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.