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Comparative Analysis of Management Regimes and Medicinal Plant Trade Monitoring Mechanisms for American Ginseng and Goldenseal

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Two popular and profitable native North American medicinal plants, American ginseng (   Panax quinquefolius) and goldenseal (  Hydrastis canadensis), both of which are listed in Appendix 2 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), are monitored under disparate domestic strategies that are designed to satisfy CITES requirements. The P. quinquefolius program has benefited the species by encouraging U.S. states to enact laws to protect wild populations and regulate collection, and by establishing a transparent system under which harvest, commerce, and export can be monitored, evaluated, and controlled routinely. But certain programmatic constraints, such as insufficient funding and gaps in biological monitoring, undermine its effectiveness as a management strategy for the species. The joint industry and government H. canadensis initiative is intended to give commercial traders more responsibility in monitoring plant trade and the federal government access to information that may otherwise be difficult to obtain without the help of traders. I examined the structure, successes, and deficiencies of the P. quinquefolius program, promising features of the evolving H. canadensis program, Turkey's management of geophytes, and other sources of information from federal agencies that might contribute to more effective management of medicinal plants in the United States. Although the main goal of domestic monitoring programs for P. quinquefolius and H. canadensis is to implement their CITES listings, it is conceivable that similar programs could be established for non–CITES medicinal plants, thereby minimizing or replacing the need for CITES protection.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: TRAFFIC North America, WWF-US, 1250 24th Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20037, U.S.A.,

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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