Friday, 30 May 2014

Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve fungus survey

by Alison Pouliot

Little is known about the fungi that inhabit the box and ironbark forests in north-central Victoria. Only a few records exist in the Fungimap or Living Atlas of Australia databases. Information on the fungi of these ecosystems is therefore very important in contributing to a bigger picture understanding of fungal distributions.

 Piptoporus australiensis. Photo © Kyle Murphy

Keen fungus surveyors from three Landcare groups 
and Bendigo TAFE. Photo © Jane Mitchell
Last week a group of ultra-keen fungus surveyors took to the Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserver to see what fungi are emerging following the first autumn rains a couple of weeks back.  The group represented three different Landcare groups (Nuggetty, West Marong and Upper Spring Creek) as well as students from the Conservation and Land Management Course at Bendigo TAFE. The students have been looking at different forest management regimes that incorporate burning and ecological thinning as well as mapping exercises of fungal distributions.

Omphalotus nidiformis. Photo: © Jane Mitchell

Austropaxillus infundibuliformis. Photo: © Jane Mitchell

Although the rains hadn't penetrated much beyond the upper leaf litter layer, twelve species were recorded including Austropaxillus infundibuliformis group, Omphalotus nidiformis, Laccaria sp., Crepidotus sp., Stereum hirsutum, Trametes versicolor, Piptoporus australiensis, Pisolithus sp., Geastrum fornicatum and three lichens: Parmelia sp., Flavoparmelia sp. and Cladonia sp.

Despite the precarious future of Landcare it was encouraging to see Landcare members so keen to understand and document the fungi of these forests. The survey followed three fungus workshops held in Lockwood South, Baringhup and Woodstock on Loddon over the last two months.

Huge thanks go to the indefatigable Judy Crocker from the Mid Loddon Conservation Management Network and Upper Spring Creek Landcare Group for recognising the important ecological role of fungi in these forests and for organising the survey.

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