Tree Foundation of Kern

Special Forest Products Entrepreneur

To develop and market new uses for forest products other than lumber

The field of forest products entrepreneur offers financial opportunities for those willing to gamble on a good idea.

Those in the field say the industry is in its infancy with enterprises tending more toward hobbies than income-generating businesses but believe there are undiscovered profits hidden within the forest.

Special forest products runs a wide gamut of materials including plants and edibles to rocks and small diameter trees and pine cones.

Presently most special forest products are used on a small scale ranging from using scrap timber for construction of souvenirs, crafts and furniture to harvesting mazataki mushrooms and medicinal plants in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

The days of cutting large, old growth timber are fading fast and public agencies are looking for opportunities to utilize other forest resources more effectively.

Tree cutting for fire hazard prevention continues to produce stock of small trees such as cedar typically eight to ten inches in diameter. Those trees historically have been burned or chipped and dispersed providing minimal benefit to the forest.

Permits from public land agencies and even purchase of forest products requires only small expenditures by the entrepreneur. Ten dollars can typically buy a truckload of brush or a cord of wood - a small initial investment for someone who can transform the wood into profitable uses.

Many forests have personnel devoted to assisting forest products entrepreneurs who can help smooth the permitting process and even offer ideas of the most abundant products and markets available in an area.

Although still a new concept in forests where timber production and recreation have been the mainstays, special forest products enterprises are a welcome addition to many forests providing opportunities for new income and effective disposal of forest waste products.

Special forest products entrepreneurs must be able to work cooperatively with public land agencies and must have a thorough understanding of small business management.

Requires: Experience and creativity.