Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Forest Resource Management

Committee Chair

David E. Samuel.


Wild harvested products (WHPs) are plants and animals, or parts of them, that are harvested from their native habitats for sale, trade, or personal consumption, by harvesters who are not employed by others to collect them. WHPs embody a range of economic, cultural, and social values held by residents of rural areas. However, the products' significance to harvesters and communities, and their conservation status, have until recently been little studied.;Assessments of social and economic impacts of WHPs on households and communities were conducted in West Virginia and West Africa. Interviews with harvesters, dealers, and resource managers revealed the range of products and extent of their impacts, and suggested strategies for managing products and integrating harvesters into management practices.;Harvesters in West Virginia collect over 2 dozen medicinal plants in a trade dominated by American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). Grape vines and mosses are gathered by foragers for sale into the floral trade, both retail and wholesale. Wild edibles such as mushrooms and ramps ( Allium tricoccum) are widely harvested but generally reserved for personal consumption rather than sale. Harvesters of medicinal plants are usually hunters of wild game, who seasonally shift their harvest activities in an annual cycle. Management of ginseng has relied on harvest data and dealer information to indicate the abundance and conservation status of wild populations. However, harvest data are more indicative of economic trends than they are of population status. Management practices used for hunting appear likely to apply to medicinal plants management.;A case study from Ghana, West Africa, describes the local-level impacts of a ban on access to forest products. Household surveys indicated the multiple benefits of WHPs, ranging from income generation to personal consumption, to gender- and age-based community roles. For communities closely tied to the landscape which were not participating fully in a cash economy, the creation of a national park affected forest use and household income, farming success, and diet. Community dynamics of forest loss brought about by export-driven economic development activities in the region of southern Ghana are discussed.