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UN recognizes global importance of Chinese mushrooms

By Ma Zhenhuan in Hangzhou| chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: November 16, 2022 L M S


Xianggu, or edible fungus, isseen at the Qingyuan Forest-Mushroom Co-Culture System in Qingyuan county of Lishui, Zhejiang province. [Photo by Yao Ka/For chinadaily.com.cn]

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently recognized Qingyuan Forest-Mushroom Co-Culture System — an agroforestry system in a mountainous region of Zhejiang province — as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Saturday.

Located in the northern mountains of Qingyuan county, Lishui city, the forest-mushroom system history dates to the 13th century, when Wu Sangong, a resident of Qingyuan, invented a method to artificially cultivate xianggu, an edible fungus, which is also known as the shiitake mushroom.

It is a system based on mushroom cultivation through the rational use of forest resources by local farmers, which focuses on sustainable management, development of the mushroom industry and circular use of resources.

The system integrates forest conservation, mushroom cultivation and agricultural production with the unique "forest-mushroom co-culture" at the center, forming an ecological landscape in which forests, terraces, villages and rivers coexist in harmony.

The system is not only of vital importance to guaranteeing food security and the sustainable development of agriculture for local people but has also engendered a local xianggu folk culture, according to an official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Over the past 800 years, the system has become a model of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

Globally important heritage system, according to the FAO website, are "agroecosystems inhabited by communities that live in an intricate relationship with their territory" and "represent not only stunning natural landscapes but also agricultural practices that create livelihoods in rural areas while combining biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and tradition and innovation in a unique way."

So far, 19 heritage systems in China have been recognized as globally important, the most in the world.