Ghost Mushroom Lane: the not-so-hidden treasure in the forests
18 December 2019 Leisure
With more than 65,000 visits over the last three years, Ghost Mushroom Lane in Australia is establishing itself as a ‘must-see’ tourist attraction and is subject to extensive media coverage. What is more, it is a demonstration of sustainable forest management in action.
The ‘Ghost Mushroom’ is a bioluminescent fungus that emits a soft green glow at night. It is native to Australia and can be found growing on decaying plant material left behind following a pine tree harvest.
But perhaps no ghost mushrooms glow quite as bright as the Ghost Mushroom Lane. Found in colonies in Southern Australia, the mushroom was brought to public attention in 2017 after photographer and visual artist Ockert le Roux captured their glow in a series of stunning images.
A picture is worth a thousand words
“I remember it was a Thursday morning and I set out on a random trip in my car heading out towards the west of Mount Gambier, and I ended up in the forest,” he says.
Searching for the elusive ghost mushrooms, Mr. le Roux eventually stumbled upon a colony of mushrooms that matched the description of the native species.
“I went back to the same spot the next day after the moon had set, got out of the car and as I walked out it was like a fairy city, I was blown away by what I saw,” explains Mr. le Roux.
Following Mr. le Roux’s discovery, ForestrySA developed a visitor site in readiness for the Ghost Mushroom season. Ghost Mushroom Lane was a runaway success, attracting 18,500 visitors in the first year.
“The Ghost Mushroom phenomenon is a unique part of the forest, and to our knowledge, this is the largest colony of ghost mushrooms in the world,” said Willie van Niekerk, OneFortyOne General Manager for Business Development.
Preserving the wonders of the forest for generations to come
OneFortyOne holds a PEFC certificate, and is therefore subject to regular independent audits to ensure that the applied forest management practices meet our demanding social and environmental requirements.
“Forest certification is a lifelong commitment. It provides OneFortyOne with our social licence to operate and provides ForestrySA and the constituents with assurance that forests balance the needs of today and the future, ensuring biodiversity is preserved for many years to come,” Mr. van Niekerk said.
Simon Dorries, CEO of Responsible Wood, our national member for Australia, reiterated the importance of initiatives like Ghost Mushroom Lane in growing awareness of sustainable forest management.
“Managing biodiversity, innovation and social inclusion are all key pillars in our standards, and when it comes to connecting communities together, promoting sustainable forest practices and preserving biodiversity, Ghost Mushroom Lane ticks a lot of boxes,” he highlighted.