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Table of Contents

Appendix- Common and Scientific Names

Chapter 3: Managing the Matsutake Harvest

Social and Economic Content

Japan started importing matsutake in 1975, but a large portion of the import consists of T. matsutake from North and South Korea and China (EAITC 1990). Imports of T. magnivelare from North America also began in the mid 1970s but have increased a thousand-fold since the mid 1980s. Imports from North America (Canada, the United States, and Mexico) now average 500 metric tones (500 000 kilograms) per year and constitute about 15 percent of worldwide imports (Fig. 14). Redhead (1996) provides a history of the commercial matsutake harvest in Canada and the United States, including an extensive bibliography. Bandala and others (1997) discuss recent matsutake harvesting in Mexico, including issues of communal land tenure and harvest sustainability. We summarize features of the harvest that pertain to the management of forest ecosystems and the individuals who obtain income from harvesting these mushrooms.

The largest harvest of American matsutake typically occurs in interior British Columbia. De Geus and Berch (1997) summarize the social, economic and managerial issues generated by Canadian harvest. They report that by the early 1980s, large volumes were being collected. Many of they harvest areas are inaccessible by road, but the mushrooms are valuable enough to justify transporting harvesters and mushrooms by helicopter. Washington, Oregon, and California experience most of the matsutake harvesting in the United States (with lesser quantities from the coniferous forests of the inter-mountain West). Schlosser and Blatner (1995) provide the only published survey of matsutake harvest quantities and values; in this case, from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Mushroom brokers have recently employed scouts to arrange matsutake harvests from the mountainous regions of Mexico. Limited accessibility to international airports has hindered rapid transport of fresh Mexican mushrooms to Japanese markets, but export quantities are likely to increase as harvest permission and transport arrangements are established.

Harvest in these three North American countries is strongly influenced by land ownership patterns. On Federal and private lands, harvesters typically operate independently. They sell the mushrooms they collect to the highest bidder, usually representatives of mushroom processing and brokerage companies purchasing mushrooms at local, temporary buying stations. By contrast, tribes of indigenous Americans in the three countries are attempting to derive communal benefits from harvests on their lands. Richards' reports on the traditional role of matsutake harvesting in the culture of the Karuk Tribe of northern California. Chapela and Palm (1996) summarize a discussion session about the relation of matsutake harvests to the potential for sustainable community development in forested regions of Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

* Richards, B. [In review]. Native American ethno ecology and ecosystem management: Kirk harvesting of matsutake (tanoak) mushrooms.

Because of the international nature of matsutake harvest and commerce, the price paid to harvesters in each location depends on fluctuations in quantities collected elsewhere (Fig. 15). To date, little has been published regarding international commerce in matsutake. Mushroom brokers typically consider their activities proprietary information, thereby hindering efforts to summarize regional or national harvest and sales information. Efforts to study market price structures and factors influencing commerce in rnatsutake are needed to place harvest management plans in perspective. Research efforts aimed at cultivating matsutake managed plantations of appropriate myconrhizal host trees or in pure culture without host trees are not likely to produce large quantities in the next decade or two but may eventually impact the level of harvesting from forests.

Harvesters can earn hundreds of dollars a day if high-quality mushrooms are abundant and the prices are high. Buyers pay in cash and often handle tens of thousands of dollars each day. Mushroom buying arguably represents the largest, legal, cash-based commerce remaining in U.S. society. Communities benefit from the income of local harvesters, and businesses profit from waves of migrant harvesters who shop for supplies; unlike timber, local communities do not obtain any harvest tax revenues.

