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28th April 2020 Newsletter
Best wishes to all members as we move towards a more normal life. The focus to date has been on preventing the transmission of the virus through our communities. It is a significant and welcome step that the forestry industries are returning to work today. This will contribute positively to both the welfare of those in the sector and the nation’s export-led recovery. We should record our appreciation to those leaders who have advocated to government on behalf of the sector over the past few weeks.
NZIF Members are invited to share their COCID-19 experiences and any relevant insights they may have learned to other members through the NZIF Newsletter. This a members’ forum. All comments are welcome.
From the Registrar
Successful Application For Registered Member
The following Member is now a Registered Member:
- Tim Thorpe of Upper Hutt
Successful 5 Year Registration Review
- Ross Larcombe of Rotorua
REGISTRATION REVIEWS 2020
The following members are due for 5-year review of their status as a Registered Member during 2020;
- Owen Springford
- Nigel Chandler
- Brian Johnson
- Paul Molloy
- Peter Brown
- Peter Clark
- John Hornby
- Allan Laurie
- Brian Rawley
USE OF NZIF WEBSITE FOR APPLICATIONS, ANNUAL DECLARATIONS AND CPD.
As from today all applications for 5-year Reviews and New Applications for Registered Member status should be made using the online facility on the NZIF website. Login and go to the Dashboard and click on Registered Member Application & Review Form. Note that if you do not have time to complete the application in one session there is a “Save” facility that allows you to come back and complete it before submitting.
The annual declaration for Code of Ethics/Professional Indemnity/Real Estate experience can now be entered online. Go to your Profile and click on APC (Annual Practising Certificate) and populate the boxes appropriately – very simple. Those RM’s who have not yet emailed their forms for YE 31 May 2020 should use the online facility. Next year all RM’s will need to use the online entry.
CPD – is still entered online but is Submitted only once each year, as at the end of December. Saving your CPD is not the same as Submitting it. Once it has been Submitted you cannot edit it but if something goes awry please get in touch and we will get the expert (Jay) to assist. The CSV upload facility is available for bulk data and if you require this please get in touch.
Alan Bell, Registrar
NZIF Registration Board
+64 27 444 7779
Nomination of new NZIF Fellows
The deadline for nominating NZIF Fellows this year is May 28th 2020. Fellows are members who have achieved eminence in the profession.
Rules for the election of Fellows are:
- A Fellow of the Institute shall be a Member who has achieved eminence in the profession.
A member should be considered eminent if they have made a substantial contribution to forestry, resulting in large benefits to a region, the nation or the world through forestry. Generally Fellows will be widely known in the sector for their contributions, but in rare cases their contributions, while important, may not be widely known prior to their nomination. These contributions may include such things as exemplary leadership, extensive work in voluntary organisations that benefit people, research resulting in important new knowledge, or major contributions to forest policy and legislation.
- For recognition as a Fellow:
121.1. The Member must have been nominated by two Members who shall be Full Voting Members;
121.2. The Member must be a Full Voting Member other than an Honorary Member at the time of nomination and must have been such a member for at least five years immediately prior to the nomination;
121.3. The Member, at the time of nomination, must have had at least 15 years’ experience in the practice, administration or teaching of, or research in, some branch of forestry, of which at least five years must have been in New Zealand;
121.4. The nomination must have been considered by Council and, if in the opinion of Council, the nominated member fulfils the requirements for a Fellow set out in section 121.3, included in an annual ballot in which all Full Voting Members who are financial when the ballot is held may participate. Any nominated Member who receives a minimum of 100 votes of which a minimum of 80% are in favour of the election of the member as a Fellow will be elected as a Fellow. The ballot must be held prior to the Annual General Meeting of the Institute with the elected Fellows announced at that meeting.
Applications Open For NZIF Foundation 2020 Awards & Scholarships
Applications are invited for the awards and scholarships offered by the NZIF Foundation for 2020. The total value of awards offered is $29,500.
