Harvesters and Buyers
in Western Montana: An
Exploratory Study of the
2001 Harvesting Season
The Forest Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the principle of
multiple use management of the Nation\u2019s forest resources for sustained yields of wood,
water, forage, wildlife, and recreation. Through forestry research, cooperation with the
States and private forest owners, and management of the national forests and national
grasslands, it strives\u2014as directed by Congress\u2014to provide increasingly greater service to
a growing Nation.
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activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all
programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of
program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA\u2019s TARGET
Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To \ufb01le a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Of\ufb01ce of Civil Rights, Room 326- W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
2000 created excellent conditions for an abundant morel crop in summer 2001. Several thousand pickers worked the \u201cburns\u201d from May through July. Andrew Mark, depicted in this photo, picked morels to offset transportation and living expenses associated with assisting Erika Mark McFarlane in this research.
Commercial morel harvesters and buyers in western Montana: an exploratory
study of the 2001 harvesting season. Gen. Tech Rep. PNW-GTR-643. Port-
land, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Paci\ufb01c Northwest
Research Station. 38 p.
This exploratory study examined aspects of the social organization of the com-
mercial wild morel industry in western Montana during 2001. We talked with
18 key informants (7 buyers and 11 pickers) and observed social interactions at
one buying station near the Kootenai National Forest and three buying stations
near the Bitterroot National Forest. The key informant and observational data
permitted us to construct a picture of social interactions at \ufb01eld buying stations,
buyer strategies for attracting pickers, changes in prices over the course of a
season, and the ways in which various participants in the wild morel harvest
construct their livelihoods. In the discussion, we contrast our \ufb01ndings with the
results of a recently published study on nontimber forest product harvesters in
the Eastern United States. We end the report with a discussion of management
implications for managers and scientists.
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