Ohio Looks to Clamp Down on Illegal Poaching of Wild Ginseng

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 24 (UPI) — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says more than 30 people could face criminal charges for illegally harvesting wild ginseng from private property.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Thursday the department’s investigation uncovered ginseng harvesting occurring out of season and involving the taking of ginseng from private property without permission.

The statewide investigation also found incidents where wild ginseng was exported out of the country before being certified by the state.

Despite the discovery of the illegal harvesting and exporting activities, department spokeswoman Beth Ruth said no criminal charges had been filed as the investigation was ongoing.

Ginseng and its medicinal properties are in high demand in Asia and the plant’s dried roots can be sold at $400 a pound, the Dispatch reported.

In 2008 alone, a total of 3,626 pounds of ginseng was legally harvested in Ohio under state regulations, which are aimed at preventing over-harvesting and helping the plants reach maturity.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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