Mushroom hunters are well known for secretive and protective. Attitudes towards "their" mushroom patches. Some individuals have picked in the same spots for decades. The recent decline in timber industry employment, increasing demand for matsutake, and high value for mushrooms encouraged more people to pick commercially than in the past. This has led to conflicts with individuals who traditionally have harvested matsutake. The most salient example is commercial harvesters entering Native American tribal picking grounds; but other citizens also become upset when they find "newcomers" or "outsiders" in areas they have traditionally harvested. Tensions heighten when the newcomers are migrant harvesters who often follow the progression of matsutake fruiting from north to south along the west coast. Local and traditional pickers (for both personal and commercial use) complain that migrant harvesters have no vested interest in returning to the same patch of mushrooms year after year, and therefore use search and harvest techniques that may damage mycelial beds through raking or removal of organic layers of the soil. Conflict among harvesters also can result from prejudice toward other ethnic groups.

Migrant harvesters account for a large portion of the commercial work force and thus are important for providing a reliable supply of matsutake to buyers and brokers. This is particularly important in regions where local labor is insufficient to collect the available crop. Large and sudden influxes of migrant pickers, however, can catch public land agencies and local communities unprepared to provide adequate lodging, camping, sanitation, and garbage facilities (Plate 16). Large numbers of people in the woods can create other problems, including increased litter, noise, fire danger, traffic hazards, disturbance of wildlife, conflicts with big game hunters, and the need for search and rescue operations. Federal agencies are facing these difficult challenges by developing new regulations and educational programs.

Managers must understand the diversity of backgrounds of the harvester groups if they are to effectively communicate harvest regulations and anticipate potential conflicts. Sociological surveys are needed to characterize various ethnic groups, their demographics, the role of mushroom harvesting in their household economies, their educational background, language constraints, cultural beliefs, and attitudes towards the forest. Sound ecosystem management must incorporate an understanding of these factors, because humans are an integral part of forest ecosystems (Daniels and others 1994, Pilz and others 1996, Richards and Creasy 1996).

Because the demand for and value of matsutake vary widely (within and between seasons), land owners or managers have difficulty calculating fair market value and reasonable compensation for the harvest from their forests. Managers also find it difficult to calculate the quantities of mushrooms collected from their lands. Harvesters often cross ownership boundaries in their search for mushrooms and sell to buyers of their choosing. Federal mushroom permits are not currently based on a percentage of the market value of the crop, as permits are for many other products. Higher permit fees are problematic because harvesters may not be able to predict if they can cover the expense.

Harvest regulations and permits differ widely among countries, land owners, and administrative units. The lack of uniformity confuses and frustrates both commercial and recreational harvesters. National Forests in the United States typically issue inexpensive or free permits for personal use and more expensive commercial permits for individuals who intend to sell their mushrooms. Personal use permits often specify a small allowable quantity, so that commercial harvesters find it more difficult to surreptitiously use the less expensive personal-use permit during collection and then sell the mushrooms anyway. Other National Forests or Ranger Districts require that matsutake collected for personal use be immediately sliced in a manner that destroys their commercial value. Law enforcement officers face new circumstances when patrolling mushroom harvesters. For instance, because matsutake are so valuable, some unscrupulous hunters use flashlights at night to avoid picking limits or to enter restricted areas. Many harvesters also carry firearms for signaling or defense, although the popular press has exaggerated the theme of "mushroom wars" (Lipske 1994, McRae 1993).

In 1988, Washington adopted legislation requiring buyers to report quantities of mushrooms purchased by county. This law was revised in 1991 but expired in June 1994 (State of Washington 1988, 1991). Oregon and Washington both have passed laws regulating the transportation of special forest products by requiring evidence of landowner permission for collection (State of Oregon 1993; State of Washington 1992, 1995). Neither state has regulated the sale or purchase of mushrooms yet. The dispersed and transient nature of mushroom collection and sales makes registration, licensing, and taxation difficult. Buyers may go elsewhere (wild mushroom harvesting is a global enterprise) to purchase mushrooms if local regulations become too burdensome for the participants.

