StarTree: Multipurpose trees and non-wood forest products: a challenge and opportunity
StarTree is a pan-European project to support the sustainable exploitation of forest resources for rural development. The project ran from November 2012 – October 2016 and is now completed.
‘A pan-European project to support the sustainable exploitation of forest resources for rural development’
In 2012 Reforesting Scotland (RS) was invited to join a consortium bidding for 4 years of EU research funding. The bid was successful, and RS became a partner in the StarTree research project, studying ‘non-wood forest products and multi-purpose trees’ (NWFPs and MPTs).
As an SME partner (rather than an academic institution), RS’s role was to engage with people on the ground within our own region. For the first few months of data collection RS consultants responded to requests from academic colleagues, answering questionnaires and delivering surveys, helping to build a picture of the State of the European NWFP sector. These were followed by in-depth case studies on institutions and innovation, which gave us our first chance to influence the direction of the work. At the same time we began action research, the part of the work which was designed almost entirely by RS and our partners within Scotland.
Throughout the project we attended 6-monthly meetings around Europe; we helped to raise awareness of the project and disseminate its outputs; and we drew together and engaged with a StarTree regional stakeholder group.
StarTree spanned four years from November 2012 to October 2016. It provided new impetus to RS’s forest products work, took us in directions we might not otherwise have gone, and gave us a taste of collaborating with organisations and academics across Europe.
This section of the website provides a record of some of StarTree’s outputs, showing how Reforesting Scotland’s activities linked into StarTree’s academic work streams and the formal project reports.
The StarTree project in Scotland was delivered by:
- Emma Chapman – Project Manager and Researcher
- Toni Dickson – Researcher
- Fi Martynoga – Director
- Sally Macpherson – Director
- with additional help from researchers Lorna Slade and Crispin Hayes
StarTree Action Research
“Action Research is a participatory, adaptive process whereby reflection from personal, group and external perspectives is employed to critically evaluate progress during project implementation and project goals and activities can be reformulated if required.” [StarTree deliverable D1.5: Action research reports]
Scotland was one of 5 European case study regions chosen for StarTree Action Research. This was the one part of RS’s StarTree work which was designed entirely by RS staff and directors, in consultation with the groups we worked with.
We started with an initial remit given by the StarTree consortium: “Design, undertake market research, launch and monitor reactions to regional branding for NWFPs.”
In response to this, we adopted three broad objectives:
- To work with existing NWFP initiatives which included an element of branding to increase their existing capacity.
- To raise awareness of the NWFP sector as a whole.
- To establish actions which would continue to have benefits after the end of the StarTree project.
We started with a piece of desk research. This report, NWFP initiatives in the UK and worldwide, investigated existing initiatives that involve, support and promote non-wood forest products (NWFPs) in the UK and in countries across the world, along with others which were related enough to provide potential models for NWFP support initiatives in Scotland.
Engaging with NWFP initiatives:
We worked with:
- the Scottish Working Woods label (SWW);
- the Scottish Wild Harvests Association;
- many of Scotland’s coppicers;
- and on updating the willowscotland, treenurseryscotland and woodfuelscotland directories.
These elements depended closely on each other. The SWW scheme is run by its member organisations. SWHA is a SWW member organisation through which NWFP businesses can apply to use the label. While the Action Research was being planned, a SWHA member asked to be able to use the SWW label for their coppice products, which gave us a reason for working with coppicers. Work to update the woodland product directories, envisaged simply as a route towards our aim of raising awareness of the NWFP sector, unexpectedly uncovered interest in the use of the label for other NWFPs.
We also found ways to link AR to other aspects of RS’s StarTree work, especially the Regional Stakeholder Group meetings and the in-depth case studies. This increased the number of people we were able to engage with and led to many synergies – and some great discussions.
StarTree deliverable D1.5 [available autumn 2016] includes detailed reports of all the StarTree Action Research work, in Scotland, Wales, Austria, Catalonia, and Castilla y León, setting each in the wider research context. The report’s conclusions and recommendations include some fascinating insights into how an Action Research approach can offer a different approach to design and delivery of research and of other funded projects.
Action Research outputs
- StarTree deliverable D1.5: Action Research reports, Jennifer Wong et al., 2016 [available autumn 2016]
- NWFP initiatives in the UK and worldwide, Antonia Dickson, 2014
- Action Research posters created for the StarTree meeting in Joenssu Finland, May 2015. (The display included a poster for each of the StarTree AR regions, and updates on other StarTree work.)
