Home Back Issues January 2011 Study examines mushroom habitat

Study examines mushroom habitat

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2011
Thursday, December 16, 2010

 

0111_ATS12
Volunteers gather soil samples in the Deschutes National Forest as part of a study by the U.S. Forest Service on the habitat of the Matsutake mushroom.

Mushroom harvester camps in the Crescent Ranger District, which collectively rival the population of nearby towns, are weighing in on how forests are managed in an effort to protect the country’s top-producing Matsutake area.

Roughly 2,000 seasonal Matsutake mushroom pickers come to the Crescent Lake area every fall to gather the gourmet fungus for the Japanese market. A group of these harvesters and others in the Oregon mushroom-gathering community worked with the Forest Service this past fall on a multi-year study to determine the impact that winter tree thinning will have on Matsutake health. Both groups hope to find ways to lessen any impact tree thinning could have on the valuable mushroom.

Matsutake prices have fallen in the past 10 to 15 years because of competition from Korea and China, but harvesters still flock to the volcanic, well-drained soils of the Deschutes National Forest that produce the largest concentration of the mushroom in the U.S. “In the 1990s, one pound of Matsutakes was worth more than a truckload of logs,” says Carl Wilmsen, executive director of the Alliance of Forest Workers & Harvesters.

This past fall a bumper crop and international competition helped reduce prices to as low as $1 a pound for the picker. The alliance has successfully lobbied the U.S. Forest Service to reduce the total acreage thinned in the area in the past decade and to lead the collaborative study last fall to help protect the mushroom habitat.

Matsutakes, like many fungi, form a symbiotic relationship with trees, providing minerals in exchange for sugars. “These fungi are on the roots of the trees,” says Dan Luoma, an OSU mycologist and designer of the study. “If you cut down the tree, there’s no more food for the fungus.” That said, Luoma notes that cutting some trees may be beneficial because forests floors that are only 40% to 70% covered by tree canopy are prime spots for Matsutake production. Logging during the winter also may help reduce damage to dormant mushrooms. These are questions the study aims to answer once it is completed in the next few years.

PETER BELAND
 

More Articles

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

Semiconductor purgatory

News
Monday, October 06, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS