There is a question if Eurasian, American and Australian collections represent the same species and also there is a possibility that even in Europe there could be two rather similar species. More genetic and taxonomical analyses are required.
Violet Coral decline due to agricultural intensification (primarily the application of phosphorus) and the reduction of natural grassland. It is an indicator of old unfertilised grasslands, usually occurring together with other Clavariaceae and Hygrocybe species.
Clavaria zollingeri is considered a flagship species of threatened grassland Clavaria spp. inhabiting species rich semi-natural grasslands which were for a long time managed in a traditional way, so called waxcap grasslands (Jordal 1997, Boertman 2010). These habitats dependent on extensive grazing and/or hand mowing without using artificial fertilizers and pesticides are rapidly disappearing worldwide and so do fungal species bound to them. The species has a peak incidence in “hot spots” ( species-rich sites) .
Because of taxonomical uncertainties evaluated at European level (as ss.lat. and maybe including two taxa): NT close to VU (A2c+3c+4c), habitat decline approaching 30 % during the last 30 years and estimated species decline is probably higher. Decline of the habitat is expected to continue even more rapidly in the next 50 years, followed by the decline of the species. The past, ongoing and expected decline may exceed 30%, if so VU. Evaluation period (= 3 generations) is considered to be 50 years for C. zollingeri as recommended for ectomycorrthizal and soil inhabiting species by Dahlberg & Mueller, 2011. Norwegian redlist estimated generation time 17 years. It has a European population that probably exceeds 20 000 mature individuals. Cause of decline: Loss of suitable habitat, caused by agricultural intensification and decline of traditional farming (hand mowing and mild grazing) as well as application of lawn fertilisers and pesticides.
Distributed worldwide, not known only from Africa. Decreasing in Europe due to loss of suitable habitat, caused by agricultural intensification and decline of traditional farming (hand mowing and mild grazing) as well as application of lawn fertilisers, fungicides and moss killers. In North America, New Zealand and Australia considered forest species, not grassland like in Europe, so the level of threat is uncertain.
Population Trend: Deteriorating
In Europe it is an excellent indicator of old unfertilised grasslands. It is thought to be a saprotroph, breaking down dead grass and moss, thus playing an important role in the nutrient cycle. Stable isotope analysis suggests that the fairy clubs break down organic material in the lower soil horizons, possibly even deeper than the waxcaps. Habitat preferences are that the grass sward is usually short, moss rich and poor in nutrients.(Mitchell 2000)
In other parts of the world it grows mainly in forests or shrubs, in mosses or on bare soil.
It is difficult to tell whether the species is seriously threatened outside Europe, where it prefers forest habitats. The main reasons for decline in Europe are agricultural intensification (primarily the application of phosphorus) and the reduction of habitat. Grassland neglect where the sward becomes rank also restricts fruiting, although it is not clear if this affects the organism under the ground. In the urban environment, the application of lawn fertilisers, fungicides and moss killers can also affect the species.(Mitchel, 2000)
According to NATURA 2000 reports (Calaciura & Spinelli). Pressure on grassland habitats is steadily increasing, mainly due to abandonment or change in use. The total area of grassland in the EU fell by an average of 12% between 1975 and 1998, with increases in only a few areas. In the areas where the habitat is still present, the lack of management results in a continuing decrease in range of the many species that depend on it.
Some of the grasslands are already protected by law as Natural monuments, Natural reserves a.o. Some of the grassland fungal species are redlisted or protected by law.
Main focus is to maintain the number of viable populations of this species.
More than 75% of the grasslands habitats are in an unfavourable conservation status, according to draft data provided by Member States under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. For more information on the assessment visit: http://ec.europa. eu/environment/nature/knowledge/ rep_habitats/index_en.htm#csa.
Research into ecological requirements and trophic form.
Future research should be aimed to confirm that specimens worldwide represent the same species. Despite the importance of this conspicuous species in many inventory and biodiversity research projects, a very little is still known about its taxonomy. More molecular and taxonomical investigation is necessary.
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