The purpose of this study is to describe the ecological characteristics and forest site classification of pine mushroom habitat in British Columbia. Soil, vegetation, and forest descriptions were made across six areas of the province known to support commercial crops of pine mushrooms: the Nass and Shumal river valleys near New Aiyansh, the Chilcotin Plateau, the Bella Coola Valley, the Columbia River Valley (Upper Arrow Lake) near Nakusp, the Lillooet River Valley near Pemberton, and the Nahatlatch Valley near Boston Bar. Forest subzone, elevation, slope, aspect, and landform all varied between study sites. However, soil moisture and nutrient regimes fell within a relatively narrow range. Soil moisture was in almost all cases drier than average for the subzone (subxeric-submesic: 2-3), and soil nutrient regimes fell almost exclusively within the range of poor to medium (B-C). Soils tended to be well or rapidly drained, with an Ae horizon, coarse soil texture (sand to loamy sand), and often a high coarse fragment content. Forest floors tended to be relatively thin, and wildfire was the most common natural disturbance regime. The most consistent tree species was western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), with lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) sometimes present. Shrub and herb species tended to have relatively low cover values, while moss cover was highly variable, ranging from 7 to 97%. In general, the soil, vegetation, and forest stand results indicate that submesic site series correlate well with pine mushroom habitat. This consistency in habitat across forest subzones should allow forest managers to better recognize and consider potential commercial mushroom ground in development plans.
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Updated October 24, 2008