Scottish Working Woods label
- New logo produced by SWW board members during the Action Research
- New SWW website developed by RS staff and SWW company secretary
- Scottish Working Woods label survey report, 2015
- Strategy and reference groups formed for drawing up SWW label criteria for hazel and willow coppice, baskets, and fruit and nut trees
- SWW information display and sample NWFP products, brought by RS to Wild Forest Products Fair, North Wales, May 2016
- ‘Scottish Working Woods‘, article in Reforesting Scotland Journal 52
- ‘Scottish Working Woods‘, article in Scottish Basketmakers’ Circle Newsletter
- ‘The Scottish Working Woods label in 2015’, article in The Full Circle (the journal of the Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers), by Patrick Baxter, chair of SWW
Scottish Wild Harvests Association
- Facilitated two gatherings of the Scottish Wild Harvests Association (SWHA)
- Liaised between SWHA and SWW
- SWHA members involved in StarTree Regional Stakeholder Group meetings and in the Wild Forest Products Fair, North Wales, May 2016
- SWHA member survey report, 2016
- Raised awareness of the 2014 Coppice Network Study Report, by Donald McPhillimy Associates
- Facilitated the creation and use of the Scottish Coppice Forum
- Worked with 7 other organisations to create a proposal for Scotland’s first coppice festival
- Strategy and reference group formed for drawing up SWW label criteria for hazel and willow coppice
Woodland product directories
The StarTree project gave Reforesting Scotland the opportunity to bring together a small number of people to form a ‘regional stakeholder group’ (RSG), to help guide and inform our StarTree work.
The basic ask was that RSG members came to a one-day meeting, with the hope that they would then attend 3 subsequent meetings over the course of the next 3 years, to have a further input into the project, to hear how it was developing, and to help disseminate the results.
From RS’s point of view, these meetings were amongst the highlights of the work. We already had contacts among people around Scotland who represented a range of perspectives and expertise on the production, management and use of non-wood forest products. The RSG meetings gave us a chance to bring some of these people together for a day, along with others we didn’t already know, resulting in some very useful exchanges of views and meetings of minds.
We were able to take some direction from the group’s suggestions. Most of the work we had to deliver over the 4 years of StarTree had already been defined at the project planning stage, before Reforesting Scotland joined the consortium, but we had some leeway in our “in-depth case studies” and especially in our Action Research.
1st meeting, 13 November 2013
- Minutes of first Regional Stakeholder Group meeting, Scotland
- Blog post on first Regional Stakeholder Group meeting
- An introduction to StarTree Presentation given by Jenny Wong of StarTree partner Wild Resources Limited
- Stakeholder engagement and the Regional Stakeholder Group
- Data collection – do you know the answers?
- Action research
- The Knowledge Exchange Events
Actions – woodfuel
- Updating the woodfuelscotland directory as part of the Action Research.
- Facilitating communications among Scotland’s coppice workers, as part of the Action Research.
- Links to research from Welsh StarTree partners: Wales Domestic Firewood Survey 2012; Llais y Goedwig’s Advisory Note 8: Undertaking a survey of local firewood demand and market potential.
Actions – steps towards creating a baseline survey of Scottish NWFP sector
- Updating willowscotland, treenurseryscotland and woodfuelscotland directories, as part of the Action Research.
- Using the network analysis in-depth case study as an opportunity to increase contacts with tutors and hosts of NWFP courses.
2nd meeting, 23 July 2015
By now nearly two years of the StarTree project were finished, making this a good time to review the questions put to Reforesting Scotland’s researchers during the first RSG meeting, to see what answers we had to any of them by now. There was less to report than we’d expected – we were only just learning how long it can take for published outputs to emerge from a four-year research project. So we gave advance notice of some planned outputs, and then focused on what could be achieved in the part of the project which RS was free to design, the Action Research.
- Review of the minutes of our first meeting – what answers can StarTree provide?
- Report on innovation case study – Toni Dickson
- Report on berry picking case study
- Report on supply chain surveys for 3 NWFPs
- Introducing Action Research
- Introducing the Scottish Working Woods label – Nick Marshall
- The Delphi study method – Toni Dickson
- Forest products – a few examples, followed by discussion
- StarTree Wild Forest Products Fair, Wales May
3rd meeting, 15 April 2016
Presentations & meeting content
- Brief overview – StarTree project timetable, where we are now?
