Graduate Project


Case Study: Pisgah Nantahala National Forest Plan Revision and American Ginseng Management Public Deposited

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  • The Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests (PNNF) are located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. A center of biological diversity, they are also within a few hours’ drive of much of the population of the United States. Therefore, there are many desires and objectives the public has for how these national forests be managed. Currently, the Management Plan for these national forests is under revision. Understanding the natural history and environmental conditions along with the desires of the stakeholders involved in the PNNF Management Plan revision is important in order to prepare a successful management plan. Given their diverse needs, an assessment of the various uses influencing the multiple management objectives is likely to help prepare a management plan that not only satisfies as many user groups as possible, but also avoids litigation in the courts. This case study examines the user preferences among the stakeholders along with the current ecological conditions of the PNNF and recommends some actions that can meet a multitude of objectives. This case study also explored how the PNNF revision plan addressed the management of the non-timber forest product American ginseng. American ginseng is an herbaceous understory plant that is harvested on the PNNF for commercial and medicinal uses and was chosen because of its economic and cultural significance. Prior to the Management Plan revision, there was disagreement over how the US Forest Service was allowing American ginseng harvest on the PNNF. Some conservationists believed that they were allowing too much to be harvested, while many harvesters believed the regulations were too restrictive. This case study examines the ecological conditions in which American ginseng grows on the PNNF, the current status and condition of the species on the Forests, the various preferences among the user groups about how the species should be managed, and provides some recommendations for harvest in order to determine possible scenarios wherein conservation of the species is compatible with harvest of American ginseng.
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