In 2022, Czechs collected forest fruits worth a record-breaking CZK 7.89 billion, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. People mostly looked for mushrooms, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries in the forests. Six out of ten people visited the woods at least once a month. These figures were obtained from the data processed by the Czech University of Life Sciences Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences for the Ministry of Agriculture.
From 2016 to 2022, the second-highest forest fruit was collected in 2020, amounting to CZK 7.16 billion. The third-highest amount was harvested in 2017, with the fruit’s value amounting to CZK 6.63 billion. However, last year’s record numbers were significantly influenced by the rise in prices of forest fruits, including the impact of inflation.
Mushrooms are the clear winners among the most commonly collected fruits. People brought almost 25,000 tons of mushrooms from the forest for CZK 5.2 billion. This figure confirms the Czech Republic’s reputation as one of the countries with the highest number of mushroom hunters worldwide.
Blueberries were the second most collected fruit, with 6.7 thousand tons collected for CZK 1.21 billion. Raspberries were collected in a quantity of 2.6 thousand tons worth CZK 562 million. On average, each household collected 8.2 kg of mushrooms, 3.4 kg of blueberries, 3.3 kg of blackberries, 1.8 kg of raspberries, 1.6 kg of blackberries, and 1.4 kg of cranberries.
In the Czech Republic, there is free access to the woods. Last year, 64.3% of Czechs visited the woods at least once a month. On average, more than 36 forest visits per year were made by each person. The highest attendance in the woods was in the Central Bohemian Region, where even Prague residents go for mushrooms.
Unlike other European countries, the Czech Republic has no legal restrictions on harvesting forest fruits. For example, in Austria, it’s possible to collect up to two kilograms of mushrooms, while in Germany, there is a limit on the amount of harvested mushrooms per person. In Italy, you must pay to enter the forest; in Switzerland, mushroom hunting is only allowed on certain days. The Netherlands has the strictest approach, being the only country in the EU where the collection of mushrooms in any quantity is prohibited, and if caught, it is considered poaching.