This chart first appeared in Reciprocal Roots Magazine's winter edition-- WNY's publication for herbalism and ethnobotany. Click here to check out the full magazine!
When it comes to wild-harvesting edible and medicinal plants, I've heard blanket rules regarding how much plant material can be ethically removed from a site. For example:
"Take no more than 30% of a stand of wild plants."
These rules may be a useful starting point. However, as we learn more about medicinal plants' behavior and stories in our ecosystem, harvesting practices should become more refined. Is the plant native? Invasive? Is it abundant in western New York, and regionally? How quickly does it reproduce and regenerate? Can I easily grow it in my own garden?
The chart below summarizes my approach to sustainable harvesting, based on observations and learning from others. Please feel empowered to allow your own experience to refine your plant relationships and wild-harvesting choices. Your nook of our ecosystem may be different from mine.