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Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE) National Study Finds Forest Biodiversity And Harvesters Neglected By Forest Management
Possible major economic and environmental loss
Portland, OR - April 13, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- Researchers at the nonprofit
Institute for Culture and Ecology based in Portland, Oregon received a grant from the
National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry to study the relationship
between biodiversity conservation, forest management, and nontimber forest products
(NTFPs) such as mushrooms, medicinal plants, and floral greens, and thousands of other
wild forest species harvested from the nation's forests. The reports are now
available on the IFCAE website at www.ifcae.org
Anthropologists Eric T. Jones and Kathryn Lynch traveled 37,000 miles across the lower
48 states in a Volkswagen van interviewing hundreds of people who harvest what are
known as "nontimber forest products" to gather the data for this study. They also
surveyed U.S. Forest Service and state forestry managers to find out how they are
managing forests for nontimber forest products.
They discovered that gathering forest
products, an ancient human activity, continues to be of widespread commercial and
noncommercial importance to urban and rural people throughout the country.
Harvesters report a loss of critical harvesting habitat and biological diversity, not
from harvesting, but from logging, grazing, development, recreation, and other forest
uses. As one harvester states, "A lot of my good 'seng' (ginseng) ground has been
taken away when they go in and clearcut it. It will take fifty years before anybody
can find 'seng' back in there again."
The study argues that the Forest Service has failed to properly assess the economic
losses, the impacts to harvester livelihoods, and the consequences for biodiversity
protection. Inventorying and monitoring of nontimber forest products is minimal or
non-existent. The reason managers most commonly gave for not doing inventories and
monitoring was lack of funding.
Lynch argues that participatory inventory and
monitoring programs that involve harvesters in data collection, similar to the Audubon
Society Christmas Bird Count, offer one solution to the funding issue.
Not only do NTFPs comprise a significant part of the biological diversity of forest
ecosystems, but given the lack of scientific NTFP research, the many people who
harvest NTFPs part or fulltime have the most knowledge about them. Efforts to
conserve biodiversity are unlikely to succeed unless knowledge about NTFPs, and the
effects on them of various forest management activities such as timber removal,
grazing, prescribed burning, and NTFP harvesting practices, becomes an integral part
of forest management.
The complete reports are available free on the IFCAE website at
Additional Information on IFCAE
The Institute for Culture and Ecology is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to
carry out research and education that contributes to the understanding of cultural and
environmental relationships and natural resource problem solving. Their approach
draws on domestic and international experience, multiple scientific theories, and
qualitative and quantitative methods.
The Institute is internationally recognized for
its cutting-edge research, innovative cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach,
and the ability to forge solutions to complex cultural and environmental problems.
Source of News:
Institute for Culture and Ecology (IFCAE)
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