Records from Italy, France and Slovenia still unconfirmed and might consider closely related species. A similar species from Italy is described as R. quercus-ilicis (Schild 1998) and mediterranean reports of R. roellinii might be this taxon. A closely related North American species is R. murillii which needs to be investigated and compared with R. roellinii (Christan 2002).
Ramaria roellinii is confined to calcareous, sandy soils in xerophytic grasslands. Currently known with small populations from about 30 localities in 3-5 countries. Confined to a habitat that is in rapid decline all over its known distribution area. The habitat of semi-natural calcareous grasslands has decreased all over Europe. In some regions this reduction has been up to 90% over the last 100y Calaciura & Spinelli 2008).
So far only known from Europe. Described from Switzerland and subsequently found on a few localities in France, Germany and Sweden. Unconfirmed records from a few other countries.
Currently confirmed from less than 30 localities worldwide but real figure might be at least 10x. Confined to a rare and declining habitat (dry calcareous steppes) under serious threats of deteriorating habitat quality in all of its known distribution.
Using the known facts with caution and considering unknown localities the result would still be that the species is redlisted globally with the following reasoning:
Considering small population and subpopulations (less than 500 localities/10.000 individuals and less than 1.000 mature individuals in each subpopulation) AND decline/habitat detoriation the species would be redlisted as VU under C2a(i)
Population Trend: Decreasing
Ramaria roellinii is confined to calcareous, mainly sandy soils in xerophytic habitats. Habitat often characterized as “steppe” but include habitats such as steppe-like seashores as well as calcareous hill-sides (Gipshugeln, Stepprasen). Suitable habitats are very small and restricted and the species often occurs on only small parts of the localities, apparently very dependent on micro-scale edaphic factors such as, vegetation composition, pH and micro-climate. Allways grows among very sparse vegetation and low (trampled/grazed) lichen and moss-communities.
The localities allways host other rare and nationally red-listed species, (esp. Geastrum spp. and Tulostoma spp., but also higher plants and invertebrates) and function as “a target species” when doing conservation work in its habitats.
The habitat of semi-natural calcareous grasslands has decreased all over Europe. In some regions this reduction has been up to 90% over the last 100y. The effects of this general decrease is affecting species with small populations and narrow nisches like Ramaria roellinii probably even worse. Vegetation changes resulting from abandonment of grazing, fertilization, acidification, cultivation and exploitation is the main threat for the species. Also protecting sites is not allways enough since land managment is of crucial importance (grazing and small scale disturbance)
In Sweden Ramaria roellinii has been considered in a National Action Plan (Knutsson 2014). The work has been very successful considering the detailed knowledge of distribution, ecology and conservation needed to be considered. The number of known localities has increased, which however has not changed the evaluation of the status of the species that are under serious threats.
The action plan recommends the following for Ramaria roellinii: 1) Site protection to avoid exploitation, development etc. 2) Site management with grazing preassure enough to prevent vegetation changes and soil acidification 3) Consultations, education and recommendations to regional authorities and land-owners to make management plans for sites. 4) To change policies, regulations and subsidies (National and EU) for helping small animal-holders keep up appropriate grazing-preassure of natural grasslands.
The species needs further taxonomical investigations and some close species is described. These should be investigated considering both morphology and DNA. Trends for habitat of xerothermic grassland species and effects of management changes on a European/Global scale should be evaluated.
Calaciura & Spinelli. 2008. MANAGEMENT of Natura 2000 habitats * Semi-natural dry grasslands (FestucoBrometalia) 6210. NATURA 2000. technical Report 2008 12/24. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/management/habitats/pdf/6210_Seminatural_dry_grasslands.pdf
Christan, J. 2002. Ramaria murrillii ein Erstfund fur Deutschland. Mycol. Bav. 5: 13-19.
CBS Database Ramaria roellinii: http://www.cbs.knaw.nl/Collections/BioloMICS.aspx?Link=T&TableKey=14682616000000063&Rec=1153&Fields=All
Knutsson, T. 2014a. Åtgärdsprogram för stäppfingersvamp 2014-2018. Naturvårdsverket rapport 6630. Link: http://www.naturvardsverket.se/Nerladdningssida/?fileType=pdf&downloadUrl;=/Documents/publikationer6400/978-91-620-6630-7.pdf
Knutsson, T. & Fritz, Ö. 2014b. Stäppfingersvamp Ramaria roellinii på Öland. Link: http://www.lansstyrelsen.se/kalmar/SiteCollectionDocuments/Sv/publikationer/Rapporter/2014/rapp1403_stappfingersvamp_webb.pdf
Nitare, J. 1997. Artfaktablad Ramaria roellinii. Link: http://www.artfakta.se/artfaktablad/Ramaria_Roellinii_1356.pdf
Schild 1998. Die gattung Ramaria - 4 neue arten aus Italien und Sardinien. ZfM. Link: http://www.dgfm-ev.de/sites/default/files/ZM641053Schild.pdf