Mandated Surveys

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Wed Feb 16 13:22:53 EST 2000

In article <yqhq4.583$bz2.103974 at>,
  "Rex Swartzendruber" <rexs13 at> wrote:
> Side thread from "Special Pilot Program from the USFS-"
> <truffler1635 at> wrote in message
> news:88brgg$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.
But with no real funding, I suspect the results will be the same.
 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?
I have problems with both the BLM and USFS protocols. Many of the fungi
on the ROD are sporatic fruiters at best. Some may fruit only once every
25-30 years, or longer. Since weather conditions, soil conditions,
nearby host plants, substrate samples and slopes are not indicated, it
is very difficult to predict future production sites, let alone future
production (if any).

Dr. Helen Gilkey, my botany prof at OSU, collected extensively from the
Corvallis/Philomoth/Mary's Peak area from 1920-1950. Many of her
collections preserved at the OSU herbarium are one of a kind. She was
collecting in old growth forests: forests that no longer exist. The fact
that many of the truffles she originally identified have not been
collected for over 50 years seems suggestive that many truffles are
found specifically in older forests.

 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.
I have recently heard that truffle production in Southern Oregon has
just begun: about 4 months late 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.
Actually some of the Ramaria (R. stuntzii, for example) may fruit once
ever 30 years or more. The ecological criteria for their fruiting is
almost unknown. It is difficult to find a small (less than 4 inch tall
mushroom) when you don't know where to look, what trees to look near,
what elevations and slopes are most likely to be productive. All this
information was not even guessed as being important 50 years ago.
> 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.
That is fallacious. C. formosus has been found with trees as young as 6
years old near the coast. The criteria seems to be proximity to the
ocean, i.e. available moisture from fog condensation vs. rainfall.
 While the majority of the
> Cantherellus in the Northwest are now believed to be Cantherellus formosus,
> the policy has not changed.
That's another interesting point. Chanterelles found under Sitka spruce
may be more likely to be C. aurora-borealis. Yes how many people even
recognize that species as separate from C. formosus (formerly C.
 Yet, timber harvest continues on these same
> areas.
> Don't get me wrong. I know that harvesting timber is a sustainable
> proposition if done correctly.
But I strongly question whether we know how to "correctly" harvest
timber in a sustainable method yet. Timber production requires
mycorrhizal fungi co-cultivation. Most of these fungi _have never been
cultivated_. Thus there is considerable question about "management" of
any kind.
 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.
To stockholders, yes. And most of the major timber companies are
internationally owned companies. But economic return on timber is short
sighted if it does not produce timber for several hundred years. None of
the management criteria currently used has any sort of long track
record. Therefore long-term (sustainable) managmenet is _presumed_, not
fact. And that puts us back in the realm of clearcutting.
 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.
Heavy fertilizing is probably counter-productive for long-term forest
health. Four species of hypogeous fungi have been tested for association
with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. All four species (Tuber gibbosum,
Hymenogaster parksii, Rhizopogon vinicolor, Rhizopogon parksii) were
found to associate with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This is one reason why
in nature, most trees (and especially Douglas fir) need these fungi for
> 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.
Well said, Rex. Of course, we still haven't addressed the 120,000 soil
organisms per square inch which create PNW soils yet. And the effects of
herbicides, pesticides, and other industrial effulents are still unknown
on those organisms. There is considerable question whether it is
possible to manage the macro without first managing the micro.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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