Fungal Futures – Can Foraging and Conservation be Aligned?
Public interest in the ecology and taxonomy of Australian fungi has grown over the last three decades. Coinciding with this is a growing enthusiasm for foraging for wild edible fungi. This seminar explores the rise of foraging in Australia and potential benefits and risks involved. In particular, I examine the disparity between the level of public knowledge about fungi and that required for safe foraging; and secondly, the current lack of knowledge about fungus life histories and distribution and potential conservation issues. By reviewing similar situations in the USA and Europe, I ask how more sensitive and sustainable foraging practices could be encouraged in Australia, so as to minimise potential environmental damage, poisoning risk and the need for regulation.