Conservation Selection Criteria and Approaches

Jacob Heilmann-Clausen and Jan Vesterholt

Contents 1. Introduction 325

2. Fungi as Focal Species in Conservation 328

2.1 Applying the IUCN Red-Listing Criteria to Fungi 328

2.2 Fungi as Indicators of Habitat Quality 333

3. Conservation of Saprotrophic Fungi in Europe 336

3.1 Grassland Species 337

3.2 Saproxylic Fungi 339

3.3 Recommendations for the Future 341 References 343

Abstract Conservation of fungi faces the challenge of high species diversity, limited knowledge and a general lack of public awareness. In practical conservation the high species diversity makes it necessary to focus on a limited number of indicator species. Indicator species schemes are burdened by shortcomings: some are experience based and flimsy in their definition of indicator goals, whereas others are scientific in their approach, but with disputable results or an irrelevant indicator goal. The IUCN criteria for red-listing organisms are not specifically designed for fungi, and red-listing fungi, that is calculating the risk of their extinction, is complicated by a limited knowledge on population sizes, lifespan and spatial dynamics in fungi. In this chapter both approaches are discussed from an overall perspective, and with respect to two groups of saprotrophic basidiomycetes which are decreasing in Europe—grassland and wood-inhabiting fungi.

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