Spatial Characteristics of Edible Wild Fern Harvesting in Mountainous Villages in Northeastern Japan Using GPS Tracks
Wild plants in forests provide valuable living resources for rural communities. The location where local people harvest various species is important to the wise use of forest ecosystem services. Using global positioning system (GPS) tracking of harvesters' activities as well as geographic information system (GIS) and a generalized linear model (GLM), this study analyzed the spatial differences among harvesting sites of three popular edible ferns, i.e., ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris),
... a struthiopteris), bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), and royal fern (Osmunda japonica), in mountainous villages of Northeastern Japan. The explanatory variables used were vegetation classes, terrain features, and proximity to roadways. The GLM yielded clear differences in harvesting sites among species that were affected by both the species' ecological characteristics and human behavior. Ostrich fern was harvested mainly in canopy openings along valley floors, whereas royal fern harvest sites were frequently located in snow avalanche scrublands. Bracken was mainly harvested in deforested areas or young conifer plantations. Whereas ostrich fern and bracken harvest sites were restricted by the accessibility from roadways, this was not the case for royal fern. Potential harvest sites of ferns were estimated with the highest value for bracken. Our OPEN ACCESS Forests 2014, 5 270 results suggest that local harvesters seriously consider various natural and anthropogenic factors to maintain effective and sustainable harvesting.