A fungus from the family Psathyrellaceae decomposing bark chippings near the Sackler Crossing at Kew
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State of the World's Plants and Fungi

State of the World's Plants and Fungi provides a cutting-edge horizon scan, taking stock of the world's most valuable and vulnerable plants and fungi.


Kew’s State of the World’s Plants and Fungi project provides assessments of our current knowledge of the diversity of plants and fungi on Earth, the global threats that they face, and the policies to safeguard them. Launched in conjunction with a new website and an international scientific symposium, Kew’s State of the World’s Plants and Fungi sets an important international standard from which we can annually track trends in their global status.

Output Leader: James Wearn

State of the World's Fungi Symposium 2018

In conjunction with the publication of a cutting-edge annual report, scientists and policymakers will gather at Kew for the first international State of the World's Fungi Symposium on 13–14 September 2018. 

Building on the success of our State of the World’s Plants reports and website, the State of the World’s Fungi report provides a review of our current state of knowledge and the major issues affecting fungal diversity and abundance. Also featured are plant–fungal interactions, conservation and uses of fungi, and the fungal tree of life. 

This two-day symposium brings together fungal and plant scientists, ecologists, conservationists and industry and policy experts from around the world, to discuss issues raised in the report. 

State of the World's Fungi Report 2018

The 2018 State of the World’s Fungi report aims to provide an overview of the current knowledge of the world's fungi. The report highlights the importance of fungi to all life on Earth, examining their diversity and distribution, their uses in everyday life, the global impact of positive plant–fungal interactions and the challenges associated with fungi including plant diseases and climate change.

Over 100 scientists from 18 countries have worked in collaboration with Kew Science to scrutinise databases, published literature, policy documents and reports to synthesise the latest discoveries and knowledge into this horizon-scanning report.

Explore the data and download the report from stateoftheworldsfungi.org  

Highlights of the 2018 report

1: Definition and diversity

What are fungi and why are they important? How many species, families and phyla are currently known to science and why is it so difficult to work these numbers out?

2: Fungal tree of life

How are different species of fungi related to each other? What do we know about the major steps in fungal evolution and when they occurred? What are we doing about filling the knowledge gaps in the fungal tree of life?

3: New discoveries: Species of fungi described in 2017

How many new species of fungi were described in 2017? Which groups do they represent, where were they found and what are some of the more surprising discoveries?

4: Useful fungi

What makes a species of fungus economically valuable? What daily products utilise fungi and what are the useful fungi of the future for food, medicines and fungal enzymes?

5: Positive plant–fungal interactions

How do plants benefit from fungal interactions and vice versa? What is the role of these positive interactions in supporting vital ecosystem processes?

6: Fungal genomes: Exploring, understanding and utilising their diversity

How many whole fungal genomes have been sequenced to date? How is this information being used to enhance our insights into medicine and climate change resilience and to find new fungi for use in everyday life, from food to antibiotics and biofuels?

7: Country focus: China

What is the current status of knowledge of fungi in China? How many different Chinese fungal species are currently known, where are they distributed, which are most important economically, and how do they help combat the effects of desertification?

8: Plant-killers: Fungal threats to ecosystems

Which fungal diseases pose the greatest threats to global ecosystems? Why are these threats on the increase and what biosecurity is urgently needed to reduce their global spread?

9: Climate change: Fungal responses and effects

What impact is climate change having on fungal communities across the globe and where are our greatest knowledge gaps?

10: Conservation of fungi

How many species of fungi are threatened with extinction and why are they so difficult to assess? What threats are fungi facing and what are the conservation challenges?


The staff and trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Kew Foundation would like to thank the Sfumato Foundation for generously funding the State of the World’s Plants project.