Nature News 1st December 2021
Wood wide web
A science mission is set to explore one of the final frontiers of untapped knowledge on the planet – the fungal networks in the soil beneath us.
Fungi form an underground network of connections with plant roots, helping to recycle nutrients and to lock up planet-warming CO2 in the soil. But little is known about this giant mesh of fungi and its role in fighting climate change. It is part of what’s popularly known as the Wood Wide Web.This is an underground network of plant roots and fungi that, among other things, allows trees to share nutrients. And scientists say “underground conservation” has been long overlooked. The initiative to map and preserve the Earth’s underground fungal networks is led by the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks.
Swifts and house martins join UK red list of endangered birds.
The red list of Britain’s most endangered birds has increased to 70 species with the swift, house martin, greenfinch and Bewick’s swan added to the latest assessment. The red list now accounts for more than a quarter of Britain’s 245 bird species, almost double the 36 species given the status of “highest conservation concern” in the first review 25 years ago.
Birds are placed on the red list of the Birds of Conservation Concern report by a coalition of government wildlife bodies and bird charities either because their populations have severely declined in Britain or because they are considered under threat of global extinction.