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Messrs. Ertan ÖZUğURLU & Mevlut DÜZGÜN
Ministry of Forestry
Research Planning and Co-ordination Board, ANKARA


In many countries in the world and for vast numbers of the rural population in the developing countries, NWFP have vital roles in terms of subsistence of household, income and employment from harvesting and industry, marketing, spiritual and cultural needs, source of foreign exchange, biodiversity etc.

There is a need for improvement of propagation methods, management, harvesting, storage and utilisation; promotion of women's participation; improvement of quality of facilities and development of facilities to sustain NWFP. Forest-based small scale enterprises also represent the major source of employment for rural people, which is based mainly upon the collection and processing of NWFP.

Turkey is one of the rich countries with a variety of flora and fauna, which generally are found in forests and wooded lands. However, it is a fact that overproduction, limited facilities for cultivation, inefficient protection measures, poor knowledge about wild resources and insufficient data availability are the major factors threatening the existing NWFP development efforts.

This paper examines the current role and potential for non-wood products in the forestry sector and in the related agencies. It is compiled from a number of publications. It also presents the actual situation and provides a draft policy framework and guidelines for sustainable management of NWFP in Turkey.

Keywords: NWFP, rural communities, Forest-based small-scale enterprise, endemic species, collection, processing consumption, trade.

1. Introduction

NWFP are products of biological origin other than wood that may be gathered from the wild, mainly forests, other wooded lands, produced as (semi-) domesticated plants in plantations or in agroforestry schemes, or trees outside forests or produced in intermediate production systems of varying degrees of domestication.

Non-wood forest products have attracted considerable global interest in recent years due to increasing recognition of their contribution to household economies and food security, to some national economies, and to environmental objectives such as the conservation of biological diversity.

Unfortunately very little concerted attention had been given to these important resources in the past. Furthermore, in many countries, forestry sectors' policies had frequently emphasised timber production and often ignored the importance of NWFP and small-scale enterprises based on NWFP.

In due consideration of the increased importance of the non-timber forest products, the Food and Agricultural Organization has already established the Wood and Non-Wood Products Utilization Branch (FOPW) in the Forest Products Division in 1991. The ongoing programme called “Promotion and Development of Non-wood Forest Products (NWFP)” became one of the FAO Forestry Department's priority areas. The programme ensures co-ordination within FAO in the multidisciplinary approach of NWFP development in the world.

NWFP can provide important community needs for improved rural livelihood; contribute to household food security and nutrition; help to generate additional employment and income; offer opportunities and provide raw materials for processing enterprises; contribute to foreign exchange earnings; and support biodiversity conservation and other environmental objectives. Several million households all around the world 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 (FAO, 2000).

II. Definition, scope and characteristics of NWFP

In many publications, the term “non-wood forest products” (NWFP) or “non-timber forest products ”(NTFP) and the similar terms: “minor”, “secondary”, and “non-timber” forest products, have appeared as umbrella expressions for the vast array of both animal and plant resources other than wood (or timber in the case of “non-timber”) derived from forests, other wooded lands and trees outside the forests (FAO, 1999).

NWFP also refers to market or subsistence goods and services for human or industrial consumption derived from renewable forest resources and biomass (FAO, 1999). In this regard, the scope of non-wood forest products includes from the use of plants and animals and their products to the services of land for conservation and recreation. NWFP may be gathered from the wild, mainly forests, other wooded lands, produced as domesticated plants in plantations or in agroforestry schemes, or trees outside forests produced in intermediate production systems of varying degrees of domestication.

