A unique species from a threatened habitat on the western slopes of the Ecuadorian Andes. Known from two collections within a 50-mile radius, both within the hyperbiodiverse Chocó bioregion, which is facing persistent and widespread threats of mining.
Only known from two collections in a 50mi. radius in the Ecuadorian Chocó.
As a suspected endemic of the Chocó bioregion (though only known from two collections), this species’ population can reasonably be determined to be in moderate to significant decline due to the large-scale extractive projects planned or underway in this unique habitat.
Population Trend: Decreasing
The Chocó bioregion, one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth, is facing widescale threats from mining interests, particularly in Ecuador. The holotype for T. chocoënsis and the second ever collection of same were made within 50 miles of one another. The latter was collected in Reserva Los Cedros, a full 67% of which was recently granted as a mining concession to Canadian mining company, Cornerstone LLC. The detrimental effects of the proposed mining operations will almost certainly not be consolidated solely to the boundary of the concession, but rather a radius which will include downstream and neighboring areas as well, directly or indirectly impacting both of the two known collection sites of this species.
Efforts are underway at the local, national and international level to halt mining operations in Ecuadorian Chocó forests, principally in the form of court cases challenging the constitutionality of granting concessions within “Bosques Protectores.” Reserva Los Cedros is a prominent defendant in one such ongoing case. RLC is community managed, and possesses a research station, knowledgeable staff, and well-maintained network of trails, all of which have enabled the reserve to offer both local employment opportunities, ecotourism and research opportunities for over two decades. Investigations carried out at RLC since its creation have resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications, demonstrating the very high degree of biodiversity of the reserve and the Chocó in general, which in turn has strengthened conservation efforts in the region.
Greater surveying of the fungi of the Chocó bioregion (and the Andes in general) is necessary to adequately assess the rarity of T. chocoënsis and the degree of its endemism.
Roy, Bitty & Zorrilla, Martin & Endara, Lorena & Thomas, Daniel & Vandegrift, Roo & M. Rubenstein, Jesse & Policha, Tobias & Rios-Touma, Blanca & Read, Morley. (2018). New Mining Concessions Could Severely Decrease Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Ecuador. Tropical Conservation Science. 11. 194008291878042. 10.1177/1940082918780427.
Stadler, Marc & Fournier, Jacques & Læssøe, Thomas & Chlebicki, Andrzej & Lechat, Christian & Flessa, Fabienne & Rambold, Gerhard & Persoh, Derek. (2012). Chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic studies of Thamnomyces (Xylariaceae). Mycoscience. 51. 189-207. 10.1007/S10267-009-0028-9.