Ban on Special Forest Products?

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Wed Apr 5 00:54:27 EST 2000

In article <8cbuql$t89$1 at>,
  Gene Wheeler <greenenuf at> wrote:
> Hi Dan:
> Sorry for the delay in replying, as I have been trying to find out more
> about the situation that I described in my original post on March 17.
> It seems that you and I were talking about two DIFFERENT situations
> here.  The lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) I
> referred to in my earlier posting WAS settled on March 2, 2000 and
> revealed to the public on March 7.  I have since read the settlement and
> spoken with a variety of sources within the Forest Service who agree
> that the lawsuit settlement says NOTHING about special forest products
> (SFPs).  The Forest Service employee who said that it restricted
> collection of fungi (or other SFPs) is just plain WRONG although he may
> not know it--yet.  Furthermore, there is no NEW lawsuit as my earlier
> post may have suggested.
That's good to hear. I hope.
> What we have here in Southern California is either an ignorant Forest
> Service employee who COMPLETELY misunderstands the provisions of the
> lawsuit settlement, OR possibly a rogue employee who is trying to use
> the settlement as a pretext to bring about a personal
> ideological/theological agenda opposed to mushroom collecting.  While I
> am open to the possibility of someone making an honest, if stupid,
> mistake about the terms of the lawsuit settlement, someone who is on
> some kind of a Jihad against mushroom collection is a dangerous zealot
> and should be exposed for what he is.  If it appears that our district
> ranger here in CA is of this ilk he will be "outted" here in this
> newsgroup.  (FS lurkers take note!)
> The legislation that you are referring to was posted to
> alt.nature.mushrooms by Rex Schwarzendruber about a month and a half ago
> and is quite separate from the lawsuit that was the focus of my query.
> It is national legislation enacted by Congress, which pertains to ALL
> National Forests.  It imposes stiff fees for the collection of SFPs on
> National Forest land.  I believe the most probable effect of this policy
> will be massive and probably unmanagable levels of noncompliance in many
> National Forests.  Since many if not most SFP harvesters are at a
> subsistence level already, new fees will be unwelcome and will be widely
> evaded or simply ignored.  Many people collecting for personal use are
> likely to do the same.  Congress has imposed a mandate on the FS that it
> can’t, and in many cases won’t, be able to carry out.  Congress may
> legislate to its heart’s content, but what really goes down on the
> ground is often much different.
> Understandably, you as a private producer of fungi would like to see
> higher costs imposed on gatherers using the public lands, but I doubt
> that the legislation is going to have much effect.
> Gene Wheeler (no relation)
Thanks for posting this more recent data, Gene.

There may be some confusion about higher costs imposted on public land
gatherers. I have little interest or concern about the situation. But I
do feel that exploitation of a nature resource, be it timber or
truffles, fir or foliage, moss or mushroom, should have royalties or
"stumpage" paid to the landowners. In the case of public lands, the
lands belong to all US citizens, not just those who harvest or collect
the product.

As Dr. William Dennison has said, the SFP industry in the West is based
mostly upon theft. A lot of the so-called public lands are not public at
all, just a convenient escape clause for pickers who don't know and
don't care whose property they are harvesting on. THAT does bother me. A

Another concern I have is the real renewability of these SFPs. Most have
not had any long-term study. In the case of fungi, many of the most
frequently commercially harvested fungi have never been cultivated.
Therefore there is some question as to what is an acceptable level of
harvest, and how that harvest should be done. The discussion is on-going
in the case of matsutake, which according Dr. David Hosford may take 15-
20 years before the mycelium is sufficiently well-established to form a
single mushroom.

Similarly, production of fungi on yearly basis is mostly unknown. And if
the truth be known, most have never truly been studied. The majority
possibly have not even been correctly identified to date. The research
done by Dr. Eric Danell on Cantharellus cibarius vs. C. formosus (the
currently accepted West Coast species) is but one case in point. And,
Dr. Danell told me he had been unable to get any spore germination from
c. formosus, which may argue for animal mycophagy/symbiosis in order to

The only real thing that bothers me currently is that the rush to
harvest almost anything of value in the "national" forests may harm the
goose that lays the golden egg. It would seem more needs to be done
concerning cultivation of these fungi and SFPs. That why I started
attempting to cultivation mycorrhizal fungi 14 years ago. So far, I *
think* I've cultivated 50 species of mycorrhizal fungi. Compared to the
3,000 species of mycorrhizal fungi believed to associate with Douglas
fir alone, 50 species is pretty much nothing. The only good thing is
that it is about 30 species more than anyone else in the world has
succeeded with at this time.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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