- Some themes from StarTree research
- Action Research & what’s happening on the ground – a series of short presentations:
- Discussion on NWFP institutions
- Introducing the Innovation Generator and Innovations Database
4th meeting, 24 October 2016
Presentations & meeting content
- StarTree results – a few highlights, with links to more
- Bayesian Belief Networks – a tool for Scottish forest planning? (Thanks to Patrick Huber for allowing us to use his presentation.)
- Action Research – key findings & recommendations from the 5 StarTree Action Research regions. (Thanks to Jenny Wong for allowing us to use her presentation.)
- Scottish Working Woods label – developing criteria for NWFPs
- ‘The Scottish Working Woods label in 2015’, article in The Full Circle, Spring 2015 – referenced in the SWW presentation
- Scotland’s First Coppice Festival 2017 – plans so far
- Scottish Coppice Forum – this is live on the Reforesting Scotland forum page and will be actively promoted
- An idea from Norway – could an app designed for Norwegian hunters have potential for Scotland’s mushroom trade?
- And discussion. Diverse, animated, well-informed, wonderful discussion. Thanks again to all who participated!
The “Resource management” strand of the StarTree project was all about forestry and silviculture for non-wood forest products (NWFPs).
Researchers reviewed the existing state of the art in silvicultural guidelines, forestry planning models and decision support tools. Then, in an industry which usually focuses almost exclusively on timber, they looked at ways to enhance production of NWFPs. They worked closely with their regional stakeholders to choose what to study, and to design Resource Management In-Depth Case Studies.
They looked at NWFPs which were already important crops, including bay leaves, lime flowers, chestnuts, cherries, cork, pine dew honey, pine nuts, sorbus fruits, boletes, blaeberries and cowberries. The products chosen often reflected the countries in which the research organisations were based, so most of the work was done in Spain, Portugal, Catalonia, Finland, Turkey and Germany.
Timber and berries
“StarTree’s revised guidelines for bilberry and cowberry detail how to optimise stand management for the joint production of timber and berries.” This raises exciting possibilities for managing woodland in Scotland for production of berries as well as timber. The StarTree research was done in Finland, so further trials would be needed to confirm whether the recommendations work for Scotland as well.
Timber and mushrooms
The StarTree Reader chapter “Promoting wild mushroom yields by forest management” details findings from Finland and Spain, where researchers looked at the effects of different forestry thinning regimes on yields of mycorrhizal edible mushrooms. Both studies found that “the production of timber and wild mushrooms are not competing with each other”. This is another very promising result which may also hold good in Scotland.
Cork and pine nuts
Cork production gives a view into a long-established and intricately managed and regulated NWFP. (See Cork, nuts and resin: Portugal’s long view of non-wood forest products‘, in Reforesting Scotland Journal issue 49.) The StarTree snapshot on Managing cork oak shows how detailed the managment calculations can be in an established NWFP production system.
By contrast, the work on domesticating Mediterranean native pine nut crops has only recently begun, as described in another StarTree snapshot, titled “Pine nuts, gourmet food: from woodlands… or from orchards?“. It was fascinating to visit a stand of conifers and discover that techniques such as grafting were being used, reminiscent of techniques used for managing apple trees in Scotland.
The distinction between NWFPs (sometimes called “wild forest products”) and cultivation e.g. in orchards is blurred. There is a tendency for harvested species to become managed and then eventually cultivated, a dynamic which has been commented on many times during StarTree. Many different opinions have emerged on what should, or should not, be included within NWFP research.
Appropriately, the first keynote speech during the StarTree final conference was: “Wild forest products, between domestication and rewilding“, by Freerk Wiersum. The second keynote speech, by Paul Vantomme, underlined this issue by lamenting the lack of agreement among researchers and policy makers on a definition of what should be included in a study of NWFPs (or even any agreement on which term to use).
The first StarTree field trip gave a striking example of a local native product – the truffle, in Catalonia – undergoing rapid development towards cultivation.
More on Resource Management
- Some fascinating presentations and posters on resource management topics are available to download from the StarTree Final Conference page on the StarTree website
- The StarTree project website has a page dedicated to the official reports on Resource Management produced by the StarTree project.
- In Scotland, the questionnaire sent to professional foresters contributed towards report D2.1, the State of the art review of silviculture, models and decision support tools for MPT and NWFP – many thanks to all who responded!
