Transitioning from wild collection to forest cultivation of indigenous medicinal forest plants in eastern North America is constrained by lack of profitability

Eric P. Burkhart, Michael Gregory Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The forest flora of eastern North America includes many herbaceous plant species traded in domestic and international medicinal markets. Conservation concerns surrounding wild-collection exist and transitioning to cultivation in agroforestry systems has potential economic and ecological benefits. Costs and revenues associated with adopting forest cultivation were modeled for eight North American medicinal forest plants. Sensitivity analysis examined profit potential in relation to (1) discount rates; (2) propagation methods; (3) prices; (4) growing period; (5) production costs; and (6) yields. Results indicate that intensive husbandry of six of eight species would be unprofitable at recent (1990-2005) price levels. Exceptions are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), and under certain circumstances (e.g., maximum historic prices, low production costs) goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.). Direct marketing to consumers and retailers might improve grower profits, but is undermined by the availability of cheaper, wild-collected product. We suggest that the North American medicinal plant industry could play a key role in facilitating any transition from wild to cultivated product, perhaps through development of a certification and labeling program that brands "forest cultivated" products. This could generate price premiums, to be passed along to growers, but must be accompanied by aggressive consumer education. A "forest cultivated" certification and labeling program has potential to benefit industry and consumers if assurances regarding product identity and quality are a central feature. Plant species that are not viable candidates for commercial cultivation due to limited consumer demand (i.e., species with "shallow," erratic markets) are best addressed through proactive government and industry initiatives involving targeted harvester education programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Volume76
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

Fingerprint

profitability
Hydrastis canadensis
certification (education)
Panax quinquefolius
production cost
certification
production costs
profits and margins
industry
growers
direct marketing
consumer education
education
plant industry
markets
discount rate
market
medicinal plant
consumer demand
herbaceous plants

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

Cite this

@article{f9e6075fd4e3466b9be22915b42a459b,
title = "Transitioning from wild collection to forest cultivation of indigenous medicinal forest plants in eastern North America is constrained by lack of profitability",
abstract = "The forest flora of eastern North America includes many herbaceous plant species traded in domestic and international medicinal markets. Conservation concerns surrounding wild-collection exist and transitioning to cultivation in agroforestry systems has potential economic and ecological benefits. Costs and revenues associated with adopting forest cultivation were modeled for eight North American medicinal forest plants. Sensitivity analysis examined profit potential in relation to (1) discount rates; (2) propagation methods; (3) prices; (4) growing period; (5) production costs; and (6) yields. Results indicate that intensive husbandry of six of eight species would be unprofitable at recent (1990-2005) price levels. Exceptions are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), and under certain circumstances (e.g., maximum historic prices, low production costs) goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.). Direct marketing to consumers and retailers might improve grower profits, but is undermined by the availability of cheaper, wild-collected product. We suggest that the North American medicinal plant industry could play a key role in facilitating any transition from wild to cultivated product, perhaps through development of a certification and labeling program that brands {"}forest cultivated{"} products. This could generate price premiums, to be passed along to growers, but must be accompanied by aggressive consumer education. A {"}forest cultivated{"} certification and labeling program has potential to benefit industry and consumers if assurances regarding product identity and quality are a central feature. Plant species that are not viable candidates for commercial cultivation due to limited consumer demand (i.e., species with {"}shallow,{"} erratic markets) are best addressed through proactive government and industry initiatives involving targeted harvester education programs.",
author = "Burkhart, {Eric P.} and Jacobson, {Michael Gregory}",
year = "2009",
month = "6",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1007/s10457-008-9173-y",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "76",
pages = "437--453",
journal = "Agroforestry Systems",
issn = "0167-4366",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Transitioning from wild collection to forest cultivation of indigenous medicinal forest plants in eastern North America is constrained by lack of profitability

AU - Burkhart, Eric P.

AU - Jacobson, Michael Gregory

PY - 2009/6/1

Y1 - 2009/6/1

N2 - The forest flora of eastern North America includes many herbaceous plant species traded in domestic and international medicinal markets. Conservation concerns surrounding wild-collection exist and transitioning to cultivation in agroforestry systems has potential economic and ecological benefits. Costs and revenues associated with adopting forest cultivation were modeled for eight North American medicinal forest plants. Sensitivity analysis examined profit potential in relation to (1) discount rates; (2) propagation methods; (3) prices; (4) growing period; (5) production costs; and (6) yields. Results indicate that intensive husbandry of six of eight species would be unprofitable at recent (1990-2005) price levels. Exceptions are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), and under certain circumstances (e.g., maximum historic prices, low production costs) goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.). Direct marketing to consumers and retailers might improve grower profits, but is undermined by the availability of cheaper, wild-collected product. We suggest that the North American medicinal plant industry could play a key role in facilitating any transition from wild to cultivated product, perhaps through development of a certification and labeling program that brands "forest cultivated" products. This could generate price premiums, to be passed along to growers, but must be accompanied by aggressive consumer education. A "forest cultivated" certification and labeling program has potential to benefit industry and consumers if assurances regarding product identity and quality are a central feature. Plant species that are not viable candidates for commercial cultivation due to limited consumer demand (i.e., species with "shallow," erratic markets) are best addressed through proactive government and industry initiatives involving targeted harvester education programs.

AB - The forest flora of eastern North America includes many herbaceous plant species traded in domestic and international medicinal markets. Conservation concerns surrounding wild-collection exist and transitioning to cultivation in agroforestry systems has potential economic and ecological benefits. Costs and revenues associated with adopting forest cultivation were modeled for eight North American medicinal forest plants. Sensitivity analysis examined profit potential in relation to (1) discount rates; (2) propagation methods; (3) prices; (4) growing period; (5) production costs; and (6) yields. Results indicate that intensive husbandry of six of eight species would be unprofitable at recent (1990-2005) price levels. Exceptions are American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.), and under certain circumstances (e.g., maximum historic prices, low production costs) goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.). Direct marketing to consumers and retailers might improve grower profits, but is undermined by the availability of cheaper, wild-collected product. We suggest that the North American medicinal plant industry could play a key role in facilitating any transition from wild to cultivated product, perhaps through development of a certification and labeling program that brands "forest cultivated" products. This could generate price premiums, to be passed along to growers, but must be accompanied by aggressive consumer education. A "forest cultivated" certification and labeling program has potential to benefit industry and consumers if assurances regarding product identity and quality are a central feature. Plant species that are not viable candidates for commercial cultivation due to limited consumer demand (i.e., species with "shallow," erratic markets) are best addressed through proactive government and industry initiatives involving targeted harvester education programs.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=67349194663&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=67349194663&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10457-008-9173-y

DO - 10.1007/s10457-008-9173-y

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:67349194663

VL - 76

SP - 437

EP - 453

JO - Agroforestry Systems

JF - Agroforestry Systems

SN - 0167-4366

IS - 2

ER -