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Non-timber Forest Product News

National Network of Forest Practioners
Digest Issue 3
August 31, 2004
Editor Penny Frazier,



I.News Review

II. Events&Training

III From The Field and Our Group

    1. Pilot Program of Charges and Fees for Harvest of ForestBotanical Products
     2.  Mushroom Harvester' Observations

Help Wanted

  HEADLINE - Summary
1. Hazelnuts? Here? Your favorite coffee flavor can be found wild in Illinois
2. Nevada Pine Nut Harvest Breaks Record
3. Brazen thefts of hemlock threaten valued commodity
4. Do Cancer Drugs Grow on Trees?
5. The essence of a new cash crop (essential oil production)
6. Huckleberry Project
7. Devil's Club: A Medicine Cabinet for Alaska Tribe
8. Traditional Food Harvester Articles
9. Report: Subsistence food near Red Dog safe
10. Mushroom Harvest Stories (mulitple)
11. Ginseng- Multiple
12. Wild Mint, Stawberries, Blueberries and other botanicals (several)
12. Bee Decline
13  Should a taxpayer need a permit to use federal lands? (Wild HarvestRegulation Issues)

Hazelnuts? Here?
Your favorite coffee flavor can be found wild in Illinois
Harvesting wild hazelnuts is an adventure - just finding them is a lot ofthe fun. They are not nearly as common as in the past, so finding them andfinding good ones is a treasure hunt.

Nevada Pine Nut Harvest Break Records
Commercial harvesters of America’s wild pine nuts set new records in biddingfor the right to pick pine nuts from BLM lands in central Nevada. The pinenut pickers purchased the right to harvest 461,500 lbs of pine nuts at theEly auction. The numbers came as a surprise as most of the west has seenmassive mortality of pinyon pine nut trees.

Brazen thefts of hemlock threaten valued commodity
MONTAGUE — Angry landowners confronting midnight thieves plundering theirproperty for ground hemlock could easily spark an explosion of violence inthe woods.
It’s a scenario yet to happen, but many landowners harbouring a simmeringanger over the practice say it’s just around the corner, especially if therampant theft of the valuable natural product isn’t addressed through theenforcement of legalized tagging registration.

Do Cancer Drugs Grow on Trees?

Canada yew is a shrub that produces a cancerinhibitingchemical called paclitaxel,"he explains."Paclitaxel is used to make Taxol, the best-selling chemotherapydrug in the world, with nearly $1billion U.S. in annual sales worldwide.Ironically, in the past some foresters probably viewed Canada yew as a weedin the understory to be eradicated. "It’s not valuable for wood productsthe way Pacific yew is - it’s a sprawly shrub rather than a tree," Nolandpoints out. "It is also highly toxic to humans, horses, and cattle, althoughit’s a preferred winter food source for moose and deer. (citation not available- pdf newsletter file forwarded by NNFP working group member contact penny@pinenut.comfor pdf file)

The essence of a new cash crop

Increased demand for essential oils encourages local producers
Getting back to pure and natural ingredients. That's the latest trend when
it comes to top-rated aromatherapy, perfume and even food flavouring
products. It's the precious essential oil, slowly steam-distilled fromselectcultivated or wild plant species free of pesticides or herbicides
that is so valuable and a desirable ingredient in today's high end markets.

COMMENT ***"Goods From The Woods" - NNFP member, and volunteer editor: "Harvestand production photos of our wild bergamot work."

Huckleberry Project:

For more than a century, huckleberries have resisted human efforts to tame
their wild stock for domestic cultivation. While their cousin, the
blueberry, yielded to man's hand in the early 1900s, the huckleberry has
flourished only in the wild and particularly in western Montana.

