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31 / 05 / 2018

How to interpret concept "Non-timber forest products"?

Author: Miķelis Grīvinš

#postdoclatvia #mezaveltes

It’s been six months since the TRUST project started. A lot has been done since then. We have published information already that the first TRUST publication is out. The publication is illustrating how wild products link contemporary supply chains and culturally rooted practices. Since we published these initial results of our study we have received a pronounced interest in our work, and we have been invited to give lectures on our work both in Latvia as well as abroad. Just in April, we were asked to talk about our findings in Hague Erasmus University, Wageningen University and Research and in "Food Urbanism" conference held in Tartu.

We are continuing to work on data gathering and analysing actively. However, we have also shifted our focus during these last few months on studying the interpretations attached to the most commonly used concepts to describe wild products. Our studies ever clearer illustrate that the conceptual toolbox usually used to analyse wild products is much more fit to discuss conservationism and forest management. However, it is poorly equipped to address rural development and social processes behind wild product gathering. Our work during these last few months has been an attempt to close these conceptual gaps.

In practice it means that we have been working on three main tasks:

1)    to bundle together the concepts that are usually used to describe products from the wild (such as such as “minor forest products”, “other forest products”, “other economic forest products”, “special forest products”, “non-wood forest benefits”, “non-wood goods and services”, “non-timber forest products”, “non-wood forest products”, “forest biological resources”, “forest garden products”, “wild products”, “by-products of forest”, “secondary forest products”, “hidden harvest”, “rare tree species”, “alternative forest products”);

2)    to confront the ideas presented by the idea of “rural development” with the way how the listed concepts interpret the nature, the source, the production system and the ownership of wild products.

3)    to supplement the findings from the two bulletins with the ideas presented by anthropologists studying wild products.

Hopefully, this will give us a more elaborated interpretation on how to approach wild products.