Sustaining Farms and Biodiversity through Woodland Cultivation of High-Value Crops
Farms in Appalachian Ohio are being abandoned due to low crop prices, widespread poverty, and the marginal agricultural value of land. Lands held by farm families are often being sold for development of left to the multiflora rose. At the same time, valuable medicinal herbs, such as ginseng and goldenseal, grown in an environmentally sustainable manner are being purchased for top dollar.
Ginseng and goldenseal are both listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) because of the threat that over-harvesting could extirpate them. With the natural supplements industry growing at 15% per year, the harvest pressure on wild populations present sboth a threat and a significant opportunity for growers.
1) Development of “best practices” for ecologically sound woodland cultivation of high-value medicinal herbs and gourmet mushrooms,
2) Promotion of forest-based cultivation of endangered and other native medicinal plants and gourmet mushrooms to preserve biodiversity while creating an economic diversification strategy for farmers,
3) Dissemination of results to natural resource and agricultural extension personnel,
4) Dissemination of results to area farmers.
Our approach is one of education and outreach. We will organize four introductory workshops and a two-day conference to familiarize interested parties with forest cultivated crops. We will also facilitate eight meetings of an Herb Growers Group and a Mushroom Growers Group. Through these contacts, we will establish four research and demonstration sites and conduct site visits (similar to field days). Through these initial activities and experiences, we will develop an “Introduction to Special Forest Products” Brochure. We will also staff outreach tables at least four regional events and at least two national conferences.
Results will be disseminated through growers meetings, Citizen Science Council meeting, workshops, a two-day conference, newsletters, and information packets and through site visits to demonstration sites. Nationally, we will make presentations at 2 or more national conferences and feed information out through our involvement in national organizations.
PhD Env & Plant Biology, Assoc Professor
Porter Hall 416B
Athens, OH 45701
Office Phone: 7405931615