Abstract Detail


Burkhart, Eric [1], Zuiderveen, Grady [2].

“Stocking the hunting ground:” Insights into the supply of “wild” ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) from Pennsylvania, U.S.A., and implications regarding industry tracking of an important interna.

Pennsylvania is one of nineteen states in the United States of America (U.S.A.) that exports wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) roots into the international marketplace under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty. Given concerns over the sustainability of this centuries old trade, there is an urgent need to better understand the wild supply chain along with any husbandry involved in the production of exported roots. Since 2012, we have been employing an ethnobotanical approach to gather confidential insight into wild ginseng supplies from Pennsylvania via an annual survey instrument mailed to people involved in the sale of wild ginseng (gathered from licensed buyer transaction logs). Results indicate that a variety of husbandry practices are used to produce ginseng which ultimately is sold and traded as “wild,” ranging from intensive agroforestry (e.g., “forest farming”) to enrichment plantings (e.g., “stocking” of collection areas). Results obtained between 2012 and 2015 revealed that 23% to 57% of sellers participating in this survey effort indicated that their ‘wild’ ginseng originated from intentional planting on forestlands. This scenario presents a dilemma regarding interpretation of “wild” harvest data because current industry reporting mechanisms are inadequate to accommodate the complex range of husbandry practices being utilized, and which often result in “wild” appearing roots. Moreover, producer concerns and misgivings about issues such as price gouging, theft, taxation – coupled with a lack of consensus around what actually constitutes “wild” – continues to drive secrecy around forest based husbandry and cultivation practices. These results suggest that changes in transaction reporting paperwork alone will not effectively bring clarity to supply origins. We suggest that annual confidential surveying of root sellers could serve as an important tool to help inform state and federal ginseng conservation and management programs.

1 - Pennsylvania State University, Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, 3400 Discovery Road, Petersburg, PA, 16669, USA
2 - Pennsylvania State University, Ecosystem Science and Management, 223 Forest Resources Building , University Park, PA, 16802, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Abstract ID:29
Candidate for Awards:None