Some forested areas have been set aside as inappropriate for matsutake harvesting. Crater Lake National Park has this policy. Commercial harvests are not allowed in designated Federal wilderness areas. Research areas, botanically sensitive areas, and areas where commercial or recreational picking may present other conflicts also are being designated as off-limits. Some managers are considering rotation of harvest areas or specifying restricted seasons. All these restrictions have been difficult to enforce, but as harvest pressures increase, managers are likely to develop more regulations to protect the resource. Improved matsutake production as a result of research may partially offset harvest restrictions.

As managers develop regulations governing the harvest of matsutake and other mushrooms, they must bear in mind that, at least on public lands, these resources belong to all citizens. Open communication and accurate information will be essential to ensure the fairness and efficacy of matsutake harvesting programs.

Biology, Ecology, and Forest Management

Sustainable management of the matsutake harvest requires improved understanding of the life history, reproductive mechanisms, population genetics, and ecology of the fungus. Estimating annual and long-term production, assessing the impact of harvesting and picking techniques on future production, and examining means of enhancing production are important considerations.

The American matsutake is adapted to a wide variety of soils, climates, host trees, and fungal competitors. Unlike the Japanese matsutake that predominantly occurs in young, early successional stands of pines, the American matsutake also fruits abundantly in stands that are uneven aged, have many canopy layers, and consist of multiple tree species. The applicability of Japanese matsutake research to management of the American matsutake therefore may be limited. Likewise, information about American matsutake in one location may not apply to other habitats. Productivity differs from site to site, and many of the factors influencing this variation are unknown, although age and species of host trees probably are important. The life histories and reproductive mechanisms likely differ less than productivity or ecotypic adaptations among various populations of the American matsutake, but differences may exist. For example, mycophagy (animal consumption of the mushroom) may be an important spore dispersal mechanism in some locations but not in others. An understanding of genetic variation among populations will allow managers to ascertain the importance of conserving local colonies by determining how unique or rare they may be and how much interbreeding occurs over various distances. Knowing the longevity and persistence of individual colonies under varied environmental conditions will give us clues to the factors influencing how colonies become established, grow, compete, decline, and die.

The potential interactions between forest management and matsutake production are numerous, complex, and site-specific. Clear cutting is efficient for timber harvest, but it removes the photosynthetic host and energy source on which the matsutake colony depends. Spores or mycelium of the matsutake may persist in the soil and colonize young trees, or the new stand may be inoculated with spores from nearby populations, but matsutake rarely fruit in stands less than 30 years old. On the other hand, matsutake may fruit more abundantly in young and middle-age stands that develop after logging or fire than in some undisturbed or old-growth forests.

Japanese foresters clear understory growth, reduce litter depth, and thin trees to increase matsutake production; so mild controlled burns or density management may improve American matsutake fruiting conditions. Changes in matsutake production may depend greatly on how the litter removal or thinning is conducted. Tree species selection, thinning intensity and patterns, soil compaction and movement, and slash disposal all may significantly affect matsutake production. As in Japan, the value of matsutake could be an important factor in design of thinning operations. Silviculturists may choose to plant favorable host species, or seedlings inoculated with the fungus, into known matsutake habitat. Irrigation, where practical, may be another effective technique for enhancing production (Amaranthus and others, in press).

American foresters, however, are likely to view the Japanese methods for enhancing matsutake production in a different context. Japan has been densely settled by people for millennia and has few remaining native forests, so original forest conditions are less important than desired future conditions. The area of matsutake habitat is much larger in western North America than in Japan, and forest management goals differ greatly. The preservation of biodiversity and healthy native ecosystems are important management goals on public lands in North America. Introducing new matsutake colonies into previously non colonized habitats raises questions about potentially harmful side effects, such as displacing other sensitive fungal species.

A variety of animals consume matsutake. If it is an important food source for wild-life, then human competition for these mushrooms may affect certain wildlife populations. One forester has asked whether matsutake harvesting should be restricted near northern spotted owl nest sites on the supposition that northern flying squirrels (a main item of the spotted owl diet) might feed on the mushrooms. Conversely, mycophagy by indigenous wildlife species might be an important spore dispersal mechanism in certain locales. In southwest Oregon, for example, commercial collectors claim that shiros often are associated with dusky-footed wood rat nests and speculate that new shiros are formed through dispersal of spores in the wood rat feces. Deer, elk, and bear actively seek matsutake and may consume large quantities, but the importance of this mushroom in their diet is unknown. Many mushroom species contain concentrations of mineral salts and so may function as a natural salt lick for wildlife.

