Mushrooms: the advice of forest carabinieri for a responsible collection

(To Arms of the Carabinieri)
28/09/17

With the arrival of autumn the mushroom season reopens and, like every year, there are many enthusiasts who venture into the woods, sometimes incurring unpleasant episodes, such as loss, illness, injury or even death.

"We recommend special caution! The natural environments where mushrooms grow can hide dangers", suggests Colonel Pierluigi Fedele, commander of the Carabinieri Forestal Group of Parma and expert mycologist, who states that"in recent years there have been more deaths of searchers who have had accidents in the woods than those poisoned with mushrooms".

The safety of men above all, but also that of the environment. The Carabinieri Corps recalls that mushroom picking is still subject to the objectives of preserving territorial integrity and maintaining ecosystems. "Mushrooms are an important component for the natural balance of the forest: collect them with criteria, respecting the rules"Fedele advises. Those who love nature and in particular those who love to go for woods to look for mushrooms must adopt an appropriate and respectful behavior, avoiding disturbing the balance with inappropriate behavior. It is not rare to find damaged mushrooms, or thrown away after being been collected, following doubts or second thoughts about their edibility.

There are already several dozen requests for assistance received by the number of 1515 Environmental Emergency forest police officers by mushroom hunters who, due to poor knowledge of the places or adverse weather conditions (fog and thunderstorms), are lost in the woods and sometimes they are also seriously injured.

It must be remembered that the collection and marketing of mushrooms are governed by national, regional or local regulations that indicate the species, the size and the maximum amount of mushrooms that can be collected, in addition to the calendar of days when this activity is allowed . These regulations prohibit the collection of mushrooms in some protected areas and the collection during the night on the whole territory, both for the preservation of the mushrooms themselves and for security reasons.

In some regions it is mandatory to have an authorization card, after attending a specific mycological course, it is however necessary to inform yourself locally on the methods of collection in the places normally frequented. Violations of the rules involve administrative sanctions that vary depending on the offense committed and provide for the confiscation of the collected mushrooms.

Some useful tips for searchers:

1. Read up on the itinerary and choose the routes suited to your physical abilities;

2. Communicate your movements before embarking on the excursion;

3. Avoid entering the woods alone, the presence of a companion is a guarantee of first aid;

4. Consult the weather forecasts before departure and constantly observe the evolution of atmospheric conditions. In case of bad weather do not stand near trees, stones and sharp objects because they could attract lightning;

5. Choose the right clothing and equipment: we recommend trekking shoes, resistant and light clothing on several layers to put on and take off in the face of different situations, cell phone, torch and mushroom knife;

6. Always refrain from collecting mushrooms for which you are not sure about edibility, in case of doubt, submit the harvest to the Mycological Inspectorates of the Local Health Authorities;

7. The daily harvest must not exceed the limit established by law;

8. Do not use rakes or hooks that can damage the mycelium;

9. Immediately clean the fungus from residues of branches, leaves and soil to ensure its integrity;

10. The collected mushrooms, preferably only fresh and young specimens, must be transported in rigid and ventilated containers. The use of plastic bags does not allow the spread of fungal spores in the forest. Lack of ventilation causes product deterioration;

11. In case of need contact the 1515, Environmental Emergency number of the Carabinieri.

(photo: web)