The design of protocols for the sustainable harvest of the non-timber boreal forest products Acorus americanus and Vaccinium angustifolium

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Morgan, Shaunna Marie
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Non-timber forest products (NTFP) are all biological materials, other than timber, which are removed from natural or managed forests for human use or consumption (Peters 1994, Broekhoven 1996). In recent decades, NTFP have been viewed as a means of conserving, managing and optimizing tropical forest ecosystems while still providing economic benefits to local residents (Wickens 1991, Hall and Bawa 1993, Salick 'et al'. 1995, Velasquez Runk 1998). NTFP may provide similar opportunities and advantages to aboriginal Canadians living in the boreal forests of Canada. Therefore, protocols for establishing sustainable harvesting levels were designed and tested for two NTFP, 'Acorus americanus' and 'Vaccinium angustifolium ', in association with aboriginal communities of Manitoba and Ontario as a means of conserving, monitoring and optimizing boreal forest ecosystems. This was the first study to examine the effects of various harvesting intensities on 'V. angustifolium' and 'A. americanus '. In accordance with expectations, 'A. americanus' rhizome dry mass, shoot density and percent cover decreased as harvesting intensity increased. This was expected since the rhizome, the organ harvested for its medicinal values, is the primary means for propagation. Suggestions were made for modification to the monitoring protocols for 'A. americanus ' developed in this study. Monitoring different harvesting levels of 'V. angustifolium' for two years produced unexpected results. This project is the first to examine effects of various harvesting levels on blueberry production. As harvesting intensity increased, mass, volume and berry density tended to decrease among harvested treatments. Interestingly, harvesting some (30%) or most (70%) of the berries may have had a stimulatory effect on berry density, resulting in an apparent increased yield compared with the control or the 100% harvesting intensity. Recommendations were also made to improve the monitoring protocols for 'V. angustifolium'.