Demand for non-timber forest products: Surveys of urban consumers and sellers in Switzerland
In recent years, worldwide socioeconomic, ecological, and cultural changes have led to a paradigm shift in forestry and forest management. Some years ago, most forest enterprises exclusively focused on wood production, whereas today, forest management is expected to be multifunctional and economically as well as socially and ecologically sustainable [Harrison, S., Herbohn, J., Niskanen, A., 2002. Non-industrial, smallholder, small-scale and family forestry: what's in a name? Small-scale Forest Economics. Management and Policy 1 (1), 1-11; Schmithuesen, F., 2004. Forest policy developments in changing societies -- political trends and challenges to research. Towards the sustainable use of Europe's forests: Forest ecosystems and landscape research: Joensuu: European Forest Institute, Proc., vol. 49, pp. 87-99]. In this context, non-timber forest products (NTFPs) such as forest honey, mushrooms, or berries could gain importance as an additional source of income for the forestry sector. To assess the market potential of NTFPs in Switzerland, two corresponding surveys were conducted. A consumer survey (NÂ =Â 897) conducted in six cities in Switzerland investigated the purchase of Swiss NTFPs, consumer preferences, and demand potentials. An additional survey of sellers of NTFPs (NÂ =Â 105) looked at these aspects from a complementary perspective. The results showed that there is a high esteem and considerable demand potential for such products among urban consumers. Food products were mentioned most frequently. Both consumers and sellers considered quality and environmental friendliness the most important attributes of NTFPs. Structural and organizational innovations and considerable marketing efforts and sales promotion would be required to expand the market for Swiss NTFP, however. Our results indicate that certification of the products' origin, environmental performance, and quality could support such efforts and that recreational and ecological forest services have a synergetic potential for the marketing of NTFPs.
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