Author(s): M A F RosTonen
The importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for forest-dwelling people in the tropics and the relatively small ecological impact of their exploitation has raised high expectations as to their potential to contribute to tropical forest conservation. Three major issues in relation to NTFPs are addressed: their potential to contribute to the conservation of tropical rainforests; their potential to improve the livelihood of forest-dwelling peoples and their potential for participatory forest management. It is concluded that for the proper management of NTFP resources, it is necessary to be specific about the aim of NTFP development and to take account of ecological as well as social and economic factors. Policymaking and land-use planning must furthermore take into account that NTFP extraction is part of an overall livelihood strategy of the people involved, in which other economic activities also play a role.