25 April 2019

Protecting precious fungi

Fungi are essential components of the world’s biodiversity, but fungi are under threat.

Dr Brian  Douglas pic

By Dr Brian Douglas

Favolaschia calocera. Credit: Paul Cannon

Fungi are essential components of the world’s biodiversity, performing critical roles in nutrient cycling and improving plant nutrition. Fungi are also important in the production of food, drink and medicines. But fungal biodiversity itself is under threat, and this in turn threatens ecosystems, plants, animals, and ultimately humans.

To conserve fungi, we need to know where species exist, what they do, and to raise awareness of their conservation needs. To help achieve this, Kew has been co-ordinating the Lost and Found Fungi Project (a citizen science-based project surveying 100 species of rare or under-reported fungal species); and has helped to revise the official guidelines for the selection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) for fungi. Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of amateur mycologists and fungal enthusiasts across the UK, Kew has been expanding our knowledge of rare fungi, raising awareness, and helping to influence conservation policy.

Brian Douglas, Community Fungus Survey Leader, explains more in this filmed talk.

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