The study of mushrooms and other fungi in the Chicago Region has a long history beginning in the 1890's. The early 1909 publication on Chicago fungi covered 400 species. The documentation of fungi since then, particularly the past 20 years of intense local research by mycologists of the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH) and involvement with the Illinois Mycological Association (IMA), has demonstrated that there are well over 1200 species. These fungi inhabit the diverse oak woodlands, forests, and other habitats of the Chicago Metropolitan area. The core of this area, in north-eastern Illinois and north-western Indiana, is twelve counties that have had various amounts of fungal research.
The compilation of historical collections with recent work will provide better understanding of the Chicago Region fungi: their actual diversity and distribution, their role and impact on forest ecosystems, and changes observed over the past 125 years.
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The Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance of more than 300 public and private organizations working together to protect, restore, study, and manage the precious natural ecosystems found here. This region is based on the watersheds surrounding Chicago. It includes part of south-eastern Wisconsin and extends east through Indiana into Berrien County, Michigan.