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Daniel Boone national forest continues permit suspension for ginseng harvesting season

U.S. Forest Service

The Daniel Boone National Forest is continuing its ban on ginseng harvesting through this year’s collection season.

The suspension of ginseng harvesting permits by the forest is to allow wild populations of the crop to regenerate. The typical number of ginseng plants for a sustainable population is between 100 and 150. The Daniel Boone National Forest reports much smaller numbers, between one and ten plants in each wild crop.

David Taylor is the forest’s botanist. He says the forest’s data has actually shown some decrease of the plant’s abundance over the past few years.

“Our intent right now is to get a number of years of monitoring under a belt, check and see what the trends are and make some decisions down the road,” Taylor said. “How long that will take, we do not know.”

The forest says poaching is partially to blame.

“Law enforcement is still finding people out there with a lot of ginseng and for the most part, small plants in their possession,” Taylor said. “Plants that aren't legally harvested, even if they had a permit, because they're too small.”

Permits are still available to harvest other plants, including black cohosh, yellowroot and coldenseal. In the meantime, it’s possible to be fined for harvesting ginseng and other forest products illegally.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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