Conservation and protection: everybody agrees intuitively that it is a good thing to be environmentally aware and to act accordingly.
In the book I have recommended to cut the mushroom just above the ground and then to cover the cut with dead leafs or mud. The idea is to protect the mycelium and hence protect the plant. Likewise I found conservation measures like a ban on all picking in the first week of the month and a "bag limit" of 2 kg per person per day an excellent policy. All these conservation assumptions have been shattered by a long term study conducted in Switzerland. Over a period of 30 years all kinds of picking techniques and environmental factors have been studied and the long and short of it is that all I thought that was positive protection doesn't matter. It apparently doesn't matter, for example, whether you regularly pick tabula rasa. It doesn't influence the commonness: in an area where all mushrooms were regularly cut there were no less mushrooms than in an area where no mushrooms were cut at all.
Why? The key to understanding is the incredible number of spores produced by a mushroom. The detailed report is still pending. Watch this space for further news.
only obvious negative influence confirmed is that trampling all
over a place with mushrooms is a bad idea. This (and, of course,
heavy forestwork machinery) does have a negative impact on the mycelium.
In spite of these findings I
still think traditional conservation measures are a good thing if
only to remind one
that a purely exploitative attitude to nature is itself a bad thing.