"Fungi are the grand recyclers of the planet and the vanguard species in habitat restoration."

Paul Stamets is a remarkable mushroom advocate and visionary who seems to creep and crawl under the radar of most mainstream tributaries, and that's fine, in some sense, considering he tends to work and grow like mycelia itself. His work with mycoremediation, a term he coined, is astonishingly revolutionary.

Mycoremediation is a form of bioremediation, the process of using microbes to return an environment contaminated by pollutants to a less contaminated state. Several years ago using mycoremediation techniques, he turned soil that had been contaminated with oil and reeking of hydrocarbons into an "oasis …teeming with life", within a matter of weeks.

This lecture Paul gave at the Psychoactivity Conference in Amsterdam gives a good overview of what he’s doing and what fungi are capable of.

His current work involves medicines, mycofiltration, mycopesticides and the healing of clear-cut and burned forests through “mycologically oriented forest management practice.” Fungi to the rescue.

 

Photo: Paul Stamets crouched beside Bridgeoporus (Oxyporus) nobilissimus. This polypore mushroom can live for several hundred years, and grows exclusively in Old Growth forests of Washington and Oregon. Photo by Dusty Wu Yao.