Mycorrhizal fungal networks are a major global carbon sink. When we destroy them, we sabotage our efforts to limit global heating.
‘Globally, at least 5b tons of carbon dioxide are sequestered within mycorrhizal networks each year, a quantity roughly equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted annually by the US.’
If we want to tackle the climate crisis, we need to address a global blindspot: the vast underground fungal networks that sequester carbon and sustain much of life on Earth.
Fungi are largely invisible ecosystem engineers. Most live as branching, fusing networks of tubular cells known as mycelium. Globally, the total length of fungal mycelium in the top 10cm of soil is more than 450 quadrillion km: about half the width of our galaxy. These symbiotic networks comprise an ancient life-support system that easily qualifies as one of the wonders of the living world.