About These Maps
The information on these maps shows where loggers are going to be cutting down birch trees. The virtue of harvesting chaga from these locations is that you create no net impact on chaga's sustainability.
Although it may seem like there is a lot of chaga out there, the chaga that we are seeing on the trees today represents our total chaga intentories for the next 20 years. If we indiscriminately harvest it all now we would be out of work for many years. The notion that we can return to the same tree every three years is a falicy. If a chaga conk takes 15 years to grow to maturity (and many take much longer then this) then if we harvest it every 3 years we haven't collected more chaga, we've just made harvesting the conk 5 times harder because we visited it 5 times over a 15 year period instead of once when the conk was fully grown.
To put it in more concrete terms, in the Nipissing area we can safely extract about 2500lbs of fresh chaga annually. This number is based on an analysis of the total number of birch trees that are at least 80 years old and an average yield of 1/3 kg of chaga per hectare. However, we are currently harvesting chaga at a rate of about 7500lbs per year. This means every chaga location will effectively be harvested at least once by 2017.
By 2017, if you are still harvesting chaga, you will be working about 4 to 5 times harder to find that chaga. But most importantly, the most chaga that could possibly be harvested from the area will still be only about 2500lbs per year because that is how much 'new' chaga regrows each year. Effectively, we will have harvested ourselves out of a job.
Harvesters who co-operate with one another will be able to share information about where they've been and decide together how much they can sustainably harvest. (These maps are part of this process.) Those harvesters who think they can do better on their own will very quickly find that chaga harvesting is not profitable.
The bottom line is that chaga availability will be limited either because we are working harder to find it or because we have consciously decided to harvest less.
Most of all
Let us know how much you've harvested. This can be done while submitting comments on the map. Data on harvesting yields is the most important tool we have for managing chaga's sustainability and it's the reason I built this website.
Choose Your Map:Sudbury Forest