The awards open for application are:
- One Future Forest Scholarship for post graduate research of up to $10,000
- The New Zealand Redwood Company Scholarship of $5,000 for an undergraduate scholarship at the University of Canterbury School Forestry
- Chavasse Travel Award of up to $3,500 to assist a mid-career person to travel overseas or to bring an overseas person to NZ
- Jon Dey memorial award of up to $3,500 to assist research projects in the areas of work study or new technology aimed at improving forest engineering and harvest productivity
- Otago Southland Award of up to $3,000 to assist a project of relevance to forestry in the Otago/Southland region
- Mary Sutherland Scholarship of $1,000 for a polytechnic student
- University Undergraduate Scholarship of $1,000
- Frank Hutchinson Postgraduate scholarship of $1,000
- Student poster prizes at NZIF Conference (1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes of $800, $500 and $200)
Applications are now open. Further details on the Foundation web page available through www.nzif.org.nz, (link on lower right hand side of page).
Applications must be received by the Foundation administrator (email@example.com) no later than 5pm on Monday 18th May 2020.
Enquires to the Foundation chair firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +64 274 733 262
Please pass on this notice to your networks and to anyone you think may be eligible to apply. Membership of NZIF is not a requirement for application.
About the NZIF Foundation
The NZIF Foundation was established in 2011 by the NZ Institute of Forestry to advance education in relation to forestry. This includes encouraging and supporting forestry related research, education and training through the provision of grants, scholarships and prizes; promoting the acquisition, development and dissemination of forestry related knowledge and information and other activities that do not conflict with the charitable purpose. For the purposes of these awards, forestry is broadly defined to include all those activities involved in the management and use of forests and their products, the objects of which are the production of wood or other forest benefits and the maintenance of the environment in its most beneficial form. All forests in New Zealand, whatever their purpose, are encompassed in the definition.
NZIF Foundation Chair
Details of the upcoming national and international events of interest to members of NZIF have obviously been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and shut down.
In particular, the Conference and Celebration for 50 years Canterbury School of Forestry has been postponed, and the NZIF Annual Conference 2020 in Masterton has been cancelled.
Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread. Find out what help is available, FAQs and get the latest updates.
MBIE Coronavirus Media release
Business.govt.nz, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has sourced information from 15 government departments so businesses can access all they need to know about the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in one place.
Business.govt.nz Director Matt Kennedy-Good says the outbreak and the global efforts to contain it affect New Zealand businesses in many ways.
“It’s vital that businesses stay up to date, but with so many things to consider and changing regularly, it can be overwhelming, particularly for small businesses.
“We want to make it a little bit easier for them, so they don’t have to blind trawl through numerous websites to find what is relevant to them.
“Whether you’re an employer with concerns about your staff and workplace, an exporter with overseas customers, or you are planning to travel abroad – this page is your single source of truth for government information on what to do and what assistance is available.”
As well as information for employers, exporters and importers, topics such as tax assistance, health and safety are covered, as well as information for landlords, tenants and the education sector.
The content is presented in an easily digestible format with links for more in-depth reading, and is kept up to date as new information becomes available.
The page has already been visited more than 45,000 times since it was published on the Business.govt.nz website earlier this month, with many repeat visitors using it regularly.
Stay informed with issues that matter by joining the 235,000 small businesses that subscribe to the business.govt.nz monthly newsletter.
Media contact: +64 27 442 2141 or email email@example.com
Te Uru Rākau Feedback: A Forest Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand
Te Uru Rākau is looking at how to harness the collective vision of New Zealanders to cultivate the forests of the future. To do this, they’re developing a Forest Strategy that will guide us over the next 30 years, and beyond.
Te Uru Rākau are asking for shared views on what a forest strategy means to you, why it matters, and what a great forest system would look like.
If you want to get in touch with Te Uru Rākau about the Forest Strategy, or to be added to the mailing list so you can keep in touch with what’s happening, then email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details are in the Forest Strategy page.
NZ Small Forest Owner Survey
Small forest owners are being urged to complete a survey.
MPI is wanting to provide guidance around potential contracts signed by small forest owners – many of whom are farm foresters.
It says there are approximately 14,000 of these small forest owners in New Zealand and many of them are farmers.
“Due to trees taking 25-30 years to be ready for harvest, many farmers may not be familiar with all the elements in the forestry cycle and could be vulnerable to exploitation,” says MPI’s Jurgen Muller.
Latest NZ Journal of Forestry is On-line
Find latest journal here.
