Echinoporia inermis was described by Coelho (2008) based on morphological characteristics of a single specimen. The phylogenetic relationships of the genus and its species remain unknown.
The species has been recorded from only a limited number of sites since 2008, considered endemic to the southern and southeastern regions of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and represented by no more than 24 collections. Echinoporia inermis occurs in the historically threatened region of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest strongly fragmented and composed of secondary forest. This species should be assessed based on its small population and the threats that its population is submitted.
Currently, this species is only known from seven sites in the southern Atlantic Forest domain of Brazil, in the Dense Ombrophilous Forests in São Paulo and in Rio Grande do Sul states, and one site in an Araucaria Forest. In Rio Grande do Sul the type species was collected on decayed wood of Senna macranthera, but no substrate identification was given in the later collections. The species is expected to be endemic to the southern and southeastern Atlantic Forest.
The species has been recorded 24 times, from four sites in São Paulo State and three in Rio Grande do Sul. The species was described based on a specimen collected in 2006 at Rio Grande do Sul State, Santa Maria, District of Boca do Monte, FEPAGRO (Coelho 2008). The species was recollected nine years later in São Paulo State (Motato-Vásquez et al. 2015). The sites in São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul are conservation units extensively sampled, with frequent mycological surveys. The Atlantic Forest is the most studied domain in Brazil, with many traditional and active groups of specialists in fungal taxonomy extensively surveying throughout the region. Thus, the species is likely rare.
Considering the number of known sites where the species was found and the number of known collections, it is estimated that there are no more than 500-1000 sites of occurrence, each supporting up to 8 mature individuals. Total population is estimated at up to 21,000 mature individuals in one subpopulation. This is likely to be in decline as a result of past and ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation. Therefore, the population is expected to decline by at least 16% over the next 30 years, driven by habitat quality loss, continued destruction and fragmentation of the habitat in the Atlantic Forest due to human activity and climate change. Population decline was estimated in light of extension loss of suitable habitat (Rezende et al. 2018) and the putative influence that habitat degradation has on species occupation in a given environment (Berglund & Jonsson 2002, Haddad et al. 2015)
Population Trend: Decreasing
Echinoporia inermis is a saprobic wood-decomposer, causing a white-rot. It is likely restricted to the southern Atlantic Forest, only from Dense Ombrophilous Montane Forest. The type specimen was described as found on decayed wood of Senna macranthera, but no substrate identification was provided in the later collections.
Only 28% of the original area of the Atlantic Forest remains. Currently, this biome is considered one of the world’s hotspots, which remains prone to anthropogenic threats. It is represented by forest fragments, being affected by secondary effects of previous deforestation, such as climate change, “secondarization” and “savannization” (Tabarelli et al. 2010, Rezende et al. 2018). Also, there are problems related to illegal activities in conservation areas and their vicinity, including fire.
All the sites where the species occurs are in conservation areas ranging from 10 km2 to a maximum of 400 km2. Being considered small fragments, which are not interconnected. Some of these places are islands within large cities, such as the Parque Estadual da Cantareira in São Paulo. The main conservation action to prevent the decline of the species is the preservation of the known and potential sites by effectively managing existing, and establishing new, conservation areas. Surveys are needed in unexplored areas to better understand the species’ distribution and ecology. The areas of south Brazil with appropriate vegetation deserve special attention.
Phylogeny, culture studies and more surveys in other areas where the species potentially occurs are needed to better understand the species biology and confirm its distribution and ecology.
Berglund H, Jonsson BG. 2003. Nested plant and fungal communities; the importance of area and habitat quality in maximizing species capture in boreal old-growth forests. Biol. Conserv. 112: 319–328 (2).
Coelho, G. 2008. Echinoporia inermis G. Coelho sp. nov. Fungal Planet: 27.
Haddad NM, Brudvig LA, Clobert J, Davies K, Gonzalez A, Holt RD, Lovejoy TE, Sexton JO, Austin MP, Collins CD, Cook WM, Damschen EI, Ewers RM, Foster BL, Jenkins CN, King AJ, Laurance WF, Levey DJ, Margules CR, Melbourne BA, Nicholls AO, Orrock JL, Song DX, Townshend JR. 2015. Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems. Science Advances, 1(2): 2015;1:e1500052. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1500052.
Motato-Vásquez, V., Robledo, G.L. & Gugliotta, A.M. 2015. New records and geographic distribution map of echinoporia Ryvarden (Schizoporaceae, Basidiomycota) species in the Neotropics. Check List 11(1): 1508
Rezende, C.L., Scarano, F.R., Assad, E.D., Joly, C.A., Metzger, J.P., Strassburg, B.B.N., Tabarelli, M., Fonesca, G.A. and Mittermeier, R.A. 2018. From hotspot to hopespot: An opportunity for the Brazilian. Atlantic Forest. Perspectives in ecology and conservation 16: 208-214.
Tabarelli, M., Aguiar, A. V., Ribeiro, M. C., Metzger, J. P., and Peres, C. A. 2010. Prospects for biodiversity conservation in the Atlantic Forest: Lessons from aging human-modified landscapes. Biological Conservation 143(10): 2328-2340.