Recent study argues wild food is an important ecosystem service

Monday, 13 April 2015 Posted in StarTree, News

wild food 540In a recent study, researchers looked at the importance of wild food at EU level by gathering data on the availability, use and benefits of wild game, mushrooms and other plants. The study claims that that, in addition to the nutritional and economic value, wild food holds great cultural significance.

According to the research, a wide variety of game (38 species), mushrooms (27 species) and vascular plants (81 species) is collected and consumed throughout the EU. Income, age, gender, possibilities for collecting, and cultural factors explain the importance of wild food. While the economic and nutritional values of wild food comprise a few thousands of the GDP or total consumption, over 100 million EU citizens consume wild food.

Collecting wild food is an appreciated recreational activity; collecting and consuming wild food provide important cultural ecosystem services, including recreation and sense of place. Because of these benefits, wild food should be included in EU ecosystem service assessments, the reserachers claim. Better estimates could be made if better data on wild food abundance and production are available and by systematic inventories of participation in wild food collecting.

Read more about the study "Wild food in Europe: A synthesis of knowledge and data of terrestrial wild food as an ecosystem service" by Schulp et al. here. The original article was published in Ecological Economics in 2014 and can be found here, note that the article is not freely downloadble.

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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