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Tree diversity influences mushroom diversity but not mushroom productivity

Blog post by Katarzyna Stojek

In many regions, mushrooms are a key food source and a source of income. Even in economically developed countries, harvesting mushrooms is still an important activity, although it is mainly recreational. Mushrooms also might become a critical source of food in a circular economy, playing a role in climate change mitigation and in buffering food shortages. Therefore, it made sense to include mushrooms as a part of a Dr.FOREST project, as a crucial part of our diet and health system, still mainly harvested in the forests. We investigated how tree diversity affects mushrooms – their productivity, diversity, nutritional values, etc.

The plots where we collected the mushrooms in the Białowieża Forest differ by tree diversity and identity level. The mushrooms were collected every ten days for two yielding seasons from mid-July 2020 to November 2021. As a result, we obtained an enormous dataset about mushroom productivity.

We confirmed the effect of soil properties (like pH), stand characteristics (e.g. stand basal area or understorey) on mushroom productivity, and also the strong relationship between mushroom species richness and mushroom productivity. However, despite the special design of plots that maximizes tree diversity differences and minimizes all other environmental conditions, we didn’t observe the influence of tree diversity on mushroom production. Still, we observed that it positively affects mushroom species richness.

Summing up, we discovered that tree diversity doesn’t directly influence mushroom production but it is still crucial for ecosystems due to their effect on mushroom species richness, which is essential for proper environmental services.

It is just the beginning of our results. Now it is time to analyze data about heavy metals, micronutrients, and fatty acids content. We are looking forward to sharing our results with you!

Bibliography:

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Egli, S. (2011) ‘Mycorrhizal mushroom diversity and productivity—an indicator of forest health?’, Annals of Forest Science, 68(1), pp. 81–88. doi:10.1007/s13595-010-0009-3.

Kumar, H. et al. (2022) ‘Edible mushrooms’ enrichment in food and feed: A mini review’, International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 57(3), pp. 1386–1398. doi:10.1111/ijfs.15546.

Savoie, J.-M. and Largeteau, M.L. (2011) ‘Production of edible mushrooms in forests: trends in development of a mycosilviculture’, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 89(4), pp. 971–979. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-3022-4.

Tomao, A. et al. (2017) ‘Is silviculture able to enhance wild forest mushroom resources? Current knowledge and future perspectives’, Forest Ecology and Management, 402, pp. 102–114. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2017.07.039.

Valverde, M.E., Hernández-Pérez, T. and Paredes-López, O. (2015) ‘Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life’, International Journal of Microbiology, 2015, p. e376387. doi:10.1155/2015/376387.