Mushrooms might be up to ten times more profitable than timber in Mediterranean conditions

The results of the study Effect of the inclusion of mushroom values on the optimal management of even-aged pine stands of Catalonia published in Forest Science, 2009, Volume 55, Number 6, pp. 503-511(9) showed that mushrooms produce more profit than timber in most P. sylvestris and P. nigra stands of central Catalonia. In P. sylvestris stands with good site conditions for mushrooms the SEV of mushroom harvesting was sometimes 10 times higher than the SEV of timber production, while on poor sites it was commonly 2–3 times higher. In P. nigra stands mushroom yields changed a non-profitable situation into a profitable one, especially when currently non-marketed edible mushrooms were assumed to have market value (Table 1).

Table 1. Effect of the price of edible mushrooms on the optimal management schedule of a P. sylvestris and a P. nigra stand. Slope is assumed to be 20%. When the price is 10€/kg for marketed mushrooms and 5€/kg for non-marketed (price combination 10/5) the mushroom harvest includes also non-marketed mushrooms (the harvest of marketed mushrooms is shown in parenthesis).

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 Due to the low current timber prices and high timber harvesting costs in Central Catalonia (influenced by a complex topography), timber production on poor and average sites is not profitable or has a low profitability (Table 1). This has led to the abandonment of large areas of forest which in turns has aggravated the problem of forest fires. This study showed that, when mushroom yields are included in an economic analysis, optimal forest management should be oriented towards maximizing mushroom production, making thinnings profitable (Fig. 1).

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Figure 1. Effect of mushroom price in P. sylvestris. Elevation is1200 m, aspect is east, and slope is 20%

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