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Variable retention harvesting influences belowground plant-fungal interactions of Nothofagus pumilio seedlings in forests of southern PatagoniaAuthor(s): Rebecca E. Hewitt; Donald Lee Taylor; Teresa N. Hollingsworth; Christopher B. Anderson; Guillermo Martínez Pastur
Source: PeerJ. 6(3): e5008-.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
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DescriptionBackground. The post-harvest recovery and sustained productivity of Nothofagus pumilio forests in Tierra del Fuego may be affected by the abundance and composition of ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF). Timber harvesting alters EMF community structure in many managed forests, but the impacts of harvesting can vary with the management strategy. The implementation of variable retention (VR) management can maintain, increase, or decrease the diversity of many species, but the effects of VR on EMF in the forests of southern Patagonia have not been studied, nor has the role of EMF in the degeneration process of these forests.
Methods. We evaluated the effects of VR management on the EMF community associated with N. pumilio seedlings. We quantified the abundance, composition, and diversity of EMF across aggregate (AR) and dispersed (DR) retention sites within VR managed areas, and compared them to primary forest (PF) unmanaged stands. EMF assemblage and taxonomic identities were determined by ITS-rDNA sequencing of individual root tips sampled from 280 seedlings across three landscape replicates. To better understand seedling performance, we tested the relationships between EMF colonization, EMF taxonomic composition, seedling biomass, and VR treatment.
Results. The majority of EMF taxa were Basidiomycota belonging to the families Cortinariaceae (n = 29), Inocybaceae (n = 16), and Thelephoraceae (n = 8), which was in agreement with other studies of EMF diversity in Nothofagus forests. EMF richness and colonization was reduced in DR compared to AR and PF. Furthermore, EMF community composition was similar between AR and PF, but differed from the composition in DR. EMF community composition was correlated with seedling biomass and soil moisture. The presence of Peziza depressa was associated with higher seedling biomass and greater soil moisture, while Inocybe fibrillosibrunnea and Cortinarius amoenus were associated with reduced seedling biomass and lower soil moisture. Seedling biomass was more strongly related to retention type than EMF colonization, richness, or composition.
Discussion. Our results demonstrate reduced EMF attributes and altered composition in VR treatments relative to PF stands, with stronger impacts in DR compared to AR. This suggests that VR has the potential to improve the conservation status of managed stands by supporting native EMF in AR. Our results also demonstrate the complex linkages between retention treatments, fungal community composition, and tree growth at individual and stand scales.
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CitationHewitt, Rebecca E.; Taylor, Donald Lee; Hollingsworth, Teresa N.; Anderson, Christopher B.; Martínez Pastur, Guillermo. 2018. Variable retention harvesting influences belowground plant-fungal interactions of Nothofagus pumilio seedlings in forests of southern Patagonia. PeerJ. 6(3): e5008-. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5008.
KeywordsLenga, dispersed retention, ectomycorrhizal fungi, Tierra del Fuego, forest sustainability, recruitment, silviculture, aggregate retention.
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