MPI Sustainable Forestry Bulletin
MPI’s Sustainable Forestry Bulletin is available through the subscription link. The bulletin outlines new information, upcoming requirements etc relating to the ETS, etc.
Forestry Career Portal
For career options, jobs are available advertised on this site
Institute of Chartered Foresters (UK)
The ICF provides a newsletter with news and blogs as well as relevant information for members through this link.
Royal Society New Zealand
The NZ Institute of Forestry is affiliated with the Royal Society, with many co-memberships. For those interested in finding out what is happening, receiving newsletters and other alerts, please follow the link here.
RSNZ Rutherford Medal now to include Humanities.
Tane’s Trees Trust
New Bulletins available here.
It is important NZIF has up-to-date contact details for members so we can stay in touch and keep you informed of news, events and our journal. If you have changed your residential and/or postal address, or any other contact details, please let the office know. You can email us at email@example.com.
In the News
Big data reveals we're running out of time to save environment and ourselves
Technological advances will not help the world unless they lead to action
The use of big data can help scientists' chart not only the degradation of the environment but can be part of the solution to achieve sustainability, according to a new commentary paper.
The paper, 'Opportunities for big data in conservation and sustainability', published today in Nature Communications, said increased computing speeds and data storage had grown the volume of big data in the last 40 years, but the planet was still facing serious decline.
Lead author Dr Rebecca Runting from the University of Melbourne's School of Geography says that while we currently have an unprecedented ability to generate, store, access and analyse data about the environment, these technological advances will not help the world unless they lead to action.
NZ Coronavirus: Forestry industry ready to restart work
The forestry industry is preparing to ramp up work next week as the country moves from out of Alert Level 4.
While deemed non-essential up till now, it will be allowed to operate when the country moves to Level 3 next week.
The president of the Forest Owners' Association is Phil Taylor.
NZ Coronavirus: Forest industry ready to work in a safe way
Guidance on how forestry companies can open safely at Covid-19 Alert Level 3 will be in place by Monday, according to the Forest Industry Safety Council.
FISC National Safety Director Fiona Ewing said in a statement today the guidance had been developed with strong input from industry and provided clear and detailed advice on how forestry companies could work in a way that prevents the spread of the virus.
"It covers all types of operations across the forestry supply chain, from planting, to harvesting, to transport and port operations.
World: COVID-19 pandemic: How nature steps in to refill ‘empty forests’ when animals disappear. (The forest systemic link to COVID-19)
Nature abhors a vacuum
“We must not let a forest full of trees fool us into believing that all is well.”
Kent Redford’s cautionary statement turned prevailing views on forest conservation inside out when it was published in an essay titled “The Empty Forest,” in BioScience journal almost 30 years ago.
“Many of these forests are ‘living dead,’ and, although satellites passing overhead may reassuringly register them as forest, they are empty of much of the faunal richness valued by humans,” Redford wrote, referring to apparently healthy standing forests.
“An empty forest is a doomed forest,” he said.
Today, amid debates over the COVID-19 pandemic and its relationship to wild animals and deforestation, his landmark essay suggests another potential iteration as the origin of the new SARS-COV2 coronavirus is sought.
It has been widely hypothesized that the virus is zoonotic, originating in bats and passing through another animal, possibly a pangolin or a dog, before jumping to humans in a market in Wuhan, China.
At CIFOR, our work on viruses and forests examines conditions that make such transmissions possible.
NZ: Are pine trees killing kauri?
A new study suggests that kauri dieback disease may be connected to the lack of protective fungi in plantation pine forest soil.
Published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology, the study, by Bio-Protection Research Centre PhD candidate Alexa Byers and others, looked at the differences in the bacteria and fungi living in the soil of kauri forest and surrounding pine plantations in the Waipoua area. It found soil in the pine forest's neighbouring kauri forests lacked several species of fungi and bacteria that protect plants, promote growth, and improve their health (for example Trichoderma and Pseudomonas).
"The loss of core microbiota from native soil microbial communities… surrounding remnant kauri fragments could be altering the forest's ability to respond to pathogen invasion," Ms Byers wrote.
"Understanding the ecological impacts of these changes to the soil microbial communities surrounding remaining kauri fragments is important to protect the long-term health and functioning of these fragments."
