Fungi, Nature’s recyclers

Story and photos by Scot Stewart

“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound. By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty. There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different times, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death. And seen with the eye of the poet, … all things are alive and beautiful.”   —Henry David Thoreau

Recycling has become a regular part of life for many. It has become a way to reduce the materials going to quickly filling landfills, puts valuable resources back in to new products, can cut back on energy consumption and can be a part of a less consumptive, more sensible lifestyle. It seems like a great invention in thought, but it is just another stolen idea, taken from the lives of fungi.

Fungi need no direct energy from the sun. In fact, they rather like rather like the darkness. They generally produce small amounts of new biomass, with parts of it decaying rapidly, and only occasionally use resources “in demand” by other organisms. They often take organic material from dead plants and animals and turn it into…

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