About non-timber forest products (NTFPs)Generally, NTFPs comprise plant, tree and mushroom resources from the forest other than conventional wood products like timber and pulpwood. Examples are wide-ranging and include everything from raw resources like fiddleheads, birch bark and fir pitch to value-added products like maple syrup, rose hip jelly and bent willow furniture. NTFPs also include non-consumptive opportunities that are linked to eco-tourism like guided bird-watching tours.
Here is a general list of NTFP categories:
- Christmas trees
- Nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals and medicinals
- Wild berries, nuts, fruits
- Syrup, candy and related specialty
- Essential oils
- Landscaping products
- Craft products
- Specialty Wood Products
- Aesthetics/spiritual values
Non-timber forest products provide many economical, cultural and spiritual benefits to Canadians. It is difficult to define the amount of economical gain generated provincially by the NTFP sector since the products are so numerous and varied, but it is certain that this industry generates millions of dollars annually in the province of New Brunswick.
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been used by mankind since the dawn of time. From natural medicines to foraging these products have been integral parts of human survival in Canada.
There are many accounts of First Nations tribes using native plants, trees and shrubs in the making of natural medicines. Also the diets of the First Nations people were composed in part of non-timber forest products such as fruit and nuts.
When the first European settlers arrived in the late 1500's and early 1600's, they learned, with the help of Native inhabitants, how to incorporate non-timber forest products, such as food sources and medicinal remedies, into their daily lives. For example, there are numerous historical texts that refer to how the native people of Canada helped the first European settlers scurvy by administering a brew made from evergreen bark and foliage which contained the vitamin C missing in their diets.