Forests offer a variety of edible products, of which edible nuts form a distinct group.

Nuts are among the most nutritionally concentrated of human foods and are an important food source for rural communities and forest dwellers. While some of the edible nuts support subsistence, others are of considerable commercial importance.

However, the role and importance of edible nuts as a Non-Wood Forest Product is not adequately recognized or appreciated. An attempt is made here to address this deficiency.

The document deals with a representative selection of major edible nut producing plants, minor edible nut producing plants, and potential edible nut producing plants. The purpose is to bring the importance of edible nuts into sharp focus, to highlight their immense potential, to encourage further studies and research relating to edible nuts and to promote their development.

The draft of this publication was prepared by G.E. Wickens, previously of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (UK), and it benefitted from the detailed comments of G. Blaak, E.H. Sène and P. Vantomme. Laura Russo undertook light editing of the text and organized the illustrations. Format editing and proof reading was done by Elisa Rubini. Overall guidance and supervision for the preparation and publication of the document was provided by C. Chandrasekharan, Chief of the Non-Wood Products and Energy Branch. I wish to express my thanks to all of them.

I have great pleasure in releasing this valuable publication and feel confident that it will provide necessary impetus for positive action.

Karl-Hermann Schmincke


Forest Products Division