Type of event: Study tour
Topic: Non-timber forest products from small woodlands
Organization: Oregon Woodland Cooperative
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Hosts: Neil and Ardis Schroeder
International Fellows: Richard Banda (Malawi), Fen-hui Chen (Taiwan), Temitope Dauda (Nigeria), Zhongyuan Ding (China), Ana Kanoppa (Brazil), Will Maiden (United Kingdom), Romain Matile (France), Rodolfo Vieto (Costa Rica)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Program Manager
|International Fellows with
hosts Neil and Ardis Schroeder (center) underneath their grapevine|
|Neil Schroeder explaining
how to make Christmas |
boughs from Western Red Cedar
In addition to timber, the co-op provides many non-timber forest products (NTFPs) from their members’ forests, including products to heat your home (firewood), decorate your surroundings (boughs, rustic furniture), and improve personal health and well-being (essential oils and aromatherapy). The co-op emphasizes providing sustainable, local, consistent, and premium-quality products. Direct delivery from the forest owners to stores is offered. They harvest to order to supply the freshest greens possible. Order far in advance is not necessary. All these aspects make the co-op very successful and competitive.
|Various marketed and potential non-timber forest products of OWC|
You can find more information about the Oregon Woodland Cooperative in our previous WFI blog entry.
Lessons Learned and Highlights from this year's Fellows:
1. Learning about NTFPs was very important for me as someone who is looking to increase income generated by forests.
2. The OWC’s target is a niche market with high-quality products.
3. Creating a coop allows for the respect of loggers and reaches a niche market which provides members with regular benefits and income.
4. We discussed issues such as drying firewood to ensure any pest species present leave the wood before it is transported and sold.
5. We were shown a new forest business opportunity; Neil showed us a variety of products that can be marketed through the aggregation of value to NTFPs but for this to be successful, you need to remove the middlemen from the value chain and encourage joint commercialization.
|Besides regular firewood,
OWC also provides |
smaller wood pieces for chiminea use
7. Discovering the full potential of forests to make forestry more profitable and offer more opportunities for the younger generations.
8. Woodlands can provide much more economic benefits than just timber.
An International Fellow’s Thoughts and Perspectives
Although the sale of timber remains the primary source of income from forestland, NTFPs are essential for most small landowners because timber supply is inconsistent, and you have to wait for a long time in between harvests. A long period of trial and error is usually required before any product becomes marketable. Neil, who is always willing to learn new ideas, plays a vital role at the co-op, as do some other volunteers.
|Fen-hui Chen, International Fellow
from Taiwan, |
immersing herself in various NTFPs
Telling stories behind the product, and creating connections between the client and the product, is a great strategy and really makes things different. I believe people are willing to pay more money if they know where and how goods are made, especially if it was in a sustainable way.
Taiwan’s forests cannot be used for timber forest products by law. Local and indigenous Taiwanese people who live in or close to these forests are seeking sustainable NTFPs to improve their livelihood. As a researcher, I am always looking for creative, new, unique, and marketable NTFPs from our forests. This tour helps me to think outside the box!