Craterellus carolinensis is an endemic species of the USA. The core of its range appears to be in Tennessee and North Carolina, but there are other records in eastern USA. Based on the full potential range it would not warrant listing under criterion B; and even if research were to show that it is restricted to its core range then it is unlikely to meet all the necessary conditions for use of that criterion. Similarly, if the species does occur throughout the full potential range the population size would likely be too large to warrant listing under criteria C and D; and even if it were restricted to the core range there is little evidence to suggest a decline, and the population size would still be too large to warrant listing under criterion D. Thus, with insufficient information to use criterion E, the only possible criterion this species could be listed under is criterion A. While there is the suggestion of declines in forest cover within the wider potential range, without detailed data about whether it is primary forest loss or just clearing of silviculture land an accurate estimation of the rate of decline cannot be made. However, the rate of loss is highly unlikely to be at a rate great enough to warrant a high threat category (thus preventing a categorisation as Data Deficient). If it were to be restricted to the core range, there appears to be little forest cover loss there, so it would not be considered in decline. Overall therefore, a tentative assessment as Least Concern is given, but further research is warranted to see if a slightly higher category may be appropriate if the species might be under relatively rapid decline.
The type collection of this species was from Macon County, North Carolina, USA (Petersen 1969), and the range of the species has been considered to be Tennessee and North Carolina (Kuo 2015). However, it is also considered a common species of Florida (Hall et al. 2023), and GBIF also includes other records from eastern USA. Tentatively records to the south of this core range in the southern Appalachians are included in this assessment, but more northern records are excluded; but further research (including genetic studies) is warranted to better delimit the true distribution of this species.
If the species does occur across the full potential range then it is likely to have a very large population size. If records outside the southern Appalachians are in error then the population size could be a lot smaller, but given the wide availability of suitable habitat, which appears to be predominantly stable then the population size would still likely number in the thousands based on Dahlberg and Mueller (2011) calculations.
For this assessment the wider range is assumed, and a population decline is suspected; although the rate of decline is uncertain given the limited data regarding primary forest loss. However, it is tentatively suspected that rates of decline would not be large enough to warrant listing under a high threat category under criterion A.
Population Trend: Decreasing
This species has been noted as growing on woody material, including ‘deep woody humus’ (Petersen 1969). No specific plants were noted as potential hosts.
There is a degree of forest cover loss within its potential range (see World Resources Institute 2023), but to what extent this is primary forest loss is unknown (per World Resources Institute 2023) and this could represent logging of silviculture land. The main centre of its currently reported distribution in the southern Appalachians remains relatively unaffected (see World Resources Institute 2023). Research to investigate its potential distribution would be beneficial to ascertain to what extent the species may be impacted by land clearance for activities such as agriculture.
There are several Protected Areas in the southern Appalachians at and around the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, which appears to be the core part of the species’ range; so it is likely that it occurs in at least some of these.
Studies are needed to investigate the full distribution of the species and should include genetic studies involving specimens outside of the core range. Investigations should also try to ascertain the overall impact of certain threats, such as logging, to the persistence of the species.
Mushrooms of this genus are generally considered edible, but specific use/trade information for this species is unknown.