Importance of environmental factors on plantings of wild simulated American Ginse

Sheban, Karam C.
Woodbury, David J.
Duguid, Marlyse C.
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Springer Nature
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an herbaceous perennial plant native to the forests of eastern North America with a long history of use and harvest, and with a significant international market. To supply international demand, the plant is grown in the USA and Canada under artificial shade cloth. However, wild and wild-appearing ginseng roots command prices up to 100 times greater than roots cultivated in a field: $550–2200 (US$ dry kg) vs. $20–70 (US$ dry kg). Growing ginseng in a forested environment using a “wild-simulated” forest farming approach, where growers introduce ginseng into a forested environment and then let it grow with little to no intervention, allows forest farmers to access these higher prices and meet international demand. As climate change shifts growing conditions globally, there will be increasing opportunities for the forest farming of American ginseng internationally. In this study, we examined the main drivers of ginseng growth and development in a wild-simulated ginseng forest farm. We measured the range of environmental conditions and built statistical models to examine which factors were most important for ginseng vigor. We found that the amount of sunlight, even under highly shaded conditions, was the most important driver of ginseng establishment on the landscape, as well as ginseng plant size and development. Prior research indicates that additional factors including soil nutrient levels, moisture, and texture are important for the survival, growth, and development of wild and planted American ginseng, but our study did not show significant patterns of importance at this site. Our findings suggest that integrating silvicultural techniques such as forest thinning may enhance the productivity of wild-simulated ginseng operations while providing additional forest-based income with minimal impact on natural forest ecosystems.
© The Author(s) 2021. This article is published with open access at and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License - . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems, 2022, available online at: . Keywords: forest farming; agroforestry; crops; herbs; understory; groundstory; non-timber forest products; NTFP.
Sheban, K.C., Woodbury, D.J. & Duguid, M.C. (2022). Importance of environmental factors on plantings of wild-simulated American Ginseng. Agroforestry Systems, 96, 147–160.