Country – CANADA

A U T H O R :
Adrianne Sinclair
* Canadian Wildlife Service Environment Canada I. BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE TAXA
Scientific and common names:
Panax quinquefolius
(American ginseng; Canadian ginseng; five-fingers; occidental gin-
seng; sang; seng)
Ginseng is widely distributed in Eastern North America from Québec
to Minnesota and South Dakota; south to Georgia, Louisiana, and
Oklahoma. In Canada, ginseng occurs in low abundance in the south-
western province of Québec and the southern portion of the province
of Ontario with its occurrence infrequent and fragmented throughout
its range.
WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5 – p.1
Figure 1. North Americandistribution of ginseng(Panax quinquefolius) (Small& Catling, 1999).
Figure 2. Distribution of ginseng(Panax quinquefolius) in Canada(Canadian Wildlife Service, 2004).
1.3.1 General biological and life history characteristics of the species
Ginseng is an herbaceous, long-lived forest perennial with slow popu-lation growth. Plants take approximately five to eight years to matu-re and are usually 20-70 cm tall with a whorl of three or four palmateleaves, each generally with five large leaflets. The flower is borne inmid-summer and 6-20 small, yellowish-white flowers emerge on ashort stalk from the centre of the whorl. This species utilizes exclusi-vely sexual reproduction to proliferate and is usually pollinated bygeneralist insects. Ginseng is considered to have a poor dispersal effi-ciency.
Fruits begin to ripen at the end of July and mature to a deep red colour. Seeds require approximately an 18-month dormancy periodprior to germination and recruitment is low due to high levels of seed WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5– p.2
predation and high seed mortality rates ( 70-90%). Ginseng seedshave only a 0.55% probability of reaching maturity.
1.3.2. Habitat Types:
Ginseng prefers rich, shady, moist, undisturbed and relatively maturedeciduous woods in areas of limestone or marble bedrock soils. Habitatis generally dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum), white ash(Fraxinus americana), hickory (Carya spp.) – especially bitternut hickory(C. cordiformus), and basswood (Tilia americana). Ginseng colonies areoften found near the bottom of gentle slopes facing southeast to south-west, where the microhabitat is usually well-drained and species rich.
1.3.3 Role of the species in its ecosystem
The vegetative parts of ginseng and also the seeds are predated bydeer, and the berries and seeds are often eaten by small mammals.
Deer are not considered dispersers of ginseng but small animals mayplay a minor role. The flowers of ginseng plants are visited by genera-list insects, and a few species of small bees are considered the mostimportant pollinators.
1.4.1. Global Population Size:
Ginseng occurs fairly frequently in the major portions of its range (i.e.
the Appalachia and the Ozark region of the United States) andalthough population numbers are often low, the total number of indi-viduals may be in the millions. In Canada, abundance is low and only49 of 418 recorded populations are considered viable (i.e. >172 plants);at least 369 of the 418 known populations are either extirpated, unvia-ble, or in decline.
1.4.2. Current global population trends:
The global population trend of ginseng is decreasing according toNatureServe (2008). Similarly, the population trend of ginseng inCanada is also decreasing.
1.5. Conservation status
1.5.1. Global Conservation Status (according to IUCN Red List):
_Critically endangered _Near Threatened _ Data deficient WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5 – p.3
Ginseng has not yet been assessed by IUCN and is currently not on the Red List. NatureServe (2008) has evaluated ginseng as vulnerableto apparently secure across its range, with an overall declining trend.
1.5.2. National conservation status for the case study country
Ginseng is considered endangered in Canada both nationally and in itsprovincial jurisdictions of Ontario and Québec.
1.5.3. Main threats within the case study country
_No Threats_X_Habitat Loss/Degradation (human induced) _Invasive alien species (directly affecting the species) _X_Harvesting [hunting/gathering] _Accidental mortality (e.g. Bycatch) _Persecution (e.g. Pest control) _Pollution (affecting habitat and/or species) _X_Other Recreation (i.e. trails) _Unknown Historically, ginseng populations were lost and/or reduced as a resultof trade and habitat loss; decline in this species continues today.