Fresh water? Dire warning for New Zealand's lakes, rivers and streams
Nearly all of the country's rivers and lakes in populated areas exceed environmental guidelines according to a government report that warns our freshwater is at breaking point.
Human impacts on the country's waterways are not only having dramatic impacts on recreation and the economy, but three quarters of our native freshwater fish species are threatened with or at risk of extinction.
The situation is also forecast to get worse under climate change, unless New Zealanders change their ways, according to the report Our Freshwater 2020, released today by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ using the latest evidence showing how the country's waterways are impacted by urban development, farming and forestry.
Forest & Bird advocate Tom Kay said the report showed New Zealand's freshwater had reached "breaking point".
The report also highlighted the interconnectedness between the various impacts, from overuse to the loss of habitat for our native species, and made clear the link between human arrival in New Zealand and dramatic degradation.
Before humans arrived in New Zealand, forests covered about 80 per cent of the land, but in 800 years only about a third of forest remained, and 10 per cent of wetlands.
Data showed the vast majority of remaining unpolluted waterways were in areas of native vegetation.
Australia: Bushfire Royal Commission into Australia's harrowing 'Black Summer' begins in Canberra
The chair of Australia's Bushfire Royal Commission has extended his sympathy to the families of 33 people who died during Australia's disastrous "Black Summer" and says the harrowing season will linger in the national psyche.
- The Commission will examine Australia's preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters
- It's held community forums in some bushfire-affected regions but stopped due to COVID-19 restrictions
- The Commission aims to hand down it recommendations before the next bushfire season begins
Retired Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin formally opened the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements in an online hearing from Canberra today (16th April 2020).
In addition to the loss of life, more than 10 million hectares burnt across Australia and 3,000 homes and 7,000 outbuildings were destroyed during the 2019/20 bushfire season.
Millions of native plants and animals perished, along with 80,000 head of livestock.
Commissioner Binskin said the bushfires had deeply affected the lives of many Australians and "the harrowing experiences of this bushfire season will long linger in our national psyche".
Australia’s Wildfires Should Caution New England
After recording the warmest decade on earth, New England's forests could potentially become the next global wildfire hotspot.
Areas of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont have a fair share of forested areas – and these areas are at risk for wildfires, according to Rhode Island College Professor of Biology Roland de Gouvenain.
"As these forests age, more trees will reach their maximum age and die, creating more dead wood and debris, which are 'fuel' for any fire," de Gouvenain said. "Aging forests could have more fuel in the future, potentially carrying fires more readily in drought years, when that fuel is dry. Therefore, older forests could, during a drought, be more likely to burn."
Wildfires have become an issue of increasing international concern since dominating global headlines in October 2019. Then, wildfires in New South Wales, Australia left 28 people dead, about 3,000 homes destroyed and up to a billion animals affected; and the fires were not even contained until February of this year and did not cease until last month.
In order to not experience an incident like Australia's, New England should be cautious moving forward to reduce the risk of the potential spread of wildfires.
World: Opinion: Depleted Forests
You can’t solve a problem if you don’t identify it correctly. When it comes to wildfire safety, the timber industry, the Forest Service, and many collaboratives are selling Snake Oil to the public.
The problem for people is not with the forest—the problem with the communities. Most communities are not adequately prepared to coexist with the West’s fire-dependent ecosystems.
The most effective and cost-efficient way to solve this problem is by making changes in those communities—i.e., working from the home outward—rather than trying to change the behavior of fire in the ecosystems.
Read more (Framing forests & forest fire as socio-ecological systems)
US: Trump Administration Halts Wildfire Prevention Tool in California Over Coronavirus
The U.S. Forest Service has suspended controlled burns on public lands in wildfire-prone California because of the coronavirus pandemic, upsetting officials who see the program as key to preventing seasonal infernos like those that devastated parts of the state in 2018.
The decision comes as forecasters predict yet another above-average year for wildfires in parts of the state because of dry conditions, and follows President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of California’s own forest management work following the 2018 fires.
“Safety of the public and our wildland fire responders is priority number one," said Jonathan Groveman, a spokesman for the Forest Service in California, whose office suspended controlled burns at the end of March.
He did not say when the work would resume. The Forest Service controls about 60 percent of California’s 33 million acres (13.4 million hectares) of forests.
