Inventorying the fungi of Mexico
Conservation of the vegetation, analysis of the knowledge of the diversity of fungi, new biological methods and estimates of the numbers of species of fungi that grow in Mexico are discussed. The great forest destruction that is occurring and the loss of fungal diversity in the country is seriously depleting total biodiversity, mainly in the tropics. Methods to establish the number of Mexican species of fungi are proposed based on an average of: (1) the numbers of fungal obligates of vascular plants and animals and of the saprobic species; (2) extrapolating the number of the British fungi to Mexico, taking the British mycota as the best known in the world; and (3) extrapolating to the country the number of species known to occur in the State of Veracruz (Mexico), the best known in the country. The average of these three calculations yields about 200 000 species of fungi for Mexico. Of these, only 3.5% are known, despite considerable progress having been made in the inventory of the country's fungi in the last 30 years. It is concluded that it is necessary to place more emphasis on alpha taxonomy, to train more specialists and to prepare monographs of several groups of fungi.