Fungi matter: State of the World’s Fungi 2018

Today sees the release of the State of the World’s Fungi 2018. This is the third report from the ambitious and far reaching State of the World’s Plants and Fungi project led by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, supported by the Sfumato Foundation. The project aims to assess our knowledge of the diversity of plants and fungi on Earth, the challenges and threats they face and, crucially, how we might protect and safeguard their diversity.

 

Botanic gardens play a crucial role in fungal research and conservation. The work that Kew is spearheading, and which is outlined in the latest report, will go a long way to highlighting the importance of these – sometimes hidden – organisms to all life on Earth.

The New Phytologist Trust has a long history of supporting research on the complex interactions between plants and fungi, so it is especially exciting to see a number of chapters devoted to these interactions in the Report. These interactions range from the beneficial, such as the orchid mycorrizas covered in the chapter ‘Positive plant–fungal interactions’, to the threatening, such as the impact of fungal pathogens on plants, covered in the ominously titled chapter ‘Plant-Killers: fungal threats’.

Readers of New Phytologist and Plants, People, Planet should watch out for forthcoming special issues, which we hope will complement the Report: a special issue of New Phytologist on mycorrhizal function will be published imminently, and a special issue of Plants, People, Planet on tree resistance is in preparation.

Image: The flower of Thismia rodwayi, a fully mycoheterotrophic plant, pictured in Wielangta forest, Tasmania. Courtesy of Vincent Merckx.
The flower of Thismia rodwayi, a fully mycoheterotrophic plant, pictured in Wielangta forest, Tasmania. Courtesy of Dr Vincent Merckx.

State of the World’s Plants reports were published in 2016 and 2017, with State of the World’s Plants symposia also being held in each of these years. The New Phytologist Trust is grateful to have supported the two previous symposia as a sponsor, and we are delighted to also support the State of the World’s Fungi symposia, which takes place on 13 and 14 September 2018. If you are attending the symposium, please do come to our stand to find out more about our forthcoming special issues, and to pick up some giveaways!

Mushroom on a lawn.
Image courtesy of Dr Mike Whitfield.

Read more posts about fascinating fungi:

Sarah Lennon
Executive Editor
New Phytologist Trust