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La Chanéaz Fungus Reserve: Long-term monitoring to discover drivers of mushroom productivity and phenology
In 1975 the Canton of Fribourg established the La Chanéaz Fungus Reserve, a large, 75 hectare protected area near Payerne FR to enable fungal ecological research. The La Chanéaz Fungus Reserve is nationally and internationally unique; nowhere else in the world has the development of the fungal flora been studied with a similar accuracy over such a long period. All epigeous (aboveground) fruiting bodies of larger fungi were macroscopically and/or microscopically identified, counted, and mapped at weekly intervals with a spatial resolution of 1 m2. The inventories started in week 18 and ended by the onset of winter. To avoid double counting, mapped fruit bodies were marked with methylene blue dye.
Experimental field studies were set up to investigate the impact of various biotic and abiotic impacts on mushroom growth, such as mushroom picking, atmospheric input of nitrogen, or forest management. The long-term monitoring data have been used to study the relationship between meteorological factors and mushroom yield and mushroom phenology. These results provide new insights into the growth patterns of forest mushrooms and of their spatial and temporal dynamics. This data will be an important basis for an effective conservation policy in order to preserve the biodiversity of mushrooms in our forests and to allow a sustainable harvest of this precious non-wood forest product.
Up to now, the long-term monitoring data have been processed in 38 publications (14 ISI paper, 24 implementation papers). Further data analyses are in progress, in collaboration with international research groups.
A mushroom trail presents the main research themes and informs visitors of the completed studies and their results. In 2010, the duration of the Reserve was extended up to 2060, while the area of the reserve was reduced to 4 ha.