truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Sat Feb 5 11:37:50 EST 2000

In article <20000204234404.27004.00001460 at>,
  gswoodsguy at (GSWoodsguy) wrote:
> clear cutting is a vital part of timber harvesting.  You thin a few times, then
> cut the remaining trees and replant.  IMHO
Thanks for your _opinion_. But forest management should have a little
more basis than just opinion, don't you think?

The problem with clearcutting is that regeneration is presumed, not
proven. Most mycorrhizal fungi associated with most trees dies out
within a year after clearcutting. Without mycorrhizal fungi, most trees

The last issue of McIlvania has an interesting article on successional
mycorrhizal on glaciers in Washington. The mycorrhizal fungi associated
with nearly exposed rocky areas is nearly completely different from
soils 50-100 years old, and considerably different from established old-
growth trees at lower elevations. In other words, there appears to be a
succession of mycorrhizal fungi as trees grow. And as soils grow.

Since most mycorrhizal fungi have _not_ been cultivated (most haven't
even been identified) it is impossible to grow trees. The best thing
that can happen is planting seedlings and _hoping_ nature is still able
to inoculate the mycorrhizal fungi necessary to keep the trees alive.

Many essential mycorrhizal fungi are hypogeous (underground) truffles.
The Northern Spotted owl is the best vector for dispersal of these
fungi. The fungi are the major source of food for Northern flying
squirrels and California Red-backed voles. Voles especially need to eat
their own body weight in truffles to survive. To stay alive, a mature
vole needs to eat 16 pounds of truffles per year. But voles probably
don't travel further than 100 yards from where they are born.

Northern Spotted owls eat many voles each day. The spores pass through
both voles and owls without apparent harm, and germinate some distance
away. A Northern Spotted owl flies up to 40 miles each day. Each time it
regurgitates an owl pellet, or defecates, it essentially is dispersing
hundreds of mycorrhizal fungi species. That's how truffles get spread in

Clearcutting disrupts that cycle. Great Horned owls roost on the edges
of clearcuts. When they see a Spotted owl, they try to overtake it and
kill it. Most spotted owls are killed by Great Horned owls or other

Widespread clearcuts are the reasons Northern Spotted owls are nearing
extinction. Should the owls become extinct, old-growth forests may

Daniel B. Wheeler

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