ISSN 1188-603X

No. 204 October 3, Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: ASPT Current News Contents

Dr. Fred R. Ganders, Professor of Botany at UBC, has been appointed the new Director of the University of British Columbia Herbarium. In addition to his long standing research interests in mating systems and Hawaiian Bidens, he is currently writing a Flora of the Fraser Valley (from Hope, B. C. south to the US border and west to the Strait of Georgia). Dr. Helen Kennedy has been appointed Honorary Curator of Vascular Plants.

Please direct any inquiries to the Director:


Abbreviated chapter from: Hosford, D., D. Pilz, Randy Molina, & M. Amaranthus. 1997.
Ecology and management of the commercially harvested American matsutake mushroom. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-412, USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR. 68 p.

Pine mushrooms, matsutake, were once widespread and common in mixed pine forests of Japan from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south. After World War II, they became increasingly scarce, in spite of efforts to enhance their productivity in local forests. By 1981, productivity has declined to one-tenth of the pre-War levels, and imports of Japanese matsutake, especially from South Korea, increased greatly to meet demand.

Since 1905, the matsutake forests of Japan have been plagued by the pine nematode (Bursaphelenchus lignicolus). The nematode is transmitted to living pines by the Japanese pine sawyer (Monochamus alternatus), a longhorn beetle. Invasion of vascular tissue by the nematode results in wilt and rapid death. Most host pines of matsutake, including the Japanese black and red pines (Pinus thurbergii and P. densiflora), are very susceptible to this devastating pathogen. Since the introduction of the nematode at the start of the 20th century on the southern island of Kyushu, it has steadily spread north-eastward. The current blight is the fourth in a series of epidemics since 1905. The third epidemic lasted a decade, peaked in 1979, and caused an estimated loss of 2.4 million cubic meters of pine wood. The current epidemic began in 1990 and killed enough trees in one year to build 50,000 houses. Recent reports indicate that the disease has also spread to forest of Okinawa, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, and China. A combination of climatic, socio-economic and biological factors in Japan tends to increase the magnitude of the blight. Pine mortality from the nematode often increases after prolonged drought and high temperatures, which weaken the resistance of the pines to the parasite.

Although the Japanese have developed many silvicultural strategies to manage matsutake forests, matsutake production has disappeared from the vast stretches of mountain pine forests that die each year. Indeed, Japan's temples and public parks may eventually become the last refuge for matsutake pine forests, as suggested by a respected Kyoto gardener, Mr. Shiro Nakane (c. 1992):

"To me, this already seems to be the case. When I was a kid, I'd walk on the paths right up there and gather matsutake from many, many red pines. Now I sometimes go up to the mountain with my two boys and my dog, but the forest there has changed. The trees I remember are gone. Still, different trees are appearing, and maybe this is nature's way."


From: Stephen Darbyshire []

The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club has lost its storage space and must dispose of back issues of the Canadian Field-Naturalist in 4-6 weeks. If you would be interested in an almost complete set of back issues for shippping costs only, you can let me know. There are also copies of John Macoun's autobiography available under similar terms.

DAO herbarium in Ottawa has a list of reprints available for free distribution. It is too long a list to include in BEN. You can ask Gisele Mitrow and she will send you the list as an e-mail attachment.

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