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Research Report

Forest Products, Livelihoods and Conservation: Case Studies of Non-Timber Forest Product Systems

Terry Sunderland
Ousseynou Ndoye
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2004
Pages: 343
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. x-xi)
    Henri Djombo

    Several authors have highlighted the importance of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in the livelihoods of forest dwellers in Africa. These products, namely fruits, nuts, leaves, barks, cane and bushmeat in particular, have been used for centuries as food and medication by African forest dwellers.

    The collection and sale of NTFPs is mainly the activity of poor populations and small traders. As a result, any action aimed at developing the NTFP sector will contribute to poverty alleviation in the same way as it does to the development of the agricultural sector.

    The economic crisis of the 1980s in Africa, which resulted...

  2. (pp. xii-xiv)
    J.E. Michael Arnold

    Products other than timber and other industrial roundwood have always constituted a large part of the forest economy in developing countries. Individual products provide inputs and income directly to huge numbers of rural and urban households. In many countries the aggregate of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) contributes as much, if not more, to national product as industrial roundwood. However, their designation as ‘minor’ forest products reflects their relative neglect until quite recently. Produced and consumed largely outside the monetary economy, they attracted only limited attention and even less in the way of measurement and research.

    The recent increase in interest...

  3. (pp. 1-24)
    Terry C.H. Sunderland, Susan T. Harrison and Ousseynou Ndoye

    Since the 1970s, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have emerged to take their place among the many aspects of forest use that guide natural resource decision-makers. In the early 1990s, NTFPs were mooted as a potential alternative to deforestation and land conversion activities (Falconer 1990; Plotkin and Famolare 1992). Some NTFPs have strong market value and it was postulated that the long-term value accruing from the harvest of these products could override the short-term gain of converting that forest or individual trees to other uses such as timber, agriculture, or plantations (Peters et al. 1989; Godoy and Bawa 1993). The attention...


    • (pp. 25-36)
      Dominic Blay

      This chapter provides an overview of the chewing stick trade in Ghana. Chewing sticks are one of the most important non-timber forest products of the Western Region (Falconer 1990; Falconer 1992) and have provided the primary form of dental care for millennia. The production, trading and marketing of chewing sticks also provides the main source of income for many men and women in rural communities, many of whom are economically marginal. The trade in chewing sticks also contributes significantly to the local, regional and national economies (Tabi-Gyansah 2001). However, as with other resources, the Garcinia spp. exploited for chewing sticks...

    • (pp. 37-52)
      Nouhou Ndam and Mahop Tonye Marcelin

      P. africana is a tree occurring in some montane regions of Africa. The bark is used by local peoples to treat many diseases and is known internationally as a remedy to prostate disorder. It is exported to developed countries from a number of African countries where it contributes to the economic and social well-being of peoples of this continent. In the Mount Cameroon area where this case study is based, initiatives have been made to sustain its use while increasing its benefit to local communities. This paper outlines the ecological and socio-economic context of the species focusing on its distribution,...

    • (pp. 53-72)
      Rachel Wynberg

      There is growing international trade in Harpagophytum spp. (devil’s claw), a Kalahari plant used to treat rheumatism and arthritis. At least 9,000 rural people in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa rely on wild harvesting the plant, often as their only source of income. Increased commercialisation, combined with harmful harvesting techniques, has led to concerns about overexploitation and the status of Harpagophytum populations, and a proposed CITES listing. This paper investigates the harvesting and use of devil’s claw, analyses the potential impacts of its domestication, and provides an overview of its production and trade. Three models of commercialisation are described for...

    • (pp. 73-90)
      Michelle Cocks and Tony Dold

      A rare forest tree, Cassipourea flanaganii (Schinz) Alston (Rhizophoraceae), has, in the last 25 years, been harvested indiscriminately for sale in informal herbal markets and amayeza (Muthi) stores in South Africa. The bark is removed, often resulting in the death of the tree, and sold locally and nationally as a skin lightening cosmetic known as umemezi in both Zulu and Xhosa languages. The effect of uncontrolled harvesting has had negative consequences on the ecology of the species and its habitat. It is, however, an important means of income to poverty stricken peri-urban women who are reliant on the sale of...


