1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

How Mushrooms Can Help Conserve Forests & Combat Climate Change: Here’s The Answer

The rate at which forests are being converted to agricultural land is astounding. The rate of deforestation is expected to be over 10 million hectares per year between 2015 and 2020.

Shivani Meena
Lactarius indigo: A species of Edible Mushroom with great potential
Lactarius indigo: A species of Edible Mushroom with great potential

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts a major rise in agricultural demand of 50% by 2050 compared to 2012. Around 71 percent of rainforest in South America has been replaced by grassland, with another 14 percent lost to animal feed production. One of the most significant outcomes of COP26 was world leaders' pledge to eliminate deforestation by 2030. 

The Global Worry 

We know that cutting down trees at this magnitude has disastrous consequences for the climate and greenhouse gas emissions. But the consequences are far-reaching: forested watersheds provide 75 percent of the world's accessible freshwater. With 80 percent of the world's population facing danger to their water supply, trees serve a critical role in averting desertification and soil erosion. They also protect coastal regions from floods and are home to a diverse range of species, many of which are vital crop pollinators. 

What can we do to conserve forests and combat climate change? 

So, what are our options? Various foods leave different footprints, as we all know. Reducing the amount of animal-based products consumed will have a significant impact. One of the most powerful changes that individuals in the West can do to help save the world is to consume less meat. 

But what if we could take it a step further? What if, instead of farming and forestry being in direct competition, we could devise a method that allowed food production and forest management to coexist on the same piece of land? 

Yes! Miraculous Mushrooms can Play a Role  

Looking at fungi that coexist with trees in a mutually beneficial relationship This is a frequent relationship, and certain species, such as the highly valued truffle, may produce large mushroom fruiting bodies. Aside from the taste, cultivating these species is a very new and developing field. However, progress is being made in one group of milk caps, which includes the Lactarius indigo, or blue milk cap, which is a lovely and very bright blue species. 

The blue color of this edible mushroom, which is high in nutritional fiber and vital fatty acids, makes it simple to identify safely. The blue milkcap might be a source of medicinal potential, with extracts displaying antibacterial characteristics and the capacity to destroy cancer cells. 

These Blue Milkcap species of Mushrooms are the answer for all the worry 

As the relationship between the tree and the fungus develops, they begin to create these amazing protein-rich mushrooms. 

Pastoral beef production, which produces 4.76-6.99kg of protein per hectare per year, is the most common type of agriculture on cleared forested land. However, if this system were replaced with the cultivation of trees that house the milk cap fungus, the same plot of land could generate 7.31 kg of protein each year. The protein content of the mushrooms may be removed and used to make other foods, or the mushrooms can be eaten raw. 

This would result in increased food production while preserving the advantages of forests and avoiding the environmental costs of intensive farming, such as fertilizer usage, water consumption, and the need to cultivate additional feed.

Beef farming contributes to climate change by producing greenhouse gases, but these fungus-inoculated trees draw carbon from the environment as they grow, aiding in our fight against climate catastrophe. As a result, in addition to generating more food, the technique can also improve biodiversity, promote conservation, operate as a carbon sink for greenhouse gas emissions, and boost rural economic growth. 

Take this quiz on World Meteorological Day to check your knowledge about meteorology! Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters