Viability of Introducing Payments for the Collection of Wild Forest Mushrooms in Catalonia (North-East Spain)

  • Last update: 06 October 2016
  • Author: Irina Prokofieva, Elena Górriz-Mifsud, José-Antonio Bonet, Juan Martínez de Aragón

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Abstract

Wild mushrooms are among the most valuable non-wood forest products in the world, and mushroom picking activities are well developed in many countries. Recent studies have demonstrated important links between forest management options and the productivity of mushrooms. Furthermore, there is evidence that the optimal forest management oriented at maximizing joint revenues from timber and mushrooms can lead to higher profits than the traditional timber-oriented management. The precondition for such management, however, is that forest owners derive benefits from mushrooms produced in their forests. In this paper, we discuss the feasibility of implementing payments for mushroom harvesting in Catalonia, North East Spain. As in many other European regions, mushroom picking in Catalonia is a long-standing tradition, which has been practiced with negligible limitations for centuries. The rising popularity of this activity in the last decades, however, has caused forest owners to voice concerns about the sustainability of this activity and about the impact it has on the private forest property. We document the results of a public opinion survey and contrast them with the issues emergent from forest owners’ interviews about the regulation of mushroom picking activities. Our results show that mushroom pickers support the idea of introducing payments for mushroom harvesting. Based on the survey and interview results, we also discuss the design aspects of payments for mushroom picking and articulate the key issues in their implementation.

eu-55
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonst ration under grant agreement No. 311919

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