Welcome to the website of the Non-Timber Forest Products Network of Canada. The Network is a partnership of organizations, agencies, businesses, and others concerned with the sustainable and ethical development of the non-timber forest products sector in Canada. Our aim is to enhance the ability of communities, researchers, resource managers, policy makers, economic development specialists and others to develop expertise, share knowledge, make informed decisions, and ultimately, work together more effectively to develop and manage these resources for the benefit of rural and remote communities across Canada.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are defined as the botanical and mycological resources and associated services of forests and under-utilized lands other than timber, pulpwood, shakes, or other conventional wood products or agricultural products. Examples of NTFPs include foods such as wild mushrooms and berries, medicinal herbs, and a wide range of other products such as decorative greenery harvested from managed and unmanaged forests, under-utilized agricultural lands, and agroforestry systems. Many NTFPs are wild harvested, but there is significant potential – and in some cases, need – to practice deliberate management of these resources as is emerging on a limited scale in different parts of the country. Products such as wild blueberries, maple and birch trees for syrup production, and fiddlehead ferns are examples of products that are currently subject to some level of more intensive management in Canada.
There are dozens of research programs, community development projects, and other initiatives involving NTFPs currently underway across Canada. Many operate in isolation with few opportunities to benefit and learn from research and development initiatives that have occurred elsewhere in the country.
The idea of the Network grew out of the recognition that by working together more effectively, we can avoid duplication in effort, learn from other researchers and practitioners, and do much more to develop this sector for the benefit of rural communities. There is currently no mechanism to effectively share knowledge and the ‘lessons learned’ about NTFP development and management. Those working on NTFP initiatives also continue to struggle for recognition for the sector with agencies that make policy, establish funding priorities, and engage in other activities that directly impact the NTFP sector. It is clear that we require new approaches to collaborate on research, market and product development, training, and other key areas if the industry is to reach its potential for delivering significant benefits to rural, remote and sometimes marginalized communities.
Please join us and help realize the goal of a sustainable, equitable and vibrant NTFP sector that respects and enhances cultural values while providing economic opportunities for rural communities.
The Non-Timber Forest Products Network of Canada wishes to acknowledge the funding provided by Natural Resources Canada to support the launch of the Network. Many other organizations (please see Partners page) have provided in-kind support during the Network’s start-up phase. We also wish to acknowledge Royal Roads University for providing support for website development and hosting.