Identifying Potential Ginseng Habitats in Allegany County, Maryland

Authors: Morgan Alban*, Frostburg State University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Environmental Science
Keywords: GIS, Ginseng, Habitat
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is a medicinal herb that is native to deciduous forests that span from southern Canada, to Maine, south to Alabama and Louisiana, and in most of the Appalachian region. As Ginseng use and harvesting has grown significantly in recent years—due to both its economic value and medicinal popularity—identifying regions of suitable Ginseng habitat is important for conservation strategies as well as successful cultivation. This has the potential to bring much needed economic stimulus to central Appalachia. The reduction in Ginseng distribution and yield has been a recent topic of concern for researchers in the fields of biology, botany, and holistic medicine.Therefore, a map displaying potential habitats of wild Ginseng could be of assistance for licensed foragers, conservation biologists, and ginseng cultivators.
The principal habitat characteristics documented in published research and listed in taxonomic guidebooks are: aspect, slope, and solar insolation. Wild ginseng distribution appears to correlate with a slope within in the 10%-20% range (5.71°-11.31°). Ideal aspects for the species were identified as North, East, and Northeast facing slopes. In the central Appalachian range this correlates with typically shadier, cooler mountainsides. Correspondingly, wild American ginseng was found to grow in regions with solar insolation levels of ~25%. The herb is exclusive to deciduous forests biomes/ecosystems and tolerates a wide variety of soil texture and pH (Anderson, 2002). The purpose of this study is to identify suitable habitat areas in Allegany County where American ginseng is likely to be found.

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