Purpose of Review This review provides perspectives and insights of forest researchers from four continents representing a range of geo-regions, with examples from diverse and dynamic use of forest products that are undervalued and often misrepresented. A comprehensive discussion of the subject provides special attention to property, tenancy, public goods and access rights to nonwood forest products (NWFP), seen as forest ecosystem services in a framework for forest management decisions. The overall purpose is to provide a logical argument for transitioning to sustainable management of forests for timber and NWFP.
Recent Findings Multifunctional ecosystem-based approaches are transforming our understanding of forests. The prevailing economic relevance of NWFP for trade and sustenance requires their operative integration into forest management. Integration of NWFP will shift a traditional timber-oriented management paradigm towards an inclusive ecosystem forest management approach.We show that the impact of NWFP resources on livelihoods provides multiple benefits to all sectors of global society. Policy and property rights affect the availability and sustainability of the resource, while regulations, restrictions and prohibitions target the sustainable harvest of NWFP under growing demand. Official reporting of production volumes of NWFP is sparse, erratic or inaccurate due to a complex system that is opaque and with inadequately understood value chains, yet research is underway to better understand all NWFP sectors.
Summary A shift from command-and-control forest management to broader governance schemes is observed, yet despite a growing awareness of their importance, NWFP and their potential for a bio-based economy require more research. A conceptual framework for transitioning to sustainable co-production management of timber and NWFP is presented. Such a transition is needed to ensure long-term forest security, health and resilience.