Panaeolus sylvaticus is a saprotrophic, non-coprophilous, mushroom described in 2019 from material collected at two sites in western Paraná State, Southern Brazil. It was reported growing in decaying plant debris in seasonal semi-deciduous forest remnants.
Although surveys of Funga in southern Brazil, especially for Agaricales, have been intensively carried out for decades, the species was not observed until recently. The known and expected distribution of this species is restricted to seasonal semi-deciduous Atlantic Forest in Brazil, and potentially parts of Paraguay and Argentina. Its population size is estimated between 2,100 to no more than 5,000 mature individuals, restricted to one subpopulation.The Atlantic Forest is under strong threat due to deforestation and other anthropogenic pressures. Due to habitat degradation and loss, the species population decline is estimated to have been at least 10% over the past 20 years. Panaeolus sylvaticus is assessed as Vulnerable (VU) under criterion C1+2a(ii).
Panaeolus sylvaticus Silva-Filho & Cortez, Edinburgh Journal of Botany 76 (2): 303 (2019). This species was described by Silva-Filho et al (2019), from material collected in Paraná state, southern Brazil. Currently, the species has no synonyms and the epithet refers to the Latin name the forest (sylva), the habitat of this species.
This is a rare species, known only from 7 collections found in Paraná State, Brazil. It is likely to become even rarer with the continued loss and degradation of the habitat in the Atlantic Forest due to human activity and climate change.
This species is found in the Atlantic Forest, in the western Paraná State, Southern Brazil. The species is currently known from two localities, the São Camilo State Park, in the municipality of Palotina, Paraná state, and the private natural heritage reserve Fazenda Açu, in the Terra Roxa municipality. This species was described as occurring in the seasonal semideciduous forest of the Atlantic Forest, on decaying plant debris, and may reach other areas structurally similar and even other ecotones of Brazilian Cerrado with Atlantic Forest in Central Brazil, where natural conditions could favor the species occurrence, such as those observed in the cerradão phytophysiognomy, which makes up a forest physiognomy of the Cerrado biome. It is expected that this species can reach parts of the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest in eastern Paraguay and northwestern Argentina, where remains of the seasonal semideciduous forest also occur.
Panaeolus sylvaticus is a recently described species, currently known from two sites, with seven collections (Silva-Filho et al. 2019). Three of them are from São Camilo State Park at the municipality of Palotina, Paraná state, and four from the private natural heritage reserve Fazenda Açu, in the Terra Roxa municipality. The distance between these two sites is around 35 km. Although the species is known only for two sites in western Paraná, from material sampled at seasonal semideciduous forest growing solitary on decaying plants debris, it is expected the species distribution is along the Atlantic Forest, where there are remains of the semideciduous forest.
In the last decades, deforestation has increased in the Atlantic Forest, characterized as a hotspot for biodiversity protection, highly fragmented (Myers et al. 2000, Rezende et al. 2018). Data on deforestation rates from Atlantic Forest indicate that the original vegetation cover was reduced to less than 28%, including both forest (26%) and non-forest native formations (2%) in Brazil. In Paraguay, where it is expected that the species can potentially occur, less than 10% of Atlantic Forest’s original cover remains (Da Ponte et al. 2017). Panaeolus sylvaticus is a species with medium detectability and occurs on the litter deposited on the forest floor. Because of this and due to no other collection being found so far, even with extensive surveys to Funga in Southern Brazil being carried out, it is suggested that in the past this species was much more abundant. For these additional areas of occupancy, there are an estimated 100-200 additional potential sites each of them supporting around 21 mature individuals per site. Therefore, the population of P. sylvaticus is estimated between 2,100 to no more than 5,000 mature individuals, restricted to one subpopulation. The population decline was estimated in light of extension loss of suitable habitat (Da Ponte et al. 2017, Rezende et al. 2018) and the putative influence that habitat degradation has on species occupation in a given environment (Berglund & Jonsson 2005, Haddad et al. 2015), with at least 10% of the species’ population decreasing over the last three generations (20 years).
Population Trend: Decreasing
P. sylvaticus was described as occurring in the seasonal semideciduous forest of Atlantic Forest. It was found growing solitary, on very decaying plant debris, being characterized as a saprotrophic, non-coprophilous species.
The Atlantic Forest is considered a hotspot for biodiversity conservation due to various anthropogenic pressures including increased fire frequency, vegetation cover conversion, and the high rate of endemism observed in the biome (Myers et al. 2000). Because the remnant of the biome is highly fragmented, the annual rate of deforestation is still high and the consequences of the effects of environmental changes due to climate change, the areas where the species can occur are highly threatened (Salazar et al. 2007, Tabarelli et al. 2010, Rezende et al. 2018). Furthermore, an emerging threat is flexibility observed in public policies for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest. Recent deregulating acts from the current Brazilian government reduced protection and provided amnesty for deforestation in the Atlantic Forest (Vale et al. 2021). Panaeolus sylvaticus was observed in two sites that are protected areas by Brazilian law (Law nº 9.995/2000 and Decree nº 6.595/1990), both close to urban centers, sites that may be heavily threatened, even under legal protection.
Ensuring the conservation of Atlantic Forest, under the Brazilian Native Vegetation Protection Law (Law No. 12.651/2012), known as the Brazilian Forest Code, and mainly under the most specific law of protection for the biome (Law No. 11.428/2006) is the most efficient short-term measure. Forest restoration actions, the creation of new preservation areas, management, maintenance, and protection of existing preservation areas are also strategies that should be adopted for the conservation of habitats where the species can potentially occur (IIS 2021). For locations beyond the Brazilian territory where it is believed that the species can reach, such as the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest, in Paraguay, where the strong dependency on the forest is observed, to learn about the importance of ecosystem services provided by forest is an assertive contribution to its conservation, which should be prioritized under the country’s Zero Deforestation Law (2524/2004).
More surveys in suitable areas for the occurrence of the species should be explored, to determine the extent of its geographic distribution along the Atlantic Forest and even in other biomes in the country. Additionally, it is important to investigate whether the species may have a fimicolous habit, i.e. whether it can be found associated with dung, in addition to decaying plant debris, which would increase the chances of observing it in other sites.
No use/trade known.
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Da Ponte, E., Kuenzer, C., Parker, A., Rodas, O., Oppelt, N., Fleckenstein, M. 2017.Forest cover loss in Paraguay and perception of ecosystem services: A case study of the Upper Parana Forest. Ecosystem Services 24: 200-212. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.03.009
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Silva-Filho, A.G.S., Seger, C., Cortez, V.G. 2019. Panaeolus (Agaricales) from Western Paraná state, South Brazil, with a description of a new species, Panaeolus sylvaticus. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 76(2): 297-309. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0960428619000064
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.