The Future of American Ginseng and Appalachian Forest Botanicals Symposium


July 12-14, 2017

Morgantown, West Virginia (Waterfront Place Hotel)

This symposium, spearheaded by United Plant Savers and in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is a forum for presenting current research and documenting critical new information about the conservation, cultivation, and commerce of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and other Appalachian forest botanicals. This 3-day symposium will provide a forum to bring together a diverse array of stakeholders involved in the management and regulation of forest botanicals in Appalachia, including federal and state agencies, tribal representatives, academics, landowners, collectors, and the herbal products industry. The symposium will also include a poster session. Proceedings of the symposium will be published online on the United Plant Savers website.


We are presently calling for abstracts for oral presentations or posters.

The Future of American Ginseng and Other Appalachian Forest Botanicals Symposium:

Conservation, Cultivation, Commerce

Submitted abstracts/Posters may address, but are not limited to, the following subjects:

  • The ecology, biology, and genetic diversity of species
  • The conservation status of species, including in-situ and ex-situ conservation
  • Trade and market drivers
  • The role of local or traditional knowledge in sustainable harvest practices
  • Conservation issues and challenges
  • Cultivation, harvesting and handling
  • Resource capacity and demand, multiple and contrasting stakeholders
  • Wildcrafting, sustainable harvest guidelines, and the herbal industry
  • Multi-stakeholder sustainable sourcing economic development initiatives in Appalachia
  • Policy initiatives and management strategies


The symposium will primarily focus on species of Appalachian forest botanicals that are on the United Plant Savers At-Risk list and To-Watch list ( Specifically, we hope to have presentations on native plants active in commerce such as, but not limited to: American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum), slippery elm (Ulmus rubra), wild yam root (Dioscorea villosa), false unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), ramps (Allium tricoccum), and witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana).

In 2014, United Plant Savers held a Ginseng Summit of Key Stakeholders that identified issues and obstacles to sustainable American ginseng markets and management in the Appalachian Region. This 2017 symposium will focus on current research on American ginseng and other forest botanicals, regulations and policy, and will foster key connections between those engaged in conservation, cultivation, and commerce of forest botanicals at private, state, tribal, and federal land ownership levels.

The symposium will include a mix of those agencies/organizations/ academics working on forest botanicals as well as landowners and the herbal industry. It will also cover multi-stakeholder sustainable sourcing medicinal plant economic development initiatives in Appalachia and the lessons learned from these projects. Collaborators include USFWS, USDA/Forest Service, NatureServe, US Geological Survey, Medicinal Plant Working Group, IUCN-Medicinal Plant Specialists Group, and TRAFFIC/FairWild.

United Plant Savers is one of several organizations involved in a three-year USDA grant awarded to the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farming (ABFF) Coalition ( The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition is a network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers. Our collective aim is to increase awareness of forest-grown medicinal plants through education and relationship building, and support conservation efforts through stewardship of existing plant populations and forest farming of these native botanicals. The 2017 symposium will also seek to create markets and build capacity for this unique forest farming coalition and address policy-related issues. A track specific to those in the ABFF Coalition will be developed addressing important objectives of the grant’s second-year objectives.

The deadline for submission of symposium presentation abstracts is December 15th, 2016. Accepted speakers will be notified by January 30th, 2017. Speakers’ papers to be published in the symposium proceedings are due by June 1, 2017.

The cost for registration is $200, which includes dinner on Wednesday evening and lunch on Thursday and Friday as well as snacks and coffee breaks during the symposium. Speakers, poster presenters, and studentscan register at a discounted rate of $100.

Rooms can be booked directly on the symposium hotel’s website (rooms cost $129; government rates are available):


*Program will change once abstracts are accepted

*Additional workshops, presenters and field trips to be added

July 12, Wednesday: American Ginseng

  • Check-in/registration
  • Current research on American ginseng
  • Management of wild populations, wild harvest, and policy
  • Break for Lunch
  • Panel discussion on conservation and management
  • Break
  • Multi-stakeholder sustainable-sourcing medicinal plant
  • economic development initiatives in Appalachia
  • Lessons learned from various projects
  • Evening Dinner at Hotel and Keynote Speaker TBA

July 13, Thursday
Appalachian Forest Botanicals

  • Current research on Appalachian forest botanicals
  • Conservation/management of wild populations
  • Break for Lunch
  • Sourcing/cultivation/forest farming presentations
  • Break
  • Market/trade and roundtable discussion
  • Policy input/next steps/recommendations
  • Dinner on your own (participants are free to explore Morgantown).
  • Evening Program, Poster session with music and local products made with forest botanicals

Friday, July 14th

Field trips and workshops on forest farming, markets, value added products and networking

  • Schedule TBA


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