Because of the strip mining here it does hurt the overall population of the ginseng,but these Mountians are so big that any realy good ginsenger can find and dig seng its just about how bad you want it and how much you love to do it around here.
I hear people say all the time !! man their isent any seng left in these Mountians !! and for those who are not willing to pay the price it is hard to nothing for them from the mountians,but if you are willing to go high and far and through the ruff then their is still plenty of seng in the mountians.In Ky ( our area ) you have got to be a smart senger to do well,and you can not be easy to give up,must be a walker,must realy love doing this or you are wasting your time,but still year after year for those who are sincear,it is their and we do very well.
It does not hurt to have sevral areas of private land and/or spots so hard or far to get to that nobody bothers them or just cant find them where you can practise good stewardship,I would say that around 1/3rd to 1/2 of my seng comes from these type areas,but I still dig 5 pounds or better dry every season in the mountians that any one else could find and get to.I`ll tell you this as well it takes exsperience around here to find seng in good abundance and dedication,sometimes I just cant take the time,some years.
Shroomy is right senging is much harder than it used to be,very much,when I was young you could pull off of the road almost any where and go up in the mountian and dig seng but now you can not and that is where Tnhunter is right about something he said alot of people get out of work and dig to make it.That is why the easy spots are dug out,often people dig before season starts and destroy the seed as well,and that to is what has happened to the general population and all the easy places.
I have alot of friends in Tn that dig as well and they have the same situwation over their alot of people dig out of season and alot have run the easyer places out by digging the same spots year after year and alot of people in Tn are out of work as well,but I have a couple buddys that live in Newport Tn and they sell 3 to 5 pounds dry every season from over their,they to have to walk and look hard for it.
Tnhunter count your blessings if it is still that easy in your area because I assure you that it is not as easy in many other areas even in other areas of Tn.It is much harder in many areas of Va now to.I have friends over their that dig as well I live within 1 mile of the Tn and Va lines,but it makes me glad in my heart to know that their are a few places in the world where it is a little better on us true diggers and that your area is doing that wel,its awsome..
I may be in a unique situation here at my location.
There has been lots of logging over the past 20 years, and in areas where they do clear cut the hollows man it is a growed up mess for several years after that.
But I expect that the ginseng in those hollows the top may die back for a year or two, but then several make it thru that bad sunny period. Just a few years after clear cut the underbrush is very thick and you do have some decent shade, BUT it is so thick no one would want to wade thru it. Not to mention the rattlers and copperheads love that stuff too.
Now if you fast forward 15 years from that clear cutting the ginseng that did make it has done extremaly well. More light, bigger stronger plants making more berries and reproducing nicely.
Then in the big company land tracts where they only clear cut the ridge tops (which is where most of the access roads are) they plant those ridge tops back in pine. It is a real thick mess too for the next 10 years or so.
You would have to be a dedicated senger to crawl your way thru that mess to get to the hollow bottoms where decent ginseng is growing. And the ginseng in those hollows that now have more light exposure does well, bigger stronger plants producing more berries and offspring.
We find absolutely HUGE 3 & 4 Prong plants growing right up near the edge of those clear cut areas.
Back in 1977 I started making a ginseng bag out of blue jean leg (if you watched my youtube vid you saw that). I made that bag basically the same size for 25 years.
The first time I ever completely filled that bag up was 3 seasions ago when I filled it completely full and had a bunch of seng stuffed in my pockets and fanny pack too.
In 5.5 hours me any my partner dug 6 lbs 3 oz of ginseng (green weight). That is by far the most I ever got on one trip.
On several occasions over the past few years we have come out of hollows with our baggs stuffed with amounts that were much more than I can ever remember digging in my younger days (when I had leggs that could walk those hollows all day and then some).
One other thing that I think contributes to ginseng doing well around her is (probably unlke hard working mountain folks) most of those around here who are out of work are so because they are just too lazy to work. There is work to be had if you wanted it, but most of them turn to making meth or dealing in drugs or doing something illegal instead of getting out and working hard for a living.
They just are not going to go and walk the woods looking for ginseng - too much work for em.
I think probably the best any of us can do to make things better in our areas is to get out there and plant a few pounds of stratified seed each year (as well as) the standarad conservation type efforts.
Last year a friend and I worked an area that had been logged a few years earlier and we dug 30 or so nice roots. Man was it tough getting through the briers! I'm sure the north facing slope helped these plants survive the cutting.