Experimental harvesting of the non-timber forest product Ischnosiphon polyphyllus in central Amazonia


The harvesting of non-timber forest products has been proposed as an alternative to timber harvesting that can increase rural income while having a reduced impact on forest structure. However, surprisingly little is known about the biological consequences of harvesting these products. We conducted a 3-year experiment in which we simulated the stem harvesting of the Amazonian plant Ischnosiphon polyphyllus, which is used by traditional and indigenous populations in the Amazon for the construction of baskets, mats, and other handicrafts used in manioc cultivation. We found that plant mortality is limited in all except the most extreme harvesting treatments. However, we also found that plants recuperate extremely slowly from experimental harvesting. These results suggest that current harvesting strategies may not be conservative enough to ensure long-term population survival.

Forest Ecology and Management, (190), 2-3, pp. 219–225, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2003.10.013