The NWFP may be grouped into three main categories according to their functions and their utilisation purposes both in domestic consumption or commercial basis. These are as follows:

Main categorySub-categoriesExamples of products
Non-wood plant productsFoodWild and domesticated products, weeds, fruits, flowers, seeds, edible roots, stems, leaves, shoots etc.
ForageFood for livestock and wildlife, including birds, fishes, insects, bees, silkworms, etc.
PharmaceuticalsDrugs, salves, lotions, purgatives etc.
ToxinsFor hunting, ordeal poisons, salves, ointments, lotions, anaesthetics etc.
AromaticsEssential oils for cosmetic and perfume industry, unguent, incense etc.
BiochemicalsNon-edible fats and oils, waxes, gums and latex, dyes, tannins etc.
FibreCloth, matting, cordage, basketry, brooms, cork etc.
WoodWood for handicrafts
OrnamentalsPlants for aesthetically pleasing, horticulture and amenity etc.
Wild Animal ProductsMammalsMeat, horn, skins, wool, bone etc.
BirdsMeat, hides, skins, wool, bone pharmaceuticals etc.
FishesMeat, eggs, feathers, edible nests, guano etc.
ReptilesFood, skins, shell, toxins, etc.
InvertebratesPlant exudates (manna), honey, wax, silk lac etc.
Services and Functions of ForestsHabitatGrazing, shade and shelter for animals
Soil improvement and protection Green manure, humus, N-fixation, hedges, soil stabilisation etc.
Protected areasNon-consumptive use (Tourism/recreation, wildlife viewing, photography, bird watching etc.)
Consumptive use (hunting, shooting, fishing etc.)
Aesthetic, scenic and historic sites etc.

Source: FAO Information note 2000.

III. NWFP in the world

Traditionally, maximised revenue from timber production has driven forest policy and management decisions in many countries, and silvicultural systems have been designed specifically to enhance timber production. These policies and practices have in some places conflicted with the interest of forest dwellers and people dependent on the forest for other uses and products, and have limited the development potential of NWFP.

In many parts of the world, NWFP provide food (bushmeat, mushrooms, fruits, nuts, animal fodder), construction materials, fibres (bamboo, rattan, palm leaves), medicines and other health care products and goods of religious or spiritual significance. Most of medicinal plants are traded in local and national markets and relatively few are traded internationally in significant volume. However, there are few reliable global or even national data on production and trade of wild harvested plants and it is difficult to distinguish the wild from cultivated sources in existing trade statistics on these material.

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 etc.(FAO, 1997).

It is estimated that the total value of world trade in NWFP of the approximately 150 well-known major items is about 1.1 billion US Dollars yearly. The general direction of trade from developing to developed countries with about 60 percent being imported by countries of EU, USA and Japan. China is the dominant world trader. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil are also major suppliers to world markets (FAO 1997).

The responsibility for the management of wild resources varies from country to country, possibly due partly to the training and interests of the foresters, but probably more to internal policies. In some countries, whether it is obtained from the wild, plantations or fallow (uncultivated), NWFP are a forest responsibility. In some others, it is almost entirely harvested from the wild under the responsibility of agriculturist, or even the mandate of some forestry departments extends to all forms of wildlife, such as in Chile (FAO 1988).

At present, the CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) is only one of the basic legal arrangements by which the world-wide trade of NWFP is generally laid out. The other important international arrangements and initiatives on protection, sustainable management and utilization procedures of NWFP are IUCN (International Union on Conservation of Nature), WWF (The World Wide Fund for Nature) and the UN Convention on Biological Conservation (CBD).

IV. NWFP in Turkey

Turkey is a country at the cross-roads of Europe, Asia and Africa so that makes it rich in biodiversity as well as in cultural diversity. From sea level to over 5000 meters, the country has a high altitudinal variation and many different types of ecological regions including higher rainfall in the north, Mediterranean and sub-tropical in the south and west, arid and semi-arid in the middle, alpine, and alluvial in lower plains. These ecological variations make it possible for very diverse fauna and flora types from coastal habitats to alpine habitats.