Harvesting impacts may vary; for example, matsutake harvesting in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area may be threatened by the impact of people walking on the highly erosive sandy soils. Moving freshly fallen leaves to look for matsutake buttons (immature mushrooms) in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon may have less impact than removing slow-growing moss from the sandy soils of coastal dunes (Plates 17-20).

Concern for other organisms may also influence management decisions about harvesting. A legal appeal of commercial matsutake harvesting in the Klamath National Forest, northern California, was based on fears that matsutake harvesting would increase the likelihood that Port-Orford root rot would rapidly and widely spread to uninfected tree populations through soil movement on harvesters' boots or the tires of their vehicles. Human trampling of locally endemic sensitive plant or fungal species is another concern.

Ecosystem management issues surrounding the commercial harvest of matsutake and sustaining the resource are numerous and complex. Although it is unlikely that the resource is in immediate danger from mushroom harvesting, long-term impacts from forest management and matsutake harvesting are less certain. Much in the way of research and long-term monitoring remains to be done, if managers intend to sustain or improve the matsutake supply for human use while maintaining the biological role of the fungus in healthy forest ecosystems.

October 28, 1993, correspondence by Stephen H. Suagee, Attorney at Law, to Barbara Holder, Forest Supervisor, Klamath National Forest, in reference to the Karuk Tribe's Notice of Appeal and Request for Stay of the October 20, 1993, Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for [Tanoak] Mushroom Management by district rangers George R. Harper and Sam Wilbanks for the Happy Camp and Ukonom Ranger Districts, Klamath National Forest, CA, respectively. On file with: Klamath National Forest, 1312 Fairlane Road, Yreka, CA 96097.

Monitoring 

Monitoring is essential to effectively regulate the matsutake harvest. On federal forests in the United States, Federal laws (U.S. Laws, Statutes, etc. 1960, 1969, 1973, 1976a, 1976b) and derivative regulations require the monitoring of land management activities, the consequences of those activities, and the validity of management assumptions. Similar laws require resource monitoring on state lands. The recently completed Northwest Forest Plan for Federal lands within the range of the northern spotted owl emphasizes that successful ecosystem management requires extensive monitoring (USDA and USDI 1994a, 1994b).

Types of Monitoring

Monitoring can be defined as the repeated recording or sampling of information for comparison with a reference. The monitoring purpose determines what information is collected and what comparisons are made. Monitoring disturbance from matsutake harvesting activities, for example, can be as simple as observing or photographing a site before and after picking. It can be as complex as a regional experiment designed to investigate effects of forest practices on productivity of matsutake in various habitats. Two features are critical, however, regardless of the simplicity or complexity of a monitoring project. First, observations must be repeated, and second, the observations must be compared to an established reference (the first observation, assumptions, anticipated results). Federal land management agencies have defined monitoring in various ways. Managers refer to implementation, effectiveness, and validation monitoring when they wish to assess the results of their management choices. We discuss types of monitoring that are especially pertinent to understanding the matsutake resource and the impacts of its harvest.

"Detection" monitoring entails surveys of occurrence or inventories of abundance that are repeated to detect trends. Examples of detection monitoring questions include, Is matsutake present in a given location and how regularly does it fruit? How many matsutake are produced in a given area, and how much does production fluctuate during the course of a season and from year to year? How does this differ by plant association, serai stage, and habitat? How many are harvested and by whom? How will these factors vary over time and under different management scenarios?

