Determining sustainability harvesting levels for most non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is an evolving science. A monitoring programme that will continually assess the health and vitality of the natural resources base should be implemented. Though there is some information on individual species, ecosystem dynamics are still not well understood, commercialization of natural products makes it imperative to manage proactively through monitoring, harvesting and replanting and tree succession plans. Important steps in sustainable natural products management include the following: Identification and demarcation of the resource base by ecosystem type (forest, pasture, farmland, rock outcrop, and so on) and map of the locations of various ecosystems types; identification of resource supply areas of the preferred products; and estimating the volume based on current harvesting and trade or use. Further, identify potential threats to standing stock of natural resource base. In addition to conducting group meetings to investigate where and how products have been harvested, extracted or collected over the last 3 to 5 years; undertaking resource inventory of standing stock and also conducting user surveys and engaging resource collectors. Ultimately, for business development, the following logical
issues are examined and critically analyzed; enterprise opportunity and location-specific overview of the community forestry subsector, sustainability of supply of forest products, regulatory environment and forest resource users/groups, technology, management and finance, and lastly marketing and sales.