Clavulina ossea Meiras-Ottoni & Gibertoni, in Tibpromma et al., Fungal Diversity 83: 205 (2017).
Clavulina ossea is a discrete species, even though the basidiomes are large, they are grayish-brown or brown and therefore can be hard to spot. This species is known from four sites in Brazil, but it is estimated to be distributed along the Atlantic Forest from south to northeast Brazil. Based on the severe habitat loss of area and habitat quality we suspect a population decline of around 26% within the last three generations (50 years). It is assessed as Near Threatened.
This species is known from four sites in Brazil: one in Paraíba state (Areia, Mata do Pau-Ferro State Park), one in Alagoas state (Quebrangulo, Reserva Biológica de Pedra Talhada) and two in Santa Catarina state (Florianópolis, Mirante do Morro da Lagoa trail and Florianópolis, Morro do Rapa trail), but it is likely to be more widespread through the coastal Atlantic Forest of Brazil.
This species is found growing solitary to scattered in small clusters of grayish-brown to brown basidiomes, with a medium detectability. There are seven known collections of the species, three from Santa Catarina state (Ferst, 2021), one from Paraíba state (Tibpromma et al., 2017) and three from Alagoas state (unpublished data). There are few records of the species even in frequently surveyed sites like Mirante do Morro da Lagoa trail. However, it is likely that Clavulina ossea is not commonly sampled due to the dull colors of the basidiomes and because not many people have been looking for coralloid fungi in Brazil.
Considering that some collections had 1 basidiome and others had 12 basidiomes, we used an average of 6 ramets per mature individual. Due to its moderate detectability, we estimate the species to be five times more common than known records indicate at each site. Total population is estimated at up to 52,500 mature individuals, distributed in 1,000 possible sites.
The Atlantic Forest holds the largest urban centers in Brazil, housing more than 70% of the Brazilian population, thus urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural expansion have led to high loss and fragmentation of this biome. There has been a habitat decline of Atlantic Forest of over 72% by the year 2020 (Rezende et al. 2018). Considering declines of this habitat within the last three generations of this species (50 years), we precautionarily project there has been a habitat loss of area and habitat quality of at least 26% and that this also equates to a population decline of at least 26% within this timeframe. Population decline was estimated in light of extension loss of suitable habitat (da Silva et al. 2020) 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
This is a possibly ectomycorrhizal species growing solitary to scattered in the Atlantic Forest floor from Brazil.
There is concern over a decline of the habitat considering the Atlantic Forest, as they are small highly fragmented patches open to recreational activities and tourism and there are no strict laws that restrict the use (Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica, 2021). Also, the areas in southern Brazil have been impacted by urban growth. Threats to the last remnants of restinga in the coastal Atlantic Forest include the urbanization and the invasion of the areas by exotic pine trees (Pinus elliottii).
In Paraíba state, in northeastern Brazil, the species was first described from brejos de altitude, which are regions of moist forest (with high rainfall) surrounded by semi-arid vegetation (Porto, Cabral and Tabarelli, 2004). These areas have suffered a reduction of over 90% in its territory in the past 50 years due to forest clearing for agricultural activities and wood extraction purposes. Therefore, we cannot disregard the impact of climate change in these environments, such as aggravated droughts in the northeastern region of Brazil.
The site located in Alagoas is a biological reserve that is a transition between the Atlantic Forest and the Caatinga. As it is a biological reserve, there are residents and squatters who use the reserve area to plant subsistence crops. This site is also under great pressure from invaders for the illegal removal of tree species with economic value (Almeida et al., 2006).
Required conservation actions include increased site protection, management (in order to contain clearing, hunting activities, and wood extraction), and maintenance of the protected areas where the species is found, along with developing conservation plans. Also, forest restoration should be considered where the remnants are smaller than 1000 ha.
More surveys and below-ground studies are necessary to identify its plant symbionts and to better understand this species distribution patterns and its habitat requirements. Considering that some of the sites where the species was found [such as ‘brejos de altitude’ (Paraíba) and the transition between Atlantic Forest and Caatinga (Alagoas)] are fragile environments and are susceptible to threats, the population decline of the species may be much greater in these sites than on the other sites where the species grows. Therefore, more studies and sampling in these sites should be done.
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