"Evaluation" monitoring examines correlations or cause-and-effect relations between the sampled object and potentially related variables such as management activities. Evaluation monitoring is triggered by concern over sustainability of management practices or trends discerned from detection monitoring. For instance, the declining yield of matsutake in Japanese forests in recent decades has increased interest in "evaluating" the effects of our forest management activities on the American matsutake. Evaluation monitoring assesses the effects of mushroom harvesting, timber harvesting, site disturbance and changes in forest structure and composition on mushroom productivity. Evaluation monitoring also can include studies on mushroom harvesting impacts or strategies for increasing the production of matsutake.

"Research" monitoring consists of long-term, intensive investigations of basic bio-logical, ecological, and ecosystem management questions. For example, managers will have difficulty determining long-term impacts of timber harvesting regimes on survival and health of matsutake populations over time until the genetic structure, dispersal mechanisms, and reproductive strategies of the fungus are better understood. Specific topics include shiro development and senescence; mycorrhiza formation, character, and function; primordium initiation and determinants of mushroom growth; and spore maturation and modes of dispersal. These studies should be conducted in various habitats and geographic locations to examine similarities and differences among locally adapted populations. The role of the American matsutake in forest ecosystem processes also needs investigation. What role does matsutake play in forest nutrient cycling, tree resistance to moisture stress, or food webs for wildlife species? What are the habitat requirements for matsutake? Are these ecosystem processes affected by mushroom harvesting?

Monitoring Challenges

Matsutake vary greatly in occurrence, abundance, and distribution from year to year. Numerous factors influence fruiting of matsutake, such as rainfall and temperature patterns (Hostord and Ohara 1995) and other biotic and abiotic factors. Poorly documented historical levels of production, ephemeral fruiting, and weather- dependent variations in fruiting all complicate efforts to characterize typical productivity. Matsutake fruits in clustered patterns and is associated with specific trees and substrates. The distribution of shiros also can differ from a few scattered groups to concentrated clusters. This spatial and temporal variability in fruiting complicates sampling schemes (Amaranthus and Pilz 1996; Amaranthus and others, in press; Vogt and others 1992).

All types of monitoring and research are threatened by unplanned commercial and recreational harvest. This is particularly acute for matsutake because of their high value. Few sites are both convenient and secure. Locked gates, obscure locations, and frequent visits by law enforcement personnel and researchers can reduce unauthorized harvesting. Research plots should be clearly designated. Agency personnel issuing permits should emphasize the importance of research results for maintaining commercial harvesting programs and then solicit harvester cooperation in protecting the sites.

Predicting or modeling future mushroom productivity must be based on multiyear data sets; hence long-term access to secure sites is critical. Many years or even decades of monitoring will likely be needed to quantify annual variations in production, determine the effects of management activities, and investigate the biological and ecological roles of the American matsutake in our ecosystems. Matsutake monitoring shares many of the challenges inherent in sampling forest fungi in general. Pilz and Molina (1996) provide a synopsis of these issues in a paper summarizing presentations and audience discussion at a conference on ecosystem management of forest fungi specifically convened to address this topic.

Current Monitoring

Matsutake monitoring in the Pacific Northwest has evolved a multipurpose, decentralized approach. Interested researchers from state and Federal institutions in Canada, the United States, and Mexico have begun collaborating with land managers who experience heavy demand for matsutake harvesting on their properties. Commercial harvesters and private mycological groups also have become involved. Land managers have questions specific to their ownership, but many monitoring questions are shared.

Following pioneering work on matsutake shiro ecology in central Washington, researchers from the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station, began to develop methods for estimating matsutake productivity in habitats reputedly ideal for reliable and abundant matsutake fruiting. A design with randomly oriented 2- by 50-meter strip plots, spaced to avoid overlap, was borrowed from fungus diversity surveys (O'Dell and others 1992) to sample matsutake production in representative habitats on lands administered by the Illinois Valley Ranger District, Siskiyou National Forest, the Medford District, Bureau of Land Management, in the Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon, and in the Chemult Ranger District, Winema National Forest, along the east side of the Cascade Range in south-central Oregon. Installation of the permanent strip plots proved very expensive and labor intensive, and the sample area was inadequate to develop good estimates of production when fruiting was sparse. Difficulties with trespass, drought, and inadequate sample area convinced researchers to abandon the strip plots in the Siskiyou Mountains. Fruiting was more abundant and consistent at the Chemult sites, where productivity data have been collected with this sampling design since 1993. These plots also were designed to provide information on wildlife use, spatial association with potential mycorrhizal host plants, and correlations between fruiting and weather.

