Research Images as Art / Art Images as Research 2019/20
Mr Gino Brignoli, Genetics, Evolution and Environment
This luminous scarlet waxcap mushroom, Hygrocybe species, was found growing amongst the mosses in an old cypress plantation in the Taita Hills, Kenya. The plantation was established about 200 years ago when it replaced indigenous cloud forest trees in what is still the larger surrounding Ngangao forest. Despite its age, the now unmanaged plantation persists because the needles from the cypress trees suppress any indigenous tree regrowth. This does, however, form a perfect spongy carpet for mosses and mushrooms to thrive on. There remains an open question in the area of what to do about these introduced trees which continue to provide local people with firewood, but which also prevent the reestablishment of the indigenous forests which contain many species endemic to the region.
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