BlacK TrUFFle (TUBER MELANOSPORUM) cUlTivaTion as a Tool For rUral DeveloPmenT in caTalonia
The truffle is considered the black diamond of cuisine given its exceptional organoleptic characteristics. Growing black truffles is a profitable alternative to traditional agricultural activities, diversifying the rural economy in middle mountain areas. Catalonia has a great potential with an area over one and a half million hectares potentially apt for its development.

There are many species of truffle, but the most sought after of those found in the iberian Peninsula, is the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum). The production of black truffles in the wild has suffered a sharp decline in recent decades, while the demand and its market value have increased. Growing the black truffle in plantations with trees inoculated with the fungus would solve this problem. In our area, growing black truffles could become a complementary activity for traditional agricultural activities, diversifing the rural economy and favouring territorial re-equilibration. In Spain, these plantations began in the early 1970s with the import of French plants, and in the eighties, the first nurseries started to produce and sell their own plants. since then, the growth in truffle cultivation has led to a sharp rise in the area planted with this crop, currently estimated at around 6,000 ha. In Catalonia, the development of

this crop has been much lower, the area planted with it being currently only about 145 ha (Figure 1). The causes for this low development are mainly the lack of information about the crop and the failures of the first plantations in the 1980s due to inadequate technical support. Catalonia has a great potential for growing black truffles, with an apt area, calculated from a model generated with geographic information systems, of 1,582,662 ha (Figure 2), of which, 435,987 ha have a potentially compatible use (herbaceous crops and dry land and irrigated fruit trees, vines and burnt zones). Eighty-six per cent of this area (375,007 ha) is currently farmed for cereals and dry land fruit, not very profitable crops without the annual contribution of the caP, and thus very vulnerable to variations in the policy of subsidies. Two percent (8,751 ha) correspond to areas burnt by forest fires where the black truffle could be a

Figure 1. Training activities of the LIFE Association of Producers of Mushrooms and Truffles (Associació LIFE de Productors de Bolets i Tòfones - APBT). In Catalonia, the development of truffle growing has mainly been promoted by members of this association.
Forest Protection Area Forest protection Area


Suitable Suitable with irrigation assistance Suitable with soil liming Suitable with irrigation assistance and soil liming Not suitable

Area (ha) 1.075.858 363.470 128.382 14.953 1.628.084 3.210.746

Area (%) 33,51 11,32 4,00 0,47 50,71 100,00
Forest Protection Area


Figure 2. Map of aptitude for growing black truffles in Catalonia and areas in each class of aptitude. Model implemented in a geographic information system with the collaboration of GIS experts from the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia.

good alternative to make reforestation profitable. The dry land areas and burnt zones add up to 383,758 ha, which would have greater possibilities to benefit from the growing of black truffles through inoculated trees.

ProDUcTs colinas c, capdevila Jm, oliach D, Fischer cr and Bonet Ja eds. (2007). Mapa d'aptitud per al cultiu de la tòfona negra (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.) a Catalunya. Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia (solsona, spain). 134 pp. isBn: 978-84-611-7637-3. reyna s and colinas c (2007). Truficultura. In: Truficultura. Fundamentos y técnicas 237-276. Mundi-Prensa Editions (Madrid, spain). 686 pp. isBn: 978-84-8476-305-5. oliach D, Bonet Ja, Fischer cr, olivera a, martínez de aragón J, suz lm and colinas c (2005). Guía para el cultivo de trufa negra (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.). Guia Tècnica per al cultiu de Tòfona negra (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.). Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia (solsona, spain). 30 pp.

conTacT carlos colinas:

Forest Protection Area

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