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Selected Publication:

Huber, P; Kurttila, M; Hujala, T; Wolfslehner, B; Sanchez-Gonzalez, M; Pasalodos-Tato, M; de-Miguel, S; Bonet, JA; Marques, M; Borges, JG; Enescu, CM; Dinca, L; Vacik, H.
(2023): Expert-Based Assessment of the Potential of Non-Wood Forest Products to Diversify Forest Bioeconomy in Six European Regions
FORESTS. 2023; 14(2), 420 FullText FullText_BOKU

The forest-based sector plays a significant role in supporting Europe on its pathway towards a more integrated and bio-based circular economy. Beyond the supply of timber, forest ecosystems offer a wide range of products and services beneficial to human wellbeing. Non-wood forest products (NWFPs) play an integral role in provisioning forest ecosystem services and constitute a huge portfolio of species from various taxonomic kingdoms. As diverse as the resources themselves is the list of end-products that may be derived from raw non-wood materials. Multiple value-chains of NWFPs provide benefits to actors across all stages of the supply chain. Forest management has not yet directed full attention towards NWFPs, since timber production remains the main management objective, although multi-purpose management is recognised as a key principle of the sector's sustainability paradigm. Lack of knowledge of the socio-economic relevance of NWFPs for European societies and diverse property rights frameworks increase the complexity in forest-based decision making additionally. In this study, the future potential of 38 NWFPs for diversifying the forest bioeconomy is investigated by means of multi-criteria analysis, including stakeholder interaction and expert involvement. The results for six case studies in different biogeographical zones in Europe indicate the latent opportunities NWFPs provide to forest owners who are willing to focus their management on the joint production of wood and non-wood resources as well as their value networks. This study intends to unravel perspectives for forest owners in particular, as they often represent principal decision makers in forest ecosystem management, act as main suppliers of NWFP raw materials, and thus can be understood as key stakeholders in a forest bioeconomy. Even though regional perspectives differ, due to varying socio-economic and ecological environments, there is huge potential to strengthen the economic viability of rural areas. Furthermore, sustainable co-production may foster the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems across Europe. Results show that wild mushrooms constitute the most widespread opportunity to increase additional income from forest management, but the most promising NWFPs can be found in the tree product, understorey plant and animal origin categories.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Huber Patrick
Vacik Harald

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
non-timber forest products
decision support
stakeholder participation
sustainable forest management
natural resources management

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