World: Gender Relations in Forestry: Beyond a Headcount Enabling rural women in India to serve as agents of environmental change goes beyond just a numbers game
India – The land boundary dispute with the neighboring village had gone on for years.
But Aditi, the 60-something female president of her local Forest Rights Committee, used skillful negotiation to convince the neighboring chief that both communities, including members of different indigenous groups, could work together to protect the forest, and continue to collect forest products there – resulting in a positive outcome for all.
This recent story, from the Indian state of Odisha, highlights the role women can play as ‘critical actors’ in defending and managing their forests, says Ph.D. candidate and gender researcher Priyanka Bhalla from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.
“A lot of times when people talk about success stories they focus on the numbers – one third of the committee were women, etc. – but they forget about women as agents,” she says.
“I wanted to get away from the numbers, to change the language and say, women are positive agents, they are implementing positive processes and they have been doing so for a long period of time at many different scales.”
World: Long-living tropical trees play outsized role in carbon storage
A group of trees that grow fast, live long lives and reproduce slowly account for the bulk of the biomass -- and carbon storage -- in some tropical rainforests, a team of scientists says in a paper published this week in the journal Science. The finding that these trees, called long-lived pioneers, play a much larger role in carbon storage than previously thought may have implications in efforts to preserve forests as a strategy to fight climate change.
"People have been arguing about whether these long-lived pioneers contribute much to carbon storage over the long term," said Caroline Farrior, an assistant professor of integrative biology at The University of Texas at Austin and a primary investigator on the study. "We were surprised to find that they do."
It is unclear the extent to which tropical rainforests can help soak up excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produced by burning fossil fuels. Nonetheless, the new study provides insights about the role of different species of trees in carbon storage.
Australian forest study may challenge climate change optimism
As Australia's forests burned earlier this year, people around the world worried about the impact of all that smoke on our climate.
- A landmark Australian study has been published by Nature magazine
- Study finds mature forests cannot store extra carbon if emissions go up
- The finding could affect climate modelling assumptions
At the same time, researchers in New South Wales were finalising a study looking at the capacity for forests to consume and store carbon from the atmosphere.
The results were not comforting.
In fact, they cast doubt over many of the climate models being used to predict carbon levels into the future.
NZ: East Coast iwi's plan to save dying Raukūmara forest
East Coast iwi are calling for the Government to back a "shovel-ready", job-creating and climate-conscious project to save their sacred forest that is dying under a plague of introduced pests.
The Raukūmara Conservation Park, to the northeast of Gisborne, is feared to be on the verge of ecological collapse as deer and possum numbers explode because of minimal predator control over the past few decades.
Recent surveys have shown graveyards of 1000-year-old totara, minimal birdlife, and increasing levels of erosion as the forest holding the fragile soils together disappears.
Amid warnings from environmentalists the forest collapse was nearing the point of no-return, Te Whānau ā Apanui on the northern flanks and Ngāti Porou to the east partnered to run a series of community wānanga to rally support to save it.
NZ: Covid-19's impact: Kawerau seeks $17m to boost economy
Kawerau District Council has applied for more than $17 million in government funding to ensure its people stay employed following Covid-19.
The council has put forward 10 "shovel ready" construction projects to the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group (IIRG) to be considered for funding.
The IIRG is seeking "shovel ready" construction projects from the private and public sector in the regions to address New Zealand's infrastructure deficit as well as create jobs and buoy the economy.
Plant diversity in European forests is declining
In Europe's temperate forests, less common plant species are being replaced by more widespread species. An international team of researchers led by the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) has found that this development could be related to an increased nitrogen deposition. Their results have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Europe: Ash dieback is less severe in isolated ash trees
New research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Ecology finds that ash dieback is far less severe in the isolated conditions ash is often found in, such as forests with low ash density or in open canopies like hedges, suggesting the long term impact of the disease on Europe's ash trees will be more limited than previously thought.
The research looked at a 22km2 area in North-eastern France, where ash dieback was first observed in 2010. Although the environment had little impact on the initial spread of the disease, the researchers found that after ten years, the disease remained mild in many places.
"We found that the disease had spread to virtually all ash present in the studied landscape within two years. Nevertheless, in many areas ash trees remained relatively healthy" said lead author of the study Dr Benoit Marçais, French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE).
