Dirt Matters – A journey in the mycobiome
The need to produce high quality food while minimising environmental damage is one of the biggest challenges for Australian agriculturalists. Healthy biological soils are crucial to plant health including our food crops. In turn, human health depends on high food quality and hence good soil health.
We now know there is a greater biomass of living microorganisms within than above the soil. Modern agriculture with its intensive use of chemicals, fertilisers and mechanical disturbance has largely eliminated these organisms. However, innovative biological farmers are turning things around through ‘ecological intensification’ – that is, by fostering the microbes within soils with the aim to replace anthropogenic inputs and tilling practices. Central to this is an understanding of how symbioses between plants, fungi and other organisms function.
This workshop provides an overview of the vital significance of fungi in soils and the important roles they play in providing soil architecture, retaining water, increasing nutrient availability and maximising ecosystem resilience. Greater attention to fungal-plant relationships can help us move beyond current expensive and unsustainable farming practices. This is especially pertinent in the context of a changing climate and water scarcity.
The workshop includes an interactive and illustrated seminar on the major fungal groups, the basics of fungus identification, fungal ecology, and the natural and cultural history of fungi. Fungus specimens from the local area will be displayed, discussed and examined during the workshop.
Following the indoor session will be an exciting foray through various local habitat types to search for species of interest. Supplementary notes will also be provided.
Signed copies of Alison’s recent book, The Allure of Fungi, will be available for purchase.
The full autumn 2019 workshops and events listing can be viewed here.