Amanita muscaria (Fly agaric, l’Amanite tue-mouches, Fliegenpilz, Vliegenzwam), © Jack Kruf

What can we learn from fungi? What do they have in common with humans? They are in fact the network of smart ‘organisational’ alliances behind life and of ingenious infrastructures making things work. They are far more abundant than plant species, older, wiser. Like humans, they have to trade or buy sugars from plants in a mycorrhiza, a symbiotic form, to build and to construct. Their biodiversity is astonishing and in fact a living laboratory of public leaders, managers to develop and build more resilience into our cities. May this BBC podcast may of interest to you and function as a short introduction to a for most of us as terra incognita.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss fungi. These organisms are not plants or animals but a kingdom of their own. Millions of species of fungi live on the Earth and they play a crucial role in ecosystems, enabling plants to obtain nutrients and causing material to decay. Without fungi, life as we know it simply would not exist. They are also a significant part of our daily life, making possible the production of bread, wine and certain antibiotics. Although fungi brought about the colonisation of the planet by plants about 450 million years ago, some species can kill humans and devastate trees. Listen