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Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World Paperback – October 1, 2005
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The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening).
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.
--From the foreword by Andrew Weil, MD, author of Eating Well for Optimum Health
“Stamets is a visionary emissary from the fungus kingdom to our world, and the message he’s brought back in this book, about the possibilities fungi hold for healing the environment, will fill you with wonder and hope.“
--Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire
“This is the kind of book I love: highly factual and practical and mixed with the spiritual content that sets the great writers apart from all the rest.“
--John Norris, former deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and founder of the Bioterrorism Institute
“This is the first book to give the Kingdom of the Fungi its proper place in the scheme of things. It is the most important book on nature that I’ve seen in years.”
--Gary Lincoff, author of National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms
“A paradigm-changing book. Stamets’s visionary insights are leading to a whole new understanding of how mushrooms, scarcely seen and rarely appreciated, regulate the earth’s ecosystems.“
--John Todd, founder and president of Ocean Arks International
“This visionary and practical book should be an instant classic in the emerging science of how to use nature’s wisdom and fecundity to rescue the earth and ourselves from the unwelcome consequences of human cleverness.“
--Amory B. Lovins, chief executive officer of Rocky Mountain Institute
“This gospel of fungi contains crucial pragmatic solutions showing us how to work with nature in order to heal nature.”
--Kenny Ausubel, founder and co-executive director of Bioneers
“In his respectful and casual way, Paul brings depth and clarity to the complexity of fungi and its place in the natural order, all the while engaging us in fungi knowledge for healing our planet.”
--Guujaaw, president of the Haida Council, Haida Nation
“Stamets’s best work to date, Mycelium Running provides a wealth of information showing how fungal mycelia and mushrooms can profoundly improve the quality of human life. Should be mandatory reading for government policy makers.”
--S. T. Chang, professor emeritus, Chinese University of Hong Kong
From the Publisher
Mycotechnology is part of a larger trend toward using living systems to solve environmental problems and to restore ecosystems.
Covers mycorestoration (biotransforming stripped land), mycofiltration (creating habitat buffers), mycoremediation (healing chemically harmed environments), and mycoforestry (creating truly sustainable forests).
More than 300 full-color photographs.
- Publisher : Ten Speed Press; NO-VALUE edition (October 1, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 356 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1580085792
- ISBN-13 : 978-1580085793
- Item Weight : 2.29 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.45 x 1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Softcover, 356 pages, with over 360 color photographs.
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2016
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Top reviews from the United States
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Knowledge of mushrooms has hitherto been a closed book. However the author skilfully introduces us, and leads us into a fascinating world of remarkable diversity. Not only does the text capture interest and retain it to the end, but it prompts futher reading to learn more of the health possibilities.
Mycelium Running is divided into three parts: The Mycelial Mind, Mycorestoration, and Growing Mycelia and Mushrooms. The three different parts provide the reader with a better understanding of mycelial structure, four unique mycorestoration strategies, and a detailed guide on how to grow mushrooms. Information is provided on how one can implement some of the proposed restoration strategies.
In the Mycelial Mind section, Stamets' passion for mushrooms shines through as he discusses the ubiquity of mushrooms, referred to as "mycomagicians," even claiming, "without fungi, all ecosystems would fail." The mycelium, which is a web of cells that fruits mushrooms, is "so pervasive that a single cubic inch of topsoil contains enough fungal cells to stretch more than 8 miles if placed end to end. I calculate that every footstep I take impacts more than 300 miles of mycelium." Stamets' introduction to fungi goes beyond standard textbook fare, while still providing introductory information on mycelia to any reader completely new to the topic. Stamets then goes on to discuss the medicinal applications of mycelium, including the role of mushrooms in fighting HIV. Other exciting mushroom applications presented in the text include mycorestoration and mycofiltration, where mycelium are used as a means to clean up contaminants, such as oil spills, and filter water.
This book presents many exciting ideas to help clean the environment, prevent further contamination, and improve human health, and Stamets managed to convince me of the role mushrooms will play in saving the world. I would recommend Mycelium Running to anyone interested in mushrooms, biology, the environment, human health, or innovative scientific ideas.
Top reviews from other countries
Covid 19 originates from nature. Mother earth is telling us enough is enough, and its time to change.
Humankind hasn't survived for thousands of years, before the multi national drug companies were formed, without the help of nature. The book explains how most things can be helped or cured using the resourses nature provides, why is this not happening?, its because the the fat cats can't make money out of something thats virtualy free.
Well-written, well-illustrated, and with many references for further reading, this is a book that takes readers way beyond the idea that mushrooms are merely useful as food. Introducing concepts of fungi as life-saving medicines, forestry protection (myco-forestry) and land reclamation (myco-remediation), it really gets you up out of your chair and experimenting at home or in your garden.
Initially, I had bought this book as a guide to help me do a better job of growing-my-own. Now I have several species of mushrooms growing in various substrates, all ticking away nicely. And not all of them will be for food. Two are medicinal and one is for helping to restore part of my garden to health.
Under the heading of myco-forestry, this book describes a better and far less exhausting way of handling problems with the Honey Fungus problem that affects so many trees & shrubs. (If you look up the RHS site for the way they propose you tackle this dreadful blight, you will see the outdated, potentially expensive, invasive, messy, and frankly body-wrecking technique of digging out a 2ft depth of soil in the area where an affected tree used to be - yeah, you try doing that here, with chunks of slate the size of paving slabs just a few inches under the soil surface!
Paul Stamets' way of tackling this problem is much easier on the old joints, and all it takes is a bit of looking about either online or with a guide book when walking through the countryside.
Myco-remediation is a real eye-opener of a chapter, where you can transform land that has been poisoned through anything from farm effluent run-off to industrial waste to oil spills. It also guides you through the process of restoring soil depth to exhausted and over-farmed land - his process taking a considerably shorter time than usual, as well as being cheaper and much more environmentally beneficial than buying in bags of compost. In fact, given the date this book was first written, I'm astonished that Forestry Authorities everywhere have not snapped up these common-sense concepts immediately to preserve the lands they have sadly depleted.
(I live in an area surrounded by the aftermath of Forestry Commission activities, locals appalled by the condition the land is left in and the knowledge that it is only fit to be harvested 1 possibly 2 more times before it's completely useless for everything other than a little sheep farming. Hardly the legacy you want to leave to the next generation!)
Mr Stamets includes a fair bit of science with the more practical side of things, but don't be afraid of that part. It's not beyond anyone's grasp and serves to give readers a better understanding of how the various types of fungi function and how you can better integrate it into your garden/ woodland /land/ smallholding/ farm.
Although there is indepth instruction on how to raise mushrooms on a small or larger scale, there are many tempting mentions of Mr Stamets other book on Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, and I will probably purchase this on the strength of the quality of this book.I promise you, that after reading this one, you will not view your next wild-growing toadstool in the same way again.
I really wanted to read this having had it recommended, so bought kindle version. It wouldn't download despite repeated attempts and kindle hasn't worked since (was absolutely fine before that and only 6 months old). Thought it was just the device playing up so tried to download it on the kindle app on another device but again it wouldn't download and kept restarting the device, ended up deleting app and restoring factory settings. The book only cost a couple of quid but really wasn't worth it for the expensive of having to send kindle back and time wasted trying to download it. When I mentioned it to a friend they'd managed to download it on their kindle, but it only showed half of each page. Clearly an issue! I'd avoid the kindle version and go for a paper copy.