Chapter 8: Conclusions: Nontimber forest products in an era of changing climateThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Nontimber forest species, resources, and products in U.S. forests and rangelands provide a range of ecological, social, cultural, and economic goods and services. This diversity creates challenges and opportunities for management and governance in an era of accelerating climatic variability. Climate variability and change will likely affect forest ecosystems with potentially increasing risks of negative consequences to natural resources and associated social-ecological systems (Ryan and Archer 2008). Drought, insect and disease outbreaks, and fre, as well as extreme events are expected to impact species extent and composition of forests as species respond to climatic variability and change. There is also the potential for loss of species and biological diversity if environmental changes outpace species’ ability to adapt. This may in turn adversely affect the potential of NTFPs to provide a buffer for impacted human communities as sources of food, medicine, and other uses. As this report demonstrates, the scientifc literature about U.S. nontimber forest products (NTFPs) is considerable. Signifcant gaps, however, remain in the state of the knowledge about these natural resources and how the social-ecological systems that characterize them may respond to climatic variability.