Mushrooms are among the most valuable of wild-gathered foods, yet there is a poor appreciation of their economic importance to rural livelihoods. The scant information available on wild mushrooms is incomplete and widely dispersed, especially in the case of data referring to the poorest forest communities. A new book aims to fill that gap, examining wild fungi that are treasured by rural communities in many parts of the developing world for their nutritional and medicinal properties. In some communities, they represent the main source of income. Globally, trade in wild mushrooms is conservatively estimated at US$2 billion (€1.5 billion).

The book demonstrates the crucial roles that fungi play in maintaining forest ecosystems and the livelihoods of rural people in areas such as the Miombo woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. It also offers guidelines for good practice, discussing issues such as sustainable harvesting and policies for the future. A rich selection of tables and boxes help to complete some of the missing facts and figures about this free and valuable resource.

Mushrooms in Forests and Woodlands, Resource Management, Values and Local Livelihoods
Edited by A B Cunningham and X Yang
Earthscan, 2011. 218 pp.
ISBN 978-1-84971-139-5
GBP49.99 • €59
Dunstan House
14a St Cross Street
London EC1N 8XA UK
Fax: +44 (0)20 7242 1474

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