Biodiversity Action Plan
We have prepared a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) the Refungium project over the 30 acre planted ancient woodland site (PAWS) at Coed Talylan for the preservation and restoration of fungi diversity and its host habitat.
The action plan will help safeguard the biodiversity of the Refungium now and for future generations and it is hoped that implementing the plan will contribute to the achievement of local and national targets for UK fungi BAP priority species and habitats, while also providing educational and recreational services. The following is an overview the BAP. It is an evolving document that will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis as our membership grows.
Ancient woodland is land that has been continually wooded since at least 1600AD. Some ancient woodland may even be a link back to the original “wildwood” from the post-glacial age 10,000 years ago. Studies show that these woodlands are typically more ecologically diverse and of higher nature conservation value than those that have developed recently or where woodland cover on the site has been intermittent. Ancient Semi Natural Woodland such as within the Refungium, are reservoirs of native genetic diversity that show local adaptations to specific sites and are invaluable as benchmarks for soil studies, indicators for environmental change and highly valued as places of historical, cultural and economic resources.
However, fungi distribution and diversity is still poorly researched and understood due to fungi for long was being largely overlooked in ecology research, that the fungi’s main body (the mycelium) remains hidden and may have disrupted fruiting and dormancy periods. However, restoring and preserving habitats that are well known hosts for ectomycorrhizal (EMF) and saprophytic fungi will likely encourage these fungi to get established. Although there may also be scope for particular species-targeted management, restoring native woodland will in many cases contribute to the expansion of habitat for priority species. Especially connecting corridors with established habitat and creating more deadwood has shown to improve recolonisation of young woodland.
Habitat Action Plan
The following are some of the activities we will be engaged with as part of management of the woodland in order to enhance existing habitat:
i) Thinning spruce – Sections of the woodland were replanted with spruce 20-25 years ago we will thin around the edges of these plantations especially in areas near more mature native broadleaf species.
ii) Expanding areas of native broadleaf – Much of the thinning of the spruce is to allow more native broadleaf to proliferate
iii) Deadwood / Brash piles – we will retain as much wood as possible from our thinning of the woodland. The resulting brash piles we be created according the appropriate quality size and dimensions for the particular species of fungi
iv) Veteranisation – inoculating young trees with a species of fungi
v) Control Burning – Control burns of deadwood might provide interest research opportunity but will only be carried out with expert advice and supervision
vi) Drainage – There are some area where water retention and better drainage would help to prevent erosion
vii) Woodchip – We will test the benefits of using woodchip inoculating with indigenous saprotrophs as a means of protect soil from erosion especially around tracks and pathways.
viii) Tracks and Pathways – to enable access, and limiting that access to avoid trampling of the woodland better tracks and pathways will be designed and implemented.
Species Action Plan
We will focus on species of basidiomycota and ascomycota fungi. Sometime referred to as dikarya as a subkingdom in distinction from other phyla. The visible fruitbodies of fungi, mushrooms, belong to these phyla. Broadly they can be characterised as:
Saprotrophic – obtain nutrition form dead or dying organic matter. Fungi can be found at all stages of decomposition of organic material. Often vigorous primary decompose break down lignin in wood allowing for secondary decomposers to further breakdown cellulose hemi cellulose
Biotrophic – Many of mushroom fruiting on the woodland floor are Ectomycorrhizal fungi, they form an association with the plant host, the tree, through the roots. We also have lichens, a symbiosis of fungal and “photobiont” an algae and/or cyanobacteria.
We will be either “re-enforcing” species already present in the woodland or “translocating” species from local woodlands:
Re-enforcement – expanding the favourable habitat conditions for a particular species and/or directly increasing the propagation of the species.
Translocation – the introduction of a species into a particular habitat. With saprotrophic species culturing of the fungi and inoculation of a substrate can be easily carried out with the facilities at Coed Talylan. Ectomycorrhizal species present more of a challenge where host trees associated with the fungal need to planted in an appropriate location. This can be done through forms of liquid inoculum produced from spores of the fungi (or even the cultured mycelium) or a tree sapling is transplanted from an area when the fungi is known.
Translocation is not to be taken lightly and presents questions such as are we certain about what species we are translocating? How will the translocated species affect the resident community? How will we affect the genetic variation in the translocated species?
Monitoring and Evaluation
The intervention we make in the woodland will be monitored to evaluate the effectiveness of the technique implemented. A monitoring form will provide a structure method of recording particular action for a given species.