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Author Topic: Forest Service increases watch for illegal taking of slippery elm bark  (Read 433 times)

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Arthur

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Forest Service increases watch for illegal taking of slippery elm bark

WINCHESTER, Ky., March 22, 2016 – Over the past several years, the market for medicinal herbs has been on the rise. One of the products in demand is the bark from slippery elm trees (Ulmus rubra).

The inner layer of slippery elm bark contains a gel-like substance that is presumed to be a soothing agent for sore throat, gastrointestinal problems, and skin irritations.

“Each year, we have seen a steady increase in the number of slippery elm trees being stripped of their bark,” said Forest Botanist David Taylor with the Daniel Boone National Forest.

“For these trees, it’s a death sentence. The trees die within a year once their bark has been removed, since the inner layer of the bark provides for the flow of nutrients that sustain the tree.”

The taking of slippery elm bark from trees on national forest land is illegal. Under the 36 Code of Federal Regulations, “removing any timber, tree or other forest product, except as authorized by a special-use authorization, timber sale contract, or Federal law or regulation” is prohibited (36 CFR, Section 261.6h).

“The theft of natural resources from national forest lands can lead to a species’ demise,” added Taylor.

“As an example, ginseng has been illegally removed from public lands in the eastern United States for decades, causing serious decline and even extirpation of this plant in some forest areas.”

Other forest products commonly removed from national forest lands include timber, mosses and lichens, wildflowers and rocks. None of these resources can be taken without a permit.

To help prevent the illegal taking of natural resources on national forest lands, the public is encouraged to report the theft of forest products by calling 859.745.3100.

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ShifuCareaga

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look I get this issue, and I support protecting slippery elm, but this policy is fubar twice.
On the one hand it really doesn't provide an outlet for those who are seriously going to do it anyways (and after all might be doing it to make money because the economy is no good). Secondly, if a person decides to live a wild herbs/foods lifestyle the way that regulation is written is total bullshit.
However, most wild foods activists don't poach things to death and learn cultivation.

It's just as I am saying in my book: prohibitions don't work. The only thing that works is educating people and encouraging outdoors beavior so that good people shepherd the forest. It's not that we need less people in the woods - we need more. For social health and physical health, economy, and more good people protecting the preserves. 2 people cannot protect the 60+ SNP's and Rangers can't manage the whole DBNF+Jefferson NF. Period.

It's time people wake up and stop promoting policies that don't work (like making fisherman take large fish ... the ones that breed). These policies have been disastrous for American forests and disconnect people from nature.

We shouldn't be reducing wild foods awareness but increasing it. Sustainability is the ONLY future, the supermarket system is dying or needs to die or it will kill nature. Monoculture/orchards are death.

So sorry I refuse to acknowledge such policies with my heart. I don't harvest slippery elm, but if I meet a person who does I won't turn them in I'll question them and say "are you doing it in a way that kills the tree?" and "don't you know how to take only limited amounts?"

I think it'd be best if they had their own farm and orchards, but I just disagree. Of course I'm super libertarian and I don't like the government running everything which used to belong to the natives and their wild foraging ways, anyhow.  No I don't want poachers killing rare endangered species nor destroying ginseng to death (as an herbalist I really don't want that!) but I don't think these policies make sense I think it has to be about education and promotion of hiking and protection. Hiked regions are less attractive to poaching...

Just my opinion, I can see the other side, too.
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This reminds me of Ginseng diggers. The old timers always carefully culled only a few plats from each site, thus insuring future harvests. In the 70's there was a ginseng craze and newbies, drawn by the increase in profit dug up whole patches. I can remember from my hunting days whole hillsides of the stuff disappearing completely in one season, turning a common plant into a rarity. This was on Fort Knox where you had to have a permit to hunt and it was illegal to dig the stuff. Enforcement of these bans is impossible.
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