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New approaches to the study of biological diversity


IRREVERSIBLE LOSS: THREATS TO HUMAN HEALTH & FOOD SECURITY Zabta K. Shinwari Quaid-i-Azam University Scenario of Natural Resource A large proportion of species in all ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: New approaches to the study of biological diversity

Zabta K. Shinwari Quaid-i-Azam University
Scenario of Natural Resource
  • A large proportion of species in all assessed
    taxa are currently threatened with extinction
    (12 of birds, 23 of mammals, 32 of amphibians
    31 of gymnosperms 33 of corals) and the best
    estimate of population trends of birds, mammals,
    amphibians, reptiles and fish indicates that
    since 1970 global population sizes have declined
    by almost 30.
  • Symbionts of other organisms, extinction of their
  • hosts can cause their extinction too.

Loh, J. et al. in 2010 and Beyond Rising to the
Biodiversity Challenge (ed. Loh, J.) (Living
Planet Index, WWF, 2008).
Reduced Biodiversity unable to----
  • If ecosystems with reduced biodiversity are less
    able to provide the ecosystem servicessuch as
    carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and
    resistance to droughton which humans rely.
  • Ecosystem functions decline as biodiversity is
    lost. Reduced disease transmission is an
    important ecosystem service provided by high
  • (Naeem et al. 2009, Oxford University Press).

Impacts of biodiversity on the emergenceand
transmission of infectious diseases
  • Current unprecedented declines in biodiversity
    reduce the ability of ecological communities to
    provide many fundamental ecosystem services.
  • Reduced biodiversity affects the transmission of
    infectious diseases of humans, other animals and
  • Evidence indicates that biodiversity loss
    frequently increases disease transmission.
  • Areas of naturally high biodiversity may serve as
    a source pool for new pathogens.
  • Current evidence indicates that preserving intact
    ecosystems and their endemic biodiversity should
    generally reduce the prevalence of infectious

Keesing et al., Nature vol. 468 Dec., 2010
Emerging Disease Events-----
  • Between 1940 and 2004, over 300 emerging disease
    events were identified in humans around the
    world. Concomitantly, other emerging infectious
    diseases also appeared in wildlife, domesticated
    animals, and crop and wild plants. Emerging
    infectious diseases include those in which the
    pathogen has evolved into a new strain within the
    same host species, for example, through the
    evolution of drug resistance (methicillin-resistan
    t Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA) or switched to
    new host species (for example, human
    immunodeficiency virus or HIV, severe acute
    respiratory syndrome or SARS). In some cases, the
    switch to new host species is accompanied by a
    change in geographic range (for example, West
    Nile virus in the Americas).

Drivers and locations of emergence events for
zoonotic infectious diseases in humans from
19402005. a,Worldwide age of emergence events
caused by each driver b, Countries in which the
emergence events took place, and the drivers of
emergence. The size of the circle represents the
number of emergence events for scale, the number
of events in the United States was 59. Globally,
almost half of these diseases resulted from
changes in land use, changes in agricultural and
other food production practices, or through
wildlife hunting, which suggests that contact
rates between humans and other animals are an
important underlying cause of zoonotic disease
emergence. Other includes international travel
and commerce, changes in human demographics and
behaviour, changes in the medical industry,
climate and weather, breakdown of public health
measures, and unspecified causes.
Biodiversity loss may accelerate ---
  • Infectious disease include a host and a pathogen
    often many more species are involved, including
    additional hosts, vectors and other organisms
    with which these species interact.
  • West Nile virus is a mosquito-transmitted virus
    for which several species of passerine birds act
    as hosts. Three recent studies detected strong
    correlations between low bird diversity and
    increased human risk or incidence of West Nile
    encephalitis in the United States

Allan, B. F. et al. Ecological correlates of risk
and incidence of West Nile virus in the United
States. Oecologia 155, 699708 (2009).
Links between diseases and the diversity
  • In human bodies, for example, 90 of all cells
    are microbial. A number of studies have begun to
    show links between diseases and the diversity of
    an organisms microbiome. Changes in the
    composition of microbiomes are frequently
    associated with infection and disease.
  • A rich microbial community appears to regulate
    the abundance of endemic microbial species that
    can become pathogenic when overly abundant

