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John Munsell, Virginia Tech, jfmunsel@vt.edu (Presenter)
James Chamberlain, USDA Forest Service, jchamberlain@fs.fed.us
Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University, Jeanine_Davis@ncsu.edu
Matthew Brinckman, Virginia Tech, mdbrinck@vt.edu

 

Non-timber forest products consist of a broad range of edible, medicinal, decorative, and handicraft goods harvested from woodlands. They are important commodities and critical components of healthy forests. In North America, their aggregate annual value likely runs in the tens of billions of dollars, yet systematic monitoring of population status or harvested volume is lacking. USDA Forest Service’s FIA program has created non-timber reports for particular states and the RPA assessment and Sustainable Forests report have covered general status. A non-timber product output system akin to the Timber Product Output report would build on these efforts and provide consistent information for sustainable management associated species and efforts to formalize non-timber markets. In 2011, FIA and Virginia Tech initiated the development of a Non-Timber Product Output information system. The project’s initial focus is on medicinal NTFPs in Central Appalachia. We conducted a buyer survey focused on the volume of 12 medicinal forest plants purchased in 2011 in western Virginia and western North Carolina. A geographic information system is used to spatially depict aspects of the medicinal forest products sector in the study region according to FIA zones. Methods and findings from the pilot analysis (e.g., volume correlations between species) will be presented and next steps covered. Long-term goals include creating a national mechanism for tracking non-timber forest product outputs and reporting findings so that these products may be more completely valued. We also will encourage dialogue and field suggestions for future efforts.