More Than Wood or Timber: Non-Timber Forest Products & a Call For Change——2019世界木材日研讨会
| 1221 view(s) | 2019/06/27
Honorary Professor of The University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Forests and woodlands are not just sources of timber. They also are a source of a wide range of other goods and services, from ecological services (such as protecting watersheds and water supplies) and diverse natural resources that go well beyond timber, including the "non-timber forest products" (NTFP's) that are the focus of this keynote address. At this 7th "World Wood Day" in Austria, we are surrounded by well-managed, but relatively low diversity, fairly fast growing temperate forests and plantations. So it may be difficult to imagine tropical forests - such as those in the Peruvian Amazon - with 300 tree species per hectare. Where typically, the majority of those species are used by local people, many of them multiple-use species harvested for fruits, medicines or other "non-timber" uses of economic and cultural value to local livelihoods and national economies. Many of you will be aware of the dire state of the world's tropical forests. The theme of this 7th WWD is "Change". So in line with that theme, this presentation aims to do three things. Firstly, to go beyond wood and timber and highlight the multiple NTFP values of forests and woodlands. Secondly, to call for a shift in forestry training, from the sole focus on timber to training on multiple-use forest management. And thirdly, to raise awareness of a crucial need for change away from the unsustainable and wasteful exploitation of valuable tropical timber species (and the NTFP's that are also watsed as a result). This is not just economically inefficient in the long term, with negative outcomes for biodiversity and local livelihoods. To effect change is a real challenge in countries with weak governance. But with the right approaches from policy levels to practice it can - and must - happen.