Primary threats are harvest and logging activities, and to a slightly les-ser extent habitat loss/degradation/alteration and recreation. Threatsto ginseng in Canada are severe. Harvest is considered unsustainable,dramatically reducing the reproductive potential of this declining spe-cies. A 5% root harvest has been shown to be sufficient to bring a via-ble ginseng population toward extirpation.

2.1.1. Management history
Management of wild ginseng in Canada consists of prohibitions ontrade: • The international export of wild ginseng roots and/or derivatives from Canada has been prohibited since 1989. • Harvest and trade in wild ginseng in Québec (whether imported or not) has been prohibited since the species was listed on Appendix IIof CITES in 1973. • As of July 2008, harvest and trade in wild ginseng is prohibited in WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5– p.4
Ontario. Prior to July 2008, these activities were only prohibited inprovincial Parks and Conservation Reserves. 2.1.2 Purpose of the management plan in place
The goal of the prohibition on international export of wild ginsengroots from Canada, as well as the ban on harvest and trade domesti-cally in wild specimens from the provinces of Ontario and Québec, is toconserve remaining populations and enable population regeneration.
Preventing removal of reproducing plants and allowing young plantsto mature and reproduce aims to contribute to the establishment ofseedlings and potentially stabilize/increase population numbers.
2.1.3. General elements of the management plan
The management plan for wild ginseng in Canada consists of the pro-hibitions on international export of wild roots as well as harvest andtrade in wild specimens in the provinces of Ontario and Québec. Arecovery strategy has also been developed.
2.1.4. Restoration or alleviation measures
A national recovery strategy is in place for ginseng as required for spe-cies listed on the federal Species at Risk Act. Public outreach initiativeshave raised awareness of the endangered status of ginseng and its vul-nerability to minimal levels of harvesting.
Surveys have been conducted to identify remaining wild popula- tions of ginseng, their status, and any local threats. Landscape-leveland site-specific protection and recovery plans have be determined.
Populations are monitored annually to track the effectiveness of con-servation measures.
The relocation of trails in parks and reserves, as well as the reloca- tion of plants away from trails has been attempted. Researchers andlandowners are collaborating to prepare and implement detailedplans to protect key ginseng populations that are located on privateproperty.
The possibility of reintroduction is being investigated and the results of studies looking into specific ginseng habitat requirementsare being applied to identify sites which may be suitable. The possibi-lity of illegal harvest is considered when selecting potential reintro-duction sites. Ginseng propagation techniques have been successfullydeveloped and ginseng is being grown at a scientific institution tofacilitate future reintroductions. Propagated ginseng has already beenused to augment ten wild populations that were considered at risk ofextirpation.
WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5 – p.5
2.2. Monitoring system
2.2.1 Methods used to monitor harvest
There is no legal harvest of wild ginseng in Canada. However, popula-tions are surveyed annually by species experts in the provincial jurisdic-tions in order to monitor population status and to identify the inciden-ce of illegal harvest. Growth rates, harvesting impacts, and a minimumviable population size for ginseng have been calculated using projec-tion matrix models. Population estimates are made available in species status reports generated by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife inCanada (COSEWIC) and also via consultations between the ScientificAuthority and wildlife managers/species experts in the provincial juris-dictions. Baseline population data is available for the province ofOntario since 1987 and for the province of Québec since 1994.
2.2.2 Confidence in the use of monitoring
Wild harvest of ginseng continues despite prohibitions on internatio-nal export from Canada as well as provincial bans on harvest andtrade. Confidence in monitoring is moderate with the current levels offunding and researchers/staff, but challenges exist in documentingillegal harvest of ginseng (e.g. frequency required to be effective, thesize of the geographical area in which ginseng occurs, the number ofpopulations to monitor, and the ease of access to populations).
2.3. Legal framework and law enforcement
Ginseng was listed on the Canadian Species at Risk Act in 2003 whichaffords protection to the species on federal lands.
Québec listed ginseng as threatened (the highest risk category) on the Loi sur les espèces menaces ou vulnerables in 2001 which affordsprotection from harvest and trade in wild specimens, as well as gin-seng habitat.
