Managing national forests of the eastern United States for non-timber forest products
Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the economic and ecological potential of non-timber forest products. In the United States, much of this increased interest stems from drastic changes in forest practices and policies in the Pacific Northwest region, a region that produces many non-timber forest products. The forests of the eastern United States, however, also produce many non-timber forest products. This analysis focuses on the status of non-timber forest products in management plans of the national forests in eastern United States. Of the thirty-one national forest plans examined for coverage of non-timber forest products, only seven plans addressed the management of these resources. A review of national legislation that affects national forests reveals that non-timber forest products are not recognized as a management objective. But, they are considered as "special products" in key policy documents. There is legislation under consideration that could significantly change how these products are managed. This paper identifies and discusses key issues that could affect decisions to manage for non-timber forest products.