The compatibility of timber and non-timber forest product extraction and management

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We discuss the extent of compatibility of timber and non-timber forest product (NTFP) extraction in two neotropical localities from biophysical, social, and institutional perspectives: the community concession forests of the Pete´ n, Guatemala, and extractivist communities in northern Bolivia. In both localities, timber is harvested via reduced-impact logging (RIL) practices. In Guatemala, themain NTFP extracted is foliage from the understory xate palm (Chamaedorea spp.); in northern Bolivia, the fruits of the Brazil nut tree (Bertholletia excelsa). The Guatemalan case suggests a relatively high degree of compatibility due to low timber harvesting intensities, coupled with temporal, spatial, and social segregation of xate extraction in a well-defined land tenure system. In northern Bolivia, forest management regulations pay little attention to NTFPs and land tenure issues and related conflict complicate efforts to limit timber harvesting impacts on Brazil nut trees. The introduction of timber management plans overlain on customary property rights systems in which the extraction of Brazil nut is organized could undercut its management system. The two case studies suggest that specific legislative, education, and project interventions may help to promote the compatibility of timber and NTFP extraction and management. These include formal training of foresters on NTFP ecology and management while taking into account the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in the design of management plans. Tropical forest users, researchmanagers, and policymakers will also better understand the need for integrated management of timber and NTFPs, if the trade-offs and potential economic benefits from NTFP extraction are clarified.

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