When we destroy mycorrhizal networks, we sabotage our efforts to limit global heating and jeopardize the health and resilience of the ecosystems on which we depend. — Dr. Toby Kiers, Executive Director & Chief Scientist, SPUN
Underground fungal networks support nearly every plant species on earth, playing an invisible yet vital role in the health of our planet.
The Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), is on a mission to “map, protect, and harness the fungal networks that regulate Earth’s climate and ecosystems.” A powerhouse team of experts in fungal systems, biodiversity mapping, and bioinformatics have joined forces with researchers, campaigners and local communities to advocate for the protection of mycorrhizal fungi and illustrate their importance on a global scale.
Through their Underground Explorers Program, the SPUN team embarks on expeditions all across the world, using predictive analytics to chart the properties of underground ecosystems and document important data, such as nutrient capture and carbon sequestration in forest and agriculture systems. These open-source maps are then used to support new and existing conservation projects and policies, like those from Fungi Foundation and FaunaFloraFunga.
Climate justice is central to SPUN’s short and long-term goals; ultimately, they seek to build a platform that enables local and global decision-makers to factor mycorrhizal fungi into environmental assessments and innovation cycles. That’s why the team’s research methods and operational strategies are marked by scientific rigor, open data, and inclusive action — principles in action that are driving necessary innovation and democratization in underground climate science.