climate, cop26, climate change
The delicate microclimate in the forests of Croatia’s Istria peninsula has long been famed for producing some of the finest white truffles.

The sound of paws scurrying along the forest floor echoes through Croatia’s northwestern woods, where the hunt for truffles is being threatened by climate change and deforestation—stirring fears that the country’s gastronomic goldmine may be at risk.

The delicate microclimate in the picturesque Istria peninsula’s forests has long been famed for producing some of the finest white truffles, which this year fetched up to 2,500 euros ($2,860) per kilo.

But the increase in temperatures and lower precipitation levels linked to climate change along with a shrinking water table and habitat loss could throw off the natural incubator that produces the luxurious ingredient.

“It’s more difficult to find a truffle than to sell it,” laments Darko Muzica, who oversees the Istra association of truffle hunters, an advocacy group campaigning to protect the peninsula’s white truffle.

Along with climate change and diminishing water tables, Muzica says poor forest management has also threatened future harvests, with officials giving preferential treatment to the timber industry.

A 2014 study on Istria’s truffles issued a similar warning, saying: “throughout the world the productivity of natural truffle habitats is shrinking which is often linked with climate change but also the ways the land is used”.

climate, cop26, climate change
Worried about the impact of climate change, diminishing water tables and deforestation, truffle enthusiasts say immediate action is needed to protect the white truffle and its habitat.

Truffle enthusiasts say immediate action is needed to protect the area’s habitat.

“The whole region would benefit from it,” says Ivan Vukadinovic, who is also a member of the truffle hunter association.

‘Top quality’

Fears over the truffle’s future in Istria comes on the heels of a decades-long love affair with the culinary delight in Croatia.

Istria has long been a tourist hotspot in the Balkan nation, famed for its pristine coastline as well as island getaways but has often been overshadowed on the truffle front by neighbouring Italy across the Adriatic.

With money to be made, truffle hunters, accompanied by teams of specially trained dogs, comb through Istria’s dense, lowland forests near Motovun hoping to strike white gold.

“Search! Search!” shouts forest scientist Zeljko Zgrablic as his two dogs paw at the ground near a suspected bulb.

climate, cop26, climate change
Istria remains one of the few areas outside of Italy’s famed Alba region able to produce high-end white truffles.

After digging away a layer of topsoil, Zgrablic carefully extracts a white truffle weighing some 20 grams—which could net up to 130 euros ($145).

It is a typical scene during Istria’s white truffle season that runs from September to late December, attracting a wide swath of afficionados ranging from weekend warriors to locals hoping to pocket extra cash.

Istria remains one of the few areas outside of Italy’s famed Alba region able to produce high-end white truffles thanks to its humid climate and alkaline soil that imbues the edible fungi with a strong aroma and optimal density.

“They are heavy, have a good shape… which makes them a top quality product,” says Zgrablic as he carefully writes down details of the truffle.

‘Truffle land’

The first written reference to truffles in Istria dates back to the late 1920s, when the peninsula was then part of Italy.

climate, cop26, climate change
‘It’s more difficult to find a truffle than to sell it,’ laments Darko Muzica, who oversees the Istra association of truffle hunters.

But the industry has gone into overdrive in the past two decades, with the sector netting millions of dollars annually—spurring Istria to rebrand itself as “truffle land”.

The truffle rush started after the discovery of a bulb weighing 1.31 kilogrammes (2.88 pounds) that was listed for a time in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“The event started a truffle avalanche,” says Giancarlo Zigante, a former hunter and restaurateur, who now produces hundreds of locally sourced truffle products—including oil, chocolate and chips that are exported to dozens of countries worldwide.

Hoping to protect the area’s lucrative truffle trade, the local association of truffle hunters has begun campaigning for “protected designation of origin” within the European Union.

If granted, it says the certification would help provide better management of the region’s forests by eliminating their “irrational devastation”, while also guaranteeing the truffle’s authenticity and helping raise awareness for preservation efforts.

climate, cop26, climate change
The sector nets millions of dollars annually—spurring Istria to rebrand itself as ‘truffle land’
climate, cop26, climate change
Hoping to protect Istria’s lucrative truffle trade, the local association of truffle hunters is campaigning for ‘protected designation of origin’ certification within the European Union.