- StarTree snapshot: silvicultural guidelines on managing cherry tree stands for production of both cherries and veneer timber
- StarTree Reader chapter, ‘Food from trees: managing forests to promote edible tree fruits’
- StarTree snapshot: New decision support tools for wild forest product management
- Databases of forest decision support systems and forestry models
Institutions are “the conventions, norms and legal rules of a society” that constrain and enable human interactions, “provide expectations, stability and meaning essential to human existence and cooperation” (Hodgson, 2006; North, 1990; Vatn, 2005, 2006)D4.3 Informal institutions and stakeholder perceptions
Use the StarTree European Non-Wood Forest Products Policy Portal to find out about the policies throughout the StarTree partner regions on:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Biodiversity and endangered species
- Food safety
- Fruit and vegetable regime
- Green public procurement
- Intellectual property
- Plant health and biosecurity
- Product labelling
- and Research programmes.
You can search by area, country or category.
Policy Briefing: Wild forest products (WFPs) are vitally important for Europe’s people and its economy. Used wisely they can help to bring about the necessary shift to a sustainable, smart and inclusive bio-based economy, a bioeconomy.
The evolution of institutions
‘The evolution of institutions for non‐wood forest products: an empirical study of harvesting practices across Europe
These findings from StarTree’s work on institutions were published as a paper during the 11th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics
and also as a presentation by Irina Prokofieva during the StarTree Final Conference. They provide a fascinating snapshot of the similarities and differences around Europe, with a range of formal and informal rules and values.
Reforesting Scotland conducted a series of interviews with commercial wild berry pickers. Berries were chosen as an uncontroversial product group around which to start an exploration of the attitudes to wild harvesting law and custom among both gatherers and landowners.
This was one of several in-depth case studies in different StarTree partner regions, aiming to explore:
- Existing informal institutions (e.g. agreements and customary rights);
- Factors that led to the emergence of these informal institutions;
- Possible positive or negative interactions of these informal institutions with the value chain of
the specific NWFP.
The findings were collated and analysed in StarTree Deliverable 4.3: ‘Informal institutions and stakeholder perceptions of institutional role in selected regions‘, and summarised in a poster, ‘Informal institutions governing access and harvesting of NWFP: findings from ten in-depth case studies.’
More on institutions
- The StarTree project website has a page dedicated to the official reports on Institutions produced by the StarTree project.
Economy & Marketing
StarTree researchers based in the University of Padua, Italy, focused on the economics of non-wood forest products (NWFPs).
They analysed existing statistics on international trade in NWFPs, showing the extent to which European countries (especially Western ones) rely on imports. They identified four products for which the EU was a leading trader & producer: chestnuts, tannins, wild mushrooms, and cork.
NWFPs are not widely recognised as a distinct sector, which made their work much more difficult. They had to create new data cleaning methods, and they gave much thought to the definition of NWFPs – or “WFPs”: wild forest products.
For more on this study see:
- StarTree deliverable D3.2: NWFP in the international market: current situation and trend
- Wild forest products international trade: which opportunities for the European market? – presentation by Davide Pettenella during the Wild Forest Products conference, 2016
New data on NWFP supply chains was collected by StarTree partners in 14 different regions.
In Scotland we surveyed the honey and mushroom supply chains. (And conducted an initial scoping study on venison – see “More venison, more trees?” in Reforesting Scotland Journal 52.) We are very grateful to all those who gave their time to help with this research.
The survey, designed for use in all 14 regions across Europe, analysed the supply chain into producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers. (For mushrooms, “producers” meant pickers; for honey, the beekeepers were the producers.) This structure was difficult to apply to Scotland, as a high proportion of the companies are small to micro, with more than one function carried out by one company.
The Scottish mushroom industry is not easy to survey. There is no official register of pickers or distributors, and no trade body. Pickers in particular may be reluctant to be interviewed, with concerns about their legal situation, about disclosing their part-time casual income, and about revealing their good picking areas. The data we gathered could be seen as a snapshot – fascinating, but incomplete. To survey the sector thoroughly would require a dedicated study with plenty of time to build relationships and snowball new leads.
Beekeepers are much more inclined to talk about what they do! Due to the complexity of the questionnaire we were delivering, we interviewed by telephone, and could only survey a small proportion of Scotland’s estimated 4,000 beekeepers, so again the results were statistically incomplete. One qualitative finding was that they have many different business models – especially in terms of how they grade their honey and where they sell it. Another is that demand for honey is high: they can sell “every drop” that they produce.
