Does mushroom picking damage or encourage the Mycelium?

Thomas O'Dell todell at
Mon Dec 4 11:39:37 EST 1995

You seem to want to apply the clear cut mentality to all natural resources.
National Forests are required to manage their resources on a sustained 
yield basis. Since they don't know what that is for fungi it is 
appropriate to err on the side of caution, rather than the mistakes 
of the timber (over-) harvest. If public lland managers are changing 
their attitudes regarding careful husbanding of resources, its about time!
My impression is not so much a change in attitude as a response to the 
successful lawsuits re. long-term mismanagement of naturla resources on 
public lands. The paucity of data on effects of mushroom collection put 
managers in the position of shooting in the dark. Until they have 
relaible data on which to base decisions they are justified in keeping 
impacts to a minimum.
By the way, National Forest Regulations also require charging "fair 
market value" for harvested products, users of the forest drive on 
federally built roads and receive other services that are expensive. Only 
recently has there been any discussion of user fees for harvesting 
mushrooms. Most mushroom harvest is actually theft. What are you willing 
to pay in return for this use of public lands?

On 22 Nov 1995, Steve Pencall wrote:
> Apropos of this subject, I have prepared a summary of my observations over  
> a 9 year period at a chanterelle collecting site in coastal central  
> California.  It is NOT a controlled scientific study, but I believe that  
> the nature of the site and of my collection patterns make it relevant to  
> this topic.  It is available by e-mail by sending a request to me at the  
> address at the bottom of this post.  The summary is approximately 10K of  
> ASCII text.  Please put "chanterelle summary" in the subject line.
> Your post of Nov. 11 touched on an important but controversial subject.   
> We here in the US have faced a proliferation of regulations by various  
> public land management agencies designed to curtail and often eradicate  
> ALL mushroom collecting EXCEPT by scientific permit.  The ostensible  
> reason for these policies is a concern that the viability of edible  
> mushroom populations may be threatened by collecting; commercial, amateur,  
> or both.  The scientific premise of such policies is flimsy to say the  
> least, falling principally into the "could be," "might be," "possibly  
> harmful" categories.  Although the few available studies indicate little  
> or no harmful effect from MODERATE levels of collecting using low impact  
> collection methods, as indicated by Lorelei Norvell's post of Nov. 11,  
> these studies have been little heeded by the advocates of more  
> restrictions, both in and out of government, because they do not fit into  
> the ideological mindset of these people.
> A reaction to commercial collecting is only partly responsible for 
> increase in restrictions. Much more insidious is an attitude shift on the  
> part of many land managers which regards removing anything from the  
> natural environment as a violation of Nature.  Many of them seem to have  
> Steven Pencall
> <spencal at>
> Editor, The Spore Print
> Journal of The Los Angeles Mycological Society
> "Leave the beaten path and dive into the woods"
> --Alexander Graham Bell

todell at
Mycology is better than Urology!

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