    • (pp. 91-113)
      Kathrin Schreckenberg

      The data for this paper were collected in 1992/3 as part of a larger Ph.D. study investigating the supply and demand of non-timber forest products in the Bassila region of Benin. Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertner) is the principal tree component of the agroforestry parklands in the region and, in spite of changes in agricultural practices, will continue to be so for the near future. Shea butter is a staple component of the local diet and the kernels are a significant source of income for women. They have been traded internationally for over a century for use in the food...

    • (pp. 115-132)
      Atilade Akanmu Adebisi

      This chapter sheds light on the importance of bitter kola (Garcinia kola Heckel) as one of the many non-timber forest products that are of socio-economic importance in the J4 area of the Omo Forest Reserve of south-west Nigeria. Its commercialisation in both the domestic and national markets raises the standard of living of those involved in its trading activities, both in the rural and urban centres. Trade of bitter kola is more profitable than trade in other non-timber forest products such as wonder cola (Buccholzia coriacea), sponge (Acanthus montanus) and cola nuts (Cola nitida/acuminata). This is because of its high...

    • (pp. 133-147)
      Hassan Gbadebo Adewusi

      The edible fruits of Dacryodes edulis are one of the most important non-timber forest products in Sakpoba Forest Reserve. The species has been cultivated and commercialised in the far west of the reserve for over six decades, with a corresponding trade network stretching as far as Benin City, Sapele, Agbor and Lagos. The 95% majority of D. edulis production is obtained from cultivated stands in agricultural fields, agroforestry plantings and compound farms. The remaining 5% is obtained from the wild although considerable variation exists among the wild taxa. Of the cultivated production of D. edulis, 80% is from private land...


    • (pp. 149-167)
      Simon Kosgei Choge

      Woodcarving provides one of the most important uses of wood in Kenya both in terms of economic returns (export value of carvings estimated at over US$20 million annually) and generation of self-employment opportunities (about 80,000 carvers who are breadwinners for over 400,000 family members). As an informal sector economic activity, the woodcarving industry has continued to attract a large number of unemployed people. Its enormous growth in terms of the number of people engaged in the industry and the extent of spread in the country is causing a major conservation problem through depletion of limited stocks of highly favoured tree...

    • (pp. 169-181)
      Patrick Omeja, Joseph Obua and Anthony B. Cunningham

      In contrast to commercial woodcarving in Fiji, India, Kenya and Vietnam, where hardwood species are favoured, the Ugandan carving industry uses softwood species, primarily trees in the fig family (Moraceae). The major items made are traditional musical instruments such as drums, harps, tube-fiddles and xylophones. These are exported and sold to tourists as well as being sold locally to schools, churches and musical groups, which keep Uganda’s vibrant music tradition alive.

      This chapter is based on studies undertaken in Mpanga, Degeya and Lufuka forest reserves and the drum making stalls in Mpigi district in central Uganda. A specific focus of...

    • (pp. 183-201)
      Wavell Standa-Gunda and Oliver Braedt

      The commercial use of natural resources to manufacture products for sale to tourists has become a significant supplementary source of income to rural people in all areas of Zimbabwe. The use of natural resources to produce woodcarvings has been controversial because of the volume of wood used and the impact on woodlands. This article explores some of the baseline data, which have been gathered under an economic study of the woodcarving industry along the Masvingo-Beitbridge road. Results of the analysis show that returns to time invested in carving are higher than from other locally available alternatives. The growth of the...

