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Green Medicine > Summary of North Carolina Inventory & Monitoring Projects

Research Summaries: Black Cohosh – North Carolina

2001-2003 Summary of North Carolina Cohosh Experimental Harvest:
From 2001-2003 sixty-four plots were established across three sites within the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. The frequency of harvest at the predefined intensity varied across the three sites from a single harvest event (Stoney Fork), a harvest every 2 years (Moses Creek), and an annual harvest (Snowball Mountain). Harvesting at two separate intensities was completed within 13 Stoney Fork plots in 2001, within 16 Moses Creek plots in 2002 and 2004, and within 12 Snowball Mountain plots in 2003 and 2004. Twenty-three control plots were established altogether. 6,165 individuals have been counted and measured over this period; of these 1,311 were harvested.

2004 Summary of North Carolina Cohosh Experimental Harvest:
On August 29-31, 2004 all 64 plots were resurveyed with the help of fifty volunteers. Project participants in 2004 included "Partners for Plants" volunteers representing a diverse number of clubs of Garden Club of America, volunteers from the North Carolina Herb Society, herbal commerce representatives, and the North Carolina Arboretum volunteers and North Carolina National Forest employees. They measured and counted 2,570 cohosh plants in 2004. 1,719 of these were black cohosh individuals. The remaining 851 plants were yellow cohosh. In 2004 they harvested 217 black cohosh plants in the Nantahala NF and 263 black and yellow cohosh plants in the Pisgah National Forest. Results from all 3 sites provided important data to determine the rate of recovery following harvesting of cohosh at different intensities and frequencies.

2005 Summary of North Carolina Cohosh Experimental Harvest:
On September 12-13, 2005, 11 enthusiastic volunteers participated in monitoring the research plots in Buncombe County, in the Appalachian Range District of the Pisgah National Forest. They had hoped to monitor two sites (Stoney Fork and Snowball Mountain), but several volunteers had to unexpectedly cancel, so the work was limited to Snowball Mountain. There, they counted individuals in 18 plots (including 6 controls) and harvested 6 plots each using the 33% and 66% harvest regime. This marks the third year of harvest for the plots at this site and, as expected, the harvest amounts continue to decline. The harvested roots, which included black and yellow cohosh, were cleaned, separated into two forest age classes within these plots (young <20, maturing > 80 years), and dried for phytochemical analysis. This year, a greater emphasis was placed on volunteer training. Training was held on September 11th using a training manual developed by Garden Club of America volunteer, Katherine Schlosser, in conjunction with the botanists involved in these studies. The training was helpful this year, as was the smaller number of volunteers. It was much easier for leaders to respond to questions and to maintain consistency. From a research perspective, there were a few problems with differentiating between yellow and black cohosh, but there were no large data gaps with misidentification of other look-a-likes, such as Astilbe and Osmorhiza. All 11 volunteers returned positive evaluations on this year’s project.

See the 2005 North Carolina project proposal for other information.

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Last Updated: 31-Jul-2006