Citizen Science: The Lost and Found Fungi Project
Raising the profile of rare or potentially under-recorded fungi.
This is a five-year (2014-2019) fungal conservation project co-ordinated at Kew. It’s funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and supported by the British Mycological Society, the British Lichen Society, and many enthusiastic volunteers and contributors across the UK.
We’ve compiled a list of 100 species with a variety of different conservation needs, most being very rarely recorded in Britain or of current conservation concern. Some of these could be among the most threatened fungi in Britain, but they need much more survey work before we can assess their conservation needs with any confidence.
Over the past four years, we’ve been asking fungus-recording groups, individual mycologists, botanists, naturalists, and anyone else who might be interested, to engage in a treasure-hunt for these species, either in the sites of historical records near where they live, or in other appropriate habitats.
So far, we’ve received nearly 1,400 records of target species - this represents an average of around a 50 per cent increase in records and known sites for these species compared to previously available data. We’ve found most of our target species, but some still remain elusive. We still have time to add to this dataset, so any additional records or specimens of our target species would be much appreciated.
Fungi can be difficult to find and identify, so we’ve provided information on what to look for, when to look, and where to look, in the form of online species profiles and distribution maps (see The Lost and Found Fungi project website below).
Together, we’re hoping to significantly improve our knowledge of target species, produce enough evidence to formally Red List genuinely rare species, and to get their populations and habitats some measure of protection.
Equally, we’re hoping to get many more people interested, more knowledgeable, and involved in the conservation of our rarest and most vulnerable fungi. Fungal conservation is important, and we’d like everyone to know that they can help and get involved!
Find out more at The Lost and Found Fungi project website.