How to encourage a wider interest in fungi

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How to encourage a wider interest in fungi

Post by adampembs » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:17 am

I think the long hot summer is producing a good year for fruiting, at least in woodlands where the moisture was retained.
It appears we are going to see a lot more posts from foragers. Many true enthusiasts and recorders started off through an interest in foraging. How do we best encourage a transition to a more responsible way of thinking?
Adam Pollard
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Re: How to encourage a wider interest in fungi

Post by Lancashire Lad » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:37 pm

Hi Adam,

I don't think we can do much more (or differently) than we are currently doing.

The media interest in foraging over the last few years has obviously brought it to the attention of a great many people, and that's where my concerns lie.

I've never foraged. I don't particularly condone it, but I don't condemn it either - provided that it is done responsibly - that the forager only takes sufficient for what will definitely be eaten, that it is being done for personal consumption, and provided that their ID skills are 100% certain.

But it is a growing problem (trend?) simply because more and more individual foragers are scouring the same stretches of woodland time and time again.

I've become somewhat pragmatic and accept that, (like blackberries for example), what doesn't get picked just rots away, and chances are, by the time an individual fruitbody is picked, it will have shed millions of spores anyway.

As a keen fungi photographer, it does frustrate me though, when I turn up at a known good site, only to find practically nothing, especially when I'm aware that foragers are working the area.

What I do condemn is the unlicensed commercial & wholesale picking for selling the finds on to boutique restaurants etc. (Which I've seen evidence of on several occasions hereabouts).
I've also seen large piles of fruitbodies discarded. - Obviously by foraging teams collecting everything they see, presumably then sorted by the one with ID skills into what's edible, and what's not, and just throwing the inedibles away.

Certainly here in the North-West, we don't have large forests with vast numbers of fruitbodies as are seen in Europe - even in a good year. And it has become very noticeable over the last five years or so, how few fruitbodies I see compared to previous years.

I have no scientific proof, but I can think of nothing other than foraging that would be responsible for the decline in numbers.

Those individuals who forage regularly and responsibly will, by default, pick up a lot of fungal knowledge. But as to steering foragers across to the foraying instead of foraging mentality - I can only hope that some of them see the light!

Common sense is not so common.

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