Leccinum andinum is endemic to southern neotropical Quercus forests. It was first described from Costa Rica, but has been frequently found in Colombia. It is possible that the species occurs with Quercus in Panama, but there are no reports. There is no direct information of population reduction, but a significant reduction is inferred due to extensive past and ongoing habitat loss and decline in habitat quality in Colombia resulting in a population reduction of its mycorrhizal host. Pressures and population reductions are expected to continue.The Costa Rican subpopulation is likely relatively stable due to forest conservation policies in that country. As the sites in Costa Rica are relatively stable while the sites in Colombia will continue to face significant threats and continued reductions, the ongoing reductions in the population of L. andinum is suspected to be between 20-25% over three generations. It is listed as Near Threatened.
Leccinum andinum is a conspicuous neotropical bolete. The species is associated to mountain oak forests in Costa Rica and Colombia. There are not enough information about the trend of the population of L. andinum. However, habitat loss and degradation are the main threatened. Tropical forests dominated by Quercus are restricted to mountain areas with anthropic pressures due to land use change, deforestation, timber extraction causing a decrease in populations, fragmentation and loss of habitat quality.
Leccinum andinum is an ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with Quercus species in Costa Rica and Colombia. This species was first described from Colombia in wet montane forests (Halling 5052, Holotype HUA) where it is associated with Quercus humboldtii (Halling 1989). It has since been recorded from additional sites in Antioquia and Tolima departments (Vasco-Palacios and Franco-Molano 2013, Peña-Venegas and Vasco-Palacios 2019). In Costa Rica it has been reported to associate with Q. costaricensis and possibly with Q. seemannii at several sites in the northern regions of the Cordillera Talamanca (Halling and Mueller 2003). It is possible that the species occurs with Quercus in northern Panama and the Darien, but there are no reports.
Leccinum andinum is known from forests with Quercus in Colombia and Costa Rica. In Colombia the species has been recorded forming ectomycorrhizas with Quercus humboldtii in Antioquia and Tolima departments.There are 11 herbarium specimens collected from 6 different localities in Antioquia and Tolima. Those collections are housed in the herbarium at the University of Antioquia (HUA). Its host tree has a wider distribution in Colombia, and L. andinum likely occurs in other localities around the country. In Costa Rica, L. andinum is only known from 5 herbarium collections from a few scattered sites in the Cordillera Talamancas where it has been found associated with Quercus costaricensis and Q. seemannii (Halling and Mueller 2003). It is not known if the species occurs with Quercus in Panama.
There is no direct information that the population has declined, but a significant population reduction is inferred due to extensive past and ongoing habitat loss and decline in habitat quality resulting in a population reduction of its obligate hosts, species of Quercus. Further pressure and population reductions are expected to continue. There has been a nearly 42% loss of Quercus humboldtii populations in Colombia, and the tree is nationally listed as vulnerable (VU A2cd) (Cardenas and Salinas 2007). Deforestation in Colombia has increased in recent years and is anticipated to continue into the future. A loss of its mycorrhizal host directly impacts L. andinum - and it is estimated that the species has undergone rapid population decline in the past and that will continue into the future resulting in a population reduction of between 30-50% in Colombia, the primary country that it inhabits. There is less data available to predict the decline of the species in Costa Rica. Parts of the Talamancas are protected in National parks, but other areas are privately held, and there is limited logging ongoing as well as commercial and housing developments. For the mountain areas where this species occurs, the total forest cover has not significantly changed in the last 20 years (MINAE et al. 2018). As Leccinum andinum is ectomycorrhizal and requires a Quercus host, a reduction in host population directly negatively impacts its population size. As the sites in Costa Rica are relatively stable while the sites in Colombia will continue to face significant threats and continued decline, the ongoing decline for the population of L. andinum is suspected to be between 20-25% over three generations.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Leccinum andinum is restricted to wet montane forests with Quercus humboldtii in Colombia, and with Quercus copeyensi and Q. seemannii in Costa Rica from sites ranging from 2,400 to 3,100 masl. The species is obligatorily ectomycorrhizal with Quercus species. This species can be solitary or found in small groups. It has been commonly encountered at the sites where it has been reported.
The main known threat to Leccinum andinum is declining habitat and fragmentation due to deforestation and the reduction in population size of Quercus species. Anthropogenic pressure on oak forests and habitat degradation is mainly due to deforestation due to land use change, logging, and urbanization. In addition, timber extraction carried out for the production of charcoal in the past and continued use of wood for construction of houses and furniture has significantly negatively impacted oak populations (Cárdenas and Salinas 2007, Nieto and Rodriguez 2010). There are several large mining initiatives being considered for the region, and if they come to fruition they will have a significant negative impact. Deforestation in Colombia has increased in recent years and is anticipated to continue into the future. Due to a policy aimed at conserving remaining natural areas, there is a lower threat level for the species in Costa Rica (MINAE et al. 2018).
Habitat protection and enhanced forest management practices are needed. Populations of the hosts tree in Colombia, Quercus humboldtii, occur in several protected sites, including the slopes of Nevados del Puracé and Huila, Parque Nacional Darién, Los Guacharos National Park, Corredor de Conservación de Robles Guantiva – La Rusia – Iguaque, and biological reserves on private land (Cárdenas and Salinas 2007). But most of the habitat is unprotected and susceptible to deforestation or degradation. Fungi are not included in Colombian conservation and biodiversity policy and laws. Most potential sites in Costa Rica occur in protected areas.
Research is needed to evaluate population trends and further document distribution. Molecular analyses are needed for phylogenetic inference and to provide identified sequences to enable identification of environmental samples required for molecular based ecology studies. A taxonomic review of the collections deposited in the Colombian herbaria should be carried out, as there are many unidentified Boletaceae specimens in the collections.
No uses has been reported for this species