Welcome to the home page of the Ascomycete Conservation Specialist Group. This Group has been set up in response to growing concerns that Ascomycetes (including anamorphic fungi), the largest single group of fungi, may be adversely affected by the activities of mankind. Fungi are the forgotten component of the natural world. Because they are neither plants nor animals, but belong in a separate kingdom of their own, they remain very poorly understood. Up to now the conservation movement has largely ignored them. This is a serious omission, given the enormous ecological and economic importance of these organisms.

The Ascomycete Conservation Specialist Group provides a focus for all interested in conservation of these fungi. To avoid duplication of effort, the Group is prioritizing non-lichen-forming ascomycetes and anamorphic fungi (lichen-forming species are already covered by a separate IUCN Specialist Group). The Group will liaise with the IUCN Specialist Group for Lichens (currently no website) and for Fungi, which concentrates on the Basidiomycetes (mushrooms, toadstools and other usually larger fungi), and the specialist groups for rusts & smuts and mildews, moulds & myxomycetes. Anyone with a genuine interest in the conservation of ascomycetes and anamorphic fungi may apply to join and contribute to the present Group. Its objective is to make sure endangered ascomycetes get the conservation they need. To achieve that end, the Group carries out the following activities:

  • a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of ascomycetes and anamorphic fungi;

  • research to determine the threats ascomycetes and anamorphic fungi are facing;

  • establishment of plans, policies and priorities for dealing with those threats;

  • a long-term programme to assess the status of individual ascomycete species - in particular this includes contributing the ascomycete and anamorphic fungi component of the IUCN Sampled Red List for Microfungi;

  • provision of advice about methods and policies for conserving ascomycetes and anamorphic fungi.