In terms of biodiversity, the geographical location makes Turkey the richest country among the countries of Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Middle Asia. It is a genetic centre for a large number of plant species, mainly found in forested areas, with about 9000 plant species, 3000 of which are endemic. Besides, Turkey has a wide variety of wildlife and fauna resources such as mammals (128 species), birds (449 recorded), reptiles (85 species) and others. As a result of these conditions, forests in Turkey have a rich variety of natural resources that provides diversity of NWFP from both plants and wildlife.

In Turkey, forests are the major natural areas where the wild resources of NWFP are found and collected. Therefore, the responsibility for the management of wild resources remains with the interests of forestry organizations, possibly due partly to training and internal policies. Some NWFP are also collected from the areas that are outside of forests, such as rangelands, privately owned lands, alpine regions etc. Only the forestry organization is responsible for management, collection and protection of the NWFP before selling them abroad.

1. Major species, production and utilization structure

Local and the nearest forest villagers and their co-operatives are employed or contracted by the forestry organization in the harvesting of NWFP through a specialized section (Division Directorate of NWFP) of the General Directorate of Forestry in Turkey. During the 5th Five Year Development Plan period, NWFP inventory was carried out by General directorate of forestry for a selected 62 major species. Management and utilization plans were prepared. Information given in this plan is about production capacity, rotation parcels, propagation, drying and storing techniques and domestication strategies of certain of these species.

In Turkey, production of the NWFP is generally conducted by two main types of production means, both are supervised and controlled by forestry departments. Many NWFP are produced from the forest areas and provide significant contributions to the local communities and country economy as well. These two production types are:

(i) By annual production programs of forestry sector in which some of the NWFP such as resin, bay leave and styrax are harvested by General Directorate of Forestry through its annual production programs. Those programs are prepared according to the targets given in the five-year development plans and the demands of the domestic and foreign markets.

(ii) By modest tariff value charges that are annually determined by the forestry sector according to Articles 37 and 40 of the forest Law. This is a concession right of employment for the people who are living in the forest villages. Pine nut, chestnut, thyme and herb tea, natural mushrooms are the most common products produced in this way.

As an example, the followings are the 15 most important non-wood forest products, species and their production quantity (in 1994 and 1999) produced in Turkey:

ProductSpecies from which producedUnitQuantity produced
ResinPinus brutia (Turkey red pine)tonne 350  400
Bay leavesLaurus nobilistonne23933662
Styrax (Luqiudambar oil)Liquidambar orientaliskg20032000
Resinous woodPinus spp. and other coniferoustonne43346877
Salvia (leave)Salvia spp.tonne 403  403
Thymus (leave)Origanum spp., Thymus spp, Coridothymustonne4814 2587
Pine nutPinus pineatonne 267  693
Natural mushroomsvarioustonne   33   17
Sumac (leave, fruit)Rhus cotinus (coriaria)tonne   45   62
Rosemary (herbacous)Rosmarinus officinalistonne 434 206
Cherry laurel (fruit)Prunus laurocerasus,tonne   10   31
Lime (flower)Tilia spp.kg33513262
Chesnut (fruit)Castanea sativatonne 259  121
Snow drop, Cyclamen and other bulbous plants (bulb)Galanthus nivalis, Cyclamen spp. and otherstonne 129  207
Carob (fruit)Ceratonneia siliquatonne 674   15

Source: Forestry Special Expertise Report for 8. Five Year Development Plan, (unpublished)

In terms of the income opportunities NWFP represent one of the vital resources for the forest villagers in some regions. Some part of the produced NWFP is consumed by the local people for their household needs as food, medicine, herbal tea and for other purposes after limited and simple processes. However, these products are mostly sold as raw material so that the important part of the profit in this field are earned by middlemen, processors and traders from outside including foreign countries.

The following chart, illustrates the existing line of action of the harvesting, collection, consumption, processing and marketing of the major NWFP and the main actors employed in these lines in Turkey.