Devil's Club: A Medicine Cabinet for Alaska Tribe
Thorny Plant's Popularity May Endanger Its Sacred

Report: Subsistence food near Red Dog safe
Saturday, July 31, 2004

ANCHORAGE--People who live near the Red Dog mine north of Kotzebue can
safely continue to eat subsistence foods gathered from the area, according
to a new report by the Alaska Division of Public Health.
The report counters a private study released in June that warned area
residents against eating berries and other subsistence foods.

People who consume wild food from the area could be exposing themselves to
adverse health effects, and the state should act to protect and educate
residents of the risks, he said.
But state officials strongly disagree. They have concluded, as they did ina
similar report in October 2001, that contamination from ore milled at Red
Dog, the world's largest zinc mine, is limited to the road corridor and
port. They also said the metals are in a form not easily absorbed by the
body and that they're too heavy to be transported very far by wind.,1413,113~7244~2306657,00.html

Hopi Food & Agriculture Symposium
Hopi food plants presenter Max Taylor included pictures of what the edible
plants looked like, what kinds of soils they each grow in, when they canbe
harvested and what should be should harvested, such as the leaves or the
entire plant. There were also presentations on seeds that can be obtained
from the Tucson-based Native Seed Search, which has an extensive listingof
seeds available to purchase that offer effective diabetes control.

Family, friends welcome, Preparing a meal, Native American style
August 19, 2004
A taste of wilderness comes across in the soup. All ingredients are naturaland full and without preservatives. Rosemary also was preparing a wild ricesoup, which I learned has an almost nutty flavor that comes directly fromthe rice. A food inherent to the Great Lakes region, Natives harvested wildrice for years using a special technique to allow rice plants to live andproduce grain the following season.

More callous forms of harvest used by Europeans almost wiped out the nativefood. Wild rice is considered a rare and savored food today by Native Americans

Alaskan Subsitence Foods and Mining Discharge (subscription required)
Red Dog Mine discharges impact food sources for village peoples.

Morel mushrooms sprout profit

Statesman Journal
June 20, 2004

In April, thousands of pickers swarmed the forest for a chance to make a
tantalizing sauté or $1,000 per day selling morels.In 2000, mushrooms
harvested from all national forests in Oregon and Washington were valuedat
more than $200,000. But mushrooms are only a small part of the non-timber
products harvested from the forest. In 2001, those products - which include
boughs, nuts, berries and flowers - were valued at about $18 million. That
same year, the timber harvested on the forests was worth almost $26
million.According to forest officials, for three weeks in April and May,
pickers made $299,961 for finding 41,843 pounds of morels - an average of
$7.18 per pound.

"I saw stores locally selling morels for $32 a pound," said Pearcy. "They
were $25 to $28 a pound at the Saturday market."There were between 3,500to
4,500 commercial pickers in April, but by Memorial Day weekend only 500
pickers were competing for morels.

Posted on Wed, Jun. 30, 2004

Wild-mushroom pickers, The Wall Street Journal
When he loaded his family into a beat-up white Chevy van and drove to
Montana in May from his home in Randle, Wash., Hassan Voir figured he'd be
earning as much as $800 a day. A Cambodian native, Voir has become a
professional picker of wild mushrooms -- matsutakes in September,
chanterelles in January. When hunting morels, he travels in the path of
wildfires, which his brother tracks for him on the Internet.
The prospectors have nearly doubled the Hungry Horse population of 934,
presenting a challenge to law-enforcement officers. Besides tensions between
locals and newcomers, there are occasional clashes between pickers enraged
at perceived invasions of turf. Last year, Voir says, he was threatened at
gunpoint by a man protecting his mushroom-picking territory.
Hauling the mushrooms away from Hungry Horse are distributors such as CaseyJonquilof Alpine Forager's Exchange in Portland, Ore. Jonquil arrives in a
big truck with a crew of contractors who buy up mushrooms from local buyers
like Voir. Jonquil then drives 11 hours back to Portland, carrying as much
as 3,000 pounds of morels.

