Present status of non-wood forest products (NWFP) research in India is reviewed. Overexploitation and unsustainable harvest practices threaten much of the Indian NWFP resources. We outline the merits of a transdisciplinary perspective on NWFP development. The emerging interdisciplinary perspective can be of use in providing conceptual and concrete frameworks for identifying, understanding and maintaining intrinsic ecosystem features and human economic interactions. It may thus form the cornerstone of sustainable management of NWFP resources, which integrates forest conservation and economic development. Future strategies for NWFP development in India may include evolving criteria and indicators for sustainable management, demarcating areas suitable for NWFP harvesting, commercial NWFP farming, value addition through processing and community-based NWFP production.