A special international meeting will be held from 26-30 October 2009 in Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK, under the auspices of the IUCN, in conjunction with the ECCF (the conservation wing of the European Mycological Association) with support from the UK Darwin Initiative.

Background. Important and exciting developments have occurred in fungal conservation over the past two years.

  • September 2007. Three prototype specialist committees were established for conservation of microfungi (Non-lichen-forming Ascomycetes, Rusts & Smuts, and Mildews, Moulds & Myxomycetes).

  • November 2007. The Sociedade Brasileira de Micologia established a national fungal conservation group, perhaps the first in South America.

  • December 2007. At an international meeting in Spain on sustainable use of fungi, over 150 mycologists from 35 countries published the Declaration of Córdoba, establishing global principles for fungal conservation.

  • August 2008. The Mycological Society of America established a continental-level fungal conservation group for North America.

  • November 2008. The Asociación Latino-Americana de Micología established a working party to set up a continental-level fungal conservation group for South America.

  • January 2009. The African Mycological Association established a continental-level fungal conservation group for Africa.

  • February 2009. The Species Survival Commission of the IUCN formally recognized fungi as being fundamentally different from animals and plants and needing fully separate representation within the Commission's structure. The Commission also decided to increase the number of Specialist Groups representing fungi to five by adopting the prototype specialist committees described above.

    The objective of the present meeting is to bring people interested in fungal conservation up to date with these developments. Representatives from the five IUCN Specialist Groups and from continental-level and national fungal conservation groups will be involved, but anyone with a genuine interest in promoting fungal conservation is also welcome to participate. The programme will address three important aspects of conservation - science, infrastructure and politics - and will aim to:

  • review scientific developments relevant to fungal conservation;

  • compare and contrast the conservation infrastructure for other groups of organisms with that available for fungi, identifying important elements currently missing from the movement for fungal conservation;

  • become familiar with courses of political action used by conservationists working with other groups of organisms, and determine which might also be appropriate for fungal conservation;

  • debate and, if possible, agree on strategies and actions to develop missing infrastructures and implement appropriate political actions.