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Mushroom growing takes toll on forestation: environmental group

Mushroom growing takes toll on forestation: environmental group

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Mushroom growing has taken a toll on Taiwan's forestation efforts as an estimated 2,300 hectares of forests are being felled annually to provide shredded wood as mulch for mushroom farms, a local environmental group said Wednesday.
Mercy on the Earth, a private group dedicated to protecting Taiwan's natural environment, said the organization has conducted field surveys in major lumbering and mushroom growing areas around Taiwan since August 2008.
Survey results show that local mushroom growers need a total of 354,740 tons of shredded wood per year, meaning that 2,300 hectares of forests have to be felled each year to meet the demand, the organization said in a statement.
The acreage is equivalent to the area of 88 Da-An forest parks in Taipei City, or the area of two Chaishan parks in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, the statement said, adding that Miaoli, Taitung and Hsinchu counties are the top three places which have suffered the most serious de-forestation.
Worse still, the statement said, more than 90 percent of felled trees had been felled without any prior official sanction or assessment.
According to the organization, less than 300 hectares of de-forested land had obtained prior government permission for logging.
"This sad fact indicates that the ongoing mushroom growing-induced massive-scale lumbering is almost in an anarchic state," the statement lamented.
A spokesman for the advocacy group further said unauthorized lumbering mostly took place in slopelands exclusively reserved for indigenous tribes.
With steep topography, those slopelands are not suitable for farming and should have been left intact to serve as habitats of various fauna and flora species, the spokesman said.
"Regrettably, aboriginal landlords tend to sell the plots at fairly low prices ranging between NT$20,000 (US$579.7) and NT$40,000 per hectare, "the spokesman said, adding that the figure shows that it takes less than NT$1 million to fell trees covering a 27-hectare Da-An Forest Park.
The spokesman said the central government should take steps immediately to restrict compensation for lumbering and step up management of aboriginal-reserved land that are zoned for agricultural and animal husbandry uses.
Moreover, the spokesman said, a lumbering certification or accreditation system should be set up to prevent illegal logging.
Last but not least, the spokesman said, the government should encourage research and development of substitute materials for mulch and remind the public to avoid excessive consumption of mushrooms.
(By Sofia Wu)




Updated : 2021-05-09 04:46 GMT+08:00