American Ginseng, in the Forest and in the Marketplace

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a plant of great value. Tens of thousands of pounds are harvested from the wild each year. But the average harvest amount has dwindled, while price has skyrocketed. “It’s pretty unusual that the more effort put towards producing something, the less is produced,” says USDA Forest Service researcher Greg Frey.…  More 

Tracking Those Other Forest Products

Timber is certainly the best-known forest product, but since before the time of European settlement, people have harvested other plants from the forests for a wide range of purposes. The U.S. Forest Service National Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has assessed timber product output (TPO) for more than 60 years by surveying the primary producers of industrial…  More 

Are Black Cohosh Harvests Sustainable?

In Southern Appalachians forests, harvests of non-timber forest products—plants used for culinary, floral, medicinal and other purposes—just keep increasing. Though overharvesting seems to be a major cause for population declines in plants such as American ginseng, black cohosh, and other medicinal plants, forest managers have lacked methods that would allow them to measure the extent…  More