Forest botanicals are a subset of medicinal herbs that require special considerations in regard to sustainability, based on their unique growth patterns, supply chains, and trade history, and the complex and sensitive ecosystems in which they grow. This article introduces sustainability concepts and definitions in the context of the herbal products industry, and forest herbs in particular, and discusses the general trends and issues of forest-derived medicinal products in the eastern United States. Particular focus is given to Appalachia and several herbs native to the region that illustrate important concepts and factors affecting the sustainability of the forest herb supply chain. The authors outline key requirements for sustainable production and introduce forest farming as a potential solution to many of the challenges faced within the current forest herb supply chain.
Forests are some of the most life-abundant and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, and humans have a long, rich…
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