Is silviculture able to enhance wild forest mushroom resources? Current knowledge and future perspectives
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Fungal fruit-bodies are an important economic resource both for recreational pickers and commercial markets. The broad interest in forest fungi and mushrooms has motivated attempts to develop appropriate silvicultural methods able to preserve and improve mushroom yields. Defining best practices for the sustainability and profitability of forest fungal resources is the main aim of 'mycosilviculture'. However, the difficulty of monitoring and studying such a cryptic kingdom (i.e., fungi) under real forest conditions has led to rather scattered scientific knowledge of the effects of forest management regimes and silvicultural operations on wild mushroom resources. Here, we review the current scientific literature regarding the influence of (i) stand characteristics, i.e. stand age, stand density, canopy cover and tree species composition, (ii) silvicultural practices and (iii) other management-related disturbances affecting the yield of wild epigeous mushrooms, with the aim of systematizing existing scientific knowledge and identifying gaps in knowledge in order to suggest future lines of research. Most of the research in the field of mycosilviculture to date has focused on ectomycorrhizal mushrooms, which include the majority of wild commercial mushrooms. The main findings from the literature indicate that forest management practices, by modifying stand characteristics and microclimatic conditions, can influence wild mushroom occurrence and productivity, both positively and negatively, depending on the specific fungal ecological needs, reproductive strategies, forest type and management regime. Further research efforts relating to all aspects of the interaction between forest management, fungal ecology and mushroom production are needed: in particular, additional research efforts should be devoted to understanding mushroom yield dynamics in unevenaged and mixed forests and evaluating the effects of regeneration methods on fungal communities.
Is part ofForest Ecology and Management, 2017, vol. 402, p. 102-114
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