Our Aims

(1) to study Surrey’s mycota, by documenting and otherwise investigating the fungi of the county, including historical data and herbarium specimens.

[Two sites in Surrey rank among the most richly recorded fungal sites in the world, namely the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2750 species) and Esher & Oxshott Commons SSSI (over 3300 species). These datasets are held by our members.
However, there are many other data sources which need to be investigated. We are interested in data from all areas of Surrey, including the north-eastern part of the county now included in administrative Greater London. Collated data will be fed to the national fungal database held by the British Mycological Society, and will be published as an annotated checklist of Surrey fungi.] [Our Projects]

(2) to encourage an interest in and understanding of the importance of fungi in the environment, with an emphasis on conservation.

[Fungi form their own kingdom and exist in close partnership with every other form of life. Some fungi are plant pathogens, but many have properties with utility functions important to modern human life. Most importantly, fungi act as decomposers which recycle waste organic material and return it to the soil, as well as and together with bacteria and other micro-organisms. Many fungi are essential to healthy growth or germination of plants. Out of all known vascular plants, around 90% are thought to grow in mutual association with fungi, and many will not grow without help from the fungi. Without fungi the ecosystems of the Earth would almost certainly collapse.
     Surrey, though still extensively wooded, is a highly developed county. The areas where natural or semi-natural habitat is retained have decreased drastically in the last 50 years and ancient woods are comparatively few. Local authorities and conservation organisations are making efforts to preserve such habitats, which also include lowland heath in the Thames Basin and in the Weald, and the chalk grassland of the North Downs. These habitats support highly specialised flora and fauna. To understand and to preserve them correctly, it is essential to know the fungi which grow in these environments.]

(3) to develop a greater knowledge of fungi among ourselves, through taxonomic studies, as well as a small number of field excursions and workshops.

[The fungi are considered to outnumber the plants within the same environment, by seven to one at least. However, due to technical difficulties in studying them, the fungi tend to be much under-recorded. For example, the British Mycological Society’s database lists less than 5000 fungal species ever recorded in Surrey (including those which do not necessarily grow on vascular plants) whereas Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) recognises 997 species of vascular plants as native to Surrey.* This goes despite the fact that British fungi are well recorded in comparison with the most of the world, and that Surrey is mycologically one of the best recorded counties in Britain. New species to science have been described from Surrey a number of times, and new species to the county are being found quite regularly, but a large number of fungi are thought still to remain undiscovered.
(* Based on Vice-County Census Catalogue, BSBI, website viewed 2012, in which the total number of taxa native to Surrey is given as 1181, including 184 taxa, which are subspecies and hybrids.]

(4) to promote the conservation of fungi.

[A substantial area in Surrey has been already swallowed into the Greater London administrative area. Natural or semi-natural habitats for wildlife are becoming increasingly segmented, and are often threatened by development. These areas are of great importance for continuation of local biodiversity. In the western part of the county, a variety of special habitats remain, e.g. heathland and downland. The fungi particular to such habitats need to be investigated, and their presence should be supported and emphasised.]

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