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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Growing and supporting non-timber forest production in Ohio 

Jan. 22, 2024
Jake Nicholson outside in front of trees

Recent graduate joins team to support traditional and emerging non-timber forest products in Ohio. 

Jake Nicholson, an alum of the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) with an undergraduate major in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife is our new Community Outreach Specialist of Nontimber Forest Products. The position – a new one for SENR and based on The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Wooster Campus – seeks to grow connections, learning and engagement with Ohio woodland owners, forest managers and producers. 

Nicholson will serve as a liaison or bridge between Christmas tree growers, maple producers and others with an interest in these and other emerging value-added nontimber forest products such as pawpaw, ginseng and mushrooms and Ohio State.  

What are non-forest timber products?
According to Inside Agroforestry, a USDA National Agroforestry publication, "Non-timber forest products (NTFP) come from plants; parts of plants, fungi, and other biological material. They are harvested from within and on the edges of natural, manipulated or disturbed forests. NTFPs include fungi, moss, lichen, herbs, vines, shrubs, or trees. Roots, tubers, leaves, bark, twigs and branches, fruit, sap and resin, as well as wood, are harvested to make non-timber products."
Learn more about these products HERE.

"In Ohio we have a high percentage of woodland owners with 10-20 acres, who may not know what value-added opportunities exist for their land," said Nicholson.  

Meeting with woodland owners and producers throughout the state, Nicholson will have the opportunity to help fill this gap – learning about the diversity of experiences with non-timber forest production, exploring innovative and best-practices, identifying challenges, and gaps in knowledge to produce resources and enhanced opportunities to meet the needs of producers and woodland owners, and overall grow collaboration, awareness and knowledge of the income potential of traditional and emerging non-timber forest products. A person standing behind a counter in a kitchen.

"At the end of the day, non-timber forest management and traditional forestry share the same goal: a healthy and sustainable ecosystem. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to shine a light on alternative management goals for those who wish to supplement their existing management plans, and for those that this is their first step into responsible forest management."

Nicholson will be on hand at the upcoming Ohio Woodland Stewards Program "Backyard Maple Production: Learn to Make Maple Syrup at Home" at the Warren County Fairgrounds on January 29, and at the March 2 Ohio Christmas Tree Association annual winter meeting. If you seen Jake, be sure to say hello!