Turnbaugh,P. J. et al.Thehumanmicrobiome
Biodiversity loss may accelerate ---
  • For hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, a directly
    transmitted zoonotic disease, correlational and
    experimental studies have shown that a lower
    diversity of small mammals increases the
    prevalence of hantaviruses in their hosts,
    thereby increasing risk to humans
  • With species losses increasing the transmission
    of two fungal rust pathogens that infect
    perennial rye grass and other plant species
    (Source Roscher et al. Oecologia 153, 173183

Biodiversity loss it will make you sick
  • A new generation of antibiotics, new treatments
    for thinning bone disease and kidney failure, and
    new cancer treatments may all stand to be lost
    unless the world acts to reverse the present
    alarming rate of biodiversity loss.
  • The natural world holds secrets to the
    development of new kinds of safer and more
    powerful pain-killers treatments for a leading
    cause of blindness macular degeneration and
    possibly ways of re-growing lost tissues and
    organs by, for example, studying amphibians,
    salamanders etc.

Amphibian species
  • Nearly one third of the approximately 6,000 known
    amphibian species are threatened with extinction.
  • Promising Treatment for Peptic Ulcers Lost
    (Brooding frog (Rheobatrachus)
  • Alkaloids made by species like the Ecuadorian
    Poison Frog, which could be the source of a new
    and novel generation of pain-killers.
  • Antibacterial compounds produced in the skin of
    frogs and toads such as the African Clawed Frog
    and South and Central American leaf frogs.
  • One compound, known as ziconotide, is thought to
    be 1000 times more potent than morphine and has
    been shown in clinical trials to provide
    significant pain relief for advanced cancer and
    AIDS patients. Another cone snail compound has
    been shown in animal models to protect brain
    cells from death during times of inadequate blood

Marine snail
  • Several medical benefits have already arisen from
    the study of bears, including the development of
    rsodeoxycholic acid, found in the gall bladders
    of some bear species such as polar and black
    bears, into a medicine.
  • The substance is used to prevent the build up of
    bile during pregnancy dissolve certain kinds of
    gallstones and prolong the life of patients with
    a specific kind of liver disease, known as
    primary biliary cirrhosis, giving them more time
    to find a liver transplant.

Sustaining Life How Human Health Depends on
Biodiversity Oxford University Press, April 2008
Pakistan Geographical Dispersion of Districts

Forest-based communities
  • Forest communities involved in relatively new
    initiatives in local forest management
  • Over-arching goals such as enrichment of forests,
    poverty reduction and sustainable livelihoods.
  • However, in Pakistan - forest based communities
    getting marginalized in mainstream development
    with limited options
  • Now exposed to the worst (Extremism vs State

Socio-economic context
Widespread poverty Substantial reliance on
remittances from migrant household
members. Strong dependence on natural resources
e.g. fuelwood, wild foods, medicinal plants,
thatching grass, construction timber etc. Wild
plant products formed an important part of
household diet.
Conservation goals cannot be divorced from
economic development.
Biodiversity encompasses the diversity of genes,
species and ecosystems.
Link of reduce Biodiversity with invasiveness of
  • Plants with weedy traits become more abundant
    when plant diversity declines. Consequently, the
    very species that have traits permitting
    persistence in degraded and species-poor
    ecosystems are also more likely to carry high
    pathogen and vector burdens.

Pilgrim, et al., Biol. Conserv. 120, 161170
Sustainability an ethical concept
  • We are trustees, or stewards, of the planet's
    vast resources and biological diversity
  • We must learn to make use of the earth's natural
    resources, both renewable and non-renewable, in a
    manner that ensures sustainability and equity
    into the distant reaches of time.
  • This requires full consideration of the potential
    environmental consequences of all development
  • We must temper our actions with moderation and
  • The true value of nature cannot be expressed in
    economic terms
  • This requires a deep understanding of the natural
    world and its role in humanity's collective
    development both material and spiritual
  • Sustainable environmental management is not a
    discretionary commitment we can weigh against
    other competing interests
  • It is a fundamental responsibility that must be
    shouldered, a pre-requisite for spiritual
    development as well as our physical
    survival.(based on Bahá'í International
    Community, Valuing Spirituality in Development. A
    concept paper written for the World Faiths and
    Development Dialogue, Lambeth Palace, London,
    18-19 February 1998)

  • It is unjust to sacrifice the well-being of the
    generality of humankind -- and even of the planet
    itself -- to the advantages which technological
    breakthroughs can make available to privileged
  • Only development programmes that are perceived as
    meeting their needs and as being just and
    equitable in objective can hope to engage the
    commitment of the masses of humanity, upon whom
    implementation depends.
  • (adapted from Baha'i International Community,
    Prosperity of Humankind)

  • The poor are most vulnerable to climate change
    and least able to protect themselves.
  • We should consider every human being as a trust
    of the whole.
  • The goal of wealth creation should be to make
    everyone wealthy.
  • Voluntary giving is more meaningful and effective
    than forced redistribution.

