Does mushroom picking damage or encourage the Mycelium?

Richard W. Kerrigan rwk at
Tue Nov 21 12:54:06 EST 1995

In addition to picking (in the strict sense), one might consider other 
related impacts (soil compaction, organic horizon displacement, etc.).  
The matsutake research station I visited near Sonobe, Japan, restricted 
foot traffic to well-defined paths which were minimally used.  -- Rick

Lorelei Norvell (lorelei at TELEPORT.COM) wrote:
: On Sat, 11 Nov 1995, Marck D. Pearlstone wrote:

: > I have long believed that collecting the fruiting bodies of a fungus
: > would (for many species) encourage the mycelium to fruit more stringly
: > in future years.
: > 
: > Can anyone confirm or deny this scientifically speaking?

: 	There are numerous field studies attempting to ascertain the 
: answer to this question.  European studies -- particularly those in the 
: Netherlands and Norway -- have investigated this, particularly with 
: respect to forest management.  Eef Arnolds has found that some 
: ectomycorrhizal fungi appear to respond beneficially to a MODERATE amount 
: of disturbance.  In Switzerland, Egli, Ayer & Chatelain have monitored an 
: area since 1976 and found that there seems to be no deleterious response 
: to mushroom harvesting with respect to future productivity.  
: 	In Oregon the Oregon Mycological Society has been investigating 
: whether picking chanterelles has any effect on future productivity -- our 
: study was begun in 1986 (with three years for procurement of baseline 
: data, and harvesting begun on the experimental plots -- and no harvesting 
: on the control plots -- in 1989).  Preliminary data indicate that there 
: appears to be no deleterious effect on mushroom fruiting OVER THE SHORT 
: TERM.  We shall statistically analyze our data after we have obtained ten 
: years of harvesting data.  (The study will be discussed more fully in the 
: 1995 issue of McIlvainea -- journal of the NOrth AMerican Mycological 
: Association -- currently in press.  The article will also contain full 
: references of similar studies in Mexico and Europe).
: 	However, as you know, an ecosystem is a complicated entity, and 
: the health of the whole must be considered as well.  The variables 
: accompanying any field study -- weather variability is a major problem -- 
: make interpretation of data extraordinarily complicated.  But studies are 
: underway attempting to answer the impact of harvesting on fungi 
: throughout the world.

: Lorelei Norvell
Richard W. Kerrigan, Research Department, Sylvan Spawn Laboratory, Inc.		
               1163 Winfield Rd., Cabot, PA  16032  USA
e-mail:	rwk at      phone: 412-352-1521      fax: 412-352-4062
	"Success has a thousand parents; failure is an orphan"

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