Ontario listed ginseng as endangered on the Species At Risk in Ontario list in 2008 and thus collection and trade in wild ginseng isnow prohibited throughout Ontario under their Endangered SpeciesAct.

3.1. Type of use (origins) and destinations (purposes)
Ginseng has been used in Asian medicine for as long as 5000 years andis said to be an effective treatment for a wide variety of disorders and WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5– p.6
ailments. As a result, it is harvested exclusively for medicinal and/ortherapeutic uses. Trade in ginseng can be for either commercial or per-sonal purposes.
In Canada, ginseng is grouped into four different categories based on the level of human-intervention: wild, wild-simulated, woods-grown, and field-grown. Wild ginseng grows naturally without humanintervention of any kind. Wild-simulated ginseng is grown under anatural forest canopy in what would be considered suitable wild gin-seng habitat and the seeds are cast by the grower without any cultiva-tion or other interventions (e.g. removal of rocks, weeds, applicationof fertilizers or pesticides). Wild-simulated ginseng roots, despitebeing considered artificially propagated maintain the characteristicsof a wild ginseng specimen and are therefore worth a high monetaryvalue. Woods-grown ginseng is also grown under a forest canopy butis afforded a range of human interventions. Field-grown ginseng isgrown under artificial shade structures and is subject to intensehuman intervention and cultivation. The majority of export is of artificially propagated field-grown roots, usually in whole or sliced form, but also in powder or finishedproducts (e.g. teas, capsules, extracts, confectionary, etc.). No legaltrade in wild ginseng specimens from Canada exists.
3.2.1 Harvesting regime
Harvest of ginseng is destructive in that the whole root is taken andthe vegetative portion of the plant is generally discarded. The harvestof wild roots involves the digging of individual plants, however artifi-cially propagated field-grown ginseng is usually mechanically harves-ted using specialized machines. There is no season for collecting wildginseng in Canada as harvest of this species is prohibited.
3.2.2 Harvest management/ control
In Canada, there is a zero quota for wild ginseng (i.e. no harvest orexport of wild ginseng roots). Harvest of wild ginseng in Canada can-not be considered non-detrimental. Exports of wild-simulated and/or woods-grown ginseng are currently assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Scientific Authority. Todate, no Canadian export permits have been granted for wild-simula-ted or woods-grown ginseng due to concerns related to habitat distur-bances associated with site preparation and maintenance, the intro-duction of seed-borne pathogens that are common in cultivated seedsources, and the potential for genetic contamination of wild ginseng WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5 – p.7
populations. Also of concern is the difficulty in differentiating betwe-en the roots of wild, wild-simulated, and woods-grown ginseng.
Depending on the extent of human intervention during the growingperiod, the roots may resemble wild specimens or have characteristicssimilar to field-grown ginseng. Harvest and export of artificially propagated field-grown ginseng is allowed, however all shipments must be accompanied by valid CITESdocumentation. CITES export permits may be issued for personal (< 4.5kg) and commercial shipments (> 4.5 kg) depending on quantity. Field-grown roots have physical characteristics that make them easily distin-guishable from ginseng roots grown by other means.
3.3. Legal and illegal trade levels
Legal harvest of ginseng in Canada exists primarily of artificially pro-pagated field-grown specimens and is a lucrative industry with theexport market value estimated at approximately $65 million annually.
Approximately 2.5 million kilograms of dried roots are exported fromCanada annually, primarily to the Asian market. Although harvest and trade of wild specimens is prohibited in Canada, the potential for illegal trade is high. Wild roots are conside-red to be significantly more valuable than those that are field-cultiva-ted. It has been determined that illegal harvest has contributed to thedecline and/or extirpation of wild ginseng populations in Canada.
However, the exact amount of illegal harvest is difficult to quantify. II. NON-DETRIMENT FINDING PROCEDURE (NDFS)
For wild ginseng in Canada there is currently a negative NDF (i.e. harvestof wild ginseng is considered detrimental to the species in the wild).