Moderation in Material Civilization
  • The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned
    exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed
    to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great
    evil upon men.... The day is approaching when its
    flame will devour the cities...
  • Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892)
  • Global warming is a perfect illustration of this

Contentment moderate lifestyles
  • All faiths have taught the spiritual value of a
    simple life and detachment from material things
  • content with little, and be freed from all
    inordinate desire.
  • (Bahá'u'lláh)
  • What does this imply for the consumer society and
    its energy consumption?

Human population growth
24.1 Human population growth
(No Transcript)
Note correlations in the data.
  • The Ozone Hole
  • Global Warming

Climate change will bring great environmental
changes(Aral Sea, from UNEP, GEO 3)
  • Food insecurity
  • Water shortages
  • Terrorism, refugees
  • Natural, economic and social disasters
  • Loss of biodiversity

Human Impacts of Climate Change
  • An increase in extreme weather events floods,
    droughts, cyclones
  • Less winter snowfall, melting glaciers, water
  • Changing conditions for agriculture and forestry,
    shifting fish stocks
  • Sea level rise, flooding low-lying areas and
  • Millions of environmental refugees
  • High costs of mitigation and adaptation
  • Greatest impact on the poor

Global warming is driven by our addiction to
cheap energy
  • Our industrial economy was built on cheap energy,
    mostly from fossil fuels
  • Transportation, communications, trade,
    agriculture, heating/cooling, consumer lifestyle
    all depend on energy
  • Energy demand is rising rapidly and the supply is
  • Global warming is just one more reason to address
    the energy challenge urgently
  • Adaptation will be extremely expensive

Controlling greenhouse gases?
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (Rio,
    1992) call for controls
  • Kyoto Protocol on reduction of greenhouse gases
    return emissions to 1990 levels by 2012
  • CO2 emissions rose 4.5 in 2004 to 27.5 b tonnes,
    26 higher than 1990
  • China and India have doubled CO2 production
    since 1990, US 20, Australia 40
  • US released 5.8, China 4.5, Europe 3.3, India 1.1
    billion tonnes of CO2 in 2004

Fossil energy use is still growing
  • World oil use is growing 1.1/year, Latin America
    2.8, India 5.4, China 7.5
  • From 2001-2020, world oil consumption will rise
    56, with OPEC production doubling, but non-OPEC
    production has already peaked
  • Oil provides 40 of world's primary energy
  • Two thirds of future energy demand will come from
    developing countries where 1.6 billion people
    have no electricity.
  • Energy demand and global warming are on a
    collision course

Religion and the challenges of today
  • - Progressive globalizing of human experience
  • - Loss of faith in the certainties of materialism
    as its negative impacts become apparent
  • - Lack of faith in traditional religion and
    failure to find guidance there for living with
  • - Still longing to understand the purpose of
  • - Now there is a sudden resurgence of religion,
    based on a groundswell of anxiety and discontent
    with spiritual emptiness.
  • - Desperate people without hope are easily
    attracted to radical, intolerant, fanatical
  • - The world is in the grip of a war of
    civilizations based on irreconcilable religious
  • - This situation paralyses our ability to address
    global challenges such as climate change

We can choose
  • Business as usual in a materialistic society
    ignoring the future
  • Retreating to a fortress world of old values
  • Making a transition to sustainability with
    science and religion in harmony

Age structure in MDCs and LDCs
24.1 Human population growth
Our unsustainable society
24.4 Working toward a sustainable society
  • Population growth in the LDCs is at a high rate
  • Consumption in the MDCs is at a high rate
  • Agriculture uses a lot of the land, water and
    fossil fuels and produces pollution
  • Almost ½ of the agricultural yield feeds our farm
  • It takes about 10 lbs of grain to produce about 1
    lb of meat therefore the overeating of meat in
    the MDCs is wasteful
  • Currently we mostly use nonrenewable forms of
    energy leading to acid deposition, global warming
    and smog
  • As the human population grows we encroach on
    other species that results in habitat loss and
    species extinction

