Regulate Mushroom Industry

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Thu Apr 23 23:31:47 EST 1998

In article <6hmb2u$igq$1 at>,
  kyosai at wrote:
> I believe that regulation is in order. However, the part that I seem to be a
> bit wary of is the "legislation that would let the Forest Service keep
> a portion of the revenue from commercial harvesting permits for its special
> forest-products program." part.
In this case, I'm worried about the revenue _not_ getting back to the Forest
Service. In testimony before the Senate, Keith Blatner recently pointed out
that since Congress has mandated permits be available, but have not provided
money to hire personnel to provide that serivce, there is darn little reason
for the FS to continue the permit system without income.

I also question the reliability of Forest Service personnel in identification
of fungi. For that matter, there are darn few people that can identify more
than 100 species of any mushrooms.

How can you tell if someone is picking edible or poisonous species?

Recently Oregon Mycological Society checked out an area proposed for
clearcutting on Mt. Hood National Forest. They found 6 species of fungi
currently on the endangered species list. These fungi may fruit only once
every 25-30 years, if that often. The collections submitted to Mt. Hood
National Forest were <conveniently> misplaced. The other collections were
submitted to Oregon State University for identification. When this
identification was forwarded to Mt. Hood National Forest, they replied
questioned the reliability of the identification. This leaves amateur
mycologists with darn little incentive to take their time and money to chart
fungal fruiting areas.

> In the future could it be possible for that very same regulation to find
> itself taking a portion of the revenue from commercial harvesting of leased
> land in Oregon as well.
Currently there is little leased mushroom land in Oregon.

> Or, the forest-products program becoming a major competitor with commercial
> businesses by way of permit money?
Mushroom harvest on private land appears to be much more productive,
especially when cultivation is known. Thus I doubt that competition from
Forest Service or BLM land for any cultivated fungi would exist for long.
Consider: the estimated production for all truffles (asco- and basidiomycetes
together) is currently at about 50 pounds per acre. My data from an inoculated
site on private property indicates 300-1300 pounds per acre. If nothing else,
production would logically decrease price. In actuality, public forest
generally yields less than 10 pounds of Tubers per acre. And most people can't
identify the other species, some of which have unknown edibility.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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