Keystone’s Non-Timber Forest Produce (NFTP) related initiatives aim to engage with the community, examine their age-old understanding of the ways of the forest, and add modern practices that benefit both the community and the forest to existing traditions. NTFPs are biological resources other than timber, which are harvested from either natural or managed forests. Some NTFPs include fruits, nuts, honey, oil seeds, resins, medicinal plants, spices, animal products and grass varieties. Indigenous groups collect NTFPs for trade and home consumption, honey being a major product. Other items collected for trade are mainly medicinal plants, gums; resin, gooseberry, myrobalans, soap nut, broom grass, bamboo and rattans, wild pepper and nutmeg, etc. This collection is a major source of livelihood, seasonally, for these communities.

Particularly for those living in forest fringe villages, NFTPs play a major role as an income supplement. They also play an important role in the local economy of an area – the different needs of people regarding food supplements, medicine, raw materials for processing and manufacturing, for making tools and implements and of course, for trade. These needs are met through collections from the forest. Additionally, in traditional societies, some of these products have significant social and cultural significance, making their continued collection both an economic and socio-cultural necessity.

Programme Components

CHALLENGES

Conflicts of interest between different stakeholders restricts access to the forest • Decreasing knowledge related to NTFPs within communities • Overextraction of medical plants and other NTFPs due to high demand in the market which can lead to unsustainable practices • Impacts of climate change and forest diversion is reducing forest size, which also decreases NTFP availability 

INTERVENTIONS

Maintaining traditional harvesting practices and knowledge for younger generations • Building rules and protocols around sustainable harvesting practices • Building systems to support sustained livelihoods with NTFPs for community members • Spreading the idea of local enterprise • Incubating organisations to market and fairly produce NTFPs

IMPACTS

Increased local employment and income • Better knowledge and skills for value adding their own NTFP products • Aadhimalai Production Company is a direct outcome of the idea of social enterprise at Keystone • Decreasing the migration of younger generations from their forestlands and trying to maintain their traditional harvesting culture while ensuring equivalent increases in income  

 

 

 

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