Innovations in Non-timber Forest Products: Towards Rural Development and Sustainability
In 2010, more than ¾ of the inhabitants of Latvia gathered one or another kind of wild or non-timber forest products (NTFPs) with an estimated net worth of EUR 95 million. This research project examines and facilitates innovations that enable integration of culturally driven NTFP (such as mushrooms, wild berries, saps) gathering practices into high value added niche markets, thus fostering sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable rural development, and emergence of new competitive enterprises in Latvia. The study asks three main research questions: (1) What stakeholder arrangements, practices, and knowledge allow rural communities to integrate NTFPs into niche markets? (2) How can social, organisational, and technical innovations be used to increase the added value of NTFPs? (3) What initiatives and governance models promote fair, innovative, sustainable, competitive, and transparent use of NTFPs? The conceptual framework of the study is based on theories of nested markets and diverse economies. The project, carried out over the course of 3 years, will rely on six case studies, documentary and policy analysis, and participatory synthesis workshops as cornerstone methods.
Research receives financial support from activity 126.96.36.199. “Post-doctoral Research Aid”. More information about the program available here.