The ecology of edible mushrooms of the Nigerian savannah: Towards their optimal exploitation
Objective: The objectives of this study was to identify the various microhabitats in which edible mushrooms grow; to identify their fruiting pattern time; and to relate the findings to their optimal exploitation in a Nigerian savannah.
Methodology and Results: The mushrooms were collected at the onset to the end of the rainy season. Mushrooms at different stages of growth were handpicked; photographed at different resolutions and their microhabitats and the month in which they were found was recorded. Species identification was archived by carefully examining the attributes of the sporocarps such as colour, shape, size, texture of the cap; and presence or absence of gills, etc. T-Test and Diversity Indices were conducted on the data. Thirty-one (31) different edible mushroom species were found in the study area. They largely belong to the families of Agaricaceae, Lyophyllaceae and Polyporaceae. They are found in 18 different microhabitats, which include
Arable Lands; Fallow lands; soils around dead Tree Stumps; Woods; and 14 different living tree species. The highest species richness (15) and species diversity (Shannon Diversity index, SDI: 2.54) was found under
Parkia biglobosa tree. The second was Tamarindus indica, having 8 species with 1.95 SDI; followed by Decaying Wood where 6 different mushroom species were recorded with SDI of 1.57. Collectively, the exotic trees habited 8 mushroom species, while the indigenous trees habited 18, which was significantly (p-value = 0.0001) different. Decaying Wood has the highest peculiar species, which was 5; Fallow have 4 species; followed by Parkia biglobosa that has 3 species. Out of the total 31 species 21 were found in the year 2016 and 24 in 2017, while only13 species were found in both 2016 and 2017, but the difference was not statistically significant (p-value = 0.961).
Conclusion and Application of results: The study area is rich in diverse edible mushroom species, which comprises mostly of those species belonging to the family Agaricaceae, Lyophyllaceae and Polyporaceae. The
microhabitats of these mushrooms include arable lands currently under cultivation; abandoned fallow lands; soils around dead tree stumps; decaying woods; and 14 different living tree species. The result of this study has important information that can be an indispensable guide for proper exploitation of edible mushrooms in this region and elsewhere.
Keywords: Arable; Bauchi; Edible; Fallow; Microhabitat; Mushroom; Parkia biglobosa; Savannah Wood
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