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Researchers are now calling for fungi to be considered more heavily in conservation and biodiversity policies, and are investigating whether we can increase how much carbon the soil underneath us can hold.

The vast underground network of fungi beneath our feet stores over 13 gigatons of carbon around the world, roughly equivalent to 36 per cent of yearly global fossil fuel emissions, according to new research.

The fungi make up a vast underground network all over the planet underneath grasslands and forests, as well as roads, gardens, and houses on every continent on Earth.

It is not only crucial to storing carbon and keeping the planet cooler, but are also essential to global biodiversity.

The discovery by a team of scientists, including researchers from the University of Sheffield, that fungi is storing over a third of the carbon created from fossil fuel emissions each year indicates that it could be crucial as nations seek to tackle climate change and reach net zero. Work is now being undertaken to see whether we could increase how much carbon the soil underneath us can store.

Mycorrhizal fungi have been supporting life on land for at least 450 million years and make up vast underground networks all around us - even forming beneath roads, gardens, and houses, on every continent on Earth.

Source: University of Sheffield