There is growing knowledge about and appreciation of the importance of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to rural livelihoods in developing countries, and to a lesser extent, developed countries. However, there is also an assumption on the part of policy-makers that any harvesting of wild animal or plant products from the forests and other natural and modified ecosystems must be detrimental to the long-term viability of target populations and species. This book challenges this idea and shows that while examples of such negative impacts certainly exist, there are also many examples of sustainable harvesting systems for NTFPs.
The chapters review and present coherent and scientifically sound information and case studies on the ecologically sustainable use of NTFPs. They also outline a general interdisciplinary approach for assessing the sustainability of NTFP harvesting systems at different scales. A wide range of case studies is included from Africa, Asia and South America, using plant and animal products for food, crafts, textiles, medicines and cosmetics.