Mandated Surveys

Rex Swartzendruber rexs13 at
Tue Feb 15 14:03:59 EST 2000

Side thread from "Special Pilot Program from the USFS-"

<truffler1635 at> wrote in message
news:88brgg$h7q$1 at

--good points snipped--
>With the
> advent of the Record of Decision for the Northern Spotted Owl, the USFS
> was mandated to do a survey of all species on the ROD. This has not been
> done because there were no funds allocated for such purpose.

There is currently a drive as a result of Judge Dwyer's decision to
implement these mandated studies as quickly a possible. This should be a
very pertinent issue to readers of this newsgroup.

I volunteer on another project with one researcher that has been sampling
fungi the past two winters for the US Forest Service. They seem to have good
protocols for the sampling. The methods of conducting the inventories for
fungi as required by the mandates that have been proposed by the BLM are
rather poor. The persons responsible in this area are talking about sampling
over one three week period in the fall. What about the fungi that don't grow
during this window? What about fruiting fluctuations due to weather? If the
sampling were to have taken place during early October in 1999, many of the
fungi found "normally" found fruiting at that time were not present. The
truffles that "normally" fruit in November didn't appear until late December
this year. Many of the Ramaria spp. don't fruit in October at all. It would
take year around sampling for at least five (if not ten) years to accurately
gauge the fungi in a small part of the forest. This is not acceptable to the
public forest managers that are being pressured by groups that insist on
increasing timber production.

Again, look at the Tillamook Resource Area of the BLM. The area has been
closed to even incidental mushroom collecting by the public because at some
point in the
past Cantherellus formosus was identified as being associated exclusively
with old
growth and downed old growth woody debris. While the majority of the
Cantherellus in the Northwest are now believed to be Cantherellus formosus,
the policy has not changed. Yet, timber harvest continues on these same

Don't get me wrong. I know that harvesting timber is a sustainable
proposition if done correctly. While managing for 35 to 45 year stand
rotations with large scale clearcutting offers a better return to
stockholders in the short term, this is not a sustainable practice. It does
not address the needs of the rhizosphere. Increased fertilization rates
actually sterilize the forest soil over time as the ectomycorrhizal fungi
necessary for healthy soil will be sloughed from the roots of the plants.
Healthy forest soils generally don't need to be fertilized as the fungi and
microscopic arthropods will release nutrients back into the soil as a result
of breaking down the biomass on the forest floor. I am working with several
smaller landowners (30 to 6000 acres) to increase the health of their
"forests" by managing for the fungi as well as the trees. A lesson from the
dust bowl: Take care of your soil or you won't have a farm.

Rex Swartzendruber
(my forest nutrient cycles pages will be back shortly)

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