Forest products are broadly classified into two types
- Timber Products
- Non-Timber Forest Products
Non-Timber Forest Products
All the biological products we extract from the forest except the timber are NTFPs. It is considered the secondary important forest product in the past due to less revenue earning than timber. But the scenario has been changed.
In recent years, the potentialities of NTFPs have been realized with increasing recognition of the fact that NTFPs can support in the upliftment of the economy and livelihood, contribute to food security, generate employment and enhance Biodiversity.
To an extent, it is essential to Better study on potentialities of NTFPS and encourages sustainable NTFPs production.
Documentation of NTFPs is considered essential for enabling easy access and use while NTFPs classification is one of the great steps toward it.
Classification of NTFPs
They are classified broadly on the basis of source of origin;
Based on Origin
- Plant origin: (Meditational plants, essential oils, etc)
- Animal origin: (Animal skin, feathers, horns, etc)
- Mineral origin: (Gravel, Sand, etc)
- Services: ( Eco-tourism, Aesthetic services )
The present manual of Nepal has classified the NTFPs found in central and western development regions of Nepal on the basis of the following two Essence:
A. NTFPs based on Ecological Zone
Nepal has been classified into five ecological regions. NTFPs are classified on the basis of their availability, and ecological suitability among these regions.
a. Tropical Zone
- Altitude ranges from 70-1000m.
- Major NTFPs in this region are: Acacia catechu, Acorus calamus, Calamus tenuis, Phyllanthus Emblica, Melia, azederach, Piper longum, Syzygium cumini, Tinospora cordifolia, Terminalia chebula, etc
b. Sub-Tropical Zone
- Altitude ranges from 1000-2000m
- Major NTFPs in this region are: Acorus calamus, Cinnamomum tamala, Daphne bholua, Datura stramonium, Adhatoda vasica, Myrica, esculenta, Zanthoxylem aematum, Pinus roxburghii, Elaeocarpus sphaericus etc
c. Temperate zone
- Altitude ranges from 2000-3000m
- Major NTFPs in this region are: Aconitumspecatum, Allium wallichi, Girardiana palmata, Juniperus communis, Lindera nessiana, Permelia species, Bergenia ciliata, Dactylorhiza hatageirea etc.
d. Sub-alpine zone
- Altitude ranges from: 3000-4000m
- Major NTFPs in this region are: Aconitum balfourii, Aconitum bisma, Daphne bholua, Juniperus indica, Cordyceps synesis, Lycopodium clavatum, Taxux baccata, Valeriana jatamansi etc
e. Alpine zone
- Altitude ranges from: 4000-5000m
- Major NTFPs in this region are: Aconitum bisma, Aconitum heterophyllum, Allium hyposistum, Juniperus recurva, Nardostachys grandiflora, Styrax benzoin, Rhododendron anthopogon etc
B. NTFPs based on Nature, Kind, and Uses
Plants have been used as healers, and health rejuvenators as the basis of the traditional or indigenous systems of health in Nepal from time immemorial. Due to the wide variation in altitude, climate, and physiography of Nepal, it is rich in flora and fauna. More than 700 species of medicinal plants have been enumerated.
- Acorus calamus- Rhizome- used for tonic, expectorant, stimulant, diarrhea, intestinal worms, mouth disorders etc.
- Artemisia vulgaris- Titepati- used for skin disease, anthelmintic, wormifuge, etc
Humans are acquainted with aroma and aromatic substances for a long time. Essential oils obtained from some plants may be hydrocarbons or oxygen substances ( alcohol, aldehyde, ketones, etc). The essential oil has huge religious importance resulting in high prices in the international market. Some plants bearing essential oils are listed below;
- Acorus calamus- Rhizomes
- Cedrus deodar-Wood
- Cinnamomum camphor- Wood and leaves
- Elletaria cardamomum-Fruits
- Jasminum Officinalis-Flowers
Oils, Fats, and Waxes
Fats and oils are essential lipids found in nature that comprise one of the major food factors. We can extract fats and oils from plants through various extraction processes. Some important plants bearing fats and oils are listed below;
- Azadirachta indica, Emblica officinalis, Madhuca indica, Mallotus phillippensis, Mesua ferrea, Semecarpus anacardium etc
- Waxes- Agave sisalana, Myrica esculenta, Simmondisia chinensis etc
Plants have been sources of food for the existence of all living beings. The improved varieties of crops at present were once wild plants. Thus many wild plants are still edible and can be commercialized with sustainable management. Some of the wild edible plants in Nepal are:
- Aegle marmelos- pulp of fruit
- Aesandra butyracea- oil and ghee
- Allium hyposistum- Leaves in dal and curry
- Anthocephalus cadamba- Floer heads, etc
Dyes and Tannins
Tannins and dyes are simple chemical compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen along with nitrogen in the case of dyes. Simply they are secretion products of plant tissues. Tannins are obtained from the wood bark, fruit, leaves, etc used for ink manufacture, astringents in medicine or mordants for dyes fixing.
