The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) conducts
research to understand the potential of Non-Timber Forest Products
(NTFPs) in conservation and development. Literally, a NTFP can be
any product (or service) that is produced in forests, other than
timber. The term includes fruits and nuts, vegetables, fish and
game, medicinal plants, resins, essences and a range of barks and
fibres such as bamboo, rattans, and a host of other palms and
grasses. CIFOR uses an inclusive definition, including non-timber
wood products (e.g., for woodcarving or fuel).
Throughout the world NTFPs contribute to both the subsistence and
cash incomes of many poor people. Some NTFPs generate large incomes
and employment. Others are much more modest in the total value, but
they can be critically important to people, for example as sources of food during
hard times, or as the main source of cash income. NTFPs have
also attracted attention for their potential role in more
environmentally sound use of forests. If the forest is valuable to
people, the arguments goes, they will want to conserve it.
CIFOR works to gain insight in the real potential of NTFPs to
contribute to conservation and livelihood improvement. Our research
focuses on the broader aspects of NTFPs, including their collection,
multiple uses, trade, environmental impacts, and related policies.
CIFOR seeks to improve the understanding of NTFPs, particularly
though collaborative research that exceeds the case-study level.