Analysis: East-West imports & informal markets
Supply chain results from all 14 regions were analysed to produce StarTree report D3.2: The regional markets of NWFP.
Findings included: “a clear dualistic structure of the market with the main end-users situated in the western European countries and the main producing companies located in the East of Europe.” This usefully confirmed existing anecdotal impressions.
And: “In countries where the demand of a given NWFP was high, we found a consistent and flourishing informal market. Skipping all the fiscal and bureaucratic duties, producers of NWFPs were able to compete with prices on the international market.”
Policy recommendation: taxation
During the StarTree final conference, one presentation, Wild forest products supply chain and legislation, was used to argue for changes in tax law. It said that it is unrealistic to expect “informal producers” to declare their income from picking NWFPs (“extra income paid in cash”) and also that taxing production drives up the raw material cost so that a country’s own products cannot compete on the international market. It built on the conclusion of report D3.2, which proposed that other European countries should adopt the Finnish model, where pickers of wild berries and mushrooms are exempt from tax, which is instead paid by the processor, wholesaler or retailer to whom they sell the raw produce. (The StarTree Reader chapter “Voluntary harvesting codes” gives more information about mushroom and berry picking in Finland.)
A different perspective can be found in ‘Wild Mushrooms in Italy: from a commodity to a recreational service‘. Italian legislation in the 1990s portioned out harvesting rights for wild mushrooms. These restrictions on picking have not protected the Italian supply chain from competition from other countries, but they have promoted a situation where many Italians can enjoy picking mushrooms for their own use, often benefiting local tourism & service industries.
There is a question here of values, and of what legislation and regulations are trying to achieve. The Institutions part of StarTree work was dedicated to such issues.
Policy issue: traceability
Wild forest products supply chain and legislation highlighted another issue with wild-gathered food.
According to EU law (General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002, Article 18), all food sold should be traceable “at all stages of production, processing and distribution”. When the first step of a bulk supply chain is provided by anonymous casual pickers, this requirement is very unlikely to be met. This is a problem from the point of view of tax – and also, as emphasised by knowledgeable members of our own Startree stakeholder group, a potential public health tragedy just waiting to happen. If a restaurant cannot find out who picked the food they are serving, can they guarantee that picker’s knowledge of edible versus poisonous species?
Policy recommendation: a diverse, small-scale bioeconomy
The ‘Wild forest products international trade‘ presentation concluded with a call for policy makers to remember that Europe’s bioeconomy is not only about huge quantities of biomass which shipped to feed centralised power stations or biorefineries.
With NWFPs, bioeconomy can be about:
- social innovations;
- small scale enterprises with high added value;
- network economies vs value chains;
- diverse raw materials;
- market power distributed among many smaller players;
- public-private initiatives in education, training and non-patented innovations.
More on Economy and Marketing
- The StarTree project website has a page dedicated to the official reports on Economy and Marketing produced by the StarTree project.
StarTree snapshot ‘Rural development and SMEs‘ looks at how people add value to wild forest products. Our survey of Tutors and Venues of wild forest product courses fed into this wider study. Respondents suggested a way to add more value in Scotland – create a directory of these courses!
“Innovation is the introduction of a something new to the market: goods, productions methods, new materials or resources, new forms of organisations, or the creation of a new market itself.“
– Innovation Systems and Processes, a StarTree snapshot
Promising chemical substances
A review of secondary metabolites in non-timber forest product (NTFP) species and their potential or known pharmaceutical properties. Takes as an example Amygdalin from black cherry (Prunus serotina), an introduced species which is a “plague” in forests in Waldemarker, a Startree case study region in Germany. Unconfirmed research suggests great potential as an anti-cancer drug. The report studies the legal directives which have to be complied with in developing an innovative pharmaceutical product based on NTFPs: “It is hard to meet requirements made for synthetic drugs with a heterogen raw material such as wild plants.”