"The view that only the most resistant part of the ash population, just a few percent of the individuals, will survive the ash dieback pandemic is wrong. We see that in many environments not favourable to ash dieback, the proportion of ash that remain heathy is closer to 80-95% than to 5%, although the disease may be locally very severe." added Dr Marçais.
Canada: Provincial Government deferring timber dues for six months
The Alberta Provincial Government is deferring timber dues for six months to provide immediate relief for forestry companies effected by COVID-19.
The Alberta government is using existing legislation to defer timber dues, a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry release said. The deferral is in response to the extreme near-term pressures the forest sector is experiencing due to a slow down in construction and retail sales and pauses in production.
Canada: Alberta issues fire ban for almost 60 per cent of province to prevent wildfires amid pandemic
Alberta Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen announced a fire ban Tuesday that covers almost 60 per cent of the province in an effort to prevent wildfires amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CHRIS SCHWARZ / Government of Alberta
The Alberta government has issued a fire ban that covers almost 60 per cent of the province in an effort to prevent wildfires amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ban, announced Tuesday afternoon, takes effect Wednesday and includes Alberta’s Forest Protection Area as well as provincial parks and protected areas. The province has also banned recreational off-highway vehicles (OHV) on Crown land in the Forest Protection Area.
The wildfire season, which began March 1, typically peaks in late April and through May. The majority of the fires are human-caused, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen said.
“That’s why we’re taking these measures to reduce the fire risk that we’re going to have this year because the province will most likely be battling multiple natural disasters all at once,” he said.
World (Forgotten Forests) Karst forests: the labyrinthian wildlands of green and bedrock
In the beech forests at the summit of Pikikirunga, a mountain at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island, one must take care not to stray from the path. One wrong foot could result in tumbling down a sinkhole into an underground cavern or crevasse, which in these parts can reach a deadly 183 meters (600 feet) deep.
Over millennia, rainwater has carved this mountain’s soft limestone bedrock into elaborate honeycomb structures; local Māori tell stories about the taniwha water guardians that resemble dragons, who both create and dwell in these underground mazes.
This kind of landscape is called karst. Karsts are geological regions featuring caves, underground streams, sinkholes and steep cliffs, created by the erosion of soft bedrock – usually limestone, dolomite or gypsum. The unusual topography creates conditions for special kinds of forests to grow, leading these ecosystems to harbor high numbers of unique and endemic species. They’re found on every continent, with some listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, like the jagged Tsingy de Bemaraha karst landscape in Madagascar and the otherworldly South China Karst in the lower Chinese provinces.
Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world
Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.
A team from the UK and Germany discovered forest soil from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole. Their analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores shows that the world at that time was a lot warmer than previously thought.
The discovery and analysis were carried out by an international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany and including Imperial College London researchers. Their findings are published today in Nature.
World: Describing Medicinal Non-Timber Forest Product Trade in Eastern Deciduous Forests of the United States
NTFP: Seeing the forest beyond the wood
Eastern deciduous forests in the United States have supplied marketable non-timber forest products (NTFP) since the 18th century. However, trade is still largely informal, and the market scope and structure are not well understood. One exception is American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). Ginseng’s legal status as a threatened species requires that buyers apply for a license and keep sales records that are submitted to a state authority. Other marketable medicinal plants collected from the same forests, known colloquially as ‘off-roots’, are not similarly tracked. To study the characteristics of off-root trade in the eastern deciduous forests of the United States, registered ginseng buyers in 15 eastern states were surveyed in 2015 and 2016 about business attributes, purchase volume, and harvest distribution for 15 off-root species selected for their economic and conservation value. Buyers voluntarily reported harvesting 47 additional NTFP species. The most frequently purchased off-root species were the roots and rhizomes of two perennial understory plants: black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.). Survey data were used to develop a buyer typology and describe the off-root market structure and material sourcing. The buyer typology included four distinct categories: side or specialty (small); seasonal venture (medium); large integrated or dedicated business (large); and dedicated bulk enterprise (regional aggregator). Market activity was mapped across the study area, demonstrating that most off-root trade is concentrated in central Appalachia, an area with extensive forests and a struggling economy. Study methods and data improve non-timber forest product market insights, are useful for forest management, and can support efforts to advance sustainable NTFP supply chains.