The health and demographic impact of biomass fuel
use A crosscountry comparison
  • Indoor air pollution
  • and rural like
  • Dependence on biomass
  • exacts a heavy price on
  • quality of life and health,
  • especially among rural
  • population, women and
  • children

Indoor air pollution from household fuels in
  • Household energy use by type of fuel in Pakistan

Indoor smoke 4th in global ranking factors for
burden of disease in developing countries
disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)
Where we are?
  • Countries who learnt lesson from 9173-4 oil
  • Japan drive towards energy efficiency
  • France nuclear energy (78 of electricity needs
    waste is reprocessed)
  • Brazil ethanol from sugar cane, today between
    domestic oil production Ethanol industry it
    does need to import crude oil.
  • Denmark political will (CO2 tax)
  • 1980s economy grew 70, energy consumption same
  • 16 energy from solar wind power
  • Two of world most innovative manufacturer of
    enzymes converting biomass to fuel are in Denmark
  • 73 they got 99 energy from middle East, today is

Green house gases
  • Fuel from Heaven (come from above ground)
  • Wind, hydroelectric, tidal, biomass, solar
    (renewable, produce no harmfull emissions)
  • Fuel from hell (come from undergorund)
  • Coal, oil, gas (emit CO2 other pollutants.

Green house gases
  • Other green house gases (e.g Methan CH4) from
    rice farming, petroleum drilling, coal mining,
    animal defecation, solid waste landfill sites,
    cattle belching.
  • CH4 heat trapping power in atmosphere is 21 times
    stronger than CO2
  • 1.3b cows belching in the world
  • When cow chew their cud, they re-gurgitate some
    food to rechew it (gas comes out)
  • Avg cow expels 600L CH4 daily
  • Trap the suns heat near the earth surface before
    the heat radiates back into space.
  • Composition of earths atmosphere has been
    relatively unchanged for 25m years.

  • Current 6.7 b (9.2 b in 2050)
  • Less dev. 5.4 (7.9 b in 2050)
  • 1.2 b extremely poor (less than 1 a day) half
    live in India-Pak (Pak 50 m).
  • 1800 London was worlds largest city (1m)
  • 1960 (111 cities with pop. More than 1m)
  • 1995 (280 cities with 1m more)
  • 2007 (310)
  • Ten million or more (1975-5 1995-14 2015-26)

Population Governance
  • Countries where population grow rapidly,
    governance is difficult (Afghan Niger Congo
  • Population is expected to triple by mid century
  • Large pop. Results in lack of basic freedom,
    basic needs, food, housings, edn, employment so
    they are attracted to violence, civil unrest

Green house gases
  • CO2 Industrial, residential transportation
  • Go to earths atmosphere which is like a blanket,
    regulate planets temperature
  • CO2 build up thickens the blanket, making globe
  • Deforestation in places like Indonesia Brazil
    is responsible for more CO2 than all the worlds
    car, trucks, plans, ships and trains combined
    (20 of all global emissions)

  • We are running an uncontrolled experiment on the
    only home we have.
  • We can no longer expect to enjoy peace
    security, economic growth, human rights, if we
    continue to ignore key problems of energy-climate
  • Energy supply demand, climate change,
    energy-poverty biodiversity loss

Friedman, 2008
Edible Wild Plants In Asia
  • Use of wild food resources by rural households in
    Limpopo Province, South Africa (Hansen 1998)
  • Wild herbs and vegetables 92
  • Wild fruit 81
  • Insects 77
  • Bushmeat 32
  • Cultivated food crops (Giannecchini 2000)
  • Homestead garden plots 98
  • Large fields outside of village 89
  • Animal ownership (Twine et al. 2003)
  • Cattle 34
  • Goats 56

Wild Mushrooms and Wild Vegetable Products
In thousand tons
Sun Zhigang, General Manager
  • Sales Successes
  • Japan
  • 500 Tons per year
  • Korea
  • 400 Tons per year
  • Domestic China
  • 3,000 Tons per year

