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Natural Resources - Non-Timber Forest Products

University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s natural resources experts conduct field research and provide information and consultation for people who harvest and use non-timber forest products.

What are Non-Timber Forest Products?

non-timber forest products: Balsam wreathe, birchbark moose, maple syrup, bowl, twig basket, canned fiddleheads, spruce beer, tea, hazelnut crunch snack

Photos by David Fuller.

  • Fiber
    • brown/black ash
    • spruce roots
    • bark
  • Food
  • Herbs and medicinals
    • compounds from pine needles and birch bark
    • goldthread
  • Maine Woods Icons
    • balsam fir pillows
    • weather sticks
  • Ornamentals
    • balsam fir and pine boughs
    • cedar
    • birch bark
    • branches
    • cones
  • Resin
    • spruce gum
    • balsam fir
  • Seeds
    • wildflowers
    • conifer

Potential for the State of Maine

  • enhancing small business development in rural forested areas
  • helping farmers and other woodlot owners supplement incomes between timber harvests
  • assisting farmers and other woodlot owners to pay their taxes and keep family forests

Non-timber forest products are an important part of Maine’s heritage and culture and have a current estimated value of $55 million/year.


Ongoing research for non-timber forest products is vital to determine sustainable harvest levels and practices to ensure they maintain their cultural and economic importance for generations to come.

  • 4-year research project by UMaine Extension in Franklin County to study the effect of harvesting fiddleheads from Ostrich Ferns — in manuscript
  • Effects of Cook Method and Time on the Safety and Quality of Maine Fiddleheads — ongoing

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