    • (pp. 203-228)
      Sheona E. Shackleton and Charlie M. Shackleton

      Commercial carving and furniture manufacture using indigenous species, in particular Pterocarpus angolensis, harvested from communal lands has been a household activity in the Bushbuckridge district for several decades. It provides an important source of income for approximately 130 households in an area where the unemployment rate often exceeds 75%. Carvers produce utility items such as bowls, spoons and walking sticks that are marketed outside of the district through curio outlets and informal markets. Furniture makers produce mainly tables, chairs and benches for sale at the roadside in urban centres as far afield as Pretoria and Johannesburg. Production contributes approximately 75%...

    • (pp. 229-243)
      Tata Precillia Ijang

      This chapter reports on fuelwood in the Maroua area of the Far North Province of Cameroon. Wood harvesting is the third most important economic activity for the inhabitants of this area, after animal husbandry and agriculture. Fuelwood is harvested, processed, marketed and consumed exclusively in the Maroua area, moving from collectors through wholesalers and retailers to consumers. Whereas in the past only dead trunks and branches were gathered for use as fuelwood, today live trees are felled and left to season. The result has been a dramatic disappearance of forest cover, with trees being harvested at unsustainable rates. Since fuelwood...


    • (pp. 245-262)
      Phosiso Sola

      People living in the south-eastern lowveld of Zimbabwe have utilized and managed the palm, Hyphaene petersiana Klotzsch, since time immemorial. In Sengwe the palm grows in the wild, especially in the flood plains of the Mwenezi and Maose rivers. This paper seeks to document and assess the performance of the basket industry in Sengwe Communal Areas.

      The data presented in this paper were collated from reports based on various independent studies conducted in this area from 1993 to 1999 but are mainly based on the findings of an M.Sc. thesis completed by the author in 1998. A further study was...

    • (pp. 263-274)
      Charles Adu-Anning

      This chapter presents the findings of a socio-economic analysis of the rattan industry in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study was carried out with particular emphasis on urban and peri-urban areas identified in previous research (Darko 1981; Falconer 1994; Oteng-Amoako and Obiri-Darko 2001) and was extended to the Western Region to analyse the raw rattan production system in view of the fact that almost all rattans being commercially utilised are from this region. The scope of the research covers the raw material production, processing and marketing subsectors of the rattan industry in Ghana. It was found that males dominate...

    • (pp. 275-290)
      Terry C.H. Sunderland, Michael B. Balinga and Mercy A. Dione

      In Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea, the harvest and sale of non-timber forest products plays a key role in the economic wellbeing of rural and urban populations (Marín and Cristóbal 1989; Sunderland and Obama 1999). One of the most economically valuable products currently traded is rattan cane (Sunderland 1998; Balinga and Dione 2000). Rattan is transported from the forest areas to supply a thriving cottage industry based in Bata, where relatively large quantities are transformed into a range of products. For many rural communities, the sale of raw cane as well as fabricated products provides invaluable access to the cash economy....

    • (pp. 291-316)
      Louis Defo

      From 1996 to 2000 intensive investigations based on observations, surveys, interviews and the use of standardised questionnaires were carried out in the rattan sector in the Yaoundé region in Cameroon. The following data could be summarised from this research:

      a. Rattan (mainly Eremospatha macrocarpa and Laccosperma secundiflorum and Laccosperma robustum) constitutes the most prized non-timber forest products in the villages concerned and assumes an undeniable economic, social and cultural importance. In the village production system, it ranks second only after agriculture.

      b. The exploitation of rattan is based exclusively on natural stands and is not undertaken in a sustainable manner....


    • (pp. 317-331)
      Dale Doré and Ivan Bond

      The Communal Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) allows communities to benefit from the management of their wildlife resources. A number of rural district councils, acting on behalf of local communities, have been granted the legal authority to manage wildlife within their communal areas. In Kanyurira Ward, which lies in the Zambezi Valley, the council entered into an agreement granting a safari operator the sole right to hunt a certain quota of animals in a defined wilderness area that is rich in wildlife. The community manages this area by conserving both the habitat and the wildlife itself. In return,...