2. Protection of NWFP

Ministry of the Forestry of Turkey is the unique organization which has the responsibility for protection activities of the NWFP resources but only in the forest areas. Protection of NWFP is carried out together with the general forest policy legislation and there are no special rules for protection of NWFP resources. Because of less attention to NWFP than wood- based resources, attempts at the protection of NWFP often remain second in priority after the primary forest resources. Thus, it can be said that NWFP are not properly protected despite their wide varieties and invaluable importance for the people and the country's economy.

Recently, together with better recognition of the importance of these resources there have been some restrictions on trading of some certain species. These species are mainly rare or endangered and the reason for restriction or prohibition on trading is to conserve their gene resources and biological diversity. In 1995, a number of species such as Styrax (Luqiudambar orientalis), bulbs of some natural plants, species of Orchidaceae (salep) in every form, were prohibited from export by the Export Regime Decision of 1995.

However, the protection and conservation measures and activities taken for the NWFP resources are not effective enough, so that many plant species are become endangered and unfortunately in the near future some of them will not be existing.

3. Marketing structure of NWFP

The revenue from timber production has shown a declining trend, mainly because of the increased emphasis on environmental, landscape and recreational objectives that resulted in reduced fellings. At the same time, NWFP and the value of recreation have shown a net increase and consequently, the value of NWFP is clearly higher than the value of timber. If the value of NWFP and public benefits from recreation are taken into consideration, the forestry balance sheet statement will become slightly positive. The commercialization of NWFP and environmental benefits, which is absolutely necessary in order to find the financial resources required for managing a multipurpose forests.

However, due to limited experience and the lack of capabilities for processing and marketing, NWFP are mostly sold as raw material so that the important part of the profit in this field is earned by middlemen, processors and traders from outside including foreign countries. Inadequate awareness, lack of infrastructure in the rural areas, access to markets, low volume of products, poor handling and poor storage capabilities are the major constraints to the formal development of markets for NWFP.

Annual export revenue gained from NWFP is around 70 million US$ which is higher than the wood export revenue because of the higher demand in foreign markets. Revenues from wildlife and other services of forests are not included in this figure. Yet, potential contributions of NWFP are much higher and they should be attained through more efficient management and utilization of such resources.

4. Problems and constraints on Protection, management and harvesting of NWFP

Increased population, technological development and trading attractiveness create and increase pressure on the natural habitats of flora and fauna. These natural resources are being threatened mainly in two ways; (i) destruction of natural habits and (ii) excessive harvest of natural vegetation for commercial purposes.

Flow chart of operation and treatment processes of NWFPs in Turkey

Despite the rich and diverse natural resources for production of NWFP in Turkey, geographical distribution, quality and quantity points of view present difficulties. There are several problems dealing with definitions, conservation, production, utilization and marketing of the major NWFP resources. The following major problems need to be solved in order to achieve sustainable conservation, management and production of NWFP resources and to increase the profits and contributions to local and national economies in Turkey:

5. Policies and Strategies to be considered for better management of NWFP

Revised policies and principles that are recommended for implementation on the management of NWFP in Turkey have been developed for the 8th Five Year Development Plan (2001–2005) by the Special Forestry Expertise Commission Report are as follows:

PrinciplesMeasures to be takenActors
1- Ecologicalselective of species
selective of resources
selective of sites
forestry institutions, other state agency professionals, local people, other forest users
2- Managementeconomic aspects, social aspects
tourism aspects
distribution of benefits
income-sharing arrangements
local people, small-scale entrepreneurs, outsiders, travel agents
3- Protectionidentification of the status
institutional improvement
participation process
monitoring of ecosystem
domestication and cultivation
forestry institutions, local people, tourism agencies, other stakeholders

6. Recommendations proposed for the solution of the present constraints

In terms of overall management

In Turkey, there are no special and appropriate policies specifically governing the management, harvesting, processing and marketing of NWFP. Community participation, including tenure rights and incentives, usufruct rights, investment and involvement of private sector, credit facilities, regulations relating to processing and trade, evaluation of social and environmental values and establishment of relevant standards should be considered. Thus, it is the fact that there is need to develop a general policy framework on NWFP suitable to serve as a model to be adapted and integrated into the national forest policies. The following actions are recommended.

