Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Agroforestry Practices for Devil’s Club Cultivation

There are tremendous untapped opportunities to develop and market botanical products from British Columbia's forests.  Devil's club (Oplopanax horridus) is one such species that will be the focus of new development project to determine agroforestry practices that promote its cultivation and harvesting in managed forests.  Pacific Reishi Ltd., with funding from the BC Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative, will establish trials near Powell River, BC to:
  1. Showcase the cultivation of Devil’s Club in greenhouse, nursery and forest settings; and,
  2. Synthesize information on markets for this species and create a market synopsis report.
This work will support the development, adaptation and integration of agroforestry practices in coastal BC.  Through a partnership with the Sliammon First Nation, it fosters local industry and First Nations economic development and expands business opportunities in response to rapidly emerging markets for forest botanicals.

The first phase of the project will create a showpiece of integrated cultivation systems that demonstrate operational growing of one of BC’s most economically valuable non-timber forest product (NTFP) species.  Pruning, spacing, thinning, slope stabilization, soil organic matter management and fertilization will be used within an operational forest management setting with the goals of enhancing both Devil's club and timber production.

Devil’s club plants will be propagated with rhizomes, shoots and seedlings grown in greenhouse and nursery settings.  This seed stock will be transplanted to establish in vivo colonies in a managed forest.  The agroforests will be monitored for survival, growth and performance of both understory and overstory plantings.

Pacific Reishi Ltd. will also examine Devil’s Club bioactive compounds, potential nutraceutical products and markets.  They will create a market synopsis of Devil’s Club and the economic feasibility of derived products will be determined.

The long-term goals of this work are to enhance awareness of agroforestry as a viable production system to expand the number of NTFP producers in the region, as well as to promote business development for agroforestry products throughout the region and the province.

Pacific Reishi Ltd. and its principals have worked extensively throughout the province focussing on the promotion and development of botanical resources.  Their mandate is to promote the establishment of operational forest farming for medicinal plants and mushrooms, and to develop and market nutraceuticals from BC’s forest resources.

Results of the field trials and market synopsis will be shared at a conference in 2013, to be held at the Pacific Reishi Powell River facility, as well as through conferences and meetings with major stakeholders and potential producers throughout BC and Pacific Northwest.