Low-impact / Ecologically Sensitive Harvest Techniques

Sustaining a Tradition

Harvesting forest species in a manner that maintains important ecological interactions and allows plant populations that are impacted to successfully reproduce into the future, helps ensure that you and others will be able to enjoy your craft over the years and that the next generation has a similar opportunity.

The amount of Special Forest Products harvested on the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest is limited through our permitting system to help ensure the viability of the species harvested and to account for important ecological interactions such as those between special forest product species and pollinators, wildlife, and plants.

As a harvester you can help maintain a successful and respected tradition by supporting sustainable management and conservation of species by following the conditions of your permit and through your use of low-impact /ecologically sensitive collection techniques.

Low-impact / Ecologically Sensitive Harvest Techniques

In General it is important to harvest in a manner that minimizes disturbance to the sites you visit during your harvest and during your stay on the Forest. While harvesting it is important to minimize disturbance to other plants and to the leaf litter and soil and to harvest only what you can reasonable use or sell while not gathering too much from any one site (e.g. mushroom patch) or any one plant (e.g. bough or leaf gathering). A good harvest site has no trash, litter or visible human waste and is difficult to tell apart from the surrounding forest to a casual observer. For the protection of species and to ensure your health, it is also vitally important for you to be able to correctly identify species.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind…

Plan Carefully

Many areas open to the harvest of special forest products are relatively remote and have challenging terrain. Please take necessary precautions for your specific circumstances while searching for and harvesting special forest products. Careful planning keeps you safe, makes your harvest and stay more enjoyable, and uses less resources

  • Always let someone know where you plan to be and when you expect to return
  • Know the expected weather for the area and be prepared for quick and unexpected changes
  • Know the road conditions and know that some public roads are not maintained in the winter and/or are only drivable by high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles
  • Know where you are going and keep track of where you are at all times (use a good map of the area and use a compass with the appropriate declination set)
  • Be aware of the conditions you will face and dress appropriately and have the appropriate tools and supplies
  • Know what you will need to bring and how you will pack it back out

Harvesting

  • Know how to correctly identify species you are harvesting and understand how they will be used (know your species; know your product)
  • Harvest only what you can reasonable use
  • Do not gather too much from any one site (e.g. mushroom patch) or any one plant (e.g. bough or leaf gathering)
  • Minimize disturbance to plants from which you are harvesting from and protect surrounding vegetation as well
  • Minimize disturbance to the forest floor’s leaf litter and to the soil
  • Leave no trash or litter; pack all your trash out with you
  • Bury human waste by digging a whole about 8 inches (25 cm) deep and covering it back with soil and litter (forgot a shovel…there’s always a sturdy piece of wood on the forest floor not too far away to use)
  • A good harvest site is difficult to tell apart from the surrounding forest to a casual observer
  • Remember you are not the only visitor on the forest; our impacts are multiplied and the example you leave behind builds on the culture of our harvest tradition
  • Remember to be respectful to other users – present and future, human and other

Camping

  • Camp a minimum of 200 feet (60 meters) from streams or other water bodies.
  • Whenever possible choose existing sites; this concentrates and minimizes our impacts on the land and typically provides you the best choices in the area (people have camped there for a reason; typically for good reasons)
  • Minimize disturbance to surrounding vegetation, leaf litter, and soil
  • Keep fires small to minimize the amount of campfire wood you use, follow all fire restrictions and rules, and make sure your fire is out and cool to the touch before you leave it
  • Keep all food and trash well sealed and inaccessible to wildlife, small and large
  • Leave no trash or litter; do not burn or bury trash; pack all your trash out with you
  • Bury human waste by digging a whole about 8 inches (25 cm) deep and covering it back with soil and litter (forgot a shovel…there’s always a sturdy piece of wood on the forest floor not too far away to use)
  • A good camp site is always clean and when left it looks like it has not been used in some time
  • Remember you are not the only one in the Forest; respect other users – present and future, human and other
  • Remember our impacts are multiplied by many users and across years. The example you leave behind builds on the culture of our harvest tradition.