Ethical Harvesting

green forests and croplands

Photo by Tom Fisk on

Ethical Harvesting focuses on the long term environmental impacts of survival of native plants, trees and fungi. This is a combination of knowledge addressing each family classification of botanical /mycological species/ subspecies. Each family has its own set of rules that must be researched before implementation for the longevity of its species within its natural habitat. Specifically, when harvesting wild foods, intimate knowledge of its growth patterns, ‘At risk’ designation, invasive non-native species introduction and prolific propagation of over harvested native species categorizations is important.

Growth patterns – Knowledge of annual, biennial and perennial plant propagation through education of plant species. 

‘At – Risk’ native species and fungi – we are personally responsible for identifying species that are ‘At-Risk’ before harvesting to further its propagation and regional growth. To educate individuals on these species through seed saving, methods of stratification and distribution in appropriate ecologies before harvest is considered and the long term environmental impacts of its survival.regardless of edibility. 

Native Species –  Classified as species to North America ( or the readers specific area/ecology) – That grow within certain ecologies – Eg: Araliaceae – Aralia Racemosa – AKA Spikenard – is a plant in the Ginseng family that specifically grows in the Northern areas of  North America in Boreal Forests (specifically Alvars) – Grows in rich forests and its roots are known to be used as a alternative flavouring for Root Beer. This Native Plant is also in the ‘At-Risk’ category from over harvesting. 

Invasive Non-Native Species – Understanding through education the correct invasive species and their impact on soil and native plants and trees is also important. The proper techniques of removal to ensure propagation of Native species has to be paramount.  Eg: Garlic Mustard (scientifically called Alliaria petiolata which is its Latin name, is a biennial flowering plant. It is of the Mustard family Brassicaceae. Its other name is jack-by-the-hedge) and it is an invasive plant introduced to North America that has adverse chemical effects on mychrozzial mushroom growth around hardwood trees – essentially killing the soil and depleting carbon storage. It grows biennially with prolific seeding in the 2nd year of which can stay dormant for up to 7 years before germination. The chemical effects of its root growth can last up to 4 years after removal of the species – effectively leaving adverse residue repair for many years. This invasive species also squeezes out Native species and can essentially take over an area within 2 seasons, killing off native species in its path. Removal of affected areas can take as long as 25 dedicated years. 

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