What is most appropriate 30 or 50% decline, i.e. NT or VU,
The fen puffball is a small puffball with wide distribution range in Northern Hemisphere, saprotropically associated with mosses and growing in one of the most vulnerable and declining habitats – alkaline and neutral fens, bogs, mires and wet meadows. Due to large-scale draining and eutrophication it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Its population decline has been widely reported.
Bovistella paludosa (Lév.) Pat. (1902)
Calvatia paludosa (Lév.) De Toni (1888)
Lycoperdon bubakii Bres. (1908)
Bovistella humidicola Bowerman (1962)
It is a small puffball with wide distribution range in Northern Hemisphere, associated with mosses and growing in one of the most vulnerable and declining habitats – alkaline and neutral fens, bogs, mires and wet meadows. Due to large-scale draining and eutrophication it is threatened by habitat loss and degradation. Its population decline has been widely reported.
The species is known from the Northern Hemisphere: Europe (lowlands, lower mountain regions, seldom above 1200 m a.s.l, but also in the Alps up to 2250 m a.s.l.) and Asia (Altai, Siberia, Himalaya up to 3650 m a.s.l., India). There are also few published records from North America (Canada, USA; Fraiture and Otto 2015). However, no American records exist in the internet accessible databases (Mycoportal, iNaturalist, Mushroom Observer, USDA ARS, Canada’s Species, GBiF, NCBI, UNITE). Thus, it is assumed that the species occurs at present in Eurasia.
According to Fraiture and Otto (2015), the number of currently known sites in Europe is about 150. A decrease in frequency has been recorded in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Poland and Sweden for the last 50 years. In Poland, 11 localities of the species are known; all but two were found before 1972 (Wojewoda 2002; Stasińska 2011; Kujawa et al. 2015). In Great Britain, the species has 33 findings: 17 before 1945, 4 before 2014 and 12 the most recent but found in just two locations in Scotland and Wales (Lost and Found Fungi Project, 2018). On the distribution map of fungi in Germany, 32 locations (squares) are indicated (German Mycological Society 2018). According to Rebriev and Dvadnenko (2017) the species was found in Russia in the region of Altai, Crimea and Baikal lake. Two Russian localities are also indicated in the GBiF database (one at the
Baikal Lake and the second on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk). The GBiF database cites 431 localities of this species altogether, however, only 194 of them come from the last 30 years and 86 from the last 10 years; a great majority of the records come from Sweden. There are probably no current records of this species in North America (see e.g., Mycoportal, iNaturalist, Mushroom Observer, USDA ARS, Canada’s Species, GBiF, NCBI, UNITE), although it was reported in Canada in the past (Kreisel 1967). The species is currently (2019) red-listed in Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland. It is protected by law in Poland.
Because mires, bogs and fens are wetland habitats with a high water content governing many ecological processes that structure their characteristic communities, their hydrological balance is easily disturbed by increased drainage caused by human activities. Furthermore, mire habitats have been widely destroyed or greatly altered in many areas by the extraction of peat. Extraction of peat and conversion of natural mire habitats to productive agricultural and forestry land have been the main reasons for the decline of mire habitats during recent and more long-term historic times and this decline is still continuing. In the EU countries, all but two of the 13 mire habitat types (85%) are threatened and this is the highest percentage of threatened habitats in all terrestrial and freshwater groups (European Red List of Habitats 2016). These types of habitats are most vulnerable to hydrological system modifications, surface water and air pollution (eutrophication), natural succession and erosion, agriculture intensification, silviculture and forest management, mining (peat extraction) and urbanization. They are also very sensitive to climate change, especially to increasing droughts.
In Europe, large areas of peatland have been drained. According to the recent report by Barthelmes et al. (2015), in the Nordic-Baltic countries, the percentage of drained peatlands amounts to 44.0%, which is a rather low value compared to the total of Europe (almost 60%, Joosten 2009). Moreover, the rather positive picture compared to Europe is, however, attributable to only two countries, Norway and Sweden, in which less than 20% of the peatlands have been drained. Thus, the conservative estimate of the habitat loss for Bovista paludosa probably exceeds 30%; the rareness of this species and its dependence on the continuously declining habitat (both in the area and in quality) imply that B. paludosa population have decreased in a similar range.