Productivity per unit of area has been determined by various methods in other habitats as well. In most cases, productivity was measured rather than estimated, because it was easier to discourage unauthorized harvesting in study areas by picking every matsutake almost daily. Figure 16 summarizes productivity per unit of area in several Oregon habitats known for their commercial harvesting popularity. It also illustrates the variability in annual levels of fruiting.

As noted previously, if matsutake harvesters are inexperienced or unfamiliar with an area, they may rake or move forest floor litter to locate the valuable buttons before others find them, or before the mushrooms lose value as their veils separate from the stem in maturity. Evidence of raking or digging has caused concern that subsequent matsutake fruiting in these areas might be diminished or destroyed. A study is underway at five sites in Oregon to evaluate the effects of matsutake harvesting and searching techniques on matsutake production and commercial value. Treatments are as follows:

1. Control; no mushroom harvest. (Mushroom size is measured, and weight is estimated from size-weight regressions developed from harvested mushrooms.)

2. Harvest with minimal disturbance; that is, gentle rocking and pulling. (Mushrooms are counted and weighed.)

3. Total removal of the litter and duff layer with a rake down to the surface of the mycelial layer and no replacement of the duff. (Mushrooms are harvested, counted, and weighed.)

4. Same as treatment 3, but the duff is replaced. (Mushrooms are harvested, counted
and weighed.)

5. Raking through the duff and into the mycelial layer with no replacement of the duff. (Mushrooms are harvested, counted, and weighed.)

6. Same as treatment 5, but the duff and soil are replaced. (Mushrooms are harvested, counted, and weighed.)

These treatments are being applied to clusters of mushrooms (roughly corresponding to Japanese shiros) mapped in the first season at each site (Plate 21). Productivity wilt be tracked for several years to monitor potential damage and subsequent recovery from the treatments. Mapped shiros not selected for this study can be used for other research. For instance, in an effort to explore means of enhancing production, irrigation trials have been started at several shiros in the Diamond Lake Ranger District, Umpqua National Forest (Amaranthus and others, in press).

In conjunction with the harvest impact studies, cooperating commercial harvesters have been measuring their harvests from surrounding areas and keeping track of the daily value of the mushrooms by commercial quality grade. Their observations of environmental and ecological conditions associated with fruiting have proven invaluable for refining monitoring goals, strategies, and procedures. Their familiarity with selling mushrooms (prices, competition among buyers, marketing strategies, and so forth) will be essential to characterize the local economics of matsutake harvesting.

Other research in North America includes genetic studies of population variability and species relatedness in Mexico, the United States, and Canada, detailed descriptions of  T. magnivelare mycorrhiza morphology on a variety of tree hosts (Plate 22), and studies of fungus diversity in coniferous forests that have documented the occurrence and productivity of Tricholoma species in a large variety of habitats. Commercial and recreational harvesters of matsutake also have a wealth of personal knowledge about the fungus; unfortunately, this information is seldom collected, verified, or published.

In spite of the notable matsutake research effort in recent years, several important questions still need answers. Managers wishing to predict matsutake production on watershed, landscape, and regional scales need good productivity estimates for many habitat types. This will require development of more efficient sampling methods and regional monitoring programs. For future reference, the precise location of identified shiros may be recorded with portable receivers that access Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites.

Research also is needed on the life cycle and reproduction of matsutake. Only by determining how the matsutake fungus typically reproduces and disperses into new habitat can we begin to understand the impacts of land management practices on long-term viability of the fungus and the sustainability of harvesting it.

