Good discussion guys,
Sorry for the long post below but here it goes for anyone wanting to read it.
I think most good diggers do indeed replant the seeds. So if the mother plant is dug and all the seeds are planted, then the ginseng species will continue to be a renewable resource for future generations to enjoy and to dig.
As we already know, many poachers dig early and seeds are not developed. Therefore there is not going to be future ginseng plants in the area the mother plant was dug. Plus the poachers dig everything in sight in the area regardless of age or size.
The thought of \"selling green root only\" may have some merit plus the dealers for the most part seem to pay a fair price for green root \"ratio wise\" pertaining to dry root. However, that would certainly be a big change in how it's been done for the last century and many would not like it I am sure.
Not sure about putting a limit of the amount allowed to be dug by any one person. If I want to put in the effort to work hard at digging then why limit me or anyone to a certain max allowed. I see your point, but the key is good digging practices in my opinion. Arresting poachers, plus good diggers replant seeds and digging only mature plants will go a long way in protecting our favorite plant.
I agree that \"Black Lights\" can be purchased by anyone, so I was wondering the same thing when I read the story pertaining to the dyeing of roots to catch poachers. Hats off to them though for attempting to at least try something to catch these poachers.
Whether ginseng is an endangered species or not is a great question. I would certainly think that the days of finding big old ginseng plants may certainly be more rare than in the past. However, if diggers replant the seeds then more seeds will germinate than if they just fall to the ground and are left to mother nature. So in essence the digger may be the one to ensure the survival of our favorite plant. There may be a day where a 20 year old plant is considered to be an old plant and the 40, 50 plus year old roots are and will be very rare to find. I think this has already happened and will continue as more folks are out there that are willing to venture deeper into the woods to search in more difficult terrain where some of these older roots may still be hiding.