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Revolucíon Fungi: A Mycological Revolution is Underway in Peru

Updated: Apr 28


In the lush landscapes of Peru, where biodiversity thrives and nature tells its own tales, Sebastián Enriquez has emerged as a visionary figure in the realm of environmental conservation. His journey from a documentary photographer to a self-taught mycologist is not just a career shift but a profound transformation driven by a passion for the natural world and its preservation.



Enriquez's venture, Revolución Fungi is more than an organization; it's a movement that seeks to redefine our relationship with the often-overlooked fungal kingdom. With a background steeped in storytelling, Enriquez brings a narrative to mycology that is both engaging and educational, aiming to illuminate the critical role fungi play in our ecosystems.


His work spans various conservation initiatives, each with a unique focus but united by a common thread: the sustainable coexistence of humans and nature. From the "Yo Conservo Paiche" project, which aims to preserve the endangered Paiche fish in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, to the reforestation efforts in the Northern Peruvian Dry Forest with "Revolución Árbol," Enriquez's impact is palpable.



At the heart of "Revolución Fungi" lies a commitment to education, particularly among children, who are the future stewards of our planet. By integrating fungi into daily life through a variety of project to foster a deeper understanding of their ecological importance, Enriquez's initiative is shaping a generation that values and protects the intricate web of life.


The mission of "Revolución Fungi" extends beyond conservation. It is about harnessing the potential of fungi for food and medicinal sovereignty, developing sustainable biomaterials, and even exploring the intersection of mycology with art and spirituality. The projects they have launched over the last few years not only empower communities but also pave the way for innovative solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges.



Field Guides to Peruvian Fungi

Revolución Fungi has published the "1st Field Guide to Peruvian Fungi," marking a significant milestone in the study and appreciation of Peru's fungal flora. In collaboration with the Chilean publisher Naturaleza Inumarren, they also released the "1st Field Guide to Fungi of the Lomas de Lachay National Reserve". This initiative not only promotes the conservation of the reserve's unique ecosystem but also educates the public about the vital role fungi play in our environment.


Revolución Fungi Fest

The inaugural Peru Fungi Festival, aptly named "Revolución Fungi Fest," is a celebration of all things fungal. It brings together experts, hobbyists, and the curious public for a series of workshops, talks, and exhibitions, fostering a community passionate about fungi.



Universo Funghi

"Universo Funghi" gatherings are being coordinated across Peru, establishing a network of Fungariums/Library of Fungi. These institutions are pivotal in decentralizing fungal knowledge and interpreting the diversity of local ecosystems. To date, six departments in Peru boast their own Fungariums, collectively housing over 800 species of fungi.


Research and DNA Sequencing

In the capital city of Lima, a Research Center complete with a Laboratory and a future DNA Sequencing Hub has been established. This facility is set to become a beacon of fungal research and education in the region.



Biomaterials

The "1st Biomaterials Laboratory in the Peruvian Amazon" at Goctalab is a groundbreaking development. Funded by a regional government prize, the laboratory is dedicated to research on fungi-based biomaterials and aims to attract projects and researchers from around the globe.


Mycoforestry Projects

The collaboration with the first Citizen Arboretum/Botanical Garden in Chancay is another innovative project where mycorrhizae have been introduced to local forestry projects. This symbiotic relationship is being studied for both its ecological benefits and its potential to aid the local community.



Documentaries

"The Inca Mushroom" documentary shines a spotlight on Gerardtia cibaria, or the Uma Cori mushroom, native to Cusco. This film explores the cultural and historical significance of this species within the Incan heritage.


Indigenous Uses of Fungi

The Shipibo-Konibo natives of the Peruvian Amazon have introduced the first native craft interpreting sacred mushrooms, known as "Kono Blanco." This art form, depicted in Kene embroidery, has gained recognition in the official store of the acclaimed documentary "Fantastic Fungi."



Circulo de Esporas

Lastly, the establishment of the "Círculo de Esporas" foundation in October 2023 represents a commitment to making the Fungal Kingdom accessible to all, especially those in impoverished and low-income communities, as well as children through dedicated education programs.


The Revolución Fungi is more than just a series of projects; it's a movement that embodies the spirit of exploration, education, and empowerment. It's a testament to the power of community and collaboration in unlocking the mysteries of the fungal world and sharing its benefits with society at large. Sebastián Enriquez's story is a testament to the power of transformation and the impact one individual can have on the world. His work reminds us that in the intricate dance of life, every organism, no matter how small, plays a vital role in the health and vitality of our planet.




[image credits: Revolución Fungi]

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