Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 505054
Title Sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products based on ecological and economic criteria
Author(s) Hernandez-Barrios, J.C.; Anten, N.P.R.; Martinez-Ramos, M.
Department(s) Crop and Weed Ecology
Publication type Dataset
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) plant demography - tropical rainforest - defoliation - socio-ecological sustainability
Toponym Southeast Mexico
Abstract Harvesting of highly valuable non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been considered a win-win strategy where local people profit while conserving forest biodiversity and ecosystem services. Nevertheless the sustainability of NTFP harvesting has been debated as the nature of NTFPs, harvesting regimes, and scale of commercialization are highly heterogeneous and few studies have evaluated the cumulative ecological and economic effects of such regimes. Here, we assessed the medium-term (10 years) sustainability of NTFP harvesting, using Chameadorea palm leaves, a major NTFP from Mesoamerica that is highly valued in the international floral industry, as a case study. We used an experimental ecological study and an economic assessment to analyse the sustainability of leaf harvesting in C. ernesti-augustii. A four-year leaf removal experiment was conducted to assess effects of increasing levels of defoliation (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% leaf removal, biannually) on palm survivorship, leaf production and leaf quality. Results of this experiment were combined with estimations of harvest economic value to make projections of the availability of leaves and profit per unit area. Finally, we determined harvesting regimes that maximize profit while maintaining medium-term viability of exploited populations. Palms tolerated up to 50% chronic defoliation, but higher defoliation levels reduced survivorship, leaf production, and leaf quality. In the long-term, this 50% defoliation level maximized harvest volume and profit without significantly affecting palm survival and leaf quality. Our results show that harvesters face the dilemma of either maximizing short-term income leading to rapid exhaustion of stocks, or maintaining exploited populations but maximizing income in the long-term. Synthesis and applications. Our study shows that intermediate harvesting levels (≤ 50% leaf removal) are needed to achieve long-term sustainability of Chameadorea palm leaves. Results of this study have an immediate application for the amendment of the official Mexican law, which enables higher harvesting intensities of Chamaedorea leaves, and for the design of sustainable management strategies. Applications of such strategies should consider community-based management, fair markets, regulating norms, as well as a thorough communication among stakeholders.
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