R-L categories correct, but text here does not match final assessment. Updated version will be published in IUCN´s Red List June or Nov 2019.
Entoloma prunuloides belongs to a species complex (Morgado et al. 2013) of at least three closely related species (E. prunuloides s. str., E. pseudoprunuloides, and E. ochreoprunuloides). According to present knowledge, there are no extra-European records of E. prunuloides that are confirmed by DNA sequence analyses. Therefore, all records of this species outside of Europe should be treated as doubtful until confirmed by molecular and morphological methods. As far as is known, the species is distributed in 19 European countries. It is confined to old, unimproved semi-natural grasslands with preference for montane to (sub-)alpine areas. The main threat is disappearance of available habitats due to land abandonment, changes in land use (intensification of management practices) and pollution, especially nitrogen deposition. Alpine and subalpine grasslands are impacted by current climate warming, especially by the expansion of shrubs into grasslands that greatly influence structure and uniqueness of soil fungal communities. The preferred habitat management regime includes regular but extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep or deer) or hand mowing followed by sward removal (at least once a year).
Estimated population size of this species exceeds 20,000 mature individuals, therefore criterion A is applicable. The projected population decrease in Europe is at least 30% over 30 years (past, ongoing and future). If the level of habitat decline increases, the population reduction may actually be even higher, up to 50% over three generations (50 years; e.g. 1980-2030). This meets the threshold for IUCN category Vulnerable (VU) A2c+3c+4c.
Recently, Morgado et al. (2013) discovered that Entoloma prunuloides belongs to a species complex of at least three closely related species (E. prunuloides s. str., E. pseudoprunuloides, and E. ochreoprunuloides). As far as is known, E. pseudoprunuloides is distributed in North America (Canada) only, while the other two species are distributed in Europe. Therefore, all extra-European records of E. prunuloides s.l. should be carefully checked by molecular and morphological methods to discover real geographic limits of all taxa in this species complex. For now, E. prunuloides s. str. is treated as distributed only in Europe.
The species is distributed in 19 European countries.
Over the last century, more than 90% of European semi-natural grasslands have been lost (EEA Report 3/2016). Agricultural intensification, grassland conversion, and land abandonment are the cause of a decrease in areas covered with suitable habitats, and are posing a threat to their valuable fungal communities. Approximately half of the grassland habitats assessed under the EU Habitats Directive are in “unfavourable-bad” condition (EEA 2016). The European Red List of Habitats (Janssen et al. 2016) reported 26 grassland habitat types as threatened (categories VU, EN, CR) in EU28+ countries.
Entoloma prunuloides is currently reported from 19 European countries and GBIF database lists ca. 2650 occurences in total (March 2019). Projected population size of this species exceeds 20,000 mature individuals. The suspected decrease in Europe is at least 30% over 30 years (past, ongoing and future) but may actually be even higher, up to 50% over three generations (50 years; e.g. 1980-2030). Projected population reduction is estimated on the basis of decline in area and quality of available habitats, which has exceeded 30% over the last 30 years.The species is included in seven national fungal Red Lists in Europe (Austria, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland).
Population Trend: Decreasing
Entoloma prunuloides occurs as a saprotroph in extensively managed semi-natural grasslands (Noordeloos 1992), mostly on calcareous soils. It has a preference for montane to (sub-)alpine areas (in Switzerland occurring up to 2300 m alt.). Suitable grasslands are characterized with low availability of nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil due to extensive management practices (avoidance of fertilization and pesticide use). These habitats are characterized by many rare and endangered macrofungal species, especially those from genera Hygrocybe s. l., Entoloma, Camarophyllopsis s. l., and Dermoloma and from families Clavariaceae and Geoglossaceae. Suitable habitat management practices include extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep or deer) or regular hand mowing followed by sward removal.
Entoloma prunuloides is threatened mainly by the continuing fragmentation, degradation and disappearance of semi-natural grasslands. The main agriculture-related pressures/threats to these habitats in Europe are abandonment of traditional management, lack of grazing and mowing, fertilisation, modification of cultivation practices, and agricultural intensification (EEA 2015). In contrast to traditional management, employment of modern farming methods has resulted in a dramatic decline of biodiversity in different groups of organisms confined to semi-natural grasslands. A strong decline of grassland birds and a 45% decline in the butterfly population is reported in Western Europe in recent decades (Rounsevell et al. 2018). Many fungal species dependent on old extensively managed grasslands have become threatened in recent decades (e.g. members of genera Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Dermoloma; and families Geoglossaceae and Clavariaceae). An additional threat is air pollution in the form of nitrogen deposition that negatively affects mycobiota of semi-natural grasslands close to urban areas. Alpine and subalpine grasslands, important habitats for E. prunuloides, are impacted by current climate warming to some extent. Higher average air temperatures and milder winters with reduced snow cover have caused an extension of the vegetation season, altering plant and fungal community composition. In areas that are less accessible to livestock grazing, the expansion of shrubs into (sub-)alpine grasslands is expected to greatly influence soil properties and the structure and uniqueness of soil fungal communities (Grau et al. 2019).
Protection of sites with valuable semi-natural grasslands and implementation of extensive grassland management methods are the most important conservation measures for Entoloma prunuloides in Europe. Sites characterized with the greatest diversity of fungal species having high conservation value (e.g. indicator species from genera Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Dermoloma, etc.) should be primarily protected. Ideally, the whole distribution range of Entoloma prunuloides and different types of grasslands (in lowland, sub-alpine, alpine areas) in Europe should be protected. For each site, specific management plans should be developed and implemented in practice. Traditional grassland management regimes based on extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, etc.) or regular hand mowing followed by sward removal (at least once or twice a year) should be promoted.
Biogeographic distribution of all species in E. prunuloides species complex (E. prunuloides s. str., E. pseudoprunuloides, and E. ochreoprunuloides) should be explored, especially outside of Europe.
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