This species appears to be quite rare, with an estimated population size of up to 1,500 mature individuals. Its EOO and AOO based on the known sites are quite small, but are likely to be underestimates. Although there are threats affecting its habitat and therefore probably the population at some sites, no significant population decline is currently inferred at the global level. It is therefore assessed as Near Threatened, nearly meeting Vulnerable D.
This species was described by Nouhra et al. 2012
Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?
This species has only been found from three sites in the Andes in northern Patagonia that fall within two protected areas (Lanin National Park, Argentina and Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, Chile). These are the only sites that have been located despite extensive searching for truffle-like fungi in the region. This species has not been found south of the Volcán Osorno region and is though to be restricted to northern Patagonia.
Population and Trends
This species has only been found in well preserved forest sites with mature Nothofagaceae trees despite extensive searching for truffle-like fungi in the region. Due to ongoing threats to mature Nothofagaceae forests this rare species is also under threat.
The current records show up to 3 genets per site, but it is likely that there are others; here we assume 5 genets, i.e. 50 ramets, per site, and therefore 150 mature individuals in the known three sites. As a truffle-like species, it has low detectability, though as it produces large numbers of basidiomata it is more detectable than many other truffles. The area of additional potential suitable habitat is quite large but has also been moderately well surveyed. A multiplier of 100 is therefore reasonable to account for the unknown sites, i.e. a total population size of 1,500 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Habitat and Ecology
This species is an ectomycorrhizal associate of Nothofagaceae trees and has been found in forests with Nothfagus dombeyi, Nothofagus pumilio and Lophozonia alpina as potential host trees. This species typically produces basidiomata below the leaf litter in mature, well preserved forests.
High quality Nothofagaceae forests in the range of this species are currently under threat due to forest fires, logging and grazing. In the future, many of the forests in this region are also anticipated to experience increased drought due to climate change. Because this species seems restricted to well preserved, mature forests it is threatened by any activities that degrade the forests in northern Patagonia.
Small-holder grazing, ranching or farmingUnintentional effects: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]Increase in fire frequency/intensityDroughts
Preservation of northern Nothofagaceae forests in the Andes is critical to the survival of this species.
Resource & habitat protection
More survey work is needed to further explore the distribution of this species.
Population size, distribution & trends
Use and Trade
This species has no known human uses.
Scleroderma patagonicum specimen MES1278. Photograph by M. E. Smith.