31 August 2023.
The United Nations Biodiversity has initiated a campaign urging the global community to incorporate the term “funga” alongside “flora and fauna” to emphasize the significance of fungi. Recognizing fungi’s essential role in ecosystems, the UN aims to elevate fungi’s importance to the same level as plants and animals in conservation efforts. This initiative highlights the impact of language on shaping perceptions and policy decisions.
Two years ago, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also endorsed “mycologically inclusive” language in its communications. Fungi are integral to life on Earth, supporting processes such as decomposition, forest regeneration, and nutrient cycling. By integrating “funga” into everyday discourse and educational materials, the UN Biodiversity aims to promote awareness and protection of fungi in the global web of life.
What is the purpose of the UN Biodiversity’s “FUNGA” campaign?
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the importance of fungi by encouraging people to use the term “funga” alongside “flora and fauna” in discussions and educational materials.
Why is including fungi in conservation efforts significant?
Fungi play a crucial role in various ecological processes such as decomposition, forest regeneration, and nutrient cycling. Incorporating them in conservation strategies ensures a more holistic approach to protecting ecosystems.
How does the UN Biodiversity suggest fungi be acknowledged in conversations?
The UN Biodiversity suggests using “flora, fauna and FUNGA,” as well as “animal, plants and FUNGI” when referring to life’s diversity on Earth to give fungi equal recognition.
What impact does language have on conservation efforts?
Language plays a role in shaping perceptions and policies. By using more inclusive language, like “funga,” people can better understand the importance of all components of ecosystems.
What other organizations have advocated for inclusive language in conservation?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) endorsed “mycologically inclusive” language, using terms like “fauna, flora and funga” and “animals, fungi and plants.”
What are some key ecological roles of fungi mentioned in the article?
Fungi are essential for processes like decomposition, forest regeneration, mammalian digestion, carbon sequestration, and maintaining the nutrient cycle.
How does the campaign compare fungi to mycelium?
Similar to how mycelium spreads unseen but profoundly influences ecosystems, the campaign believes that incorporating “funga” into language will raise awareness and policy support for fungi’s role in the natural world.
Are there similar language-conscious efforts in other conservation aspects?
Yes, other conservation-related initiatives, like Survival International’s guide to decolonize language in conservation, emphasize considering the impact of terminology on policy and indigenous rights.