Wild American Ginseng: Lessons for Conservation in the Age of Humans (Paperback)
Wild American ginseng, America's most famous medicinal plant, is in trouble. In plain prose, James McGraw explains why as he translates the latest in ecological and conservation science findings on this unassuming understory herb. As the world's foremost authority on wild ginseng, McGraw is uniquely poised to present this story based on more than twenty years of uninterrupted field research.McGraw traces the dramatic ecological history of ginseng in North America, documenting the ginseng-centric view of a world increasingly dominated by both direct and indirect actions of humans. Far more than a story of a single plant species, ginseng becomes a parable, a canary in a coal mine, for what is happening to our dwindling wild species across the globe. Documenting lingchi (death by a thousand cuts) in human interactions with wild species, McGraw shows us the evidence of our slowly eroding biodiversity and our diminishing global biotreasury. Beyond merely documenting our destruction of nature, McGraw also offers a pathway to an optimistic future for ginseng and the wild species with whom we share the planet. He illuminates how a dramatic expansion of our commitment to sharing the planet with our fellow planetary companions is the key to preservation; and now is the time to do so.
JAMES MCGRAW is professor emeritus of plant population biology and ecology at West Virginia University. As a scientist and Aldo Leopold Leadership Program Fellow, McGraw has been an advocate for communicating science to the public and policy makers. His articles have appeared in Scientific American, National Geographic, and the New York Times. He lives in Morgantown, West Virginia.