Building a checklist of fungi in South Africa
If you were headmaster of a school and you did not have a list of every child, imagine what chaos it would be, or in what trouble you can get with angry parents. The same is true for biological organisms. In South Africa we have various lists of what species occur for plants and frogs . Having such a list is the first step to add further data such as their distribution. This will tell nature conservationists, environmentalists and government which areas are biological sensitive, or which species may be on the verge of extinction.
But we do not have such a list for fungi in South Africa, especially of macrofungi such as mushrooms that are not always problematic, like killing plants. We cannot protect what we do not know we have, we cannot assess whether certain areas are sensitive for fungi, or are getting invaded by introduced fungi (because we do not even know what is there in the first place).
Recently, a team of us started to put a first list together. This was done from previous publications and field guides, and was quite a job to get things checked. There are more than a 1000 names already. Many many more still need to be added, and most of these are undescribed fungi. How can one add something to such a list if it does not have a name? Well, having a list is a first step towards building a longer and more extensive list and promote the need to get our fungi described. As soon as this manuscript that we put together is published, the list will be hosted on this website. It will be live, so that we can add more species, and plan for which groups the least fungi are known, or that are in need of serious revision. Exciting times.....