The right of fungi, the protection of ecosystems 

Many investigations have been carried out within the Los Cedros, a Biological Reserve located in northwestern Ecuador, in the province of Imbabura. Its geography ranges from 1,000 to 2,700 meters in altitude, and four rivers cross it. 

The ambition is not only scientific, but also on the part of volunteers and citizens to protect ecosystem reserves. This is not just limited to stopping deforestation in the area, but also to protecting habitats for birds, jaguars, monkeys, reptiles, amphibians, orchids and myriad fungi.

In 2017, the Ecuadorian government announced new concessions for mining exploitation on 2.9 hectares of the country. According to the reserve’s official website, a 300% increase in this activity is predicted, which threatens the biodiversity of the area.

Foreign mining companies, such as Cornerstone Capital Resources was granted permission to mine gold in collaboration with the national company ENAMI, despite it being a direct violation of Ecuador’s laws, including its rights of nature. However, in 2021, after much insistence, the constitutional court ruled that the Los Cedros reserve must be protected from activities that threaten the rights of nature and the rights of communities. The land where Psilocybe Stametsii was found is named in honor of Paul Stamets, the most famous mycologist in the world, with more than 50 years of research in this field.

For example, penicillin and other psychotropic substances are obtained from fungi. They act as symbiotic catalysts between plant cells, and it is believed that after climate catastrophes, fungi populated the earth before plants. The entire web of life is connected by them. Some will save, and others will not, and we are just discovering them. 

Fungi, are not plants or animals but rather constitute their own kingdom. The mycelium is the true body of the fungus; it spreads across the soil, feeds on everything it finds, and even penetrates the wood. Moreover, mushrooms are unusual because they form a highly interconnected network. There is still much uncertainty, and discoveries always lead to new discoveries.

They are survivors; they have evolved to be lethal against their enemies. Not even 1% of the 5 million believed to live there are known. Microbiologists aim to understand useful fungi that help improve the quality of human life. The kingdom of fungi fulfills vital functions for the environment and the human body.

In conclusion, from various shapes, sizes, and species, they thrive under diverse conditions and there are endless possibilities for experimentation in mycology. It has been proven that they can degrade complex molecules and contribute to biogeochemical cycles that impact the planet. They can improve soil pH, degrade hydrocarbon contaminants, produce antibiotics, eco-friendly soaps, aromas, and even enhance the immune system. Their protection is a global common good.

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