Chapter 3: Managing the Matsutake
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,
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,
|* Richards, B. [In review]. Native American ethno ecology
and ecosystem management: Kirk harvesting of matsutake
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
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
|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
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
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 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
"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?
|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.
|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,
4. Same as treatment 3, but the duff is replaced. (Mushrooms are harvested, counted
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
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 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
22), and studies of fungus diversity in coniferous forests that have documented the occurrence
and productivity of Tricholoma species in a large variety of
and recreational harvesters of matsutake also have a wealth of personal knowledge
about the fungus; unfortunately, this information is seldom collected, verified, or
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 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 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 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