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Changes in wild berry picking in Finland between 1997 and 2011

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This study reports on new nationwide figures related to wild berry picking in Finland during 2011. Comparisons are also made with data from 1997–1999. The materials were collected by mailed questionnaire surveys among Finnish households. The sample in 2011 consisted of 3700 households and the response rate was 51%. In 2011, 54% of all Finnish households were engaged in berry picking and the total harvest was 34.9 million kg (14 kg/household). Berries were collected mainly for household use, which accounted for 26.5 million kg. The amount of commercial picking was 8.4 million kg. The results show that annual volumes of berries picked are highly sensitive to fluctuations in biological berry crop levels. In 1997, when the berry crop was abundant, the total quantity picked was 56.5 million kg. Instead, in 1999, when the berry crop was poor, the total quantity picked decreased to 34.7 million kg. The results also indicate that, first, household demand for self-picked bilberries (Vaccinium Myrtillus L.) has shown an increasing trend and only 13% of the picked bilberries were sold in 2011. Second, one-third of all berries collected for sale were supplied to the organized wild berry industry in 2011, while the corresponding proportion was 70% in 1997–1999.
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Keywords: Berry picking; bilberries; commercial picking; forest products; household use; lingonberries; wild berries

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Science and Forestry, School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland

Publication date: 2013-09-01

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