Special Issue "Certified Wild Plant Gathering (in Organic Farming): Sustainability, Food Safety, Compliance and Supply Chains"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Christian R. Vogl
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Interests: organic farming, agroecology, local knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, agrobiodiversity, ethnobotany, ethnobiology, quality management, certification
Dr. Christoph Schunko
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Interests: organic farming, ethnobotany, traditional knowledge, local knowledge, non-timber forest products, wild plant gathering, wild foods, medicinal and aromatic plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A large diversity of organically certified products include ingredients from wild plant species, but consumers, stakeholders and even experts of organic farming are frequently not aware of it. Indeed, around 40% of the total areas certified for organic farming on a global scale are not dedicated to cultivation but to wild plant gathering (including beekeeping). Wild plants can be certified as organic products if gathering areas have not been treated with products forbidden in organic farming for three consecutive years and when the gathering does not impair the stability of habitat and maintenance of species. Supporting local communities all over the world in generating income, organically certified wild plant species enter a wide range of value chains, from simple and local to highly complex and international. The resulting organic products are farm-made and industrial organic foods, superfoods, cosmetics and medicinals including flowers, leaves, fruits, roots and seeds from wild plants. Organic consumers frequently buy these products without being aware of the origin of the ingredients and in line with the limited acknowledgement of organically certified wild plant gathering in public discourses, reliable information about “organic gathering” and its sustainability is hardly available. Whereas organic is the most widespread certification scheme for wild plant products, the lack of information is equally relevant for other schemes, including FairWild, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Program for the Endorsement of the Forest Certification (PEFC) and others.

This Special Issue calls for papers that contribute to balancing this discrepancy between the pronounced importance of certified gathering and the little reliable knowledge available, and will assemble studies that address a variety of related topics. These topics include, but are not limited to, the ecological, socio-economic and political sustainability of certified wild plant gathering; biodiversity conservation; local knowledge and ethnobotany; food safety and nutritional value; certification standards and processes; sustainable value chains; and sustainable consumption.

Papers selected for this Special Issue benefit from high visibility and wide dissemination.

Prof. Dr. Christian R. Vogl
Dr. Christoph Schunko
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Organic agriculture
  • Organic farming
  • Organic control and certification
  • Quality management
  • Sustainable food chains
  • Sustainable production and consumption
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Traditional knowledge
  • Non-timber forest products
  • Wild plant collection
  • Wild foods
  • Superfoods
  • Medicinal and aromatic plants

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Conceptualising the Factors that Influence the Commercialisation of Non-Timber Forest Products: The Case of Wild Plant Gathering by Organic Herb Farmers in South Tyrol (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2028; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072028 - 05 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The gathering and commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFP) in Europe has repeatedly been praised for its potential to support rural development. However, political support mechanisms explicitly targeting NTFP remain underdeveloped. In this study, we aimed to contribute to the design of support [...] Read more.
The gathering and commercialisation of non-timber forest products (NTFP) in Europe has repeatedly been praised for its potential to support rural development. However, political support mechanisms explicitly targeting NTFP remain underdeveloped. In this study, we aimed to contribute to the design of support mechanisms by understanding the factors that influence the commercialisation of wild plants by organic farmers. We first developed a conceptual framework based on fifteen factors and then applied the framework to a case study in South Tyrol (Alto Adige), Italy. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with all fourteen members of the Vereinigung Südtiroler Kräuteranbauer (Associazione Coltivatori Sudtirolesi Piante Officinali), who commercialised wild plant species, and the data were then analysed using qualitative content analysis. Agricultural intensification, pesticide drift, limited access to gathering sites suitable for organic certification, legal restrictions, lack of consumer awareness about the additional value of organic wild plant certification, and limited product diversity were perceived as limiting factors; management techniques in organic farming, organic certification, a trend for wild, regional and healthy foods, the availability of training, and favourable cultural values and attitudes towards wild plant gathering were perceived as supportive. This study offers a comprehensive understanding of the many diverse factors that may influence wild plant commercialisation in Europe and beyond and provides guidance on how political support mechanisms could unlock the much heralded potential of wild plant commercialisation for rural development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is the Commercialization of Wild Plants by Organic Producers in Austria Neglected or Irrelevant?
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113989 - 31 Oct 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
European countries are split over the appreciation of wild berries, fruits, mushrooms, and herbs. While some countries provide public statistics on wild plants, others seem to neglect wild plant gathering and commercialization. In this study, we aimed to understand if wild plant commercialization [...] Read more.
European countries are split over the appreciation of wild berries, fruits, mushrooms, and herbs. While some countries provide public statistics on wild plants, others seem to neglect wild plant gathering and commercialization. In this study, we aimed to understand if wild plant commercialization is neglected or irrelevant in Austria, a country that does not provide statistics. We focus on organic producers, because organic certification of wild plant gathering might have potential for countering frequent concerns about commercial gathering, including destructive gathering and overharvesting. Using a mixed-methods approach with a concurrent triangulation design, databases of six organic certification bodies were analysed concurrently with semi-structured expert interviews of their representatives. We found that organic certification for gathering was issued to 1.5% of organic producers in the year 2016 in Austria and is relevant for three distinct gatherer types: regular, diversified, and single-plant gatherers. Organic gathering is most frequently part of agricultural or horticultural farms and rarely an isolated commercial activity. It is related to mixed farming, deepening on-farm diversification, and contributes to maintaining traditions, as well as the local socio-ecological memory of wild plant products. Organic wild plants are directly marketed to consumers as traditional and innovative products, but also supplied to mass markets. We conclude that from a socio-cultural perspective and a focus on regional economies, organic gathering is neglected in Austria, whereas from an income perspective, wild plant gathering seems to be indeed relevant for few organic producers, although exhibiting potential. Full article
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