Foragers warned not to strip Scottish forests bare of wild mushrooms

Forestry and Land Scotland issued the warning as the trend of foraging increases in popularity.

Keen foragers have been warned to only take exactly what they need this autumn amid concerns forests are being “stripped bare” of wild mushrooms.

Calls have been made after findings suggesting inexperienced fungi foragers were “increasingly” clearing entire areas.

The warnings come from Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS), the country’s national forestry body, who have said the damaged, fragile ecosystem could impact on animals which rely on fungi for food.

The trend of mushroom picking has increased in popularity in Scottish forests.

The FLS have also issued a reminder that some species are poisonous and could cause death if eaten.

Colin Edwards, FLS environment manager, urged foragers to make sure the information they were reading before picking mushrooms was reliable and up-to-date.

He advised that organisations such as Wild Food UK, Nature Scot and Scottish Wild Mushroom Code provided good information, but that foragers should rely on more than one source and never eat anything unless they were “100% sure” it was edible.

He said: “I’d urge people to make absolutely sure they know what they’re picking – before they head out – and pick only what they’re going to use, being sure to leave some for others.

“We have seen an increase in fungi pickers in some of our woodlands such as Devilla near Alloa and some picking is indiscriminate and strips the entire wood bare.

“I often see families out with bags full of fungi, and hundreds of fungi turned and left broken on site, because they’re not edible.

“It’s important to leave enough for everyone – including the wildlife who call the forest home and who rely on fungi as a food source.”

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