Ramaria boreimaxima is an eye-catching and easily recognizable mycorrhizal species with large fruitbodies associated with old growth Pinus sylvestris on dry and sandy soils in northern Europe (Scandinavia). The species is a representative and indicator species of old, dry, lichen-dominated sandy pine forests with a high conservation value, including a rich fungal biodiversity. The species is known from approx. 200 localities in Sweden and Finland.
The habitat of dry pine forest of R. boreimaxima is assessed as having had, is presently facing and expected to continue to have a 25-30% decline in quality and quantity (pine forest area), due to forestry. Evaluation period 50 years (= three generations according to the recommendation of Dahlberg and Mueller 2011). In Fennoscandia, an ongoing population decline inferred from habitat change (forest statistics) is estimated to exceed 25-30%. Hence, R. boreimaxima is assessed to meet the category Near Threathened (NT) under the criteria A2c+3c+4c
Sandy oligotrophic pine forests have been declining in most parts of Europe (cf. Brandrud and Bendiksen 2014) and R. boreimaxima is included in national Red List of Sweden. The decline is due to reduced habitat qualities of remaining forests due to intensive forestry with clear-cuts. The element of mycorrhizal fungi in dry sandy pine forests are probably among the most threatened and declining fungal elements of Europe
The name Ramaria magnipes, a species described in NW USA has earlier misapplied to this species by nordic authors. Now described as a new species: Ramaria boreimaxima Kytöv. & M.Toivonen (Bonsdorff et al, 2014).
Mycorrhizal with pine forests on sandy soils. An eye-catching and easily recognizable mycorrhizal fungus with large and compact fruitbodies found in old-growth pine forests on sandy soil. It is a good indicator of forests with high conservation values.The population is declining due to final cutting of older forests. During the last 50 years this habitat has decreased with more than 30 %.
Ramaria boreomaxima is distributed Sweden, Finland, with a few records in Estonia and probably also in western Russia.
Ramaria boreimaxima has has declined during the last 50 years in Fennoscandia due to clear-cutting of the dry sandy old pine forests.The species is estimated to have decreased by more than 30% in three generations (50 years) based on habitat-loss. Ramaria boreimaxima currently known from ca. 200 localities in Fennoscandia and a few in Estonia.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Ramaria boreimaxima forms mycorrhiza with Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) mainly associated with dry, often lichen-dominated sandy pine forests on glacifluvial deposits, often along the larger rivers, including esker-ridges (deposits made by subglacial rivers). The species is confined to old-growth forests and is not been recorded in younger, even-aged forests that has been clear-cut.
Ramaria boreomaxima is primarily threatened by clear-cutting of old-growth pine forests, measures to prevent forest fires and potentially also by nitrogen fertilization of forests. The species appears more or less dependent on forest/tree/root continuity, and is one of the more ´sensitive sandy pine forest species to modern clear-cutting forestry.
To prevent decline and fragmentation of the old-growth sandy pine forests with natural dynamics, it is important to set aside Scots pine forest reserves, preferentially larger, continuous areas, in regions where the species have good populations. In these forests, natural or prescribed burning should be considered to maintain desired forest dynamics. It is furthermore important to maintain other kinds of disturbance factors, such as (moderate) grazing, of e.g. raindeers providing small openings in the humus layer.
Mapping in old growth pine forests in Russia is needed to find out to what extent he species is present there.
No commercial use or trade is known.
Brandrud, T.E. and Bendiksen, E. 2014. Fungi of sandy pine forests in Norway, and a comparison of this threatened element elsewhere in Europe(-Asia). Agarica 35: 67-87.
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