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charity in mycological conservation

Recording the fungi you find

The Trust maintains a state-of-the-art online recording module linked directly to CATE2.   It can be used by anyone with broadband access.   It is quick and easy to use.   It meets all the requirements of good recording and at the same time is designed to eliminate most of the mistakes.   It will never guarantee that you have identified something correctly, no databased will do that, but so long as you record within your own limits, it allows you to enter those records accurately and cleanly with all the correct names and terminology.

The aims of the Trust are twofold - to help interested members of the public get on a proper learning curve, and to advance our understanding of the state of our fungal stocks through regular monitoring and recording.

Go back twenty years and you will find that field mycology was populated by a very small number of individuals who largely believed that fungi were for 'the experts' and that the general public should not get involved.   They recorded some of their finds, but in nothing like sufficient quantity, nor in enough places because there were not enough of them involved.   For an effective database to be built we needed a lot more people gaining the confidence to record what they found, and for this they needed encouragement and an organisation to support them!    Everyone can record within the limits of their developing experience.   It isn't necessarily rocket science!

As a result of the sparsity of records, mycological conservation was falling further and further behind other natural history disciplines. There was little public interest and even less investment. At the turn of the 1990s some of us felt a pressing need to change this situation. Initially Michael Jordan worked to persuade Channel 4 TV into commissioning a series exclusively devoted to fungi and intended to popularise mycology. The series Mushroom Magic rid field mycology of much of its stuffy image, and was an outstanding success! Ordinary members of the public began to demand local groups with which to foray and thus the Trust was born as the Association of British Fungus Groups.   Since then it has evolved with much of its focus on recording for the CATE2 national fungus records database, currently holding more than 1.5 million UK records.

All the records that members collect on their forays are checked, cleaned and then go into this vital repository, and by exploiting the information, we are building up a national picture of Important Fungus Areas and of the species that are most in need of protection. By joining the Trust you will be helping in this task and your group will take you on a learning curve towards carrying out your own recording.

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