Advertisement

Economic Botany

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 341–356 | Cite as

The Sustainable Harvest of Wild Populations of Oshá (Ligusticum porteri) in Southern Colorado for the Herbal Products Trade

  • Kelly KindscherEmail author
  • Leanne M. Martin
  • Quinn Long
Article
  • 52 Downloads

Abstract

It is a challenge to both use and conserve wild-harvested medicinal plants, especially when it appears they may be threatened by harvest pressure, and there is often limited biological information available to inform management decisions. Oshá (Ligusticum porteri) is an important medicinal plant whose roots are harvested in the southwest USA and Mexico as an herbal remedy to treat flu, sore throat, and other illnesses. We studied population structure, root production, and the ability of oshá to recover from harvest in different environmental contexts at two high-elevation southern Colorado sites with a goal of understanding what a sustainable rate of harvest might be. We experimentally harvested roots of mature oshá plants at four different rates. Results indicate that low rates of harvest allow for stable oshá populations over the short term (3–5 year) at our sites. Due to management interest by the USDA Forest Service, we propose a possible sustainable harvest rate of 50% of mature plants every 10 years. Given variability due to weather and other environmental factors, we recommend that future oshá harvest should be planned and adjusted after careful monitoring.

Key Words

Ethnobotany Medicinal plant Policy Roots Wild harvest 

Notes

Acknowledgments

A very special thank you to Angie Krall, archeologist, at the Rio Grande National Forest; and Gretchen Fitzgerald, forester, for the San Juan National Forest for their help in planning, access, and fieldwork. We are additionally thankful for the individuals who devoted their time and energy to guide and assist us with numerous, many strenuous, field work endeavors, including several from the herbal products industry, including Daniel Gagnon of Herbs Etc., in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Feather Jones of Sedona Tea Blends and Susan Leopold, Director of the conservation organization, United Plant Savers; and botanical and horticultural consultants—Hillary Loring and Maggie Riggs. And finally, I would like to thank Trish Flaster, Executive Director of Botanical Liaisons, LLC, whose leadership and work with the Denver Botanic Garden and volunteers established a protocol for monitoring that we both followed and modified for our current work.

Funding

The work for this project was made possible by funding from the American Herbal Products Association and the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests of the U.S. Forest Service. Students assisted from: Haskell Indian Nation University—Regi Black Elk, Bryn Fragua, and Allyson Prue, funded by the National Institute of Health Bridge and Rise Programs; and University of Kansas students and staff—Rachel Craft, Amy Isenburg, Schuyler Kraus, Jennifer Moody, Natasha Myhal, Erica Staab, Kate Utech, and Julia Yang. Numerous other students and volunteers assisted us with field work throughout the 2012–2017 field seasons and these are listed in our other reports.

Literature Cited

  1. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. 2018. Oshá Root, Ligusticum porteri and related species: Standards of analysis, quality control, and therapeutics. Scotts Valley, California.Google Scholar
  2. American Herbal Products Association. 2012. Tonnage Surveys of Select North American Wild-Harvested Plants, 2006—2010. Silver Spring (MD): American Herbal Products Association.Google Scholar
  3. Castle L.M., S. Leopold, R. Craft, and K. Kindscher. 2014. Ranking tool created for medicinal plants at risk of being overharvested in the wild. Ethnobiology Letters 5 (1): 77–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Durango Herald. 2002. Fire in the sky – Colorado’s Missionary Ridge Fire, Durango, Colorado. Encyclopedia Brittanica. 2017. https://www.britannica.com/science/sustainability#ref1225911. Accessed March 23, 2018.
  5. Julander, O. 1968. Effect of clipping on herbage and flower stalk production of three summer range forbs. Journal of Range Management 21(2): 74–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kindscher, K. 2016. The biology and ecology of Echinacea species. In: Echinacea: Herbal medicine with a wild history, ed K. Kindscher, 47-54 Switzerland: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kindscher, K., D. M. Price, and L. Castle. 2008. Resprouting of Echinacea angustifolia augments sustainability of wild medicinal plant populations. Economic Botany 62(2): 139–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kindscher, K., J. Yang, Q. Long, R. Craft, and H. Loring. 2013. Harvest sustainability study of wild populations of oshá, Ligusticum porteri. Open-File Report No. 176. Kansas Biological Survey. Lawrence, KS, 20 pp.Google Scholar
  9. Kindscher, K., L.M. Martin, Q. Long, R. Craft, H. Loring, M. Sharaf, and J. Yang. 2017. Harvesting and recolonization of wild populations of Oshá, (Ligusticum porteri) in southern Colorado. Natural Areas Journal 37(2):178–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mooney, E. H., and J. B. McGraw. 2007. Alteration of selection regime resulting from harvest of American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. Conservation Genetics 8(1): 57–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Mooney, E.H., A.A. Martin, and R.P. Blessin. 2015. Effects of light environment on recovery from harvest and antibacterial properties of Oshá Ligusticum porteri (Apiaceae). Economic Botany 69(1): 72–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Myhal, Natasha. 2017. Ethnobotany of Oshá (Ligusticum porteri) and Policy of Medicinal Plant Harvest on United States Forest Service Lands. Master’s Thesis, Indigenous Studies, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  13. National Drought Mitigation Center. 2016. U.S. Drought Monitor Map Archive: Colorado. http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/MapsAndData/MapArchive.aspx. Accessed December 29, 2016.
  14. R Core Team. 2013. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. URL http://www.R-project.org/.
  15. Ticktin, T., and Shackleton, C. 2011. Harvesting non-timber forest products sustainably: Opportunities and challenges. In: Non-timber forest products in the global context, eds S. Shackleton, C. Shackleton, and P. Shanley. Pp. 149–169. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. T. Ticktin, K. Kindscher, S. Souther, P. Weisberg, J. Chamberlain, S. Hummel, C. Mitchell and S. Sanders. 2018. Ecological and human dimensions of nontimber forest product harvest. In: General Technical Report SRS-232 Assessment of Nontimber Forest Products in the United States under Changing Conditions, eds J. L. Chamberlin, M. R. Emery, and T Patel-Weynand, 58–82. Asheville, USDA Southern Research Station.Google Scholar
  17. USDA Forest Service. 2004. National report on sustainable forests - 2003. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC, FS-766, February 2004. 139 p.Google Scholar
  18. Van der Voort, M. E., B. Bailey, D.E. Samuel, and J. B. McGraw. 2003. Recovery of populations of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) following harvest. The American Midland Naturalist 149(2): 282–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Warton, D. I. and F.K. Hui. 2011. The arcsine is asinine: The analysis of proportions in ecology. Ecology 92(1):3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kansas Biological SurveyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Shaw Nature Reserve, Missouri Botanical GardenGray SummitUSA

Personalised recommendations