Fungi are Unsung Heroes

Fungal Conservation

“What Do the First 597 Global Fungal Red List Assessments Tell Us about the Threat Status of Fungi?”

Fungal species are not immune to the threats facing animals and plants and are thus also prone to extinction. Yet, until 2015, fungi were nearly absent on the IUCN Red List. Recent efforts to identify fungal species under threat have significantly increased the number of published fungal assessments. The 597 species of fungi published in the 2022-1 IUCN Red List update (21 July 2022) are the basis for the first global review of the extinction risk of fungi and the threats they face. Nearly 50% of the assessed species are threatened, with 10% NT and 9% DD. For regions with a larger number of assessments (i.e., Europe, North America, and South America), subanalyses are provided. Data for lichenized and nonlichenized fungi are also summarized separately. Habitat loss/degradation followed by climate change, invasive species, and pollution are the primary identified threats. Bias in the data is discussed along with knowledge gaps. Suggested actions to address these gaps are provided along with a discussion of the use of assessments to facilitate on-the-ground conservation efforts. A research agenda for conservation mycology to assist in the assessment process and implementation of effective species/habitat management is presented.

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*This video serves as a graphical abstract for a publication in Diversity, which is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal on the science of biodiversity. Diversity is published monthly online by MDPI. The video was produced by Kelly Griese, Public Relations Specialist at the Global Center for Species Survival at the Indianapolis Zoo, and narrated by Dr. Greg Mueller, Chief Scientist and Negaunee Vice President of Science at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Cite: Mueller GM, Cunha KM, May TW, Allen JL, Westrip JRS, Canteiro C, Costa-Rezende DH, Drechsler-Santos ER, Vasco-Palacios AM, Ainsworth AM, Alves-Silva G, Bungartz F, Chandler A, Gonçalves SC, Krisai-Greilhuber I, Iršėnaitė R, Jordal JB, Kosmann T, Lendemer J, McMullin RT, Mešić A, Motato-Vásquez V, Ohmura Y, Næsborg RR, Perini C, Saar I, Simijaca D, Yahr R, Dahlberg A. What Do the First 597 Global Fungal Red List Assessments Tell Us about the Threat Status of Fungi? Diversity. 2022; 14(9):736.

Cátia Canteiro

Cátia Canteiro is the Plants & Fungi Conservation Coordinator for the Global Center for Species Survival.

Learn more about fungi conservation and Cátia.