Hickory chickens, molly moochers, muggins . . . the morel mushroom is known by many names. Each spring, enthusiasts across the U.S. venture into the woods to collect these edible mushrooms.

morel mushroom

Darcie Rose of Paonia, Colorado enjoys the hunt. But this past spring, that hunt was surprisingly easy: Rose says she found hundreds more morels than in years past.

ROSE: “I’ve been mushroom hunting for quite some time, and definitely seeing some changes.”

Rob Reinsvold of the University of Northern Colorado attributes the bounty to specific climate conditions.

REINSVOLD: “The conditions that lead to the mushrooms coming up is both the combination of the right moisture, and the right temperature, as well as the right soil conditions all happening at the same time.”

Last spring, parts of Colorado had the wettest May on record with two to four times the average amount of rainfall.

It’s too early to tell if wetter springs are a long-term trend. But temperatures are expected to keep rising. This may drive out sensitive mushroom species, but morels thrive in warm soil, so if moisture levels also increase, climate change may lead to more morel mushrooms in this area.

This segment of Climate Connections was produced in partnership with iSeeChange.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media and iSeeChange/Jake Ryan (KVNF).
Photo: Copyright protected.

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