A large fraction of wood-inhabiting fungal species have declined because of forest loss and fragmentation, in addition to a decrease in dead wood. Current protected area networks are embedded in low quality matrices which in best case are native forests with low amounts of dead wood. This may affect the efficiency of current protected area networks in conserving wood-inhabiting fungal diversity. As I show in my research, small and isolated conservation sites in temperate Europe hold less threatened species than they potentially could, possibly due to dispersal limitation of some species (1). The most obvious solutions to this problem are either to increase the sizes of the present conservation sites as well as to set new conservation sites in the proximity of the existing ones, or to increase the volume of dead wood in the managed forests surrounding the existing conservation sites. A more novel and still largely unexplored option however is to reintroduce red-listed species artificially by inoculation (2). I will discuss the advantages and problems of all these options as potential solutions for conserving wood-inhabiting fungi at large scales.
(1) Abrego N., Bässler C., Christensen M., & Heilmann-Clausen J. 2015. Implications of reserve size and forest connectivity for the conservation of wood-inhabiting fungi in Europe. Biological Conservation 191, 469-477. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.07.005.
(2) Abrego N., Oivanen P., Viner I., Nordén J., Penttilä R., Dahlberg A., Heilmann-Clausen J., Somervuo P., Ovaskainen O. & Schigel D. 2016. Reintroduction of endangered fungal species via inoculation. Biological Conservation 203, 120-124. 10.1016/j.biocon.2016.09.014.