The Forest Farmers' Association of North Rhine-Westphalia complains that commercial mushroom picking squads pull the expensive mushrooms out of the forest by the kilo or even hundredweight. The association, which sees itself as a mouthpiece for around 150,000 private forest owners in North Rhine-Westphalia, criticized that the professional collectors came with headlamps, whistles, radios for communicating with one another and huge baskets. "During individual police actions, tons of porcini mushrooms have been secured from well-organized groups of collectors."
Small amounts of wild mushrooms may be taken into Germany for personal use. In practice, the authorities assume two kilograms per collector and day, which is quite a lot, according to the association. But the collection teams went far beyond that. It's about money for them - porcini mushrooms cost well over 100 euros per kilogram in retail.
When he protested, he was insulted, reported one of the affected forest owners, Karl-Josef Frielinghausen. Mushroom pickers trampled down a fence in a newly reforested forest area. The forest owners complain that new plantings are being damaged by the area-wide collection of mushrooms and the wild animals are worried. "A concerted action by all law enforcement officers from the police, municipalities and the state forest and wood company could help," said the association's chairman, Philipp Freiherr Heereman.