Does Nature Know Best?

ForestFair forestfair at
Mon Jan 12 00:56:13 EST 1998

Daniel B. Wheeler's <dwheeler at> testimonials for mycorrhizal fungi
have been as prolific as the fungi seem to be -- perhaps  they are mushrooming
so rapidly that it's hard to digest them all.

>I regret to burst the bubble, but I am unconvinced that foresters know
>how to grow trees. 

I don't know a thing about mycorrhizal fungi.  I'm don't know if my trees do.
either.  What I do know is that as a landowner, I don't hire a forester to grow
my trees.  Time and Mother Nature do it quite well.  Whether with or without
mycorrhizal fungi, I do not know.

I do know, however, that if a forester went around my woodland innoculating my
trees with a living organism because he/she thought that Mother Nature had
omitted something, he'd no longer be employed by me. 
And being from New York, maybe I'd even take him to court <g>.

With history to remind us of the many accidental and intentional introductions
of various living organisms into ecosystems where they did not previously exist
and the disastrous results that can occur when the organisms that keep them in
check in their normal environment are not present, how can one say with
certainty that just because something is not present, that it represents a
deficiency?  A deficiency that must be corrected?

Those who brought us the English sparrow, the water chestnut, the gypsy moth,
all thought that they were improving upon Mother Nature.  The recent
introduction of zebra mussels in the northeast is an example of what can happen
when an organism is turned loose in a favorable environment with none of the
natural predators that keep it in check where it has been present "naturally," 
In other posts it has been suggested that the renumeration from fungi may
exceed that received for timber.  I suggest that this is likely to be a
temporary situation.  Those who were the first to produce shiitake on oak slabs
here were able to get about $20 a pound for them, which represented a good
return.  So more people grew more of them and the price dropped.  Now that most
local supermarkets have them at under $4 a pound, it's no longer profitable to
grow them with the intention of marketing them.  Why would it be different with
less common mushrooms?  

And who (other than Alice) wants to sit under a mushroom on a hot sunny day?


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