Wild mushroom season left enthusiasts in the lurch
The time frame for hunting mushrooms in northern Iowa tends to run abouttwo
weeks in the spring. This year it was from May 1 to May 15."I find most of
mine within 15 or 20 feet of a standing dead elm tree," he said. "Back in
the mid 1970s when Dutch elm disease was at its peak, it was awfully good.
The past two years have been really good."This year's mushrooms are mostly
gone; locals who were disappointed with this year's crop will have to start
dreaming about next year's harvest.

Ginseng gives surprising boost to state's agricultural economy
Wednesday, June 2, 2004
In recent years, between 1,700 and 4,200 pounds of dry ginseng root have
been exported annually from Pennsylvania -- mostly to Asian markets --
according to state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
estimates. At an average price of $300 per dry pound, ginseng has generated
at least $11 million for Pennsylvanians over the past decade, according to
Burkhart's calculations. And yet, very little is known about ginseng
collection, cultivation and husbandry in the commonwealth

We're the ginseng capital

By Mary Bergin
There is a lot to know about ginseng, the plant that has given Marathon
County a worldwide reputation. About 97 percent of the nation's production
is grown in Wisconsin, primarily here, and 90 percent of the harvest is
exported, mainly to China and Hong Kong.
At its peak in the 1980s, the grower's payment for Wisconsin ginseng was
about $60 per pound. The grower shoots for a harvest of 1 ton per acre. At
its peak, Heil says about 1,500 Wisconsin growers would produce 2.2 million
pounds of ginseng per year. Now fewer than 400 growers produce around
600,000 pounds, worth roughly $10 million.

That's largely because of Canadian competitors, whose ginseng productionhas
topped 5 million pounds and is subsidized by their government. China
follows, with around 3 million pounds.
The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin distributes a brochure of ginseng recipes,
most of which use sliced or grated roots. An exception is Sex Muffins, whichcallfor one tablespoon of ginseng powder.

The selection and directions are at

"Ginseng from Marathon Co. is not an NTFP. It's pretty much all grown underartificial shade in intensive cultivation and massively sprayed with fungicides.I don't even consider it ginseng as it is not grown to sufficient age whereit has many of the compounds you want.The 97% figure is likely by weight,not by value. Wild sells for $300 and up while cultivated has gotten as lowas $10/pound. (ie wild would be 30X the value while only the same weight)."

Farms aim to revive ginseng Texas
The root, famed as a stimulant, has been thinned out in the wild lands ofPennsylvania
"What we're looking at today is the end result of 300 years of conquest andexploitation," Burkhart said. "We've clear-cut, we've strip-mined, and we'veharvested way more than we should. There's a lot more niches where ginsengcould grow."   

Ozark News Stand: Ginseng season takes root - Arkansas
According to the Arkansas State Plant Board, wild ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)roots shall only be collected when the seeds are red and only from well developedplants having a minimum of three leaves or prongs. The plants, found in 44percent of the state's 75 counties, usually grow on shaded slopes typicallyfacing northward or eastward. According to Webb Newton, who owns the businessat 203 North Sycamore Street, he'll buy dried ginseng roots from diggersfor probably $225 per pound this year, depending upon the ever-changing marketvalue.

Dairy farmer tames wild herb into profit

Tropea found the wild herb in a meadow along Elm Run on his Wayne County
dairy farm. So he started cultivating and harvesting mint to make tea.Last
year, the Mennonite farmer and his partner, Joe Miller of Sugar Creek
Township, grew 1,000 pounds of peppermint and spearmint that went into a
blended herbal tea packaged and sold to stores in Northeast Ohio.Tropea,25,
who grew up in Canal Fulton, is convinced that the secret to their success
is air-drying the mint for 24 to 36 hours on stainless steel racks before
turning it into tea.Most tea is freeze-dried or dried in the sun. Air-drying
is more labor intensive, but produces a higher menthol content in the mint,
Tropea said.