Dyes are colored compounds that can be firmly fixed to fabrics by physical and chemical bonding. Plant dyes are superior due to their high endurance and soft lustrous coloring mainly used in dyeing fabrics.
More than 170 plants in Nepal have dyeing properties. Example:
- Acacia katechu, Adina cordifolia, Alnus nepalensis, Bauhinea purpurea etc
Religious and Ceremonial Plants
Forest has had religious as well as spiritual importance since ancient times. Plants are regarded to be incarnations or symbols of gods or deities and worshipped by many ethnic groups which are also mentioned in Hindu philosophy.
Some examples of sacred and useful plants and trees in Nepal are:
- Bambusa spp.
- Betula utilis
- Basia butyraceae
- Cannabis sativa
- Cynodon dactylon
- Ficus religiosa
- Elaeocarpus sphaericus etc
Spices, Condiments, and Savory
Aromatic vegetable products are used in cooking for flavor dishes. Over 45 species are known to be used as spices in cooking in Nepal. Some examples are:
- Piper nigrum- seeds and fruits
- Trachyspermum ammi- seeds
- Zanthoxyllum aematum- fruits
- Mentha spicata- Leaves
- Cinnamomum tamala-Leaves and barks
- Allium hypsistum-leaves etc
Fibers and flosses
Plant fibers are the thread-like tissues obtained from sclerenchymatous parts of the plant body. They are the raw material for making clothes. Fibers and flosses are obtained from the following species:
- Agave Americana- Leaves
- Cannabis sativa-
- Daphme bholua- stem bark
- Eulaliopsis binata- Grass fiber
- Giraradinia heterophylla- whole plant
- Sesbania bispinosa-Stem etc
Some medicinal plant can also be poisonous if the action and quantity of uptake is incorrect. Some NTFPs are used for the production of poison. Some examples are:
- Abrus precatorius- seeds
- Bredelia retusa- shoots in spring
- Albizzia procera- bark poisonous to fish
- Eupatorium odoratum- poisonous to fish
- Juglans regia- repellant to leach
- Adina cordifolia- Maggots in sores etc
Paper and Pulp
Cellulose is the basic raw material for pulp and paper. The fibrous raw material for pulp and paper can be derived from plants that can grass species, herbs, shrubs, or large trees. Some species favorable for providing pulp and paper raw materials are;
- Albezia lebbeck,-wood
- Arundo donax- stems
- Daphne bholua-bark
- Eulaliopis binnata- whole plant
- Dendrocalamus spps- stem
Lac is the secretion of insects belonging to the genus Lacccifer. Lac is the resinous substance secreted as a protective covering by the tiny lac insect which is found as a parasite on a number of plants. Lac and Shellac are used in a wide variety of applications in plastics, electrical adhesive, leather, wood finishing, gramophones records, surface coating, lamination, etc.
They are found in the following species:
- Acacia katechu, Acacia nilotica, Ficus spps, Zizyphus mauritiana etc
Beedi leaves are used for wrapping tobacco in Beedi manufacture. Some plant species used as beedi leaves are:
- Bauhinia vahlii, Butea monosperma, Castenopsis indica, Diospyros melaxymelon, etc.
Beads for Ornaments
- Elaeocarpus mukorrosi, Occimum sanctum, Zizyphus incurva, etc.
Ornamental, Leaf litter, and handicrafts
NTFPs of Mineral origin
- Marble etc.