German Gold and ‘Non Timber Forest Products’
For best practice in forestry, it was impossible to choose between two very different examples. So here are both, combined with other ideas.
A 50-year beech plantation
Intensive forestry tends to produce even-aged stands of one or two tree species. These tree crops generally offer too little variety for most wildlife species to survive. This can also have production costs, for example when some insect pests flourish due to lack of generalist predators. However, it can also have benefits for pest management. For example, grey squirrels kill off young beech in mixed woodland by bark stripping, but not in isolated stands of young beech because there is so little other food for them.
Diversity of beech stands increases as trees age, but their heartwood timber tends to darken with age from a uniform white. This encouraged felling at only 100-120 years old to avoid lower prices for “non-standard” wood. However, prizes for making beautiful use of the darker wood, especially as high quality ‘German Gold’ furniture in the Middle East, have created demand that increased the value for the coloured older wood in western parts of Germany, such as Saar-Hunsrück and Westeifel.
Fruits and fungi as Non Timber Forest Products in Sweden
Prizes that create new markets are one best practice for encouraging nature-friendly management of tree crops. Another is to increase knowledge of the market values of existing ‘Non Timber Forest Products’. Work by the World Bank surveyed the value of such products around the Mediterranean, and estimated the value of firewood, cork, fodder, mushrooms, honey and other NTFPs to average €41 per hectare annually for the countries of southern Europe. Benefits from the recreational aspect of the products, and especially from including recreational use of game species, would tend to enhance these values. The challenge is to gain best value for the land owner from these benefits to local communities.
On the Web
ISWIMAN is a new way to evaluate the sustainability of integrated wildlife management for forestry, agriculture, hunting, and leisure/recreation management, using biosphere reserve „Vienna woods" as an example. Principles, Criteria and Indicators enable these stakeholders to check their possible impacts and the sustainability of wildlife use.
Using local wood, especially architecturally to lock up carbon in a useful way