Non-Wood Products

North Carolina’s woodlands are the source of thousands of non-wood products including mulch and pinestraw for landscaping, edible plants such as ginseng and mushrooms, fabric, paper and countless items made from paper manufacturing by-products. Learn more about these and other forest products below.

General Information

Goods From the Woods (N.C. Forestry Association)
Through research and advances in technology, we have learned to convert tree fibers and paper-pulping residues into more than 5,000 wood and paper products that we use each day.

From Trees to Products (Virginia Department of Forestry)
This publication is a two-page publication that discusses everyday products that come from trees.

Woodland Stewards Webinar Series – More than Timber: Income Opportunities from Non-timber Forest Products (on-demand webinar)
While selling timber from your woodlands may be a great revenue source, it is not the only option for income. There are a range of possibilities to generate income from your woodlands that depend on your location, forest type and more, that are compatible with timber management too. For some areas, pine straw can be a revenue source while other woodlands may be ‘farmed’ for medicinal plants and more. In this session learn more about the opportunities to generate income from your woodlands.



Ramping Up Forest Farm Culinary Delights (video) (American Tree Farm System)
This presentation focuses on forest farming wild onions (aka, ramps or leeks) and other edible forest products.

Forest Brews (video) (American Tree Farm System)
Learn how to turn your non-timber forest products into tasty drinks of all kinds.

The Incredible Edible Ostrich Fern (video) (American Tree Farm System)
Learn about the ostrich fern and its spring edible, the fiddlehead. This video answers the questions: how do you identify an ostrich fern fiddlehead; what is a sustainable harvest; are fiddleheads good for you; how do you cook them and more.

Ginseng and Mushrooms: Goodies From Your Woods (video) (American Tree Farm System)
Our forests are often populated with a wide variety of valuable native plants and fungi that can be sustainably wild harvested and sold. Many others can be introduced and cultivated to provide a steady stream of products.

Forest-Cultivated Mushrooms (video) (American Tree Farm System)
Acquisition of substrate logs, inoculation, resting, fruiting and harvesting of mushrooms will be covered in this webinar.

From the Woods – Maple Syrup (Penn State Cooperative Extension)
Sugar maple trees are unique to North America and grow naturally only in the north-eastern United States and southeastern Canada.

Sourwood Honey Profile (Asheville Bee Charmer)
Sourwood honey is produced when bees feed on the flowers of sourwood trees, which are found across North Carolina, Virginia, parts of the Midwest and on the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

American Ginseng, In the Forest and in the Marketplace (US Forest Service)
The American ginseng is a plant of great value. Tens of thousands of pounds are harvested from the wild each year. But recently, the average harvest amount has dwindled while price has skyrocketed.

Opportunities from Ginseng Husbandry in Pennsylvania (Penn State Extension)
This article provides information on ginseng as a native forest resource, ginseng culture on Pennsylvania forest lands, and marketing and legal considerations.

Forest Crops, the Other Money From Your Forest (Cornell Cooperative Extension)
In recent years, the herbs known as ginseng and goldenseal have become very popular among the general public. Both of these woodland plants may be growing wild in your woodlot or you might be able to grow them yourself using the natural shade provided by the trees. In addition to ginseng and goldenseal other forest crops would include ornamental ferns such as maidenhair fern, black or blue cohosh, wild ginger, mayapple, gourmet mushrooms, and many others.

Nontimber Forest Products that Support our Society and Economy – Sassafras (USDA Forest Service)
There is little documentation of the markets for sassafras, but it has been of commercial value for a long time. The primary markets for sassafras are specialty health and culinary enterprises.

Nontimber Forest Products that Support our Society and Economy – Black Walnut (USDA Forest Service)
Today, the primary use of eastern black walnut fruit is for food; its distinct flavor makes it especially desirable in ice cream and baked goods. Unripe hulls are used in herbal medicine for gastrointestinal health and to treat skin ailments and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Like sugar maple, black walnut can be tapped, and the sap processed into syrup. It is being promoted as an alternative to maple syrup.

Nontimber Forest Products that Support our Society and Economy – Pawpaw (USDA Forest Service)
Pawpaw fruit is highly nutritious compared to other temperate fruits. It is high in calories, proteins, vitamins A and C, and minerals. Pawpaw fruit is a specialty forest food being promoted through producer associations, community festivals, niche restaurants, and internet enterprises. The fresh and processed fruit is predominantly marketed seasonally through farmers markets, organic food stores, select restaurants, and other specialty retail venues.


Forest Botanicals

Agroforestry: Forest Botanicals (video) (American Tree Farm System)
Eric Burkhart of Pennsylvania State University shares insights from his studies and involvement with native plant species on eastern U.S. forestlands that are wild harvested for the domestic and international plant trade.

Forest Moss (Penn State Cooperative Extension)
This publication explores collecting forest mosses from logs, rocks, and the forest floor to sell for horticultural use, garden centers and crafting.

Nontimber Forest Products that Support our Society and Economy – Fraser Fir (USDA Forest Service)
Fraser fir Christmas trees became an important income source for western North Carolina farmers after World War II. Today, North Carolina is second in the Nation for total Christmas tree production and first in dollars per tree.



Economic Contributions of North Carolina’s Pine Straw Industry (N.C. State Extension)
Needles of the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) are prized as a mulch by homeowners and communities in North Carolina for their long length, color retention, and durability relative to the other southern pine species.


Paper and Fabric

From the Woods – Paper! (Penn State Extension)
This publication provides an overview of the history of paper and modern-day papermaking.

Tencel – the miracle fiber (Inform, March 2005, Volume 16 (3)
Tencel is a cousin to viscose rayon andcellulose acetate. All three are made of cellulose, and all three start as wood pulp.