Companys Financing 2.5 million 100M sales in
Partners with supermarket chains (Wal-mart,
Impediments to The Biodiversity Conservation in
  • Lack of funding
  • Funding is insufficient
  • Not enough taxonomists, field botanists
  • Taxonomy is too difficult to learn and to
  • Requires years to accumulate literature,
    specimens etc.
  • Critical resources are scattered and available to
    only a few workers
  • Literature
  • Herbarium specimens
  • There are few centralized sources of information
  • Lack of Sharing information
  • Not enough trained HR to domesticate wild plants
  • Not enough use of modern knowledge in Botanical

  • Existing bureaucratic/political procedures
  • Top-down communication channels
  • Absence of a pro-poor stance amongst the
  • Only political will can make it happen
  • Top-down system - still the main vehicle of

Common Lessons Learnt
Strategic forest management Institutional
forestry rules changed for involving local
communities in decision-making/action Bettering
access of the poor to NTFPs Poor worse off in
absence of forests -crucial to increase their
access to such resources Monitoring
food-livelihood security food-livelihood
security implies good forestry Building social
capital nurturing local social bonding
Respecting indigenous knowledge
Knowledge/Experience of local communities needs
to be respected and integrated into local level
  • Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay,
    nor a painting, nor a piece of emroidery it
    cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully,
    considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly
    and modestly.
  • --Mao Tse-tung

  • "The sun, the moon, and the stars, would all have
    disappeared a long time ago...if they had
    happened to have been within the reach of
    the predatory human hands". (Havelock Ellis,
    "The Dance of Life", 1923)

(No Transcript)
  • Taraxacum officinale
  • Parts used roots, leaves, flowers, and crowns.
  • No poisonous look-alikes
  • Leaves can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, or
    sauteed. Flowers can be made into wine or dipped
    in batter and deep-fried like fritters. Roots can
    be made into a coffee substitute.
  • Most older leaves can be made milder-tasting if
    covered with a bucket or other container for a
    few days up to a week

  • Has more beta carotene than carrots, more iron
    than spinach. Also has vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5,
    B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol,
    potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc

  • Nasturtium officinale
  • One of the oldest-known leaf vegetables eaten by
    human beings
  • Member of the cabbage family, related to Mustard
  • contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and
    folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C.

  • Plantago major
  • Broad leafed plantain, also a narrow- leafed
  • Young leaves are edible but not very tasty
  • More useful in medicine and first aid has been
    used to stop bleeding, and to treat burns, skin
    irritations, bee stings and mosquito bites.

Shepherds Purse
  • Capsella bursa-pastoris
  • Relative of mustard, very mild-tasting green. Can
    be eaten raw in salads, steamed, sauteed, or
    cooked in soups and stews.
  • provides vitamin C and K, some protein, sulfur,
    calcium, iron, and sodium.

Used in Medicine to stop bleeding and as an
astringent Seed pods are also edible
  • Asclepias syriaca
  • young shoots, young leaves, flower buds and fresh
    fruits are all edible
  • primary source of food for the caterpillars of
    the monarch butterfly
  • mature stems, leaves and pod bark contain
    compounds that are toxic in large qualities and
    have been known to poison sheep, cattle, and
    other livestock.

  • Typha latifolia
  • One of the most important and common wild foods
  • The shoots, flower stalks, rhizomes and pollen
    are all edible

Wild Ginger
  • Asarum species
  • root can be used in place of regular' ginger in
  • despite the name and similar flavor, it isn't
    related to Asian ginger

  • Hemerocallis fulva
  • Introduced species, escaped into wild.
  • Shoots, buds, flowers and tubers all edible
  • Use the shoots raw in salads, or sauté, steam,
    stir-fry, deep-fry, bake, simmer in soups, or
  • Cook the unopened buds like green beans.
  • Use the flowers raw in salads, in soups, or
  • If you dig up a lily and it doesnt have
    tubersDONT eat it, its poisonous!

  • Sagittaria latifolia
  • Also known as wapato, duck potato, and indian
  • The buds and fruits of this plant in late summer
    are edible, but plant is mostly prized for its
    tubers, which were traditionally gathered by
    wading into ponds and dislodging them with ones
    feet so theyd float to the surface of the water.
  • Can be eaten raw but best when cooked, like the
    name suggests, tastes almost identical to a
    potato, but with a slightly nutty taste.

