This species is only currently known from the Chapada do Araripe, but it is likely that it occurs in all of the Cerradão formation. This habitat is under intense pressure and is declining rapidly. It is suspected that the species is declining in line with habitat loss and deterioration. The overall rate of decline is suspected to be c.50% over three generations (30 years). Therefore, this species is listed as Endangered.
The species is only known from the Chapada do Araripe, an area of the Cerradão formation that is specially threatened by the expansion of the population and the many cities built in the forest. S. araripensis is a rare hypogeous species and its conservation is important in relation to the impact of the growing human activities on the soil. Since this reserve is being intensively studied as a paleontological site, the integrity of the soil is also a compromised, in this case, by the consequences of other research activities.
This species is only known from four collections, but the original paper (Sulzbacher et al. 2016) only provides coordinates for one point. The species has only been found in the Chapada do Araripe, but it is likely to be distributed in all of the Cerradão formation, since it is most certainly a saprotrophic species and, therefore, no high substrate specificity would be expected in an environment with such high biodiversity.
After repeated samplings, individuals were found only in one area in one occasion (M. Sulzbacher pers. comm.). We assume that the population could have a wider distribution, however, it is expected to be sparse across the range. The habitat in the Cerradão is under intense pressure (see Brannstrom et al. 2008), and rapid declines are suspected to be occurring. Assuming that this species would be in decline in line with habitat loss and degradation, we can suspect a rate of decline of c.50% over 30 years (three generations).
Population Trend: Decreasing
It is saprotrophic in well drained, slightly acidic soil, under a leaf and debris covering.
Deforestation and clearing of extensive areas for human settlement and agriculture are threats to this species.
The area where the species has been reported is now a palaeontological reserve. This means that public access is restricted only to certain parts of the area. Expanding the areas with exclusion of human activities in order to stop habitat reduction would be the first step for the conservation of this species and its environment.
Survey efforts and a molecular study of the species would be helpful to detect its occurrence using DNA in similar areas of the Cerradão.
There are no uses reported.
Vilas-Boas, M., Lima, F. and Brilha, J.B. (2012). Conservation of the palaeontological heritage of Araripe Geopark (Ceará, Brazil): threats and possible solutions. Trimestrale della SIGEA, P. Geologia dell Ambiente.
Sulzbacher, M.A., Sousa, J.O., Cortez, V.G., Giachini, A.J. and Baseia, I.G. (2016). Sclerogaster araripensis, a new hypogeous fungus from the upland wet forest enclaves of northeast Brazil. Sydowia, 68, 107-111.