… forestry official says it would not be sustainable  

Nima Wangdi  

Highlanders of Thimphu yesterday requested the Thimphu dzongkhag Tshogdu (DT) to extend the cordyceps collection period.

The gewog leaders of Naro, Soe, Lingzhi, and Dagala said that the highlanders from their gewogs are allowed to collect cordyceps only for a month during the season between May and June every year. The harvest duration was set based on scientific research.

Naro Mangmi, Chador Namgay said the cordyceps grow at different times while the people are given permits to collect it only for a month. He said that the illegal collectors harvest them all. “There is a need to extend the collection period so that all the people could collect them equally.”

Lingzhi Gup Wangdi said some fungi grow as early as April while some grow even in June. The harvesting period falls somewhere in the middle and the people miss those grown before and after that period.

He said the experts say the specific period is to avoid over-harvesting of the cordyceps but illegal collectors pick them throughout anyway. “Only those who can avoid forest officials are benefitted and not those who abide by the law.”

Gups said that this was not the first time that they were raising the issue at the DT. Nothing has happened so far, however. “People are insisting on extending the collection period to two months or at least a month and a half.”

DT Thrizin and Dagala Gup, Gado said that it was true that the people are illegally collecting cordyceps before and after the allocated collection period. “This is happening because people don’t think about sustainability. It is also unfair.”

Lingzhi Gup also said he would not raise this issue again if nothing happens this time.

Lingzhi Park Range Officer, Boep Tshering said the collection period was based on research and it cannot be extended. “It is during the allocated collection period that there is the best harvest of cordyceps going by the research.”

He said that the response from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests will remain the same no matter how many times the extension issue is raised.  “It’d be better if the issue could be taken to the Parliament.”

The DT decided to submit the issue to the Parliament.