Timber is not the only
useful product that grows in forests.
Things like berries, mushrooms, and greenery are also forest
products. These products are often referred to as “special forest
products”. Some landowners
have a large enough quantity of these products to make some additional
income. However, even
landowners who don’t wish to get into selling special forest products
can benefit from growing them. They
can be harvested for personal use, or to give as gifts to friends and
Chances are, you already
have some of these products on your property.
Berry-producing plants like salal, Oregon-grape, salmonberry,
thimbleberry, evergreen huckleberry and red huckleberry are very common in
western Washington and Oregon. Although
you probably won’t find these as tasty for fresh eating as the kinds of
berries found in the store, some make very good jams.
Various species of edible mushrooms are also common in Pacific
Northwest forests. You can
even make maple syrup from bigleaf maple (although it takes a lot more sap
than sugar maple).
If the things you want
are already on the property, you may not need to do anything, or you might
be able to increase the quantity by thinning
trees to allow more light to the understory plants.
If you are interested in growing species that aren’t already
growing there, most of the species you would be interested in are
available from native plant nurseries, and can be planted.
In the case of mushrooms, you can buy wood plugs containing
mushroom spawn to inoculate freshly dead wood.
Many landowners have a ready supply of small hardwood trees that
can be cut a few at a time for this purpose.
If you are interested in
enhancing the amount of special forest products on your property, let us
know. We can take a look with you to evaluate the opportunities.
You might enjoy some of the special forest products videos posted by our friend Kevin Zobrist of WSU extension on his YouTube channel. He has videos on making autumn wreaths, salal berry jam, and shiitake mushroom logs.