What are the barriers to non-wood forest products (NWFP) development? This study analysed 20 innovation cases in Europe and proposed how they can be supported.

In their recent article, Weiss et al. (2023) discuss the potential role of non-wood forest products (NWFPs), which are so far largely neglected within forest-related bioeconomy research and policy. From an innovation system perspective, they look at the barriers to NWFP development and propose how they can be supported. They analysed 20 innovation cases in Europe based on the analysis of documents and semi-structured interviews with experts involved in the cases. Results show that there is no “one” innovation system supporting NWFPs, but support is given rather erratically through certain programmes from various sectoral or regional innovation systems (forestry, agriculture, nature conservation or rural or regional development). There is a pronounced neglect of the institutional system towards NWFPs, resulting in a lack of statistics, research, education and training programmes and focused support structures. However, their results show the rich potential of NWFPs in the forest bioeconomy for private forest owners and producers. These activities can range from a collection of NWFPs for subsistence to collectively organized production relevant to rural areas. Most of these are product innovations, some are service or social innovations, and some combine different innovation types. From some successful examples, the authors derive suggestions for improving innovation support structures.

Reference

Weiss, G., Ludvig, A., Živojinović, I. 2023. Embracing the Non-Wood Forest Products Potential for Bioeconomy — Analysis of Innovation Cases across Europe, Landhttps://doi.org/10.3390/land12020305