Species Action Plans
Pink waxcap fungi
The pink waxcap's ( Hygrocybe calyptriformis ) main habitats include lawns, grassy meadows, pastures and woodland margins. It has been recorded from limestone grassland and acid grassland. Fruiting bodies, which are seldom abundant, generally appear between August and October. They have attractive pointed caps 5 -7 cm tall and a white or pinkish stem up to 10 cm tall. It is one of a group of the often-brightly coloured waxcap fungi (Hygrocybe spp.) which are typically associated with unimproved grassland and are reported to have declined across Europe.
The number of sites for this species is now known to total 500 as a result of the British Mycological Society's survey. It has been found in Scotland, Wales, Oxfordshire, North Yorkshire, Kent and Worcestershire. A large population is known from a MoD artillery range at Brecknock. Elsewhere the species is found in continental Europe, North America and Asia.
In Great Britain this species is provisionally classified as Low Risk. It receives general protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is also on the provisional Berne List.
There are scattered records throughout Yorkshire for this species, all of them limited to unimproved grassland. The Mid Yorkshire Fungus Group is conducting a survey for this species to feed into the national database.
At present restricted to three sites in the district, this species meets the criteria of a Calderdale Priority Species. All three sites are unimproved acid grassland.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Historic changes in the population of this species are poorly understood, but potential threats to extant sites include:
- Improvement of it's grassland habitat through ploughing or addition of fertilisers.
- Reduction in the levels or cessation of grazing or mowing leading to growth of rank vegetation and woody species.
- The British Mycological Society is undertaking a 'waxcap grassland' survey, which began in 1996.
- Plantlife has also started a waxcap survey (2002) which has been extended to the 2003 season.
- Members of Halifax Scientific Society monitor the known current sites in the district.
- Maintain the current distribution and abundance of pink waxcaps in Calderdale.
|1. Policy and Legislation||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|Consider designating sites with pink waxcaps as SEGIs||WYE||CMBC (CAFU), CMBC (DP), HSS|
|2. Site safeguard and management||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|Where possible, provide mechanisms (such as relevant agri-environmental schemes) to encourage grazing or continued mowing on pink waxcap sites||FWAG||DEFRA|
|3. Research and monitoring||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|Compile records of pink waxcap and encourage regular visits to known sites in order to determine the current status of the species at each site. An assessment of management and current threats should be made at each site||HSS||MYFG, WYE|
|Commission research into the habitat requirements and methods of spread of this species, with a view to refining management techniques for its conservation||EN||-|
|Perform surveys on other unimproved grassland sites likely to have pink waxcaps||HSS||MYFG|
|Train / encourage naturalists to report records||HSS||MYFG|
|4. Advisory||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|Advise landowners and land managers of the presence and importance of this species, specific management for conservation and any potentially damaging actions. Landowners and managers should have access to specialist advice if needed||HSS||EN, DEFRA, WYE|
|As far as possible advise relevant agri-environment scheme project officers of the location for this species and the need to encourage appropriate grazing regimes at these sites||WYE||DEFRA, EN|
|5. Regional||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|6. Communication and publicity||Lead Partner||Other partners|
|Encourage mycologists to pass all records of pink meadow cap, including ecological information, to regional and national databases||HSS||BMS, CMBC (CAFU), MYFG, WYE|
|Provide publicity to general public to encourage them to report possible sites||HSS||-|
|Raise awareness of the importance of this species||HSS||CMBC (CAFU), ATC|
|Key to abbreviations|
|ATC||Alternative Technology Centre|
|BMS||British Mycological Society|
|CMBC (CAFU)||Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (Countryside and Forestry Unit)|
|CMBC (DP)||Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council (Development and Policy)|
|DEFRA||Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs|
|FWAG||Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group|
|HBC||Halifax Birdwatchers Club|
|HSS||Halifax Scientific Society|
|MYFG||Mid Yorkshire Fungus Group|
|WYE||West Yorkshire Ecology|
Links with other action plans
Plan coordinator: Hugh Firman, Conservation Officer