As B. paludosa is a widespread species albeit strictly depends on wet mossy habitats, the global population is assessed as large. Its rareness and dependence on habitats that largely have and are continuing to decline in area and quality throughout its distribution by an estimated scale of at least 25% during the last 30 years imply that B. paludosa population have decreased in a similar range.
Population Trend: Decreasing
It is a saprotrophic species, frequently growing among mosses, solitary or in small groups in a rather wide range of wet mossy habitats (Wojewoda 2002; Fraiture and Otto 2015). It occurs most often in alkaline to neutral fens, bogs and mires, wet meadows including boggy peat meadows, wet heaths, sometimes in forests meadows, from June to October. The species avoids oligotrophic and strongly acid mires. Many of the species habitats are covered with the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. These include Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (6410), Active raised bogs (7110), Transition mires and quaking bogs (7140), Fennoscandian mineral-rich springs and springfens (7160), Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davalliance (7210), Alkaline fens (7230), Alpine pioneer formations of Caricion biciloris-atrofuscae
The species grows on organotrophic substrates (peat), it prefers clearly basic pH (acid sites are exceptional) and low (oligotrophic) to moderately low (mesotrophic) nitrogen content. The species mainly occurs in natural and near-natural habitats, less often in semi-natural ones (extensively used meadows). Thus the fungus is a good indicator for undisturbed or only weakly disturbed fens and mires (Fraiture and Otto 2015).
The species occurs in one the most threatened type of terrestrial habitats – in alkaline and neutral fens, mires and bogs. The habitat is vulnerable to hydrological system modifications, surface water and air pollution (eutrophication), natural succession and erosion, agriculture intensification, silviculture and forest management, mining (peat extraction) and urbanization. These sites are also very sensitive to climate change, especially to increasing droughts. Thus, the species is threatened by habitat degradation and loss.
The distribution of peatland in Europe is strongly imbalanced, with much more peatland occurring in the north than in the south, roughly reflecting the influence of temperature and rainfall, with less peatland occurring where summer temperatures are higher and rainfall is lower (Moen et al. 2017).
Thus, the threat of habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, resulting in the population decrease and fragmentation, is also uneven.
The species can be protected through the conservation of its habitat and preventing of the degradation of the sites of its actual and potential occurrence. This includes, e.g., preventing changes in water regime, avoiding intensification of agriculture and silviculture practices in the neighbouring areas, control over peat extraction, active prevention of the forest succession and erosion, control over the practices leading to eutrophication, etc. Protection of the sites of occurrence is also recommended.
Inventory studies and monitoring of known sites. Searching for American localities of the species.
The species is of no interest for use and trade.
Barthelmes A., Couwenberg J., Risager M. Tegetmeyer C., Joosten H. 2015. Peatlands and Climate in a Ramsar context. A Nordic-Baltic Perspective. Copenhagen.
Dahlberg A., Croneborg H. 2003. 33 threatened fungi in Europe: Complementary and revised information on candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Bern Convention. Uppsala: Swedish Species Information Centre, 2003. 82 p.
Fraiture A., Otto P. (eds) 2015. Distribution, ecology & status of 51 macromycetes in Europe. Results of the ECCF Mapping Programme. Botanic Garden Meise, Meise.
Joosten H. 2009. The Global Peatland CO2 Picture. Peatland status and drainage associated emissions in all countries of the World. Wetlands International, Ede.
Wojewoda W. 2002. Bovista paludosa Lev. 2002. [In:] Wojewoda W. (ed) Atlas of the geographical distribution of fungi in Poland 2: 23-26. W Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków.
Lost and Found Fungi Project. 2018. [Internet] [cited 2018 Feb 23]. Available from: http://fungi.myspecies.info/content/lost-found-fungi-project
German Mycological Society. 2018. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Feb 23]. Available from: http://www.pilze-deutschland.de/organismen/bovista-paludosa-lév-1846
Rebriev Y.A., Dvadnenko K.V. 2017. Gasteromycetes of the genus Bovista in Russia. Mikologiya i Fitopatologiya 51 (6): 365-374.