at a local or site-specific level, by universities, the U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station, and other agencies. The biology and yield of most species is not well understood. Information on personal use permits can be gleaned from information supplied by the U.S. Forest Service, BLM district offices, and Oregon Department of Forestry district offices. For specific information not in the reports, requests can be submitted to the BLM or Oregon Department of Forestry district offices.

Reliability of Data
Available information about regional production and value is based on surveys done as study-specific instruments. The Oregon Department of Forestry, BLM, and U.S. Forest Service produce summaries of permit data only. Their reports do not have information on how much of the various items is actually collected or what products are made later.

Permit data is collected at different scales by each landowner. U.S. Forest Service data can be delivered at various scales (i.e., district or forest). BLM data is available by district, and Oregon Department of Forestry data is by state forestry districts.

Recommended Action for Data Collection
In Oregon, the non-wood forest products industry is regulated by a patchwork of policies, fees, and regulations. Many authors have examined leasing, time restrictions, quality restrictions, geographic restrictions, permit systems, and fee structures (e.g., Acker 1986; Denison and Donoghue 1992; Redhead 1997; and Russell, 1987). In their report to the Committee on Sustainable Forestry, Denison and Donoghue (1992) write that problems that require regulation include public health issues, management and conservation issues, and land tenure and economic issues. The lack of scientific knowledge is one of the most serious issues for non-wood forest products. Little is known about the impacts of human social dynamics on these species, and about the biology and ecology of these plants and fungi.
There is ongoing research on policies, production, monitoring, inventory, biology, and value of non-wood forest products. This research is being done by individuals in numerous agencies and organizations in the Pacific Northwest. The state of Oregon can help by being a cooperator in ongoing and proposed research studies, and by defining problem areas for study funding.


Selected References
Acker, Randy. 1986. Harvesting wild edible mushrooms in Washington: an issue paper. Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia, WA. Prepared for the Wild Edible Mushroom Task Group, November 3, 1986.
Blatner, K. A., and S. Alexander. 1998. Recent price trends for non-timber forest products in the Pacific Northwest. Forest Products Journal. 48(10):28-34.
Blatner, K. A., and W. E. Schlosser. 1997. The floral and Christmas greens industry of the Pacific Northwest. Project report to the U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station, Portland, OR.
Denison, William C., and John Donoghue. 1992. Regulating the wild mushroom industry. Report to the Committee on Sustainable Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. May 12 1992.
Pilz, D., and J. Smith, M. P. Amaranthus, S. Alexander, R. Molina, D. Luoma. 1999. Mushrooms and timber: managing commercial harvesting in the Oregon Cascades. Journal of Forestry 97(3):4-11.
Redhead, Scott A. 1997. The pine mushroom industry in Canada and the United States: why it exists and where it is going. In: Palm, Mary E., and Ignacio H. Chapela, editors; Mycology in Sustainable Development: Expanding Concepts, Vanishing Borders. Parkway Publishers, Inc., Boone, North Carolina.
Russell, Kenelm W. 1987. What we need to know about commercial harvesting. McIlvainea 8(1):37-41.