The wild strawberry: How sweet it truly is
Wild strawberries have always been a critical food source for most Native
American tribes for centuries. In 1916 an anthropologist recorded the
importance of wild strawberries to the Iroquois Indians. "Among the earliest
berry to ripen is the strawberry. This welcome event is celebrated by
longhouse ceremonies in which thanks is given, while quantities of the fruit
are eaten in feasts." The Iroquois also used wild strawberries in preparing
refreshing drinks. They sweetened this beverage by adding maple sugar inthe
same way we add refined sugar or artificial sweeteners to strawberries
today. Many other records by early explorers revealed other uses for this
valuable fruit-some of them lifesaving. In 1637 one French explorer wrotein
his journal, "In order not to get sick, the Huron ate dried strawberriesin
winter." No doubt this helped them avoid scurvy.


Wild Blueberry NewsBlethen Maine Newspapers Inc. July 10, 2004
Maine's wild blueberries were slammed by a significant winter kill due to
frosts, he said, then hit by disease this spring. Berry plants were also
poorly pollinated because of cold and wet weather in April, May and June

Barren year for Maine blueberries
Sunday, August 29, 2004
By SETH HARKNESS, Portland Press Herald Writer
Copyright © 2004 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

Twenty-five percent of all North American blueberries, both cultivated andwild, are grown in Maine. With more than 17,000 acres in production, WashingtonCounty has the most berry fields of any county in the nation, according tothe 2002 Census of Agriculture

Wild blueberries nearing end of paltry harvest
What used to be a four- or five-week harvest could end this year after justthree weeks

Back to medicinal roots
The last book in a translated series reveals natural remedies used by native
Almost 20 years ago, Chun discovered a treasure trove of native plant
potions that could have easily been thrown out with the trash. The original
records of these remedies were written in longhand and stashed in an old
cardboard box in the Office of Hawaiian Health.His main reason for
translating these documents was not to publish recipes for people to try,
but to "show how earlier generations used these plants," he said. "It's been
a fascinating journey and an adventure to rediscover what they discovered,
what they (the native Hawaiians) were like.

Wednesday June 16, 2004
Decline in Bees
A shortage of honeybees affects every one. It equals a food crisis. The
steady decline in honeybee populations across the nation means more than
just a lack of honey available to consumers. If The Department of
Agriculture estimates that around 90 percent of wild honeybees have been
killed by the tracheal and Varroa mites. With such a decline in wild
honeybee populations, a pollination crisis is underway, according to
research entomologists. At risk is every plant crop that depends on
pollination for reproduction. The decline of a single species might not have
such a far-reaching effect, but there is already a worldwide crisis in
biodiversity. Researchers say that the loss of even one keystone speciescan
bring down numerous other ones.

Should a taxpayer need a permit to use federal lands? (Wild Harvest RegulationIssues)

      The rules governing use of National Forestsare about to change. Some people will like the changes. Others will objectloudly. This is no small issue.


"The second Alaska non-timber forest products conference, Hidden Forest
Values II, will be held in Sitka, October 1-2, 2004.    
The purpose of this conference is to exchange information, cooperate and
raise awareness of issues on sustainable and equitable, environmentally
and economically viable opportunities for non-timber forest products in
Alaska.  This discourse seeks a balance of development and
sustainability, with respect for traditional uses.  It will accomplish
this by bringing together a diverse assemblage of local, state and
federal agencies, tribal governments, traditional users, landholders,
cottage enterprises, and other NTFP related businesses, scientists and
NTFP experts.  This conference will address traditional values, income
opportunities, and sustainability issues related to non-timber forest
products in Alaska.

Al White, Coordinator
Mat-Su RC&D
1700 E. Bogard Road, Suite 203
Wasilla, Alaska, 99654
(907) 373-1062 ext. 102
(907) 373-1064 FAX

From The Editor:

 NNFP's Annual Meeting is coming up quickly!! If you have not receivedyour registration materials, please download them from  The Non-timber forest products working group will host a round tablediscussion and we have our face to face meeting durning that event. Do not miss this opportunity.

