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Assessing the Potential of Forest Stands for Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms as a Subsistence Ecosystem Service for Socially Disadvantaged People: A Case Study from Central Slovakia

Department of Applied Ecology, Faculty of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Technical University in Zvolen, T.G. Masaryka 24, SK-960 01 Zvolen, Slovakia
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Forests 2020, 11(3), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030282
Received: 21 January 2020 / Revised: 14 February 2020 / Accepted: 26 February 2020 / Published: 28 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessing, Valuing and Mapping Ecosystem Services)
Mushrooming is a widespread leisure activity for a significant part of the Slovak population. From the point of view of the ecosystem services, it combines a provisioning service (mushrooms as food or delicacies) and a cultural service (mushroom picking as physical activity in nature). For urban residents, the forest is a refuge from the daily work routine, and mushrooming contributes significantly to improving their quality of life. For mushroom pickers living in rural areas, the occurrence and availability of mushroom harvesting sites are often even more important since it contributes to their diet or even provides an occasional income. We summarised the ecological preferences of selected ectomycorrhizal mushrooms and applied them as parameters for modelling the potential of forest stands for mushroom growing in central Slovakia. In the second step, we analysed the theoretical demand for wild mushrooms as a subsistence provisioning service for the local population with a special focus on socially disadvantaged inhabitants. The results showed that there is a spatial overlap of forest stands with a high potential for mushroom growing and the districts with the highest proportion of unemployment or of inhabitants receiving social benefits, and the best mushroom forest stands are situated within walking distance from the settlements. This supports the initial assumption that wild mushrooms may contribute to a better life for disadvantaged local communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: ectomycorrhizal mushrooms; forest stand; ecosystem services; subsistence; socially disadvantaged; central Slovakia ectomycorrhizal mushrooms; forest stand; ecosystem services; subsistence; socially disadvantaged; central Slovakia
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Olah, B.; Kunca, V.; Gallay, I. Assessing the Potential of Forest Stands for Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms as a Subsistence Ecosystem Service for Socially Disadvantaged People: A Case Study from Central Slovakia. Forests 2020, 11, 282.

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