Red Data List of Threatened British Fungi

S. Evans, A. Henrici, B. Ing (2006)

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The taxa are listed on this web page.

Introduction by Shelley Evans

The Red List for Threatened British Fungi is prepared by the British Mycological Society (BMS), working with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. Although work is required before it becomes an official Red Data List (RDL), this preliminary assessment with explanatory notes is now available and replaces Ing’s 1992 provisional RDL.

Over 800 taxa have been evaluated as part of the assessment, using the 1992 provisional RDL as a baseline but also including a wide range of additional rarely recorded species. The new RDL for Fungi includes nearly 400 species in threat categories, is arranged alphabetically within fungus groups and includes a note of former listing in the 1992 provisional RDL.

Methodology Summary:

This list assesses:

  • Species recorded in Great Britain, ie England, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man.
  • All groups of fungi including microfungi, such as plant pathogens.
  • Fungi associated with native, naturalised or commonly cultivated plants.

This list excludes:

  • Species recorded in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the Channel Islands.
  • Lichenised fungi and Myxomycetes, as these are covered by separate lists.
  • Species which are taxonomically dubious or for which distribution data are considered too poor, eg hypogeous fungi (truffles and truffle-like species) and many microfungi (hyphomycetes, coelomycetes) as well as the Chytridiomycota, Glomeromycota and Zygomycota.
  • Species recorded for the first time in Britain in the last 10 years.
  • Fungi associated exclusively with non-native trees (such as larch and spruce), hothouse litter, woodchip mulch, or pathogens restricted to garden ornamentals or greenhouse plants, unless these are extremely threatened in their natural range.

Species names: Species names for Basidiomycota follow those used in the Kew ‘Checklist of the British and Irish Basidiomycota’ including the latest online updates Ascomycetes follow the GBCHKLST maintained by FRDBI Database Manager (Dr Paul Kirk) with additional advice from Dr Brian Spooner at RBG, Kew.

Categories: These follow current IUCN guidelines (2001) as closely as possible but with adaptations to take into account the fungal lifestyle and associated practicalities of fungal recording.




Hectads (10km×10km) since 1960

Criteria required By IUCN




Date of last record


Critically Endangered / B




Endangered / B

2 – 5



Vulnerable / B

6 – 10



Vulnerable / D2

1 – 5

No decline


Near Threatened

6 – 10

No decline


11 – 20

Host or habitat threatened

Assessment for the majority of species has been based on quantitative data held in the Fungal Records Database of Britain and Ireland (FRDBI) managed by the British Mycological Society, from herbaria and individuals. This quantitative assessment is based on the number of hectads (10km×10km) at which a species has been recorded before and after 1960 (see table above).

Extinct This category is defined as species for which no reliable record has been made since 1960. Species formerly listed as Extinct are only removed from this category where material has been deposited at a recognised national herbarium eg RBG Kew or Edinburgh.

Evidence of decline Quantitative: For a species recorded in n hectads since 1960 there is considered to be evidence of decline if it was recorded in at least 2n+1 hectads prior to 1960. Qualitative: For a species associated with a habitat or host whose quality is observed, inferred or projected to decline.

Direct evidence for decline in recorded hectads is not demonstrable for most species because of the large increase in recording which has taken place in recent decades, especially since the advent of the network of recording groups in the UK. To take this skew factor into account when assigning categories of threat more emphasis has been placed on the qualitative approach using inferred and projected decline. Some species are known to depend for survival on hosts or habitats already recognised as under threat either directly or through inappropriate management for fungi eg damage or removal of trees or host organism upon which they are reliant. Such species, including many ectomycorrhizal and parasitic fungi, have sometimes been assigned to a higher category of threat than could be justified from the number of hectads alone.

Near Threatened A species which does not qualify for the highest categories of threat, Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable but remains close to qualifying or is likely to qualify in the near future based on quantitative data, expert opinion or inference about habitat quality.

Additional Species of Conservation Concern - Annex An annex will list BAP or Schedule 8 species which no longer meet the new Red List criteria, together with some other species of conservation concern in Europe for which Britain is a stronghold with international responsibility, and whose conservation importance nevertheless needs highlighting.

To aid understanding and future reviews: A list is being maintained of all the taxa which have been evaluated and excluded. These include: data deficient taxa for which more information will be needed before an assessment of risk can be made; species of least concern which have been evaluated but assessed as too abundant; aliens – species no longer considered British or restricted to the Channel Islands. This list will appear in the final official published RDL.

Notes are being maintained as background information for the assessment to chart the category assignment for all the species assessed, so that the process is as consistent as possible and to assist future review groups. These notes will not be published as part of the final list although they are available to the RDL working group as well as to JNCC and future reviews.

Acknowledgements: The RDL of Threatened British Fungi is compiled by Shelley Evans, Alick Henrici and Bruce Ing on behalf of the British Mycological Society with major contributions from Martyn Ainsworth, Paul Kirk, Peter Roberts, Brian Spooner and Malcolm Storey.

A wide range of individuals provided advice on species in their various interest groups and areas including: Ted Blackwell, Bert Brand, Paul Cannon, Ern Emmett, David Hawksworth, Alan Hills, Carol Hobart, Liz Holden, Geoffrey Kibby, Nick Legon, Patrick Leonard, Dave Minter, Adrian Newton, Alan Outen, Derek Schafer, Nigel Stringer and Roy Watling.

Fundamental thanks are however owed to all those who record fungi, especially those whose records have been contributed to the FRDBI. In particular, the entire network of independent fungal recording groups in Britain whose contributions to our knowledge about fungal distribution are so vital. The following groups have also been consulted: the Association of British Fungus Groups, BMS Council, Fungus Conservation Forum and Plantlife Link. Thanks for advice on Red List compilation go to Chris Cheffings and Nick Hodgetts.

Though in large part this RDL is the product of voluntary effort from a wide range of individuals, support from the BMS and Natural England (formerly English Nature) has been crucial. Particular thanks go to Jill Sutcliffe.