In order to provide necessary knowledge, data basis of and more attention to NWFP, activities for multipurpose management planning and inventory of forest resources should be improved and extended. Planning process should include participation and contribution of local people.

Measures should be considered in order to improve institutional and personal capacities of the MOF and other related institutions for the sustainable management of NWFP.

Collaborative works with universities, research institutions, NGOs and private sector should be strengthened for possible solutions to the problems facing different management stages (production period and techniques, processing, protection, marketing, valuation, utilization etc.) of NWFP. Information on these areas should be compiled and computerized in a special data base so as to use them effectively.

In order to resolve land use conflicts over use of NWFP resources, stakeholders are to be encouraged to pursue mechanisms that bring together all parties involved to clarify tenure, access user-rights and benefit sharing issues.

State organizations should deal with mainly protection and sustainable management of NWFP but harvesting and marketing matters should remained with local communities and private sector.

In terms of production, harvesting and domestication

Domestication of NWFP resources is the best way forward in many cases. This involves a move from gathering in the wild on communally owned land to the deliberate cultivation of NWFP on tenured farm land. The domestication of a chosen species then involves genetic selection and the management of varieties or cultivars.

Activities on fodder protection and utilization through planned grazing in open areas in forests and controlled utilization should be improved and implemented in a collaboration way with villagers. This is an important NWFP in Turkey (particularly in the East and Southeast of Anatolia).

Production of suitable NWFP that are not able to meet demand should be produced from cultivation lands by local people and private sector as well as in open and degraded forest areas under the control of forestry sector.

Arrangements for production activities of wild resources should be provided that define and follow appropriate harvesting methods.

In terms of protection

It should be taken into consideration that our future generation have the rights of using and profiting from the existing natural resources at least as much as we have taken over from our ancestors. For that reason, owing to the economic, environmental, scientific, and aesthetic importance of these resources, paying more attention to careful protection of these resources is our main responsibility.

There are international and national basic legislative measures for the protection of some important rare species and their habitats in Turkey. However, due to the inefficiency of these legal arrangements and/or deficiency in implementation, it may be said that natural habitats are not properly being protected as much as they need.

In order to provide more effective protection measures for NWFP resources, mainly for important wild plants, the following measures should be taken into consideration:

The first ten major endangered wild plant species that are determined according to the international criteria and their IUCN categories in Turkey as follows:

Botanical NameCommercial name
IUCN category
1. Acorus calamuseğirE
2. Ankyropetalum gypsophylloidesçövenK
3. Ballota cristataçalbaR
4. Barlia robartianasalepE
5. Gentiana luteacentiyanE
6. Gypsophiyla arrostii var. nebulosaçövenR
7. Lycopodium annotimumKibrit otuK
8. Origanum minutiflorumYayla kekiğiR
9. Paeonia masculaTibbi YakayikR
10. Ruscus aculeatusDiken köküV

E = Endangered,
R = Rare,
V = Vulnerable,
K =

In terms of marketing

As mentioned before, the majority of the NWFP are exported mainly as raw material and due to the lack of processing capacity the main part of the revenue is going out. Furthermore, lack of infrastructure and difficulties on the access to the markets of the rural areas ensure the important part of the profit go to middlemen and traders other than the local people. Facilities for handling, storage, processing, access to markets are absolutely needed for getting a greater profit for the rural people and country's economy as well. The following are recommended:

In terms of contribution to rural employment and other socio-economic aspects

NWFP range from products used for local consumption to products that are traded in the national and international markets. However, in many countries, particularly developing countries, the majority of these products are used for subsistence in support of small-scale, household-based enterprises that provide income and employment for rural people, especially women. In such countries, forest grazing, forest fodder and collection, grading and processing of aromatic and culinary plants are a major income generating activities and contribute to local and national income. Therefore, goods and services provided by forests and trees are often much more important locally or even nationally than timber production in some regions.