But for many enthusiasts, preserving the area’s habitat is about protecting the simple pleasures that come with truffle hunts.

“It’s a lifestyle, it gets under your skin,” Muzica says.

“The dog is happy whenever I’m happy. And I’m happy when my dog finds a truffle.”

© 2021 AFP

Citation: Croatia’s truffle hunters seek habitat protection amid climate change (2021, November 24) retrieved 24 November 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-11-croatia-truffle-hunters-habitat-climate.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Tracking the neurons that make us social

The mouse has to press a small lever in order to make contact with its congeneric. © UNIGE – Camilla Bellone A team from the UNIGE has discovered that neurons linked to the reward system are responsible for motivating us to interact with our fellow human beings. Human beings, ...

View more: Tracking the neurons that make us social

COVID-19 Delta variant may have increased ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity

Related Links Emma Thomson – research profileBrian Willett – research profileThe MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus ResearchInstitute of Infection, Immunity and InflammationCollege of MVLSVaccines are effective in decreasing hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19 infection but the emergence of viral variants of concern may diminish their efficacy, according to a ...

View more: COVID-19 Delta variant may have increased ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity

New tool helps people decide how best to protect themselves and others from covid-19

Is it risky to sing in a choir? What are the risks of eating in a small restaurant? How much difference does it make if I open windows or clean surfaces? A new interactive graphic developed by UK researchers and published by The BMJ today will help people decide what ...

View more: New tool helps people decide how best to protect themselves and others from covid-19

Twisting elusive quantum particles

Co-authors Frank Pollmann, Michael Knap and Yujie Liu at the Department of Physics at the Garching Research Campus of the Technical University of Munich. Image: A. Heddergott / TUM While the number of qubits and the stability of quantum states are still limiting current quantum computing devices, there are ...

View more: Twisting elusive quantum particles

New survey reveals pandemic impact on Canadian youth

The emotional toll of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on everyone in Canada: young and old. Nevertheless, the sense of loss was perhaps most evident on the country’s teens as their world stopped spinning instantly and pivoted quickly to a virtual space. While adept (more than ...

View more: New survey reveals pandemic impact on Canadian youth

How food intake modifies the gut

Sections of mouse intestine. Up, a normal gut circumference (in black) and villi (pink convolutions). Bottom, expanded gut after overeating-induced obesity with a bigger circumference and longer villi.  © UNIGE / Mirko Trajkovski Researchers from the University of Geneva identified that the amount of food regulate the gut size ...

View more: How food intake modifies the gut

Method that could improve PPE protection, reusability

Researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria have discovered a method-using only visible light-to treat and safely sterilize non-woven polypropylene-fabrics, the material used to fabricate personal protective equipment (PPE). Led by Tyler Cuthbert, a former post-doctoral fellow at SFU, researchers tested a chemical insertion method developed by ...

View more: Method that could improve PPE protection, reusability

Scientists may have solved an important part of the mystery of ultra-rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines

Alan Parker, author on the study, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine An international team of scientists believe they may have found a molecular mechanism behind the extremely rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists from Cardiff University and Arizona State University worked with AstraZeneca to investigate ...

View more: Scientists may have solved an important part of the mystery of ultra-rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines

Preventing ’Alien’ Invasions

Physicists exploit space and time symmetries to control quantum materials

Volvo Cars is going leather-free with its future EVs

Opt-out rate for mobile app tracking to decline by 2023: Report

Softbank Group shares slide 3% after triple setback of Didi, Arm and Grab

Didi delisting: A chronicle of the ride hailing giant’s troubles since its New York IPO five months ago

These are the top apps, games on Apple App Store in 2021

This is how government is planning to take Aadhaar global

These are apps that iPhone and iPad users spent most on in 2021

Xiaomi 12, Xiaomi 12X and Xiaomi 12 Pro tipped to launch on this date

International Space Station swerves to dodge space junk

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - how the tech sector can do a better job of recruiting disabled

OTHER TECH NEWS

;