Conservation Articles


Rural America: The New Global Heartland for Traditional Medicinal Plants

by Dr. Michele Devlin The population of rural America is changing very quickly due to the global economy, new labor needs, and an influx of refugees and immigrants to work in meatpacking, agriculture, and related fields. Nearly 200 languages are now spoken even in small states like Iowa, and some rural towns are quickly becoming home to new migrants from Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and other areas. The use of traditional medicinal herbs for ...
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Hydrastis canadensis,

Unregulated Wild Collection and Habitat Loss Lead to Vulnerable Status for Medicinal Goldenseal

Republished with permission of IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature Hydrastis canadensis, Goldenseal fl ower, Howard County, MD, Helen Lowe Metzman. USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. The latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ saw Goldenseal classified as “Vulnerable” on The IUCN Red List in a move that highlights concerns about the medicinal plant’s decline. The IUCN Red List ( now includes 87,967 different wildlife species, of which 25,062 (approximately ...
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Ancient Saw Palmettos in the Heart of Florida

Reprinted with permission of Matt Candeias,  In Defense of Plants South Florida Satellite Image Map – The light sandy lookingarea in the middle is the Mid-Florida Ridge When we think about long lived plants, our minds tend to fixate on bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva), coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), or that clonal patch of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) in Utah. What would you say if I told you that we can add a palm tree to ...
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Lessons on Stewardship: Chinquapins, Chiggers, and Indian Pipes

by Ruth Davis Plants are often introduced into my garden by a share from a friend. Sometimes it is only a fond memory shared that sends me on a search for the plant itself. This is the case with the chinquapins. My mother spent her childhood in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and talked so often about the abundance of the delicious nuts from these scrappy relatives of chestnuts. So, as a memorial, ...
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by Erika Galentin, MNIMH, RH (AHG) The Elephant in the Room Distillation of Lemon Balm using an Alquitar copper still. Photo by Erika Galentin. Define sustainability. “Sustainability” is a not-so-new term floating around the shelves of our global economy, hot on the tongue of marketers and advertisers ready to sell us the next best thing to organic. Within the natural products industry, “sustainability” is a concept that appears in many dressed-up forms. For example, when ...
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The Role of Soil Fungi in Medicinal Plant Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture: Soil Fungal Inoculants’ Impacts on Crop Yield, Nutrition, and Basil Downy Mildew

by Melody Wright Research Beds The cultivation of medicinal herbs using regenerative agriculture methods can be as vital as conservation and education in meeting United Plant Savers’ goals. Herb farmers have the ability to cultivate some of the UpS “At-Risk” or “To-Watch” species, potentially reducing pressure on wild populations, as well as grow and promote alternatives to these same plants of concern. Herb farmers, particularly those who sell directly to consumers through farmers’ markets or ...
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by Laurie Quesinberry Unlike ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) sells for very little to a local root broker. However, its tendency to grow in thick patches and being easy to dig makes it a poacher’s gold mine. These plants were once found in abundance along the meandering roadsides of my area. As a former poacher, I’ve seen firsthand the damage that’s done by overharvesting and road crews. As plans for the expansion of ...
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