How much osha is out there?

While Elk Mountain Herbs attempts to develop methods for commercially growing osha, Healing Planet Herbs in Colorado is working on determining just how much of the plant is viably growing in the wild. In a proposal to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) on December 1, 2003, Healing Planet put forward the designs for a conservation and population study of osha in the Yampa River Basin in northwestern Colorado. Intending to inventory all osha-growing sites in the region, the study will determine population size, age-structure, reproductive status, associated species, and habitat conditions of the plants.

Set to start in spring 2004, the project will last nine months and involve predicting possible osha growth sites, sending out field teams to investigate likely growth areas, estimating the abundance of osha, and then compiling results from the field surveys. Healing Planet intends to use the project as a means to develop methodologies for rapidly assessing wild populations of non-timber forest products (NTFP) like osha. Such systems could help develop a viable market for the sustainable harvest of NTFPs and aid the declining economies of agricultural communities in the Rocky Mountain region.

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By Jon Lucksinger

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