The practice, politics and ecology of non timber forest products in Scotland
Non timber forest products are the neglected resource of Scotland’s woodlands, used by many, but with little provision in law, policy or management. Drawing on new research conducted in Scotland, and comparative studies in Finland, the Pacific Northwest USA and Canada, this thesis examines issues relating to the practice, politics and ecology of NTFPs. The methodological approaches used in the field research are set out in Chapter One. Chapters Two to Five explore the perspectives of stakeholder groups, who either use NTFPs directly or who influence the availability of resources and the ability of others to access them. The first of these groups is harvesters, with Chapter Two examining how issues of legal pluralism or the coexistence of both legal and customary rights for harvesting has resulted in the dominance of common practice over management and policy. Chapter Three discusses buying and processing activity, focussing on its contribution to both livelihood and lifestyle and its position ‘somewhere in between’ commercial and non-commercial benefit. The influence of land managers is examined in Chapter Four, reviewing the contrast between the privileged knowledge that enables harvesters to use resources, and the reliance on professionalised knowledge that renders land managers comparatively powerless. In Chapter Five the influence of organisations is explored, particularly in relation to the difficulty of accommodating the interests of such disparate groups without formal channels for representation. The thesis concludes by addressing policy and management concerns, both practical and ideological, and considering mechanisms for the management of NTFPs as a resource. It demands that ethical questions over benefits, values and rights be addressed, as well as issues surrounding sustainability and resource use. The conclusion seeks to present a new system for the self-governance of NTFP resources by the stakeholders themselves.