Diversity and spacio-temporal distribution of mushrooms in a Nigerian savanna: implication for their conservation.
We surveyed the macrofungi of an area dominated by northern Guinea savanna habitats in north-east Nigeria. A total of 93 different species of mushrooms were found in the study area. These species belong to 29 different families, most species belonging to the family Agaricaceae, Lyophyllaceae, Bolbitiaceae, Pluteaceae and Polyporaceae. A total of 48 species belonged to the Agaricaceae, followed by Lyophyllaceae represented by 6 species. The micro-habitats of mushrooms in the study area include wood, soil around dead tree stump, waste dump, cow dung, fallow, arable land, and 22 different living trees species. The most important habitats in term of mushroom species diversity were Parkia biglobosa, Tamarindus indica and dead wood. The Parkia biglobosa tree had the highest species richness (45) and species diversity (Shannon diversity index, SDI: 3.6). Tamarindus indica was the second, having 28 species richness and 2.7 SDI. These were followed by dead wood where 22 different mushroom species were recorded and has of 2.1 SDI. Also, these three habitats (Parkia biglobosa, dead wood and Tamarindus indica) had the highest number of mushroom species (14, 8 and 6 respectively) that were confined to them. Most of the other mushroom species were confined to only one microhabitat. There was no statistically significant difference in mushroom abundance between arable land and fallow. Collectively, the indigenous trees were associated by more mushroom species (63) than the exotic trees (20) and the indigenous trees also had significantly higher mushroom abundance than the exotic trees. However, the non-indegenous trees had more species forming mycorrhiza than the indegenous trees, presumaby because the former were able to form symbioses with both native fungi and introduced species from their origina habitats. Inter-annual variation of mushroom species diversity was also observed. Human activities contribute positively to mushroom diversity in the study area by creating some unique micro-habitats that support the growth of certain unique mushroom species. Therefore, for maximum conservation of mushroom diversity, conservation measures excuding all human activities should be avoided.