III Contributions From The Working Group:

Pilot Program of Charges and Fees for Harvest of Forest Botanical Products"

Susan Alexander <>

The United States Congress passed legislation in the 2000 AppropriationsAct1, titled "Pilot Program of Charges and Fees for Harvest of Forest BotanicalProducts", for the National Forest System. The legislation defines forestbotanical products as "any naturally occurring mushrooms, fungi, flowers,seeds, roots, bark, leaves, and other vegetation (or portion thereof) thatgrow on National Forest System lands." The legislation directs the Secretaryof Agriculture to develop and implement a pilot program to charge for forestbotanical products through the establishment of appraisal methods and bidingprocedures. It requires analysis regarding the sustainability of harvestlevels, and exempts personal use from fees. In addition, language in the2000 Appropriations Act required that the fees collected from harvesterscover various agency administrative costs. In 2003, Section 339 was amended2so fees are set by an appraisal process and designed so that at least a portionof fair market value and costs are recovered, and the authority for fee collectionis extended to Sept. 30 2009.

A notice published in May 2004 in the Federal Register3 states "The ForestService is promulgating regulations for managing special forest productsand forest botanical products. The regulations will guide the Forest Servicein the administration of the broader category of special forest products.The interim final rule also implements Public Law 106-113, which authorizesa pilot program of charges and fees for harvest of forest botanical products(Appropriations Act H.R. 3423, section 339, Forest Botanical Products). ForestBotanical Products include products, such as herbs, berries, seeds, and wildflowersthat are not wood products. The intended effect of this rule is to give guidanceand consistency for the sustainability and sale of special forest productsincluding forest botanical products."

The interim final rule will accomplish two things. The first is to provideguidance on the sale of special forest products and forest botanical productsby the USDA Forest Service. The second is to establish fees to be collectedfor the harvest of forest botanical products. The interim final rule willbe in effect when it is published. Comments will be taken and will be consideredin the development of the final rule4.

Draft regulations to implement the pilot program of charges and fees forharvest of forest botanical products on National Forest lands are currentlyin review. The Spring 2004 Federal Register states that an Interim FinalRule will be published in July 2004, with public comment to end in September2004. However, the interim final rule was not published in July so the dateswill be readjusted. When the interim final rule is published, the publicwill have 60 days to respond with comments.

The USDA Forest Service Region 6 (Oregon and Washington) and Region 10 (Alaska)have special forest product appraisal systems developed and posted on theirwebsites.

1. U.S. Laws, Statutes, etc.; Public Law 106-113, div. B, Sec. 1000(a)(3){titleIII, Sec. 339]. Pilot Program of Charges and Fees for Harvest of Forest BotanicalProducts. Act of Nov. 29, 1999. Page 113 Stat. 1535, 1501A-119-200; 16 U.S.C.528

2. U.S. Laws, Statutes, etc.; Public Law 108-108, Sec. 335. Act of Nov. 10,2003. Page 117 Stat. 1312.

3. Federal Register. Vol. 69, No. 123. Unified Agenda of Regulatory and DeregulatoryActions, Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Office of the Secretary. 7 CFR SubtitleA. Semiannual Regulatory Agenda, Spring 2004. Part III. 69 FR 37173. Rin:0596-AB81.

4. Andria Weeks, Personal communication, 8-20-04. Directives and RegulationsBranch, Office of Regulatory and Management Services, Washington Office,USDA.

 A harvesters perspective on management issues.

