Humans depend on fungi to provide food and medicine, and to maintain the environments we inhabit. Yet their conservation has not captured the attention of conservationists, perhaps because existing normative economic, ecological, and social ways of creating value for plants and animals are a challenge to adapt for fungi. Using a critical physical geography perspective, this chapter argues that the value of fungi becomes clearer using alternative forms of accounting focused on interconnectivity. The concept of econo-ecologies refocuses value on the importance of work and exchange. For fungi, econo-ecological conservation is generated through sustainable livelihood practices, and ethical biogeographies. Fungi can thus serve as a paradigmatic case, demonstrating how the interconnectedness of values can help to reclaim conservation as a site of ethical decision-making.
Barron, E.S. 2018. “Who Values what Nature? Constructing Conservation Values with Fungi.” In: The Handbook of Critical Physical Geography. Lave, R. et al., ed. London: Palgrave.