Editors: Maria L. Gargano, Georgios I. Zervakis, Giuseppe Venturella

Pleurotus nebrodensis A Very Special Mushroom

eBook: US $49 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $114
Printed Copy: US $90
Library License: US $196
ISBN: 978-1-60805-801-3 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-800-6 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2013
DOI: 10.2174/97816080580061130101

Introduction

First described by Giuseppe Inzenga in 1863 as “the most delicious mushroom of the Sicilian mycological flora”, Pleurotus nebrodensis remains today a prized species , especially in the Mediterranean. Pleurotus nebrodensis was sought after since ancient times as a delicious mushroom in the Madonie mountains of Sicily. Tourists and local people can appreciate the organoleptic qualities of the mushrooms in restaurants where delicious cuisine are prepared with raw or cooked mushrooms. However, its appearance and numbers are declining in nature and this species has been categorized as ‘CR’ (Critically Endangered) according to IUCN Red List Criteria. In situ conservation action for this fungus is being carried out thanks to rules issued by the Madonie Park administration prohibiting its collection as well as inoculation of roots of the associated plant C. ferulacea with grain mycelia of P. nebrodensis in the hope of increasing mushroom fructification in the wild. Ex situ conservation of P. nebrodensis has also started and involves cultivation of the mushroom in special farms in the hope of reducing collecting pressures on the species in the wild. Ex situ cultivation of P. nebrodensis also provides additional income for local farmers, who can offer a more economical product than that collected from the wild, and this in turn reduces pressure on the wild population.

This e-book is an excellent resource for amateur and professional mycologists for learning scientific information about the family Pleurotaceae with particular reference to the taxonomic group “Pleurotus on Apiaceae plants” and the “Pleurotus eryngii species-complex” and is also suitable for university students for useful insights in botany, microbiology, mycology, agronomy, and forestry.

Pleurotus Nebrodensis: A Very Special Mushroom also gives both general and specialized readers a glimpse into the selected history of mycology, folk traditions, preservation of biodiversity, sustainable development, information on mushroom cultivation techniques and alternative sources of income associated with this intriguing mushroom species.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Science Edition, BIOSIS Previews, EBSCO.

Foreword

It is a great pleasure for the Species Survival Commission of IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) to introduce this noteworthy ebook about Pleurotus nebrodensis, edited by M.-L. Gargano, G. I. Zervakis and G. Venturella for several reasons.

Firstly, the Fungi Kingdom was, until now, largely underrepresented in the conservation world. Fortunately, this situation seems to have improved gradually, as shown, for instance, by the recent creation of four fungi specialist groups within IUCN SSC (five if we also consider the Lichens specialist group). As a first result, the knowledge on the conservation status of several mushrooms is now better known in proportion to their assessments with the IUCN Red List criteria. There are of course still many things to do in order to better insure their conservation, but the mycologists' voice has begun to be heard.

Secondly, because this ebook is an exceptional blend of different approaches focused on one species conservation. Many examples show that conservation measures for a species are successful only if all factors influencing its habitat and life are studied and taken into account, including of course the social and economics ones, which are unfortunately too often neglected. And this has been particularly well understood by Prof. Venturella and his team, who have not only tirelessly studied this species and its environment - sensu lato - since many years, but have also planned very detailed cultivation methods in order to alleviate the pressure on Pleurotus nebrodensis by its over collection in the wild. IUCN's long experience in conservation throughout the world demonstrates that the most successful stories are the ones that benefit the local communities. And this is precisely the case in the Pleurotus conservation strategy.

This makes us very confident in the long term sustainable management of this mushroom. Finally, because this story owes its origin to in Sicily, a region deeply attached to its cultural and natural heritage, for thousands of years, nature in Sicily has been shaped by people who have known how to use sustainably its natural resources. Even if this is less the case today, due to the intensive agriculture, the infrastructures, the urbanization and the development of mass tourism, Sicilians are still close to their nature and ready to conserve and value it.

We hope that, in the near future, the threat category of Pleurotus nebrodensis, which is currently CR (Critically Endangered), will decrease due to the conservation measures implemented and expect that this success story will be an example for other threatened fungi and plants.

Neuchâtel
Bertrand de Montmollin
IUCN - Species Survival Commission
Switzerland


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