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Temperate broad-leaved trees are found in a wide range of ecological zones, located both in the northern and southern hemispheres. According to the FAO Forest Resources Assessment 2000, temperate forests cover some 400 million ha over a large belt along North America, which then stretches from Europe, across Central Asia, up to China and Japan. In the Southern Hemisphere, temperate forests and trees are found mainly in Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and southern Australia. Temperate broad-leaved trees and forests are also important components of many tropical and subtropical mountain ecosystems.

Temperate broad-leaved trees and forests provide a vast array of products. Many species have been domesticated and are represented by major fruit and tree crops worldwide, such as apples, pears, cherries, plums, olives, walnuts, almonds and grapes, just to name a few. In addition to fibre, timber and fuelwood, temperate broadleaf forests offer a wide range of non-wood products, which are of great benefit to human society in both developing and developed countries. However, in spite of this, foresters have so far devoted little attention to enhancing the many non-wood uses of temperate forests.

The focus of this paper lies on broad-leaved trees, as the role of conifers in supplying non-wood forest products was reviewed in an earlier publication in the Non-Wood Forest Products Series (No.12: Non-wood forest products from conifers). The objective is to provide a global review of the non-wood uses of temperate broad-leaved trees and to discuss the many issues involved with their development, such as problems associated with the management of the resource, or with the harvesting, processing and trade of the products. Both contemporary and historical or traditional uses are discussed. Where possible, data on levels of production and international trade are given. The intended audience of this publication ranges from interest groups in the forest, agriculture and rural development sectors to conservation agencies in developed and developing countries.

It is hoped that the use of this document will help in promoting the use of non-wood products from temperate broadleaf forests as a valuable component in the process of economic development and poverty alleviation.

Wulf Killmann
Forest Products Division
Forestry Department

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