Wild Carrot
  • Daucus carota
  • Ancestor of cultivated carrots
  • Also called Queen Annes Lace
  • Root is edible when young, then becomes tough
  • Crushed seeds have been used since ancient Greece
    as a contraceptive/abortive, and recent studies
    have proven this effect

Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Helianthus tuberosus
  • Member of the Sunflower family
  • Also called the Sunchoke
  • Cultivated in some gardens and found wild
  • Produces inulin instead of starch

Amanita Mushrooms
  • Account for 90 of mushroom fatalities
  • With very few exceptions, amanitas grow on the
    ground near trees
  • Very young amanitas, called buttons, resemble
    puffballs, but when you cut puffballs open,
    they're undifferentiated inside. An amanita
    button has a cap, stem, and gills inside.
  • Warning
  • unless youre 110 sure you have right species,
    dont risk it!

Amanitas continued
  • Unfortunately even the most deadly Amanitas
    supposedly taste wonderful, and symptoms dont
    appear until 8-12 hours after ingestion, when
    its too late.
  • amanita toxins prevent cells from making new
    proteins, which kills themif untreated death
    comes after days of suffering from liver and/or
    kidney failure
  • Doctors can shunt the blood through filters to
    remove the toxins. They use dialysis to replace
    the kidneys, and give the patient a liver
    transplant. Sometimes the patient can be saved

Fly Agaric
  • Amanita muscaria
  • poisonous, but not deadly
  • Various peoples have used mushroom in shamanic
  • Aspects of Santa Claus were inspired by this
    mushroom. His red coat and white buttons
    symbolize the red mushroom with its white
    patches. Santa flies because the mushroom
    sometimes creates the hallucination of flight. He
    uses reindeer because they're fond of the
    mushroom, and herders who eat reindeer that have
    eaten the mushroom get high too.
  • The Koryak shaman would bring prepared fly
    agarics to ceremonies in a sack, like Santa's bag
    of toys, and enter the yurt (portable circular
    domed dwelling) through the smoke hole (like a
  • Santa lives at the North Pole because for most
    Europeans, Siberia might as well be the North
    Pole. And in Europe today, Christmas cards still
    often depict the fly agaric

  • Cantharellus cibarius
  • Found in summer and fall on the ground in Oak,
    Conifer and Beech forests
  • Often sent to France to be canned, and are then
    imported back into the US as over-priced French
    Gourmet Mushrooms

Fried Chicken Mushroom
  • Lyophyllum decastes
  • very prolific in fall and spring.
  • found in grassy areas and on disturbed soil
  • best used in soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Not so good fried because of chewy texture

Honey Mushroom
  • Armillaria mellea
  • comes in two main varieties brown and yellow
  • found in fall at the foot of living or dead trees
    or stumps, especially Oaks
  • Like previous, best used in soups, sauces and
    stews, but good fried too

  • Morchella species
  • Considered a choice edible
  • Cut in half should be hollow from top to bottom,
    with no division between the cap and stem.
  • Found in old orchards, near dead trees, in soils
    with limestone in it

  • Are particularly prone to appear after forest
  • So much in fact that in the 19th century the
    Russian government passed a law making it illegal
    to burn down forest areas, which people were
    doing to harvest the morels that would pop up the
    following year.

Hen of the Woods
  • Grifola frondosa
  • Grows in almost all the USA, in the fall at the
    bases of deciduous trees living or dead
  • Ranges in size from 3 to up to 50 pounds
  • Sold as Maitake mushrooms in specialty foods and
    health stores

  • Calvatia gigantean
  • Cut open before eating to distinguish puffballs
    from inedible (but not deadly) earthstars, and
    deadly amanita in their button stages.
  • When cut open a puffball will be solid white
    throughout with a texture like cream cheese. A
    button Amanita will have a stem inside.

Oyster Mushrooms
  • Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Choice mushroom
  • Looks, smells and tastes like what its named
  • Used in recipes as a Vegan substitute for seafood
  • Can be found all year round.