In Canada, the IUCN Checklist for non-detriment findings is followed
closely when making an NDF. All elements of tables 1 and 2 are consi-
dered by wildlife managers/species experts in the provincial jurisdic-
tions and the information is provided to the CITES Scientific Authority.
When the Scientific Authority reviews and finalises the Checklist, con-
sideration is given to the primary experience of managers/experts in
WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5– p.8
the management and research of wild populations, as well as to anyadditional sources of information that are available (e.g. scientificjournal articles, technical reports, and consultations with additionalexperts, wildlife management boards, species-specificcommittees/associations, etc).
Wildlife managers, who collaborate with species experts, in the pro-
vincial jurisdictions are responsible for the management of wild gin-
seng populations. The Canadian CITES Scientific Authority relies on
these managers and experts to provide it with up-to-date information
on wild ginseng populations, primarily in the form of the IUCN
Checklist, but also through consultations, when making an NDF.
Growth rates, harvesting impacts, and a minimum viable popula- tion size for ginseng have been calculated using projection matrixmodels. Annual population surveys are carried out by species expertsin the provincial range jurisdictions and the data is compared to base-line information to determine the trend of populations both indivi-dually and in Canada as a whole. Annual surveys are also used to moni-tor of illegal harvest and help to determine whether it is an actual orpotential threat. Population surveys are useful for the identification ofother potential threats to populations besides illegal harvest. Reviewof the primary literature is also conducted. The Canadian CITES Scientific Authority itself does participate in field evaluations or surveys of wild ginseng populations. All popula-tion surveys are conducted by the wildlife managers/species experts inthe provincial jurisdictions using species-specific field techniques.
Given that all jurisdictions have mandates to protect wildlife within
their jurisdictions, and have the scientific and management informa-
tion and expertise that contribute to the making of an NDF, the data
and information provided to the Scientific Authority is assured to be
of a high standard. It should be noted that the conservation and
management of wild species is multi-jurisdictional in Canada, falling
under the authority of various provincial, territorial, and federal acts
and legislation related to wildlife management.
The details provided by the experts in the range jurisdictions are reviewed by the Scientific Authority to ensure that all the necessaryinformation is complete. Whether trade will be detrimental to the spe-cies in the wild is determined based on the information provided bythe wildlife managers/species experts in the jurisdictions.
WG 2 – CASE STUDY 5 – p.9
Since management of wildlife in Canada is multi-jurisdictional, coordi-
nating the numerous people involved in the NDF process can someti-
mes be difficult. Budget and time constraints are also significant cha-
llenges facing the Scientific Authority and the wildlife managers in
regards to making NDFs.
The monitoring of illegal harvest (aside from annual population surveys) is a considerable challenge considering the frequency of visitsrequired for monitoring to be effective, the geographical area inwhich ginseng occurs, and the number of populations to monitor.
Eliminating the threat of illegal harvest to the survival of ginseng inthe wild is problematic due to its greater market demand and value.
The Canadian CITES Scientific Authority has had great success in using
the IUCN Checklist, either formally or via consultations, as a method to
gather the information that is required to make an NDF. The IUCN
Checklist covers a wide scope of the parameters that may be conside-
red when developing an NDF and the format is useful in terms of focu-
sing our approach for gathering information, recognizing gaps in
information or management, and identifying the vulnerabilities for
the species in question. Collectively it ensures a thorough analysis of
the status and management practices currently in place for a species,
regardless of taxa. It is recommended that Parties consider the IUCN
Checklist when developing NDFs.
REFERENCESCanadian Wildlife Service. 2004. Species at Risk: American ginseng [web application].
Species at Risk Online Search, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa (2001). Available: CITES Scientific Authority. 2007. Canadian Standing Non-Detriment Finding Report for Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng). Available: 2000. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessment and updated status report on the American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa. vii +17 pp.
NatureServe. 2008. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application].
Version 7.0. NatureServe, Arlington. Available:
ROSSER, A.R. and Haywood, M.J. (Compilers). 2002. Guidance for CITES Scientific Authorities: Checklist to assist in making non-detriment findings for Appendix IIexports. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xi + 146 pp.
SMALL, E. & Catling, P.M. 1999. Canadian Medicinal Crops. NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
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