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Heimioporus australis Fechner & Halling

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Scientific name
Heimioporus australis
Author
Fechner & Halling
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Boletales
Family
Boletaceae
Assessment status
Published
Assessment date
2019-07-24
IUCN Red List Category
EN
IUCN Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii); D
Assessors
Leonard, P.L.
Reviewers
Guard, F.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/154464996/154465948

Justification

Heimioporus australis is a distinctive ectomycorrhizal species, easy to identify in the field. It is one of a very rich and diverse population of Boletes that inhabit the once extensive sand dunes of southeast Queensland. Many of the dune systems have been developed for housing, tourism and transport infrastructure and others have been planted with forests using exotic species. Although this development trend is slowing, this coastal dune system will be vulnerable to other threats including sea level changes and storm surges resulting from climate change.

There have only ever been four functional individuals found on four separate sites in Australia. Although both Fraser Island and Cooloola have been intensively studied by bolete specialists, there are five other areas which are smaller in total extent but have not been as well surveyed. Using the Dahlberg and Mueller (2011) methodology we think that it would be reasonable to expect the population to be perhaps 5 times greater, that is 20 locations and 200 mature individuals.

The habitat in which this species is found has declined rapidly as it is much in demand for coastal development. The sites in which these collections have been made are under high recreational pressure, they have been damaged by fire and at two sites the water table suffers from increasing pollution, all of which pose a threat for this species.

It qualifies as Endangered under criterion B1ab(iii) because of the small range of the species (EOO 256 km2 based on known sites, which would not be expected to exceed 5000 km2 even accounting for additional unknown sites, with fewer than five locations) and the decline of its habitat, as well as under criterion D due to the small estimated population size.

Taxonomic notes

This species was initially recorded in Australia under the name Heimioporus japonicus, however further work determined that it was a separate species, Heimioporus australis.

Geographic range

This species is found in Australia, where it is limited to a small coastal area of southeast Queensland. This is the world’s largest area of coastal dune systems.

Population and Trends

There are insufficient data to make an assessment of past population size or distribution. It has only ever been found on four separate sites, each assumed to have 10 mature individuals. Although both Fraser Island and Cooloola have been intensively studied by bolete specialists, there are five other areas which are smaller in total extent but have not been as well surveyed. Using the Dahlberg and Mueller (2011) methodology we think that it would be reasonable to expect the population to be perhaps 5 times greater, that is 20 sites and 200 mature individuals.

The extent of habitat has decreased significantly. In 2013, less about 30% of the pre-settlement habitat remained amounting to less than 10,000 hectares (Regional Ecosystem Assessment).

The quality of habitat has also decreased over the past 10 years; the sites in which the collections have been made are under high recreational pressure. The limited evidence available suggests that this family of fungi (Boletaceae) are not fire tolerant. At the locations near residential areas, the water table suffers from increasing pollution and fertiliser use. Increased nutrients appear to inhibit the growth of mycorrhizal fungi.

Population Trend: unknown


Habitat and Ecology

This species is found in wet and dry coastal heathlands and dune systems (wallum). It is thought to be mycorrhizal with Allocasuarina, Melaleuca and/or Eucalyptus.

Threats

Land clearing has removed the host species and therefore the fungus. Extent of habitat has decreased significantly. In 2013, less than about 30% of the pre-settlement habitat remained, amounting to less than 10,000 hectares (Regional Ecosystem Assessment). The sites in which the collections have been made are under high recreational pressure from increased urbanisation. The limited evidence available suggests that this family of fungi (Boletaceae) are not fire tolerant (Robinson and Tunsell 2007). In the locations near residential areas the water table suffers from increasing pollution and fertiliser use on the golf course (anecdotal). Increased nutrients appear to inhibit the growth of mycorrhizal fungi. 

The National Parks appear to be protected from most of the current and past threats but as fungi are not recognised in conservation management plans, any future changes may not favour the conservation of the species. 

Future threats also include the effects of climate change. Increasing sea level and more frequent and higher intensity of storms to which this coastal habitat is particularly vulnerable. Harsher fire weather and drought are also predicted and may pose additional threats (http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au).

Conservation Actions

This taxon occurs in a Bushland reserve and two National Parks, all of which have management plans (DNPSR). Writing the species in to the management plans would lead to proper consideration of its conservation. Action may be needed to abate pollution at the Mt. Coolum N.P. as the site for this fungus is on the National Park Boundary that abuts the golf course which receives heavy doses of fertilizers and some fungicides. The Caloundra site is a reserve within an urban area and is well used as an urban park, management measures to protect the site of this fungus from recreational pressure are required.

The life cycle and habitat requirements of this species and of other mycorrhizal boletes are poorly understood. Research is needed to elucidate this and to formulate effective management plans. The establishment of new colonies of Boletes seems to pose special problems which has resulted in several species being red listed in European countries.

Use and Trade

This species is not utilised.

Source and Citation

Leonard, P.L. 2019. Heimioporus australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T154464996A154465948. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T154464996A154465948.en .Downloaded on 30 January 2021

Country occurrence