  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Most wintergreen flavorings used today come
    from the sap from Sweet Birch trees
  • The leaves are made into tea, and the berries
    (perfectly edible) can be made into pies, jellies
    and tarts

Food from Leaves and Young Shoots
  • Rumex spp. - The bitter succulent leaves were
    roasted . (Young leaves of some species are more
    edible, and even used to be cultivated as a
    vegetable in Europe.  A native African dock,
    'Abyssinian spinach', R. abyssinicus has been
    domesticated.) Zygadenus venenosus. Don't eat
    what you don't 'know' is safe!). Murderous tribal
    wars were fought over this resource. Sedge, ? 
    Scirpus sp. -  grows in damp and marshy places by
    lakes. The young shoots are edible. Phragmites
    communis, a plant of damp places and lake shores
    Mint, Mentha sp. Wild parsnip, ?Phellopterus
    montanus, Amaranthus spp. - the young leaves are
    very mild. Lamb's quarter, Chenopodium album -
    An introduced annual. The leaves are quite mild.
    Mustard, Brassica campestris - the lower leaves,
    or very young plants, which are least hot, are
    eaten. Wild lettuce, Mimulus guttatus - a low
    growing plant found on wet ground, the leaves are
    like a somewhat bitter watercress. Peppergrass,
    Lepidium freemontii - A small land cress with
    'hot' tasting leaves Wood sorrel, Usually,
    Oxalis sp. ? Oxalis tuberosa, or O. enneaphylla.
    (Oxalis species leaves and bulbs were once
    commonly eaten wherever in the world they were
    found - Africa has around 130 indigenous species
    - in spite of their oxalic acid content.)

  • Solomon's seal, ?Polygonatum giganteum - the very
    young shoots of the related European P.
    officinale were used like asparagus perhaps the
    Paiute used P. gigantuem the same way. (The
    rhizomatous roots of P. giganteum are also
    starchy, and were used by the Ainu people of
    Northern Japan as a food source. P. giganteum
    grows in both Asia and America) Purslane,
    Probably Portulacca oleracea, a sour tasting
    introduced annual weed with succulent crisp
    textured leaves possibly Portulacca retusa,
    known to be used by tribes in the Southwest as a
    vegetable, or Calandrinia sp. - adapted to dry
    western parts of USA. Or maybe even Lewisia
    rediviva, a purslane more commonly known as
    'bitter root', altho' it is usually harvested for
    its very nourishing flour (in spite of its common
    name!), rather than as a vegetable. Bracken
    fern, Pteridium aquilinum - the very young shoots
    ('fiddle heads') are eaten raw or cooked, when
    they taste like somewhat bitter asparagus. Sow
    thistle, Sonchus sp. - very young leaves are
    edible. Chickweek, Stellaria media - a common
    small annual plant with vaguely cabbage tasting
    leaves. nettle, ?Urtica sp. - in other
    countries, fresh nettle tops are regarded as a
    very nutritious spring 'spinach', usually used in
    soup. Wild violet. Viola sp., possibly V.
    palmata, or V. papailionacea - While viola
    flowers, at least, have been used in food in
    Medieval time, the roots are poisonous - except
    the mucilaginous roots of V. palmata. The basal
    leaves of V. papailionacea  are still collected
    for greens today. They are quite extraordinarily
    rich in vitamin A.

Food from Roots and Tubers
  • Wild onion, ?Allium validum - 'swamp onion'. -
    there are many species of wild onion, most have
    small bulbs, and are found in a variety of
    habitats, depending on the species. Mariposa
    lily, Calochortus sp. - 'Indian potato'.- a wide
    ranging genus with corms that can be eaten raw or
    cooked. They can also be dried and pounded into
    flour. Camas, Camassia sp. - a bulbous plant of
    damp places, marshes and lake edges. The bulbs
    were baked, or cooked and dried and the flour
    extracted. Brodiaea, a pretty flowering 'bulb',
    most species of which are edible. They produce
    their edible corms in a wide range of habitats,
    according to the species. Primrose, ?Primula sp.
    In Europe the leaves and flowers of 'cowslip', P.
    veris, have a history of use as salad greens.
    Water parsley, Oenanthe sarmentosa - the black
    tubers are said to have a 'cream-like taste'. The
    leaves and stems are also edible, tasting a bit
    like celery. Some similar looking species are
    poisonous. Balsam root (Oregon Sunflower), ?
    possibly a species of sunflower, Helianthus. Many
    sunflower species have edible roots. Wocus
    (water lily) N. advena - the roots are starchy,
    and can be baked, grilled, pounded for flour, or
    stored whole for winter use

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