Fay introduces the often complex interactions of orchids with mycorrhizal fungi, pollinators and host trees, considering also threats from human utilization and changing land use. The Orchidaceae present particular challenges for conservation. Furthermore, orchids, as one of the largest families of angiosperms ( >26 000 species, species complexes and frequent hybrid formation) are complex to catalogue.
Orchids are a fascinating subject for fundamental research with rapid species evolution, specific organ structure and development, but they also suffer from high levels of threat. Effective orchid conservation must take account of the beneficial interactions with fungi and pollinators and the potentially detrimental effects of over-collection and changes in land use.