2. Non-timber forest products and the European bioeconomy: status and transition pathways

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Marko Lovric, Sven Mutke, Elena Górriz Mifsud, Inazio Martinez de Arano, Davide Matteo Pettenella, Enrico Vidale, Irina Prokofieva, Robert Mavsar (2022) - 2. Non-timber forest products and the European bioeconomy: status and transition pathways - Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group

In Europe, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) are important for forest recreation, rural income, cultural heritage, and as industrial commodities. Although widely collected and consumed across the continent, national statistical and scientific data are limited. Combined with short and underexplored value-chains, the cross-sectoral nature of the legislative framework, and complex institutional arrangements, NTFPs remain on the fringes of European forest policy and management practices. The bioeconomy inherently implies strong reliance on natural resources, and ignoring NTFPs would impede the bioeconomic transition. Based on the literature, we review (i) the current knowledge on NTFPs collection, consumption, and trade in Europe, (ii) the institutional and legislative structures governing their use, and (iii) discuss how to realise their market and bioeconomy potential. We found (i) their value comparable to the value of annual roundwood removals, (ii) that in Western Euope they are primariliy connected to forest recreation and in Eastern Europe to household consumption and income generation, and (iii) that complex and restrictive legislation frequently drives the commercialisation of NTFPs towards informal markets. We present legislative, economic, and information-based recommendations on integrating NTFPs into the bioeconomy. A priority should be strengthening of formal markets and developing value-added products

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