From the first day that I picked mushrooms commercially, I've been warnedin no uncertain terms that if proper harvesting techniques are not used,the patches will be destroyed forever. The warnings came repeatedly and withgreat fervor especially regarding the matsutake. I immediately began experimentingwith different techniques on morels and found no difference between cuttingand pulling them from the ground. Over several years I came to the same conclusionwith chanterelles, hedgehogs, yellowfeet, and black trumpets. Matsutakesand boletes seem to grow from a generally deeper level and for four yearsI thought ground disturbance might ruin the patches. Obviously, there tendsto be more ground disturbance inherent in matsutake and bolete harvest thanwith other varieties. Anyhow, the jury was still out for me on matsutakes.I was very fortunate to have a large "patch" to myself for four full seasonsoverlooking Diamond Lake in Oregon. There was little need to pick anywhereelse for a period of 6-8 weeks and I learned every nook and cranny that producedmatsis. The only footprints for this four year period were mine. Finally,the crowds found me and I was certain that the patches would be ruined forever.That's all I'd ever heard. Always from white pickers who disliked Asiansencroaching on "their" patches. I only went back a couple of times that seasonand was heartbroken and upset to see the patches I had taken such care tobe gentle with were torn to shreds. The following season, my fifth, I returnedto satisfy my curiosity about the effects of the ground disturbance. I wasshocked and amazed! Each fairy ring used to fill in with mushrooms over thecourse of the 6-8 weeks. This time in many cases the entire ring grew atonce - then kept producing throughout the season. Due to the sheer numberof pickers I could no longer make a good living there, but it was obviousto me that despite my previously held beliefs about less than careful harvestingtechnique, the mushrooms were back stronger than ever. I eventually was forcedto come to the same conclusion about boletes. It has been 10 years since"my" matsutake patch was found and through all those years of traveling fromAlaska to northern Saskatchewan and to central California the only patchesI've seen "destroyed" are the ones that have been logged. What I know withcertainty is the best patches in the late 80s are the best patches today.The interesting thing is that those places not only produce a lot of poundagebut they are also the most heavily impacted by harvesting. Please don't getme wrong. I am not an advocate of impacting the environment any more thanis absolutely necessary. I just don't agree with the constant preaching ofcertain death and destruction to our patches if we don't harvest properly.My experience has shown me otherwise. I won't argue with the idea that disturbinga patch beyond a certain depth can have negative effects for a few years,but I have rarely, if ever, seen where commercial harvesters have gone tosuch depths. I am not personally aware of any patches that quit producingafter heavy impact by pickers. I acknowledge that it's possible, but I believevery rare. For the last year or so I've made a point of asking pickers orbuyers that preach about the demise of our patches to show me the patchesthat used to produce well and now are ruined. There's a pretty good chancethat I'd be familiar with the area. I have received no directions to thoseplaces and no one has offered to show me. It's such a commonly held belief.If the evidence is out there, I'd like to see it. I see this issue as oneof the main stumbling blocks for the Special Forest Products industry. Weare perceived by forest managers, media and the general public as uncaringtoward the environment that provides our livelihood. Within the harvestingcommunity this is probably the most divisive issue we face. If we are ruiningour patches, I want to know and I would work to change things. If we arenot ruining our patches, we are doing ourselves a great disservice to pushbeliefs based on ignorance and fear. I'd like to see a different approach.We could clean up the forests a little bit every day and preach respectfultreatment of the land without injecting fear, fingerpointing, and worst casescenarios into the mix."

Anonymous, Oregon mushroom harvester. April 2003.


    This editor goes nuts in September and October.  I have  the pine nut harvest, which takes me out of the loop for Septemberand October.  We need a volunteer to produce this Volume 4 Septemberand October.  I continue to collect emailed items, but cannot do thenews review.  We need someone to fill in for the next issue. Great perks,all the news you can read!

Thank You,


 Due to the volume of this months newsletter, Week in Washinton reportwas not included.  However, the NNFP Newsletter contained an articleon the event.

Please email your NTFP related news items to: for inclusionin the news digest. If email is not available I can be reached at 1.800.267.6680.This newsletter is compiled for The National Network of Forest Practioners, by Non-timber forest products working group member, PennyFrazier,  The information is to be freely distributed.

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