Remm, L.*, Rünkla, M. and Lõhmus, A. 2018. How Bilberry Pickers Use Estonian Forests: Implications for Sustaining a Non-Timber Value. Baltic Forestry 24(2): 287-295.Effects of clear-cuts in Scots Pine-dominated forests on Vaccinium myrtillus and Vaccinium

   Behaviour of people, who consume non-timber forest goods, is an understudied link between sustainable forestry and cultural tradition. We explored relationships between natural bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) supply and its consumption in Estonia. Based on 53 semi-structured interviews with regular berry-pickers, we modelled their picking site preferences at the landscape scale. The analysis confirmed that those people use clearly delineated picking areas, which constitute a subset of bilberry-rich habitats and are perceived as relatively private information, shared with few people (notably along family lines). Clear-cutting was a major disturbance (60% of respondents had the experience of site loss), while bilberry spread in regenerating forests or after drainage was hardly noticed. Berry-pickers preferred public forests, but had no preference for protected areas. These patterns distinguish spatial modelling of continuous-cover forestry and gap-felling systems in public forests as a basic approach for sustaining national bilberry-gathering tradition.

Keywords: common resource, conifer forest, ecosystem good, multiple-use forestry, rural livelihood, bilberry, non-timber-forest-product.