A recent CBS This Morning report, "Ginseng poaching threatens survival of plant species," includes the unsubstantiated claims that the vast majority of exported wild and wild-simulated ginseng is poached and that ginseng will not be around in 10 to 20 years. The same day, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued its findings that legal harvesting of wild- and wild-simulated American ginseng in 2013 is not detrimental to the survival of the species provided that exported plants are at least five-years old. FWS also noted that 22.7 tons of wild and wild-simulated ginseng was legally exported in 2012.
In response to the CBS report, AHPA President Michael McGuffin issued the following comment:
"The statement on your report on ginseng poaching this morning by Robert Eidus that 90 percent of exported wild ginseng is illegally harvested is completely unsubstantiated. It also ignores the many ginseng collectors who work within the system and harvest wild ginseng when and where allowed, and with respect for private property ownership, public land use, and the strict regulations that govern ginseng harvest, including in North Carolina.
"Charlie Rose acknowledged at the end of the report that he was 'missing something here' and didn't understand 'why they can't grow more.' In fact, the production and export of cultivated ginseng exceeds that of wild ginseng by at least tenfold. But wild and cultivated American ginseng are considered to be entirely different products in the Asian market, and the consumer of the wild is not a customer for the standard agricultural product.
"That may be changing though, as there is an emerging industry of growers of 'woods-grown' and 'wild-simulated' ginseng. This type of cultivation occurs in the same woodland habitat in which wild ginseng is found, and is managed to more closely mimic the environment encountered by the wild plants.
"Legitimate collectors and dealers of wild American ginseng engage in well-established sustainable harvest practices. And the production of woods-grown and wild-simulated ginseng are important innovations in production of this plant for the Asian market."