This book addresses the significant environmental changes experienced by
high latitude and high altitude ecosystems at the beginning of the 21st century.
Increased temperatures and precipitation, reduction in sea ice and
glacier ice, the increased levels of UV-radiation and the long-range transported
contaminants in arctic and alpine regions are stress factors that
challenge terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
Ecosystems provide a wide variety of marketable goods, fish and lumber
being two familiar examples. However, society is increasingly recognizing the
myriad functions—the observable manifestations of ecosystem processes such
as nutrient recycling, regulation of climate, and maintenance of biodiversity—
that they provide, without which human civilizations could not thrive. Derived
from the physical, biological, and chemical processes at work in natural ecosystems,
these functions are seldom experienced directly by users of the resource.
The third edition of
The Fungal Community
has been compiled by a new set of editors. The
three of us were impressed with the quality and content of the previous two editions and
hope that we have matched the work of George Carroll and Don Wicklow in this new volume.
The aims and objectives of this volume are explained in our introductory chapter,
but in brief, we have tried to address some of the current discussions in ecology (diversity
and function, scaling issues, disturbance, invasive species) from a fungal perspective.