The RSPB and the National Trust and Forestry Commission have warned that wild mushroom foraging is damaging forests. Although this years wet summer and mild autumn have produced a bumper crop of mushrooms it seems more people than before are gathering them for commercial gain. In some cases collectors have been stopped with several bagfuls of mushrooms from one trip and in one weekend forest managers at a site in London confiscated 45kg of mushrooms.
Whilst small scale collecting for personal use does not pose a problem it is this large scale collecting that poses a threat to the habitat. Nature groups are now organising courses to help people identify safe mushrooms but also to teach them how to collect mushrooms without damaging the surrounding landscape. Collectors are being urged to leave enough mushrooms for creatures like deer, rabbits, mice and insects to eat. As a rule of thumb it is recommended not to collect more than half of any one species at any one location and not to collect more than you can personally use.