Four-prong ginseng plant with berries. Ginseng harvesting on the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests will be severely restricted this year due to declining wild plant populations. / Special to the Asheville Citizen-Times
Asheville, N.C. -- The U.S. Forest Service is placing severe limits on the amount of wild ginseng that can be harvested in two national forests in western North Carolina due to instances of poaching.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports the forest service says the amount of ginseng available for harvest in Nantahala and Pisgah national forests this September will be reduced by 75 percent.
U.S. Forest Service supervisor Kristin Bail said the harvest season would be cut in half to two weeks, and that district rangers will be able to limit ginseng harvests to certain areas.
Forest Service spokesman Stevin Westcott said on average, 12 people are cited each year for ginseng poaching in the two national forests, Penalties for plant poaching may include a fine or a six-month prison sentence, or both.