The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has released the first ever State of the World’s Fungi report.
In the first of its kind, the report outlines the state of the world’s fungi and highlights just how important fungi are to all life on Earth. It explores the current knowledge on the diversity, distribution and evolutionary relationships of the world’s fungi, examines positive interactions and insights incorporating the key uses of fungi in everyday life, and looks at the global challenges associated with fungi, including climate change and plant diseases.
Over 100 scientists from 18 countries contributed to the report which is the latest in Kew’s State of the World’s series.
Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science, RBG Kew says, “It has been a real eye-opener drilling into the data on the fungal kingdom. As the foundation of the world’s ecosystems, fungi potentially hold the answers for everything from food security and biofuels to desertification and medicinal advances. In compiling this report, it has become clear that fungi should be viewed on par with the plant and animal kingdoms, and that we have only just started to uncover the secrets of this incredible and diverse group of organisms.”
The report covers the following topics:
• Definition and diversity
• Fungal tree of life
• New discoveries: Species of fungi described in 2017
• Useful fungi
• Positive plant–fungal interactions
• Fungal genomes: Exploring, understanding and utilising their diversity
• Country focus: China
• Plant-killers: Fungal threats to ecosystems
• Climate change: Fungal responses and effects
• Conservation of fungi
In conjunction with the publication of this cutting-edge report, scientists and policymakers gathered at Kew for the first international State of the World's Fungi Symposium on 13 & 14 September 2018. The two-day symposium brought together plant and fungal scientists, ecologists, conservationists and industry and policy experts from around the world, to discuss issues raised in the report.
The facts and figures contained in the pages of the 2018 State of the World’s Fungi report and this website will probably come as a total revelation to many people. The first of its kind outlining the state of the world’s fungi, the report and associated website highlight just how important fungi are to all life on Earth. It is clear that Fungi should definitely be viewed on a par with the plant and animal Kingdoms and that we have only just started to scratch the surface of knowledge of this incredible and diverse group of organisms.
What also becomes apparent is that when looking for nature-based solutions to some of our most critical global challenges, fungi could provide many of the answers.