Conclusions

The roles of wood-decay fungal activities are therefore diverse and fundamental to forest ecosystem functioning. The fungal communities operating within the woodland resource have been studied at a range of spatio-temporal scales. The future challenge will involve linking information derived at a range of scales in an appropriate manner. Theoretical modeling approaches have value here, the development of which can highlight the important biological features driving community dynamics and identify further hypotheses for testing. Such models may one day even have predictive value, an important asset in view of changing management practices, land use, climate, and other environmental pressures. However, future experimental studies and theoretical models should attempt to link fungal diversity, community structure, and dynamics to function, either in terms of nutrient cycling or biological control. The fungal ecologist is faced with challenging and exciting opportunities to study what is one of mankind's most valuable assets.

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