An Eastern forest story, here.
“I’m very concerned that we might not have ginseng in the wild in a few years,” said Jim Corbin, a plant protection specialist with the N.C. Department of Agriculture, which regulates the sale and export of ginseng.
Corbin was part of an expert panel of botanists and regulators discussing plant conservation Friday at the International American Ginseng Exposition, a conference held this weekend at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center.
Conference speakers agreed that more ginseng must be grown on private lands by forest farmers to take pressure off wild populations on federal lands, which have been hard-hit by drought, poaching and decades of intense collecting pressure.
“Getting more ginseng grown on private lands is the key to sustainability of ginseng long-term,” said Pat Ford, a botanist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
While the conference focused on numerous barriers facing ginseng cultivators, experts say high demand for wild ginseng in China and Hong Kong offers local landowners the opportunity to sustainably manage their forests while generating steady income.