Government, NGOs, private sector, donors and assistance agencies should place adequate emphasis on NWFP activities which have a high potential for poverty alleviation, food security and nutrition of rural people living around forests when designing, implementing and evaluating development policies and programmes (e.g. forestry, health and nutrition) in forested areas.

Efforts should be dedicated by all concerned institutions/organisations to enhance the overall socio-economic benefits based on NWFP.

Evaluation of all benefits of NWFP, also including specific non-market benefits and socio-cultural values, should be given increased attention by all related parties. Management policies should be based on an adequately representative structure amongst environmental, economic and socio-cultural interests.

Gender considerations should be given appropriate importance while implementing policies and programmes relevant to NWFP.

The Forest Law gives uses and production rights to forest villagers and local communities that should be improved and sustained.

Forest villagers and other interested groups that are interested in the protection, production, processing and marketing of NWFP should be trained.


Josep A, Fuwape and Jonathan C. Onyekwelu 1997, The Economic values of NWFP in Nigeria, XI WFC Proceedings, volume 3., Antalya (FAO, 1999-State of the World Forests).

Hibberd, J.K. 1997, International Forest Environment, Research and Management, Canberra, Australia.

Merlo, M., 1995, Common property forest management in northern Italy, Unasylva 180, Vol. 46.

Özhatay, N., Koyuncu, M, Atay, S., Byfield, A, 1997 Türkiye'nin doial Tibbi Bitkilerinin Ticareti Hakkinda bir Çaliima (Actions for Plants), Doial Hayati Koruma Derneii, Istanbul.

Ministry of Forestry, 1999, Forestry Special Expertise Commission Report for the 8th Five Year Development Plan (unpublished).

FAO, 1997, State of the World Forests


MM. Ertan ÖZUğURLU & Melvut DÜZGÜN
Ministère de la foresterie
Conseil de coordination et de planification de la recherche, ANKARA


Dans de nombreux pays du monde, et en particulier dans les pays en développement, les produits forestiers autres que le bois tiennent une place essentielle pour des groupes nombreux de populations rurales car leur récolte et leur transformation ainsi que la commercialisation assurent leur subsistance, des revenus et un travail; cette activité répond en outre aux besoins spirituels et culturels, elle est une source de devises, préserve la biodiversité, etc.

Il est nécessaire d'améliorer les méthodes de multiplication, de gestion, de récolte, d'entreposage et d'utilisation, de promouvoir la participation des femmes, d'accroître l'efficacité des installations de transformation et de développer les moyens d'assurer l'exploitation durable de ces produits. Les petites entreprises d'exploitation forestière représentent également la principale source d'emploi pour les populations rurales, dont le travail consiste essentiellement à récolter et à transformer les produits forestiers autres que le bois.

La Turquie est un pays qui présente une grande richesse de flore et de faune, généralement dans les forêts et les terres boisées. ll est toutefois de fait que l'exploitation excessive, l'insuffisance des cultures, l'inefficacité des mesures de protection, l'insuffisance de la connaissance sur les ressources de la flore sauvage et l'insuffisance des données entre autres facteurs, entravent les efforts de développement des produits forestiers autres que le bois.

Dans le document, on examine la place actuelle des produits forestiers dans la foresterie et le potentiel de développement du secteur en se fondant sur un certain nombre de publications. On présente aussi la situation actuelle, ainsi qu'un projet de cadre de politique générale et de directives en vue d'une exploitation durable des produits forestiers autres que le bois en Turquie.

Mots clefs: produits forestiers autres que le bois, communautés rurales, petites entreprises d'exploitation forestière, espèces endémiques, récolte, transformation, consommation, commerce.

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