- Summary: New forest products and promising chemical substances
- Full report: D5.2 Report on new forest products and promising chemical substances
Innovation Case Database
“From analysing the 44 cases, the following patterns can be identified. The majority of collected innovation cases are run by micro and small companies, are new to the sector and are marketing innovations. They mostly belong to the sphere of food and beverages, but there are also innovations in other areas, such as providing trainings, the NWFP-specialized services, using chemical and pharmaceutics gained from NWFPs in industry, and organizing many outdoor activities and entertainment around NWFPs. This wide scope of fields is remarkable and means on the one hand a great potential and opportunities for activities of forest holdings, on the other hand it is an important challenge as they need expertise from quite different knowledge fields as well as network connections in various different sectors. It seems typical that our cases often connect to modern lifestyles which re-appreciate traditions, wild, natural and/or sustainable products, often in a high-price segment such as organic or health products.”
– D5.5 Report on design for database of innovative examples for new forest products
- Reforesting Scotland’s West Moss-side Centre StarTree Innovation Case Study provided material for the Innovation Database.
In-depth case studies
“NWFPs as non-timber products are dealt with by administrators as somewhere between several sectors such as food and beverage industry, tourism and energy…”
- In-Depth Case Study – Cairn O’Mohr Wines, Scotland
- Full report on studies across StarTree regions: D.5.6 Innovation Systems and Processes
- Summary poster: Support for innovation on private forest
land: The practice of Entrepreneurship (Also published as an academic paper, and presented at the StarTree Final Conference.)
Innovation systems analysis
This report on policies and actors in the sector, and the interactions between them, highlighted:
- a lack of access to finances;
- a lack of information on marketing;
- and a need for “more cross-sectoral coordination with the other relevant sectors that touch upon NWFPs”.
More material on innovations in non-wood forest products can be found in the StarTree “Innovation Generator” web interface.
Meetings & Field Trips
Every six months throughout the 4-year StarTree Project, representatives of each partner organisation met for a General Assembly meeting, starting in November 2012 with the Kick-off Meeting, and ending in October 2016 with the Wild Forest Products conference.
For the majority of each meeting we simply met for workshops and presentations in a functional, usually urban meeting venue in the host partner’s country. The venues were varied, and sometimes gorgeous, but these working meetings provided only the driest and most theoretical of links to the forests of Europe and their products.
But during most of those meetings, we were also taken out for a day to experience something of the woodland products of our host country. These days were the “Knowledge Exchange Events”.
The Reforesting Scotland Journal is published once every six months, so an article on the latest meeting or KEE was commissioned for each Journal issue from 47 through to 55. These articles are listed below, along with links to other items for each event, such as news items on the StarTree project website.
November 2012, Barcelona
- StarTree – A truffle hunt in Catalonia (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- StarTree kicks off in Barcelona (StarTree project website)
Spring 2013, Riga
- StarTree in Latvia (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- StarTree General Assembly News (StarTree project website)
October 2013, Lisbon
- Cork, nuts and resin: Portugal’s long view of non-wood forest products (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- StarTree partners visit Cork Capital Coruche (StarTree project website)
April 2014, Styria
- StarTree in Styria (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- Report on the 4th meeting of the RSG Styria (StarTree project website)
- StarTree in Styria, in pictures (StarTree project website)
October 2014, Padova
- StarTree in Italy (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- Stakeholder impressions of the StarTree General Assembly (StarTree project website)
May 2015, Joenssu
- StarTree in Finland: Mushrooms, berries and lakes (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- Beyond half way: a decisive phase for StarTree (StarTree project website)
November 2015, rural Germany
- A StarTree retreat in Germany (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- StarTree 7th General Assembly focused on the final stages of the project (StarTree project website)
May 2016, Bangor
Wild Forest Products Fair
- Wild Forest Products Fair (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
- StarTree in Wales (StarTree project website)
October 2016, Barcelona
- Wild Forest Products in Europe – StarTree project final conference (StarTree project website)
- Issue 55 of the Reforesting Scotland Journal was themed ‘Wild Harvests‘, in celebration of the successful conclusion of the StarTree project. It includes content drawn from the final conference, and written by StarTree colleagues. (Reforesting Scotland Journal)
Project materials produced by Reforesting Scotland
- DRAFT Regional state of the NWFP sector report: Scotland An overview of Scotland’s non-wood forest product sector, with annexes containing results from the detailed data-gathering conducted within Scotland for the StarTree project.
- StarTree Case Study – Cairn O’Mohr Wines. (This report fed into a joint academic paper, Ludwig et al 2016 – see below.)
- StarTree Case Study – West Moss-side Centre. (This was prepared as an entry for the planned StarTree Innovations Database.)
- Scottish Working Woods label survey report, 2015. (Part of RS’s Action Research.)
