Fungi Foray, Coachwood Glen 6th April 2019
By Liz Kabanoff
Coachwood Glen Nature Trail, on the road down to the Megalong Valley, is a beautiful walk around rainforest vegetation. In autumn the forest erupts with a multitude of colourful fungi, in a spectacular variety of forms. Earth stars, Earth tongues, Corals, Cups, Brackets, Jellies, Clubs and Polypores adorn the forest floor and fallen trees, each one playing its part in the cycle that helps to keep an ecosystem stable.
In April volunteers Liz Kabanoff and Gemma Williams led a group of fifteen enthusiastic volunteers and community members on a fungi walk around the rainforest. Recent rain and cooler autumn weather meant that we were rewarded with more than 40 species of fungi in every colour of the rainbow. The two hour activity flew by, and was an eye-opener into the ‘forgotten kingdom’.
Fungi perform a variety of roles in nature. They may be nutrient recyclers, decomposing fallen trees, leaves and animal scats, and releasing nutrients to the environment. Many fungi form mycorrhizal relationships with the roots of plants, passing on inorganic nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates that the plant produces via photosynthesis. Substances secreted by
mycorrhizal fungi aid in building better soil structure.
Fungi provide food for invertebrates such as our native slugs and snails. Lyrebirds, Potoroos, Bandicoots and some Wallabies also eat certain types of fungi. The fungal spores pass through their digestive systems and are distributed to other areas in their faeces. Certain species of fungi also have a role in producing hollows in trees, providing homes for birds and mammals. After bushfire, fungal mycelial mats form on burnt ground, helping to stabilise soil and prevent erosion.
iNaturalist is a citizen science project and online social network of naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations of biodiversity across the globe.
The Fungi in the Blue Mountains project aims to document the biodiversity of fungi found in the Blue Mountains NSW, and focuses primarily on bushcare sites. It is an umbrella project for a number of other projects (Fungi in Fairy Dell, Fungi in Birdwood Gully, Fungi in Else Mitchell Park, Fungi in the Deanei reserve and Fungi in Coachwood Glen).
If your Bushcare Group is interested in being part of Fungi of the Blue Mountains project, Liz can assist you in starting your own iNaturalist group.
For more info on how to start please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or 4780 5320