Scientists & Staff

Marla Emery

Research Geographer
Aiken Center, Room 303E; 81 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, VT, 05405
Phone: 802-656-1720

Contact Marla Emery

Current Research

Contemporary nontimber forest product (NTFP) uses, especially in the eastern United States and elsewhere in the industrialized world.

Research Interests

We are planning a comprehensive research program to support sustainable management of nontimber forest products (NTFPs). The program would participate innational and international efforts while keeping a primary focus in the NRSregion. Research would take place across the urban-rural gradient. The program wouldaddress the following five objectives:
  1. to identify the culturally and economically important (C&EI) NTFPs harvested in and around the State.
  2. to understand the ecologies of the C&EI SFPs harvested in and around the State.
  3. to understand the uses and values of the C&EI SFPs harvested in and around the state.
  4. to inventory and monitor the C&EI SFPs harvested in and around the State.
  5. to develop comprehensive plans, in a participatory manner, for managing the C&EI SFPs harvested in and around the State.

Why This Research is Important

  • Surveys suggest that approximately 20% of the U.S. population gathers NTFPs. This widespread, if poorly understood, activity creates direct connections between people and forests.
  • NTFPs may present income opportunities for forest landowners.
  • NTFPs, especially those that have become global commodities, present sustainability concerns.
  • NTFPs present environmental justice opportunities and challenges.
  • NTFPs present opportunities to explore a range of human-forest interactions and, as a result, the possibility of both empirical and theoretical advances in our understanding of these relationships.
  • Recent legislation mandates that the USFS manage for NTFPs. We need sound scientific information to meet that legislative requirement.


  • Rutgers University, Ph.D. Geography, 1998

Professional Organizations

  • Association of American Geographers
  • International Association for Society and Natural Resources
  • Society for Economic Botany

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Paper birch trees with evidence of bark harvesting. USDA Forest Service

Integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into Natural Resource Inventories and Management of Paper Birch Trees

Year: 2015

The “Paper Birch in the Great Lakes” project is a collaborative effort to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into research and natural resource management. The paper birch resource in the Great Lakes has decreased steadily since 1980. Forest Service scientists are working to provide a model for future targeted inventory efforts; an example of how to build successful partnerships incorporating TEK into natural resource science and management; and information to develop strategies for managing paper birch in the Great Lakes.

Cover image for Natural Inquirer issue

Forest Service Research on Morel Mushrooms Featured in Natural Inquirer

Year: 2014

The Natural Inquirer's monograph series for middle school students and educators showcased a Forest Service researcher's work on local knowledge of morel mushroom types, habitat, and disturbance.

Tom and Tina Tossing a Log in the River. Therese Poland, Forest Service

Reducing Negative Cultural Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer: Saving Black Ash Wood for Native American Basketmakers

Year: 2011

Black ash has great cultural and economic importance in the northeastern United States, especially for Native Americans. The widespread destruction and removal of black ash in response to an emerald ash borer (EAB) find is a painful prospect for tribes and basket-makers. An innovative collaboration between a Forest Service geographer and entomologist combining traditional knowledge with scientific expertise has found that a traditional practice offers a reasonable solution for those who depend on black ash splints.

Last modified: Friday, November 03, 2017