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1 June 2006 Quantity and value of commercial moss harvest from forests of the Pacific Northwest and Appalachian regions of the U.S
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The work reported here addresses two primary questions: (1) How much “moss” (a mixture of mosses and liverworts) is harvested commercially from forests in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Appalachian regions of the U.S.? (2) What is the commercial value of this nontimber forest product? Methods included surveying land managers, botanists and moss dealers, querying U.S. government databases, and interviewing people involved in the moss trade. Approximately 35% of land manager respondents issued permits for moss harvest in the last five years. These reported that permits were issued for an average of 4,009 (Appalachian) and 96,433 (PNW) air-dry kg/yr of moss over the years 1997–2002, with a maximum reported permitted harvest of 166,793 air-dry kg across both regions in the year 2000. Official U.S. Forest Service sources listed the maximum yearly reported harvest for these regions as 115,661 air-dry kg in 2000 (PNW = 71,534 kg and Appalachians = 44,127 kg) and official Bureau of Land Management sources for OR and WA listed the maximum permitted harvest as 54,978 air-dry kg in 2001. Yearly revenues from sales of commercial moss harvest permits were reported to be ≤ US$19,650. In contrast, estimates of total harvests based on export data and assumptions about those data suggest that the mean yearly harvest for the years 1998–2003 was between 4.6 and 18.4 million air-dry kg (yearly minimum and maximum estimated at 0.9 and 37.4 million air-dry kg, respectively). Moss sales (domestic plus exports) are estimated to total between US$˜6 million and 165 million per year. The wide ranges in these estimates illustrate how little is known about the moss harvest trade. In combination with lack of information about the size of the moss inventory, reaccumulation rates, and species and ecosystem functions potentially affected by harvest, results indicate that policy makers and land managers lack critical information on which to base harvest regulations.
P. S. Muir, K. N. Norman and K. G. Sikes "Quantity and value of commercial moss harvest from forests of the Pacific Northwest and Appalachian regions of the U.S," The Bryologist 109(2), (1 June 2006).[197:QAVOCM]2.0.CO;2
Received: 26 August 2005; Accepted: 1 January 2006; Published: 1 June 2006

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