- Scottish Wild Harvests Association member survey report, 2016. (Part of RS’s Action Research.)
- Good harvesting practice guides: a response to changing cultures of foraging. (A StarTree Reader chapter designed and co-ordinated by Reforesting Scotland.)
- The Meetings & field trips around Europe page links to a set of Reforesting Scotland Journal articles, one for each of the StarTree “knowledge exchange events”.
- Issue 55 of the Reforesting Scotland Journal This entire issue of the Journal was themed ‘Wild Harvests‘, in celebration of the successful conclusion of the StarTree project.
Other published articles are listed below:
- Scottish Working Woods in Reforesting Scotland Journal 52
- More venison, more trees? in Reforesting Scotland Journal 52
- Blaeberries: foraging treasure in Reforesting Scotland Journal 54
- ‘Scottish Working Woods‘, article in Scottish Basketmakers’ Circle Newsletter
StarTree project deliverables
Non-wood forest products in Europe is the title of the final publication from the StarTree research project and forms No 10 in the series What science can tell us from the European Forest Institute. This report pulls together findings from the many research strands that formed StarTree. It follows the complete value chain from primary production to marketing, and the accompanying institutional frameworks. It goes into further depth, giving new insights into NWFPs in Europe; presenting new findings on markets in Europe; sketching out the needs for a new policy framework that addresses both EU and national specifications; and presenting examples of innovation in the sector.
This is important because in a bioeconomy based on natural resources, there is a need more fully to understand the complete spectrum of resources available, to identify potentials and niches of these resources, to clarify use rights, and also trade-offs and synergies between forest and other land-use forms. The Europe 2020 Strategy calls for ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive economic growth’. NWFPs can contribute substantially to this objective.
The “Deliverables” are the official outputs of the StarTree research project. They are made available on the StarTree project website once they have been approved for publication by the European Commission.
- The Practice of Entrepreneurship in the Non-Wood forest products sector: Support for Innovation on private forest land, Ludvig et al 2016. (See also the presentation about the paper for the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (EU-SPRI), Helsinki 2015.)
The StarTree project both produced and uncovered a large number of documents. Here are some which have a practical relevance for developing wild harvests knowledge and practice in Scotland:
StarTree woodland product survey
The aim of a woodland product survey is to assess both the variety and abundance of woodland products present in your woodland and provide you with sufficient information to consider what opportunities there may be to utilise them. In the much longer term, you may wish to alter the composition of species present, and understanding the ecology and physical conditions present at your site will help you to make better decisions.
To ensure that the survey is statistically robust (and results can be meaningfully compared with surveys in the future), it needs to be carried out systematically and with care. It can easily be done by amateurs provided they can identify common plant species and use a tape measure, compass and GPS.
Objectives of the survey
- To provide an overview of the presence and abundance of a range of woodland products.
- To provide basic data on tree stocking density (basal area), their size classes (stand tables), and spatial distribution.
- To gather data suitable for input into the Forestry Commission Ecological Site Model to examine the future potential for woodland products on the site.
Marketing Insights is a self-teaching tool to help woodland owners and managers identify products and services in their woodland that might be commercially viable, identify a potential market and work through all the stages required to bring the product to market.
It can be used in conjunction with the StarTree woodland product survey. It contains many case studies of successful marketing of wild forest products and services in different European countries.
If you wish to use this tool for private use please download it from here – StarTree Marketing Insights.
Reforesting Scotland Journal Issue 55: Wild Harvests
Issue 55 of the Reforesting Scotland Journal was themed ‘Wild Harvests‘, in celebration of the successful conclusion of the StarTree project. It looks at a range of wild harvests, including forest microbes and materials for tanning hides, as well as various aspects of foraging and wild food collection, and features articles by StarTree colleagues and contacts.
Project Blaeberry is a thorough and passionate piece of research,
meticulously argued, which presents a vision of how restoration of Vaccinium myrtillus understorey in Scotland could both underpin the ecology of new woodland plantings and also make them financially viable for community groups, producing a crop long before the timber trees could.
The author, Fiona Sinclair, searched literature, travelled, spoke and wrote to many people, and observed many blaeberry stands to piece together an understanding of both their uses and how they could be managed.
Published in 2001, this in-depth study was still unsurpassed when it was rediscovered by Reforesting Scotland’s researchers during the StarTree project. It includes a call for practical growing trials which could still very usefully be carried out. If you would like to get involved with doing this, please contact