About non-wood forest products
In 1999, FAO defined NWFPs as “goods of biological origin other than wood derived from forests and other wooded land and trees outside forests”(Unasylva, 1999).
FAO’s Forest Resource Assessment (2015) defines NWFPs as “Goods derived from forests that are tangible and physical objects of biological origin other than wood” to increase consistency in country reporting.
Different variations of the term, like secondary, minor or non-timber forest products (NTFP) are also used by governments, institutions and academics, depending on needs and objectives.Examples of NWFPs include products used as food and food additives (edible nuts, mushrooms, fruits, herbs, spices and condiments, aromatic plants, game), fibres (used in construction, furniture, clothing or utensiles), resins, gums, and plant and animal products used for medicinal, cosmetic or cultural purposes.
For more information on the NWFP terminology and terms, please refer to the following article: Into the wild: disentangling non-wood terms and definitions for improved forest statistics or view the information brief here.
Who uses NWFPs and to whom are they important?
Several million households world-wide depend heavily on NWFP for subsistence and/or income. Some 80 percent of the population of the developing world use NWFP for health and nutritional needs. Women from poor households are generally those who rely more on NWFP for household use and income.
At a local level, NWFP also provide raw materials for large scale industrial processing.
Some NWFP are also important export commodities. At present, at least 150 NWFP are significant in terms of international trade, including honey, gum arabic, rattan, bamboo, cork, nuts, mushrooms, resins, essential oils, and plant and animal parts for pharmaceutical products.
NWFP have also attracted considerable global interest in recent years due to the increasing recognition of their contribution to environmental objectives, including the conservation of biological diversity.