The American Herbal Products Association Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) has awarded its first grant to study the biologic impact of wild collection on a specific commercial plant to Kelly Kindscher, Ph.D. Kindscher, a scientist and professor at the University of Kansas Biological Survey and Environmental Studies Program, will receive $10,000 to study wild populations of osha (Ligusticum porteri).
The research will involve gathering data on the location and inventory of osha in the United States, evaluating the sustainability of current harvest practices in southeastern Colorado and other suitable locations, and recommending best practices for ensuring the protection of osha from overcollection and other threats that could limit the long-term viability of this plant species.
The AHPA-ERB Foundation is supporting this research, which is already underway, with the objective of producing information about the status of osha in the wild.
"Regardless of study findings, this plant deserves to be treated with respect and care for its place in the environment and in traditional cultures," said Steven Dentali, Ph.D., AHPA's chief science officer. "This study may provide greater knowledge of the impact of harvesting osha, which can inform and help determine if new harvest practices should be established."
Kindscher is well known for his study of prairie plants. He is the author of two books: Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie (1987) and Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie (1992), both published by the University Press of Kansas. He also has published more than 70 scholarly articles and technical reports on native prairie plants, prairie and wetland ecology and restoration, cultural uses of edible and medicinal plants in the Great Plains and western United States, plant community ecology, conservation of Midwest/Great Plains/Rocky Mountain habitats and ecosystems, and management of native plant communities and other lands.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to study the effects of osha harvest on its sustainability," said Kindscher, who is collaborating with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Rio Grande National Forest Service on the research. "We are already collecting data on osha populations and have started on a harvest experiment in which mature plants are harvested from plots at different rates. We will monitor these plots for three years to see what the recovery rates are from harvest. We intend to collect very thorough data in order to study the sustainability of harvest."
In conjunction with the grant announcement, the AHPA-ERB Foundation is seeking donations to help fund the osha sustainability study. Interested parties can download the donation form or learn more by visiting the newly designed AHPA-ERB Foundation website.