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Fungus Conservation Trust Formerly The Association of British Fungus Groups • View topic - John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Is focused foraging for edible fungi justifiable?

John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:30 pm

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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby Dave H-Tranter » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:25 am

I have always been unsure about whether picking or not damages the structure of the fungus in general and some good arguments blow from each direction but, what I am not unsure about is that people, in the main, are tainted with greed, selfishness and a lack of respect fort the wildlife arena so, rather than take a risk on my walks and cultivate these failings I use them as a vehicle to encourage respect for the mycological world, to enthuse people about the joy of being able to put a name to a magical gift and to just give these things a little more attention rather than pass them by. If along the way I get a few more people spreading the word, recording and getting a little protection for habitats I'll consider that a success. I see too much advantage taken from the natural world, people cashing in, using it to maintain a list, take a photo to brandish around and receive praise for the end results - bah. I'll stick with the simple way, concentrate on the ones who love nature for what it is and try and make a small difference - not easy. Just my thoughts and the way I operate. Cheap and cheerful and trying my best. I do realise there are many like-minded souls, some good fruits trying and some keen myco-nuts who love the whole shebang - God bless em'.

OI OI
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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby Leif Goodwin » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:05 pm

Some sensible points Geoff, and I agree with Dave's points. There is nothing wrong with picking fungi for the table in my opinion. The problem comes when areas are cleaned out of all fungi, with inedible ones left in large piles, as regularly happens in many areas. It is greed, an attempt to get as much 'free' food as possible, with no concern for possible side effects. I have seen no conclusive proof that excessive picking damages fungi, but neither have I seen proof that it doesn't. And many fungi live in association with trees for hundreds of years, Consequently any impact on them might not show for 100+ years, once the original hosts die, and we find that they did not propagate because the fruiting bodies were mostly picked. People say that fungi have been picked for thousands of years with no damage. Well yes and no, there are far more people around now, and far less wild areas than in the past.

I don't know John Wright, so I can't comment on him. I don't like the highly commercial aspect of River Cottage, but JW may well be instilling in people a respect for wild plants, I hope so anyway. Showing people our wild heritage can potentially benefit plants, fungi and animals by recruiting people to the conservation movement.
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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:01 am

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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:13 am

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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby Dave H-Tranter » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:58 pm

Yeah seriously, I am still up in the air with it - what we know today may be different tomorrow and I do wonder how much effort the mycelium puts in to making these structures and how much strain it puts on the general fungus. I know abroad picking seems to have little effect so the argument goes that way over a longer period of mass picking surely things will decline. With my groups I tell anyone that if they want something to eat take 20% and leave the rest behind. I think that is rather fair and caters for all. Take a few, leave the rest for insect grub, to spread their spores and for others who like to admire these things. Nothing worse than going in a woodland and everything has been taken, poor form. Yes, mass trampling though I am certain of, is no good for fungi and needs to be avoided. As does the constant concrete spillage that causes run off and waterlogs many good areas.

Cheers

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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:33 pm

Last edited by GeoffDann on Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:48 pm

I'd like to ask another question, and I might as well do it in this thread rather than start another one. Addressed to anyone who'd be willing to offer an answer.

Do you think it is eventually going to be possible to defuse this argument between foragers and conservationists/mycologists? Or is it inevitable that it is going to continue for the forseeable future - that it is unresolvable?

I did speak to John recently, and he's as pessimistic as I am about the prospects. And yet as far as I am aware, not such controversy exists in the continental European countries where people traditionally picked fungi. Or at least it is nothing like as huge and apparently unresolvable?

I have spent the last few years trying to find a middle way - to teach people who are interested in learning how to safely forage for fungi, while also trying to teach them to be respectful and not take everything, to try to avoid picking rare species by mistake, not to "pick and hope" (take a load of something unidentified in the hope they will find out it is edible later), etc... But I really do wonder whether quite a few people on the mycologist/conservationist side of this conflict are simply never going to accept the rise in popularity of foraging and will forever see foragers as the enemy. :(

Any advice on how best to build bridges - to defuse the conflict and find a way for both sides to co-exist - would be appreciated. Although I suspect it's a bit of a tall order.
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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby Leif Goodwin » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:14 pm

Hello Geoff

I think you may well be right, that those I saw were commercial collectors, sadly. However, I often see what I take to be private collectors with plastic bags overflowing with fungi. By the way, and I am sure you know this, a plastic bag is the worst collection container. An open wicker basket is best, as it allows humidity to escape, and reduces bruising.

I don't accept your arguments about species survival. Not that I think you are wrong, but simply that you have no evidence so it can only be a guess. I guess that highlights the fact that research is needed to learn far more about the needs of fungi, how they propagate and so on.

Incidentally I think we have to distinguish between species that are on the edge of their range, and which are common elsewhere, such as Norway, or Italy, and those which are genuinely rare everywhere, perhaps because they have a very specific niche e.g. very old oak trees. The latter require habitat conservation, by maintaining nature reserves with old trees, for example. I think the 'free food' craze will not go away, so it is surely better for people such as yourself to take people on fungi walks, and help instill in them a realisation that fungi might be threatened by over collection, so the precautionary principle applies. The alternative is for them to go on walks with people who have no concern for fungal conservation.
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Re: John Wright attacked in Daily Mail

Postby GeoffDann » Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:05 pm

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