Captured here with. .O F F E R I N G S of J U N I P E R to the . P L A N T |||| S P I R I T. .Of the R O S E before harvest.. E T H I C A L |||| H A R V E S T I N G is a must. . Offerings to the plant spirit is a necessity from my herbalista background.
Thoughts on Ethical Wildcrafting....
It is important to consider the overall health of the plant biocommunity before a harvest. If a plant is an endangered species --or even at risk if gathered on a commercial basis --then any wildcrafting may present a threat to the species, like Osha root for example.
There are those who wildcraft without regard to the ethics or laws of what they are doing. They are, of course, a threat to the plants and the ecosystems that provide a suitable environment for the plants. These are the people who do not own the land, enter it without permission and virtually strip it of whatever plant they are seeking or happen to find. This type of wildcrafter does not consider the welfare of the plant population. Some plant colonies are very sensitive to soil compaction. Once the soil that supports one of these colonies is trampled, the delicate ecological balance is shattered. The plant colony’s natural potential to adapt and survive climatic change is damaged, usually for years.
There is a market effect that must be considered as well. Wildcrafters who go out and gather huge quantities of plant material without an order for the plant drive down the value of the plant. Usually such a wildcrafter must quickly sell the product to maintain its value, and can do so without having to add in the costs of landownership, taxes, or maintaining the plant population. This artificially low price makes it more difficult for the ethical harvester to compete.
At the other end of the spectrum are the ethical wildcrafters. They assume responsibility for what they harvest. They make positive identification of plants before they gather them. They investigate the health of the ecosystem and the plant population before they harvest. They do not gather more than they need. They harvest only in appropriate habitats, never in vulnerable environments. They wear proper clothing and use the correct tools when harvesting in order to minimize any injury to the site. They obtain written permission from the owner before entering the land, or harvest on their own land.
To be truly responsible, wildcrafters must
have intimate knowledge of the land they harvest.
The ethical guidelines for harvesting of plants, alone, are simply insufficient to protect the plants. Wildcrafters by definition take from the wild, so they do not often have the ultimate responsibility or authority for the overall care of the land. It is difficult to gain the in-depth knowledge of the overall population of the plants for a given habitat without daily, first-hand experience.
Wildcrafters may not know the history of the land and as a result they may unknowingly gather plants or herbs from undesirable locations. Wild crafters may gather herbs from along roadways drenched with heavy metal pollutants from road traffic. There may be agricultural chemicals or various kinds of contaminants in the soil that are unknown to the wildcrafter. Power line right of way are another favorite gathering spot for wildcrafters without other land ranges available to them. These right of way areas are a poor choice because most are treated every few years with herbicides. So again, knowing the land from which you harvest your medicine is extremely important.1
Also, offerings to the plant are highly suggested & favorably regarded as quality acts of giving to the plant spirit of which you are harvesting...could be a prayer, a piece of hair, tobacco, cornmeal, or a song specifically for harvesting. Here I am pictured below, offering juniper smoke & prayers to the spirit of the Rose before harvesting a flower.2
info:*1 Bruce Buren Rodale Institute.