Mycelium Running

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-10-15
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Pr
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Mycelium Runningis a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. Thatrs"s right: growing moremushroomsmay be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, yours"ll find out how. The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called "mycelium"--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on myceliumrs"s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening). In this comprehensive guide, yours"ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined "mycorestoration," as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.

Author Biography

PAUL STAMETS is the founder of Fungi Perfecti and codirector and founder of the Rainforest Mushroom Genome and Mycodiversity Preservation Project. He is the author of two seminal textbooks, The Mushroom Cultivator and GROWING GOURMET AND MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS, has been published in numerous journals, and is presenting more lectures on mycology than he can keep track of. An advisor and consultant to the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Medical School and the 1998 recipient of the Collective Heritage Institute’s Bioneers Award, Stamets lives in Kamilche Point, Washington with his collection of more than 250 medicinal mushroom cultures.

Table of Contents

Foreword viii
Preface x
Acknowledgments xi
Mycelium as Nature's Internet
The Mushroom Life Cycle
Mushrooms in Their Natural Habitats
The Medicinal Mushroom Forest
Inoculation Methods: Spores, Spawn, and Stem Butts
Cultivating Mushrooms on Straw and Leached Cow Manure
Cultivating Mushrooms on Logs and Stumps
Gardening with Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms
Magnificent Mushrooms: The Cast of Species
Nutritional Properties of Mushrooms
Glossary 301(4)
Resources 305(2)
Bibliography 307(18)
Photography and Artwork Credits 325(1)
Index 326


Part I
There are more species of fungi, bacteria, and protozoa in a single scoop of soil than there are species of plants and vertebrate animals in all of North America. And of these, fungi are the grand recyclers of our planet, the mycomagicians disassembling large organic molecules into simpler forms, which in turn nourish other members of the ecological community. Fungi are the interface organisms between life and death.
Look under any log lying on the ground and you will see fuzzy, cobweblike growths called mycelium, a fine web of cells which, in one phase of its life cycle, fruits mushrooms. This fine web of cells courses through virtually all habitats--like mycelial tsunamis--unlocking nutrient sources stored in plants and other organisms, building soils. The activities of mycelium help heal and steer ecosystems on their evolutionary path, cycling nutrients through the food chain. As land masses and mountain ranges form, successive generations of plants and animals are born, live, and die. Fungi are keystone species that create ever-thickening layers of soil, which allow future plant and animal generations to flourish. Without fungi, all ecosystems would fail.
With each footstep on a lawn, field, or forest floor, we walk upon these vast sentient cellular membranes. Fine cottony tufts of mycelium channel nutrients from great distances to form fast-growing mushrooms. Mycelium, constantly on the move, can travel across landscapes up to several inches a day to weave a living network over the land. But mycelium benefits our environment far beyond simply producing mushrooms for our consumption.
Humans collaborate with these cellular networks, using fungi, specifically using mushroom mycelium as spawn, for both short- and long-term benefits. Mushroom spawn lets us recycle garden waste, wood, and yard debris, thereby creating mycological membranes that heal habitats suffering from poor nutrition, stress, and toxic waste. In this sense, mushrooms emerge as environmental guardians in a time critical to our mutual evolutionary survival.
I believe random selection is no longer the dominant force of human evolution. Our political, economic, and biotechnological policies may determine our future, for better or worse. Some forecasts claim that half of the current species could disappear in the next hundred years if current trends continue. A “what-if” Pentagon report issued in October 2003,An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security(Schwartz and Randall 2003), hypothesizes that a more dire and imminent collapse of our biosphere may occur as climates radically destabilize as a result of pollution and global warming.
I wonder what would happen if there were a United Organization of Organisms (UOO, pronounced “uh-oh”), where each species gets one vote. Would we be voted off the planet? The answer is pretty clear. When we irresponsibly exploit the Earth, disease, famine, and ecological collapse result. We face the possibility of being rejected by the biosphere as a virulent organism. But if we act as a responsible species, nature will not evict us. Our fungal friends equip us with tools to act responsibly and repair our shared environment, leading the way to habitat recovery. So knowing how to work with fungi--by custom pairing fungal species with plant communities--is critical for our survival. The twenty-first century may be remembered as the Biotech Age, when these kinds of mycotechnologies play a prominent and increasing role in strengthening habitat health.
Mycelium as Nature’s Internet
I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aw

Excerpted from Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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