Understanding the relationships between American ginseng harvest and hardwood forests inventory and timber harvest to improve co-management of the forests of eastern United States
The roots of American ginseng have been harvested from the hardwood forests of eastern United States, along-side timber, since the mid-1700s. Very little is known about this non-timber commodity relative to timber, although significant volumes of ginseng root have been harvested from the same forests along with timber. The harvest of ginseng correlated positively and significantly with hardwood forest area, hardwood growing stock volume and timber removals. Also, it correlated with hardwood growing stock on public forest lands in the region. The annual wholesale value of American ginseng was estimated at approximately $26.9 million compared to annual stumpage value of harvested hardwood timber of just over $1.27 billion. The volume of ginseng root harvested from natural forests represents substantial extraction of biomass, and the associated value represents substantial income for people living in an economically marginalized region. Co-management of eastern hardwood forests for timber and non-timber forest products could improve local economies and better conserve the bio-diversity of these forests.