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One income opportunity derived from forest farming is the production of exotic mushrooms. Many of these edible mushrooms, such as shiitake (Lentinula edodes), maitake (Grifola frondosa), lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus, and oyster (Pleurotus spp. feed on the cellulose and lignin in wood. Although a significant volume of these mushrooms is produced under artificial conditions on a substance of sawdust, grains and other supplements, production on logs results in firmer texture and more flavor.
Production of high-value mushrooms on small diameter logs of almost any hardwood species enables a private forest landowner to utilize forest thinning residue. In the past ten years or so, markets for shiitake mushrooms have remained stable, with wholesale prices for top quality mushrooms ranging from $4 to $12 per pound, depending on supply and demand.