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Sustainable Moss Harvesting

Updated: Jan 11, 2019

Reindeer Moss, Close-up

Mosses and lichens are abundant and widespread, but also slow-growing, making them susceptible to over-harvesting and poor management. As such, we strive to work only with responsible providers who follow best management practices such as those outlined below.

Based on recommendations from the IAB (International Association of Bryologists), Penn State Extension, and the Scottish Moss Collection Code, we advise the following:

  1. DO NOT harvest in sensitive areas with predictably elevated quantities of rare and endangered species, such as in bogs, near streams, and at springs and seeps.

  2. DO NOT harvest rare and endangered species. If you aren’t sure what you’re gathering, seek expert advice.

  3. DO NOT harvest in conservation zones or nature preserves.

  4. DO NOT harvest moss that cannot be easily separated from the wood it is growing on (if you are harvesting from fallen logs). If you remove the bark substrate from the log, decomposition will accelerate and that log will no longer support a moss colony.

  5. DO NOT collect from the same patch for AT LEAST 5 years (a 10 year rotation is preferred). The same area should not be harvested again until it has regained its original condition.

  6. DO leave scattered patches of intact moss sheets or mounds, which will re-seed the area and encourage faster regrowth.

  7. DO harvest clean, even patches that are thick enough to hold together on their own, otherwise buyers are likely to reject them and they will be wasted.

  8. DO harvest in areas that are about to be disturbed by logging or mining. This practice maximises efficiency and minimises destruction.

  9. DO ensure you have the permission of the landowner before harvesting on private property.

  10. DO ensure you have the appropriate permits and follow all applicable legislation if harvesting on public property. Note: Wild harvesting is illegal on many public lands.

  11. DO stick to established trails and avoid unnecessary disturbance to natural ecosystems.

  12. DO be respectful of the other human and non-human residents of your harvest area.

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