Could mycoforestry help feed the world and save the planet?
Deforestation, soil health and biodiversity are all major concerns in the agricultural industry.
A recent United Nations report claims an estimated 80% of global deforestation is down to agricultural practices, as well as being the leading cause of habitat destruction.
But does farming always have to lead to deforestation? Can crops and trees not only co-exist, but possibly thrive together?
The emerging field of mycoforestry is a means of managing forest communities through the introduction of fungi.
In this episode of the Food Matters Live podcast, we look at a new study which suggests edible fungi could be used, with potentially huge consequences for the future of sustainable agriculture.
So what did the study find? What could it mean for deforestation? And how can all of this benefit the food industry?
Professor Paul Thomas, Honorary Professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Stirling
Paul’s research activities are primarily focused on the interplay of the environment and mycorrhizal fungi, with a specific focus on edible and medicinal species. The impacts of climate change and the interaction with other organisms, from metagenomics to the role of animals in spore dispersal are also a keen focus.
Current research collaborations are broad and international from ethnomycology in the neotropics, to the identification of novel medicinal compounds in parasitic fungi. Current teaching and PhD supervision is equally broad.
Historically, most of his research has focused on truffle species and the successful implementation of cultivation technology. Through establishing a number of companies, this research has resulted in the production of the first cultivated truffles in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Netherlands, Macedonia and further production from South Africa to the US.