Good Stewardship Brochures
Boswellia serrata Roxb. is one of 28 species in the Boswellia genus, family Burseraceae. B. serrata is the only member of the genus that is native to southeast Asia, where it occurs in dry tropical deciduous forests of India and Pakistan. B. serrata occurs on flat land, as well as slopes and ridges in altitudes up to 1150 m and can be found in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat, Punjab, Assam, Rajasthan, and Karnataka, with commercial harvest mainly occurring in Madhya Pradesh.
The gum-resin from B. serrata is medicinal and is used within Unani, Ayurvedic, and western medicinal traditions. The aromatic and medicinal resin is produced by B. serrata as a protective response to injury and harvesters obtain the resin by collecting naturally occurring exudate and/or employing cutting techniques to stimulate gum resin production.
According to a report presented at the 19th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2022, B. serrata is the species in the genus of least conservation concern and is widespread in India. The main concerns reported are habitat loss through clearing of woodlands where B. serrata populations are dominant for farming, and poor recruitment of young B. serrata trees into the population due to grazing and browsing by livestock. Mass felling of mature B. serrata trees in the 1970’s for pulpwood production also had a long-term impact. At this time, no Boswellia species is listed in any CITES Appendix.
This same report indicated that a recent inquiry by CITES into prominent commercially traded Boswellia species in Africa and Asia concluded that traditional tapping methods used by tribal people, when carried out correctly, do not damage mature trees. The methods can vary somewhat by region, but key characteristics of sustainable resin harvest are that it is seasonal, with mild to moderate intensity tapping, and occurring in areas with strong land tenure (i.e., oversight).
This brochure was created with input from botanical experts to help wildcrafters and other stakeholders involved with harvesting B. serrata from wild populations be good stewards of the land and support sustainable trade of this commodity, which is imperative for sustaining local communities and cultural traditions.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) is an understory plant native to eastern North American deciduous forest with a broad geographical range extending through the Appalachian and Ozark mountains into southern New England and parts of the Great Lakes region including in Ontario, Canada. Goldenseal is cultivated in some locations within and outside of its native range.
Goldenseal rhizome has been used medicinally by indigenous communities and currently is used to produce dietary supplement products. Internationally, goldenseal comes into commerce almost exclusively through export from its two native range countries, either from cultivated sources in the U.S. or Canada or from wild-harvested material collected in the United States.
As with many other woodland plants, habitat loss from conversion of woodlands to other uses as well as from timber harvest and certain mining operations may adversely affect wild populations. Additional threats include unsustainable harvest practices, deer herbivory, drought conditions in the plant’s range, competition from invasive species, leaf blight, and even absence of disturbance. Goldenseal has been listed on CITES Appendix II since 1997, is considered to be “at risk” by United Plant Savers, and “vulnerable” on the IUCN red list.
In an effort to develop additional information about harvest impacts for this botanical under a variety of growth conditions, the AHPA-ERB Foundation funded an ongoing research study focused on diverse populations of goldenseal to assess the sustainability of varying levels of harvest over many years.
This brochure was created with input from wild harvesters, cultivators, conservation groups, academia, government and herbal industry experts to provide guidance and best practices for good stewardship and sustainable harvest of goldenseal.
Read more about the AHPA-ERB Foundation's Goldenseal Harvest Study here.
Oshá, which is also known as Colorado cough root, Porter's lovage, loveroot, bear root, mountain ginseng, nipo, and chuchupate, has a long history of use in the U.S. Southwest. The majority of oshá harvested is from the wild, which has prompted research on cultivation, specifically on germinating osha from seed and demonstrating successful propagation from vegetative crown cuttings.
The difficulties of cultivating oshá, the wildcrafting of roots from older plants, and consumer demand for its medicinal qualities have raised concerns of over-harvest. Yet the concern that osha populations are declining is difficult to prove because of a lack of scientific data as populations are not tracked by any state or federal conservation agencies; there are no comprehensive management strategies in place for the conservation of this species.
In order to determine if oshá populations require conservation measures, populations need to be monitored and additional research into oshá propagation and sustainable harvesting practices is needed. In response, a collaborative effort between the University of Kansas, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the U.S. Forest Service, with funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, was implemented to study populations of oshá and assess the sustainability of oshá root harvesting.
Data from that multi-year longitudinal sustainable harvest study of wild oshá populations were used to prepare the this brochure.
Read more about Oshá sustainability here.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a long-lived perennial plant in the palm family (Arecaceae) which is native to the Southeastern United States. It occurs as a major understory plant on pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, and in sand pine scrub. Saw palmetto plants are colonial; often forming dense stands in the understory. The species currently grows in every county in Florida, with its range extending across GA, and southern parts of SC, AL, MS, and LA.
Though the correct botanical term for the saw palmetto fruit is a drupe, it is referred to as a berry throughout the herbal trade so we will refer to it as such in this brochure.
Saw palmetto berries have been traded continuously in international commerce for at least the last 50 years. The biggest markets for products made from the ripe fruit are in the U.S. and annual production is currently estimated to be an average of 5,000 dried U.S. tons.
While a small portion of the annual harvest occurs in Georgia, the majority of saw palmetto fruit is collected from wild plants growing in the State of Florida.
The harvest practices presented in this brochure are provided to inform harvesters of wild saw palmetto berries on best collection practices in order to act as stewards of the plant and its habitat.
Wild American Ginseng
Wild American ginseng is one of the most important of the nontimber forest products collected in the mountains of the Eastern U.S. There is broad interest among harvesters, consumers, nonprofit organizations and regulatory agencies to ensure the harvest of this plant is sustainable. The harvest practices presented in these brochures encourage wild American ginseng collectors to act as stewards of the plant and its habitat. By following these guidelines, you will contribute to a sustainable future for wild American ginseng and help preserve a long-standing American tradition.
Click on your state to download a free PDF brochure with the state's guidelines for responsible wild American ginseng harvesting. AHPA also provides a free brochure on wild American ginseng export regulations.
Questions, Comments or Corrections?
Please contact AHPA's Merle Zimmermann at 301-588-1171, ext 106 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Brochures
There are 19 versions of the brochure, one for each of the states that allows export of wild American ginseng. Each brochure presents the state's rules and regulations for harvesters and buyers of wild American ginseng and contact information for the relevant state regulatory offices.
These brochures were developed with input and review by members of the American Herbal Products Association, state ginseng coordinators, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, United Plant Savers, and the Roots of Appalachia Growers Association (for the Ohio brochure).
To print any of these brochures, simply click below on the state of your choice and download it to your computer. Set your printer to “landscape” to ensure proper layout. Also, note that the documents are designed for two-sided printing, so make sure of how to load the originals into your copying machine so they print properly.
The unassuming herb wild American ginseng, hidden in cool woodlands. American ginseng & wood thrush in watercolor by Susan Bull Riley
WildAmericanGinseng.org is designed to provide state-of-the-art scientific information to the public, researchers and to policymakers for the purpose of conserving American ginseng for the long-term. The website is created in collaboration with United Plant Savers.