The focus of this research proposal is to develop tools that will allow us to more effectively monitor the effects of the current mountain pine beetle epidemic on the spatial distribution of pine mushrooms. In the mid 1980?s pine mushrooms were found in commercial quantities in many parts of British Columbia and the pine mushroom harvest and export industry was developed (Betty Shore, personal communication, September 1999). Since that time the Pine Mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) has become the most valuable non-timber forest product in British Columbia (Wills and Lipsey, 1999). It is highly prized in Japan and commands top dollar at auctions where the mushrooms are sold to wholesalers and then distributed to the general public for sale individually or in sets (Wills and Lipsey, 1999). Annual revenues to pickers from this industry provincially exceed $50 million (based on historical yield and price data) and provide many small rural communities (primarily First Nations communities) with an important source of income. The current Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and the associated salvage harvest operations threaten the sustainability of the pine mushroom industry at an unprecedented scale across the province. Some productive areas are experiencing direct loss of habitat as mature to old pine stands die or are salvage harvested while others are experiencing the indirect effect of increased harvest pressure as pickers concentrate on the remaining patches. Managing and monitoring management practices associated with the pine mushroom are crucial at this time to ensure the sustainability of this resource and to protect the economic benefits pine mushroom harvesting brings to many rural first nations? communities. Pine mushroom producing patches have been studied intensively in the West Chilcotin for about 8 years, as a joint effort between the Ulkatcho First Nation and the BC MOFR. One of the primary types of ecological data collected describes stand character. Virtually all the stands in which our sixty transect plots are located, have been attacked to varying degrees by mountain pine beetle because the pine mushroom occupies mature to old stands. These are the same stands preferred (initially) by the beetle. Data collected during the pine mushroom study and again in 2005 after severe MPB attack shows that many of the attacked mushroom patches retain the same sort of complex structure that they had before attack, i.e., some large escape trees, many dead snags, a reasonably intact understory and considerable smaller regeneration. We suspect that many of the MPB affected patches may continue to produce mushrooms, or will begin to produce mushrooms again very soon if they are not salvage harvested. Monitoring the effects that mountain pine beetle has had on the structural and spatial diversity of pine mushrooms and determining the effects of large scale changes to seral distribution on pine mushrooms is crucial to sustaining pine mushroom presence on the landscape. As a result of the research efforts, management recommendations have been made at both the landscape and stand level in the West Chilcotin. Landscape level management focuses on the retention and recruitment of suitable pine mushroom producing habitat across the landscape. Stand level recommendations include maintaining patches of known production or suitable habitat within the stand as well as adjacent patches of young or immature trees in an effort to ensure mushroom spores or mycelium will inoculate the immature stand. Some of the beetle affected pine mushroom-producing areas have been recommended for exemption from salvage harvesting. However, a major challenge to monitoring and managing pine mushroom production in pine mushroom patches is the fact that T. magnivelare does not fruit on an annual basis and sporocarp production in this species is still not well understood. In some patches throughout the province pine mushrooms have not produced fruit bodies for >5 y ...
Chapman, Bill K., Bravi, Becky. 2007. Developing Molecular Tools for Identifying Pine Mushroom Infected Short Roots in Derived Stand Level Remnants. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2007MR324
Topic: FLNRORD Research Program
Keywords: Forest, Investment, Account, (FIA), Pine, Mushroom, British, Columbia
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