Modelling Non-timber Forest Products for Forest Management Planning in Europe
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Purpose of Review: The increased popularity and commercial use of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) calls for the development of models for NTFPs to include their predicted yields in forest management planning and to evaluate the potential of multi-functional forest management. This study assesses and discusses the current state of the art and trends in NTFP yield modelling in Europe and the integration of the models in multi-functional forest management planning at different spatial scales. Recent Findings: Climate-sensitive empirical yield models already exist not only for a variety of NTFPs that are economically important to forest owners (e.g. cork and pine nuts) but also for wild-gathered berries and mushrooms, the harvesting of which cannot be controlled by the forest landowner in all European countries. Several studies on multi-functional forest management planning consider the economic profitability of the joint production of timber and NTFP. Harvesting NTFPs can create significant additional incomes for forest owners, compared with timber production only. However, maximizing the economic returns from the joint production of timber and NTFPs often calls for changes in forest management practices. Summary: Continued efforts in modelling and predicting the yields of NTFPs have enabled forest managers to further expand the analyses of multi-functional forest planning and management in Europe. Climate-sensitive models also allow analyses on the potential effects of climate change on NTFP yields. New models and forest management practices are still needed for tree fruits, birch sap, a wider variety of wild edible mushrooms, specialty mushrooms cultivated on live trees as well as medicinal and edible forest herbs harvested for commercial value in Europe.