The current mountain pine beetle epidemic and the expedited salvage harvest that will result pose many challenges for the management of pine mushroom resources. Some assessments indicate that the value of pine mushrooms in producing areas (patches) may exceed the value of the timber over a rotation (Olivotto 1999; Chapman and Bravi 2003). Given the current beetle situation and the pending falldown in timber supply, diversification of the profitable harvest from provincial forests should be paramount. Management of nontimber forest economies is crucial to ensure their preservation during an expedited salvage period.
Pine mushroom production in West Chilcotin forests begins at a stand age of about 70 years (Chapman and Bravi 2003). This means that, with standard rotation lengths, there could be very little pine mushroom producing area left in the forest by the second rotation. Even though large proportions of the West Chilcotin currently have site and stand conditions that are seemingly suitable for pine mushroom production, only a relatively small proportion of the landscape actually produces mushrooms (Figure 1). Unless Good Potential Pine Mushroom Producing Areas (GPPPAs) are specifically identified and pine mushroom production managed for, it is very likely that future pine mushroom production will be exceedingly small. Compounding these management challenges is that pine mushroom habitat coincides with severely affected mountain pine beetle stands, which will be targeted for salvage harvest. Management of the pine mushroom resource must therefore be carefully considered at the onset of the salvage harvest. This extension note provides an overview of management recommendations, monitoring needs, and management tools for ensuring that pine mushroom presence is maintained on the landscape during this period of intensified disturbance.
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Updated February 19, 2009