Last, but not least, social and economic studies of matsutake harvesters and commerce in matsutake would help managers develop fair harvest regulations and supply agency personnel and lawmakers in local, county, state, province, and Federal governments with the information needed to develop equitable, non intrusive, and effective policies supporting and regulating the industry.

Matsutake Ecosystem Management

Tenet of Ecosystem Management

The American matsutake occurs on lands administered by a wide variety of organizations, all of which are experiencing significant changes in their forestry practices. Concerns about old-growth forests, endangered species, biodiversity,
anadromous fish habitat, forest health, and sustainability have prompted the adoption of ecosystem management as a guiding philosophy for Federal lands in the United States. Many other forestry organizations are adopting similar approaches to managing their lands. The basic tenets of this concept include:

Using the best available ecological knowledge to conserve biological diversity and maintain healthy ecosystems while providing sustainable benefits for society.

Recognizing that ecosystems encompass dynamic processes that occur on many scales and that they overlap ownership boundaries and management jurisdictions.

Conducting periodic resource monitoring to address management concerns, determining the validity of management assumptions, and tracking the con- sequences of management activities; then adapting management plans to integrate the new information.

Soliciting the active participation of interested individuals and organizations in monitoring and management activities.

These tenets provide a strategy for managing matsutake and their harvest despite significant gaps in our knowledge of their occurrence, biology, and ecology.

Adaptive Management

Adaptive management may be considered the means for implementing ecosystem management. It refers to the process of basing timely management decisions on the best available knowledge and revising those decisions as better information becomes available. Application of this process entails continuously updating priorities, collecting information, testing assumptions, and revising management decisions. Data collection efforts should be commensurate with potential impacts of selected management options.

Modeling

Modeling is a systematic procedure for predicting the future results of complex management decisions. A conceptual model of the factors influencing an outcome we wish to predict is developed by investigators familiar with the subject. The most important factors and interactions are noted, and areas of critically needed information are identified. These areas then receive priority for research and monitoring efforts. As new information is acquired, estimates derived from various components of the model are tested and refined, thus improving the model. As an example, let us say a manager would like to predict how a timber management plan will affect availability of matsutake harvesting areas over time. A model might include factors such as distribution of matsutake habitat types, matsutake productivity in each habitat type or forest stand age class, and how these factors will change with selected timber management scenarios. The influence of timber management regimes on habitat characteristics such as vegetation communities and forest growth may be well understood, but the response of matsutake fruiting to these variables may be a critical area of needed information. Monitoring would provide the data required to improve the model predictions.

Modeling differs from common sense decision making in its systematic approach and documentation. Decision making within an ecosystem management context involves so many variables and interactions that computer simulations of models are frequently necessary. The very process of developing and testing models is useful for clarifying relations among components and determining the relative importance of factors affecting the prediction.

Cooperative Investigations

Cooperative investigations are the final element of an adaptive ecosystem management strategy. Before the early 1990s, most matsutake research in North America was conducted by individual researchers who obtained their own funding and pursued small, local projects of interest. Although valuable, these studies typically were constrained by limited resources, the information frequently was not widely disseminated to managers, and the results from one study location were not necessarily applicable to other habitats. The burgeoning mushroom industry has created a need for definitive, statistically sound, regionally based studies so that managers can develop justifiable regulatory decisions. Most land management organizations, however, have not devoted substantial resources to mushroom research. Federal research institutions, universities, mycological societies and clubs, the mushroom industry, and individual collectors also have various levels of interests in matsutake research, even though they may not manage lands directly. Coordinated research efforts can ensure geographically broad-based investigations with definitive results, while keeping the expense for any one group to a minimum. Many individuals involved in matsutake research in North America have already begun to cooperate and share information informally; our understanding and management of the resource will benefit further from institutional support of these efforts.
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Appendix- Common and Scientific Names

 
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Boswell The Buck
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