The history and future of fungi as biodiversity surrogates in forests

Biodiversity surrogates are commonly used in conservation biology. Here we review how fungi have been used as such in forest conservation, emphasizing proposed surrogate roles and practical applications. We show that many fungal surrogates have been suggested based on ?eld experience and loose concepts, rather than on rigorously collected scienti?c data. Yet, they have played an important role, not only in forest conservation, but also in inspiring research in fungal ecology and forest history. We argue that, even in times of ecosystem oriented conservation planning and molecular tools to analyze fungal communities, fruit bodies of macrofungi have potential as convenient conservation shortcuts and easy tools to communicate complex biodiversity for a broader audience. To improve the reliability of future fungal surrogates we propose a three step protocol for developing evidence based schemes for practical application in forest conservation.