In an Ecuadorian Cloud Forest, Two Mycologists Catalogue Hundreds of Fantastical Fungi

Longisetae Images © Danny Newman

Scientists believe that less than 4% percent of the world’s fungi have been documented, which adds up to only 150,000 species described out of an estimated 2.2-3.8 million worldwide. Mycologists Danny Newman and Roo Vandegrift have spent the last 12 years focusing on locations impacted by the climate crisis and increasing human interference, like Ecuador’s Reserva Los Cedros. Their stunning photographs (previously) capture the vibrant hues, delicate gills, and thin stems of a vast range of fungi in the mountainous cloud forest.

In 2016, the Ecuadorian government declared the Los Cedros reserve—one of the last unlogged watersheds on the western slope of the Andes—open for mining, putting countless flora, fauna, and funga at risk. “In a stunning legal upset, the mining concessions which threatened to turn Los Cedros into a toxic, barren wasteland were rescinded by the Ecuadorian supreme court, who specifically cited…our fungal diversity research in their ruling,” Newman says.

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