About non-wood forest products

FAO defines NWFP as being  “goods of biological origin other than wood derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests”. Different terms like secondary, minor or non-timber forest products (NTFP) are also being used by governments, institutions and academics. For further information on the definition of NWFP, please read the article Towards a harmonized definition of non-wood forest products, published in Unasylva, Issue No. 198.

NWFP may be gathered from the wild, or produced in forest plantations, agroforestry schemes and from trees outside forests. Examples of NWFP 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.


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.


last updated:  Friday, January 17, 2014