Sustainability Report 2019 - Report - Page 28
CRAFTING THE FUTURE
FOR FOREST BOTANICALS
You do not have to venture far within the mountains of Southern
efficiencies and enhance product quality. Providing infrastructure like
Appalachia to find yourself surrounded by serene wilderness, with
this is another tool to help forest farmers and wild-crafters meet the
unique flora and fauna flourishing within many of the various
increased demand from wholesale herb buyers.
SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2019 // Planet // P.28
microclimates of this region.
We also participated in the United Plant Savers’ (UPS) Hope for
In 2019, our Global Sourcing team traveled to Abingdon, Virginia with
Hydrastis campaign. Hydrastis canadensis is the Latin name for
colleagues from Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) and
Goldenseal, which is another valued forest botanical that only grows in
the Sustainable Herbs Program (SHP). The goal of this visit was to
specific microclimates within the Appalachian Mountains.
continue to understand the dynamics of forest economies, specifically
that of the wild-crafting and forest farming communities.
During a time of heavy harvesting around the 1800s, the population
of Goldenseal greatly decreased, leaving this plant endangered and
They followed local forest farmers up winding paths in deciduous
almost to the point of extinction. The Goldenseal root that is used in
hardwood forests, where plumes of Black Cohosh, one of many native
Gaia Herbs’ products is ethically sourced to ensure that we are not
forest botanicals of this region, can be found growing underneath the
further endangering this important species.
thick forest canopies of Poplar and Oak. They observed the tradition of
forest farmers carefully uprooting the Black Cohosh, leaving a part of
the root behind to generate more plants in the future.
Forest farming for botanicals is one emerging practice that is being
implemented throughout Appalachia in hopes of solving many
interconnected challenges: meeting the growing demand for forest
botanicals, developing new practices of sustainable land management,
and conserving standing forests worldwide.
Our company has been a supporter of UPS for many years, whose
mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States
and Canada and their native habitats, while ensuring an abundant
renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come.
The UPS Hope for Hydrastis project campaign continues to raise
awareness around the potential that Goldenseal has to regenerate
forest communities - ecologically, socially, and economically. This
campaign is only the beginning of a five-year conservation project
To help maintain these traditional methods of harvesting forest
that involves propagation, forest farming cultivation trials, and
botanicals, as well as the future of endangered plants, we work with
providing farmers with the resources that they need to sustain future
SHP and ASD to provide education and resources to forest farmers.
populations, including planting stock.
“It’s important for us to preserve woodland botanicals because these
“Sustainability is highly considered with our herbs, especially when
are critical herbs that we want to sustain for future generations,”
it comes to revered plants that are on the verge of extinction,” said
Alexandra Dunne, Product Information Specialist, BSc in Herbal
This past year, we donated a 400-square-foot herb dryer to ASD’s
Appalachian Harvest Herb Hub. The herb dryer is used by local
forest farmers and wild-crafters to increase post-harvest handling
Sciences. “We cannot responsibly source herbs like Goldenseal unless
we have a way to protect the future of the species and ensure its
availability for years to come.”