Observing mushrooms in the Veluwe

JOYFUL GRATITUDE #198

In the past few years, I’ve been travelling regularly to the area of the Veluwe, in the east of the Netherlands, for the pleasure of easily accessing nature to take long walks in the forest and heaths. This week I’m grateful I got to spend three fun days with a friend there in a cosy wooden cottage.

Our preparations revolved mainly around what delicious food we wanted to bring, as well as which notebooks and art supplies to tuck into our backpacks. We had a great time and though there were regular down-pours, we managed to take some long walks in the forest and collect pocketfuls of chestnuts. In the evenings, we relaxed on the sofa and chatted by the wood-stove, to the sound of the rain landing heavy on the roof.

Even in the Veluwe, it’s not always easy to get far from the road and the sound of cars, but armed with some tasty snacks from the bakery, we walked deep into the woods. With no real direction, we simply followed the intriguing shapes we saw in the undergrowth like a scavenger hunt. My hiking boots sank into the soft soil, made from layers upon layers of fallen leaves and mosses as I breathed in the rich smell of the forest.

The main highlight were the mushrooms. I was struck by their diversity, multitudes clustered by the dozen in tight bunches on decaying tree stumps, minuscule funghi on dead branches to large chunky brown ones, white ones that looked like lace, colours ranging from pink to metallic grey and even bright yellow ones that seemed to belong on a corral reef…

*****

As beautiful as it was to observe this abundance of species, I can’t help but mourn the fact that 85% of the biodiversity in the Netherlands has been lost, and we are not on track to meet the targets set up to stop this decline with the pressure of intensive farming and climate change. I can only dream of what this forest looked like twenty or a hundred years ago, and it’s vital that we safeguard what remains to make sure that in a not-too-far-away future the only trace that is left of these mushrooms is not just a few old photographs.

10 thoughts on “Observing mushrooms in the Veluwe

  1. This is a delightful post – the photos are beautiful and your writing is clear and inviting. I really hope the Netherlands can do better with biodiversity. I know it’s hard in such a small country, but the Dutch are inventive and positive, right? A solution should be there, somewhere. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, thank you very much! I agree and hope the Netherlands (and the rest of the world:-) ) will do better with conserving biodiversity. A very interesting resource is the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (https://www.iucnredlist.org/) where over 120000 species have been assessed worldwide, leading to the conclusion that 27% of them are threatened with extinction. It’s very powerful data that can help get a realistic picture of the current situation and give valuable input to policy makers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is frightening to see the list, but at least it is one step towards quantifying the problem, and hopefully it will raise awareness for the issue of declining biodiversity. I believe photography can als be a great tool to highlight the beauty of nature and bring attention to how spectacular thriving nature is. Your photos are amazing in that regard!

      Liked by 1 person

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