Does Nature Know Best?

Don Staples dstaples at
Sun Jan 4 14:52:20 EST 1998

dwheeler at wrote:
> In article <19980104051001.AAA07374 at>,
>   forestfair at (ForestFair) wrote:
> >
> > McKenney" <d_mckenney at> said:
> >
> > "Much of the environmental debate taking  place today involves people speaking
> > from a fact or science based background to others for whom environmental
> > activism is more in the realm of a religious activity. This makes for generally
> > heated discussion without much light. One group believes that science can be
> > used to grow and harvest trees while the other group is worshipping the same
> > trees."
> >
> > Important ideas, and very well said!
> >
> > ForestFair
> I regret to burst the bubble, but I am unconvinced that foresters know
> how to grow trees. Most trees in the US require mycorrhizal fungi to
> survive outside of greenhouse environments. These fungi act as water and
> nutrient gatherers. Studies at Oregon State University have shown that
> terrestrial rooted Western hemlock are 100% mycorrhizal-inoculated in the
> wild. Close observation of trees at a Douglas fir tree farm near Oregon
> City strongly suggests as succession of mycorrhizal fungi as trees
> mature.

We foresters not providing cultivated mycorrhizal fungi must account for
the desertifaction of the south east, north east, mid-north, etc.  I see
no reason to try to grow or "provide"  that which is so abundant in
nature, i.e., mycorrhizal fungi.  I can see where propagation in sterile
soils in a green house may not provide the necessary fungi, but they
will be in the soils when planted, unless totally off site (arctic?)
> Growing trees (forestry) implies providing trees with necessary
> requirements for their cultivation. So how many species of the several
> thousand mycorrhizal fungi known in the US do foresters know how to grow?
> Of these, how many are used to grow seedling trees?

Same as above.
> Many mycorrhizal fungi are dispersed by animal vectors (See Key to Spores
> of the Genera of Hypogeous Fungi of North temperate Forests with special
> reference to animal mycophagy by Michael A. Castellano, James M. Trappe,
> Zane Maser & Chris Maser, c 1989, Mad River Press, Eureka, CA 95501). How
> are forestry or tree farms providing for these animals in habitat and/or
> foot requirements?

Same as above, soil fungi are there, in the soil, from adjaceant or
previous stands.  We take no effort to sterilize the soil prior to
planting. And, I seem to remember, most mycorrhizal fungi are air

> This necessary fungal/plant relationship has been a requirement for
> growing almost all plants since the Devonian (Age of Fishes) time 400
> million years ago. That foresters in general disregard mycorrhizae as
> +beneath them+ is as dramatic a statement as saying they can't see the
> forests for the trees. According to The Primary Source, trees make up
> 30-35% of biomass of either forest or plantation. Fungi make up 52-55%.
> Ignoring fungi in tree cultivation/forestry is similar to corn-stalks
> while growing corn: at this time, you can't have one without the other.

And what source so readily treated each new seedling with fungi since
the Devonian?  Agreed, you cant have one with out the other, but reverse
it and see if it is still true.  Can you have fungi without trees? 
Works for me.  

If your speaking of a particular fungi with a fruiting body particularly
attractive to one culture or creature, then you are correct, I have no
interest in the research, use or cultivation of same.  It's not
necessary nor of value in my area.  And the mycorrhizae are beneath my
feet, every day, every where I go.  Why carry coals to New Castle?

I could as much ignore the sun and rain as the fungi, but I cannot
change, modify, or be concerned about the absense or presence of any of
the three from my lands.  Forrest Gump is the most current originater of
the saying "''it happens".  

Don Staples
UIN 4653335

My Ego Stroke:

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