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Home / Activities / Perth Fungi Project

Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project

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Phase 1

Perth Urban Bushland Fungi project, a community initiative, is a collaborative project between the Urban Bushland Council and the WA Naturalists’ Club in conjunction with DEC’s WA Herbarium and is Lotterywest supported.

The Perth Urban Bushland Fungi (PUBF) project was developed in response to the growing interest in the community about biodiversity conservation and in particular, about the lack of information of local fungi. There are many times more fungi than plants in our bushlands. These fungi have crucial roles for bushland health, such as nutrient recycling and beneficial partnerships with most native plants.

Prior to this project very few bushland areas had been surveyed for fungi in the Perth Metropolitan Region. In recent years there has been increasing community recognition of the gap in our knowledge base and the potential consequences of not including fungi in bushland management.

The project’s aims were to raise awareness about the role of fungi in our ecosystems, increase the capacity of the community to confidently identify fungi and conduct surveys of fungi in bushlands. Another objective was to collect baseline data on fungi for a number of bushland areas and integrate fungi into biodiversity management strategies.

Phase 1 Outcomes

 

  • Over 2000 people were involved through walks, talks, workshops and training courses. The in-kind contributions by 27 volunteers actively assisting the project is estimated to be worth more then $80,000;
  • Over 300 new fungi specimens have been processed and lodged as voucher specimens at the WA Herbarium, including many new records for Western Australia and new species to science;
  • The first ever inventories of fungi have been prepared for bushland managers of 14 bushland reserves;
  • For the first time, fungi are being considered in bushland management alongside flora and fauna;
  • The State’s fungi Herbarium collection and database information has increased significantly;
  • The project’s website, www.fungiperth.org.au, is being visited regularly by a large number of people;
  • The project is being used as a model for bushland in other regions of WA and Australia.


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Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project (PUBF) continued the momentum of increasing interest in fungi in the Perth region and building on the established partnerships from the Phase 1 of the project (February 2004 – August 2005).

The project had raised awareness about the role of fungi in our ecosystems and has increased the capacity of the community and land managers to confidently identify and survey fungi in bushland.

While Phase 2 of the project was shorter than the first, with the continuous support from a large number of volunteers, many significant achievements were gained. In fact, it is estimated that the volunteer input as in-kind contributions in terms of monetary value was worth in excess of $200,000.

Lotterywest funding enabled the employment of a Community Education Officer and a Project Officer for nearly twelve months. These coordinated all activities during the year, prepared numerous reports, educational kits and gave presentations to various agencies and interest groups.

The team  worked together with the newly appointed Mycologist from the Department of Environment and Conservation and reported to the Project Management Team, consisting of representatives of the project’s partners.

Phase 2 highlights were two workshops for Local Government Officers working in Natural Resource Management. The workshops, funded by the Swan Catchment Council, focused on the management of fungi in urban bushland areas as well as covering the usual fungi workshop topics such as identification, photography and recording of fungi.

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In total there were eighteen events organized between November 2005 and October 2006, including workshops, fungi surveys, walks and presentations. Over 500 people participated in these events and 935 fungi were recorded. All the information on fungi gathered in the field is geo-referenced and 86 voucher specimens were added to the WA Herbarium collection.

The Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project introduced an innovative system for recording geo-referenced data. The geo-referencing system developed for recording data on fungi collected in the field, which was developed by a volunteer for this project, is now also being used by bushcare groups for other purposes, such as weed mapping or monitoring the extent of fire in bushland.

 

 

 

Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project inspired people in other parts of Australia. After the presentation by the project’s mycologist at the National Fungi Conference in Brisbane in November 2005, a new community group was formed: the Brisbane Fungi Studies Group. The PUBF model has generated interest and has been implemented by the Environmental Research Group of Augusta.

 

 

 

 

 

Phase 2 Outcomes

 

The aims of the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project have been well addressed, including:

  • raising awareness about the role of fungi for sustaining long-term health of our ecosystems;
  • increasing community skills to confidently identify fungi and conduct surveys of fungi in bushlands;
  • working with community to collect baseline data on fungi for Perth Region;
  • building an accurately identified reference collection of fungi at the WA Herbarium;
  • encouraging integration of fungi into biodiversity management strategies.

 

Since March 2004, when the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project started, a total of 86 events were conducted, including surveys in 38 bushland reserves, for most areas it was for the first time.

A total of 2,928 fungi were recorded by the Project and documented in fungi reports, represented by 283 species. Over 40 species are new records for Western Australia, and several are new species to science. Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project has been responsible for about 400 fungi collected from urban bushland, which have been vouchered into the WA Herbarium.

The benefits of the Perth Urban Bushland Fungi project were recognised by many agencies, which was reflected in the continuous demand for the services provided by the PUBF staff and also in the ability of the Project’s Management Team to attract further funding to conduct fungi surveys in significant bushland around Perth.

fungifieldbook185In November 2005, Perth Urban Bushland Fungi Project – Phase 1 was one of the five finalists in the Western Australian Environment Awards 2005 in the Whiteman Park Community Achievement Category and received a Special Commendation. Then in 2006, the project was mentioned as one of the Case Studies in the Biodiversity Section of the Draft State of the Environment Report 2006 prepared by the Environmental Protection Authority

The Perth Urban Bushland Fungi project is currently being managed by the WA Naturalists Club.

 

The Project has a self-managed Field Book available for download.