proactive measures to conserve Caribbean fungal biodiversity


Welcome to the home page of the project Climate Change - proactive measures to conserve Caribbean fungal biodiversity. This 3-year project, which is supported through the UK-Cuba Science Links Scheme of the British Council, began in May 2007 and aims to provide mycologists in the insular Caribbean with the resources, tools and skills to advise on protecting fungal biodiversity from impacts of climate change.

Summary. Urgent action to understand implications of climate change has begun, but almost exclusively in developed countries. Effects on man and other vertebrates, are prioritized, with some work on invertebrates, plants and microbes; but fungi, which occur in all main ecosystems and without which life on earth would be impossible, are being almost completely overlooked:

  • climate change impacts on different ecological and taxonomic groups of fungi are not known;

  • governments and conservation organizations are largely unaware that fungi are different from plants, but also need protection and often have very different conservation needs;

  • where biodiversity action plans and conservation strategies exist, fungi are rarely included;

  • threats, resulting from climate change and posed by different groups of fungi, to agriculture, forestry and human health, including quarantine and bioterrorism, are almost totally unknown;

  • local and national mycological societies do not exist or, like regional mycological societies, are unaware of climate change issues or have no policy about climate change;

  • mycologists are isolated, without access to advice about how to be heard or whom to address.

    The project will initiate necessary proactive measures through institutional capacity building, training, research and environmental education. In particular, it will seek to identify issues relating to fungi and climate change in the insular Caribbean, to prepare advice and plans to deal with those issues, and to publish that information through new bilingual English-Spanish websites.