Science

Cultivating Mushrooms Alongside Trees can Help Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change

A new study has found that increasing the cultivation of mushrooms alongside trees can provide food for millions of people, while also reducing the negative impact of changes in climate on air and water quality.

Professor Pal Thomas, a distinguished professor in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling, is conducting research on mycopharmacology, a growing field that focuses on the use of fungi for medicinal purposes. His research has revealed that the cultivation of “ecomycorrhizal fungi” (EMF) can potentially eliminate 12.8 tons of carbon per hectare annually, while also providing food for 19 million people if grown alongside trees.

EMF grown with trees can be used as a food source for new trees and can play an important role in absorbing greenhouse gases during the production of fungi. The production of food is a significant benefit, as it can help eliminate seasonal variations in crop production.

Currently, there is a controversial global debate on land use regarding whether forests should be planted or agricultural land should be expanded. Deforestation has been a significant concern, with up to 47 million hectares of forests being cut down annually between 2010 and 2020 due to the increasing demand for agricultural land.

Professor Thomas suggests that the cultivation of mycorrhizal fungi with trees can reduce the need for deforestation while contributing to the growth of trees. This approach can help mitigate the effects of deforestation and support sustainable land use practices.

The potential benefits of mycopharmacology, including the cultivation of EMF, could have significant implications for the future of agriculture and forestry. Professor Thomas’s research highlights the potential for a more sustainable approach to land use that can benefit both the environment and human populations.

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