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A small woodpecker perched on a pine tree.
Information icon In 2018, there were 38 active clusters of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers on this property in Alabama, thriving there under a Safe Harbor Agreement. Composite photo by Mark Bailey.

Sustainable harvest of forest products



Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

Ginseng and goldenseal are widely known and used for their purported medicinal properties. Galax is a native plant harvested for use in flower arrangements. White oak is used in traditional Cherokee basket weaving. The Southern Appalachians are home to a botanical bounty of wild plants that have found plenty of human uses. In many cases, behind those uses is a market where these plants are bought and sold, usually legally, sometimes not so. A great challenge for all involved in the legal trade of these plants is ensuring they are properly managed and sustainably harvested.

The Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere program is a consortium of agencies working on natural resource conservation in the Southern Appalachians. Each year for its Fall Conference, SAMAB brings together members of academia, government agencies, non-profits, and the general public to explore important conservation issues in our region.

This year’s conference will be November 15-17 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville. A major focus of this year’s gathering will be a look, from all perspectives, at these non-timber forest products and how they can be sustainably managed and harvested. Presentations will include everything from Cherokee ethnobotany to a buyer’s perspective on ginseng to plant poaching on the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more information visit

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

Download the transcript.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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Looking for a media contact? Reach out to a regional spokesperson.

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