This Associated Press video says about itself:
Report claims climate change could kill off prized black truffles
(30 Nov 2018) LEADIN:
Truffles, the prized ingredient of top chefs around the world, may die out because of climate change, according to a report by British scientists.
They warn production of the fungus could be all but wiped out by the end of the century because of drought and hotter temperatures.
Porcini, morel, chanterelle, they are all precious mushrooms which are revered in the best restaurant kitchens worldwide and getting them fresh is very expensive.
None though fetch as much as the truffle.
According to researchers, the black truffle, Tuber melanosporum, trades for one thousand pounds (GBP) per kilogram.
Their study says the truffle industry as a whole is worth millions of pounds (GBP) and the value could grow to 4.5 billion pounds (GBP) over the next two decades.
Truffles are often traded at international auctions fetching eye-watering prices.
The Michelin Guide, which distributes the rosettes which can secure the enduring success of a restaurateur, says the cost is for a good reason.
Truffles are mycorrhizal, they grow within the roots of existing plants, but in a beneficial way, drawing moisture down, but they are fussy about the acidity and having the correct minerals.
In this symbiotic partnership, the host tree delivers sugars and the truffle provides nutrients. When the truffle is unearthed, the ecosystem for both are affected.
They’ll only grow when everything is right, even then a crop of truffles takes several years to grow.
Farmers spend days and weeks looking for truffles, using dogs to sniff them out from underground. Their intense scent drives animals to hunt and dig them out.
Lead author of Stirling University’s report Dr. Paul Thomas says: “For this winter truffle, the critical period for it are the summer months. And the truffle starts to form at the end of winter, beginning of spring and then it grows very slowly over the summer months and it’s growing and swelling. Then it matures when you come into the next winter and that’s when to harvest and eat them. Because it’s growing and swelling over those summer months, it needs good levels of soil moisture to be able to do that. And under climate change .… and what we see actually in years where it’s very warm and very dry that stops those truffle bodies from growing and swelling. So you don’t get production. So under these climate change models we are going to see a lot less soil moisture, a lot less precipitation and higher temperatures.”
To work out the impact of climate change, Thomas’ team correlated the data with local weather conditions to assess the impact of climate on production.
Thomas worked with Professor Ulf Büntgen at the University of Cambridge on the research, which studied continuous records, spanning 36 years, of Mediterranean truffle yield in France, Spain and Italy.
They combined the results with climate model projections to predict the likely impact of climate change on truffle yields.
Thomas says: “We looked at two climate change models. We looked at the most likely one and then we looked at one which is a nicer scenario. It’s less warming and it’s less drying. Between the two scenarios, they were still looking at a decline of production of between 78 and 100 percent of the yield of that territory. So it’s a massive drop.”
There may be some enclaves of surviving truffle production in some very small microclimates where it’s particularly wet, or cold. But that will be insignificant in industrial terms.
It covers eight thousand hectares.
Translated from the Dutch Mycological Society:
Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
During the excursion of 15 September by the Mushroom Study Group Drenthe the supposedly extinct Rhizopogon villosulus truffle was discovered. The excursion was in the Holmers, a recent nature area of the Forestry Commission in central Drenthe. Under a Douglas fir at a place with a very thin humus layer the truffles were found by chance while searching for insects.
This species had become extinct in the Netherlands.