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    Author(s): Michael P. Amaranthus
    Date: 1998
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-431. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 15 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (544 KB)


    Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) consist of about 5,000 species and profoundly affect forest ecosystems by mediating nutrient and water uptake, protecting roots from pathogens and environmental extremes, and maintaining soil structure and forest food webs. Diversity of EMF likely aids forest ecosystem resilience in the face of changing environmental factors such as pollution and global climate change. Many EMF are increasing in commercial value and gathered both as edible fruiting bodies and for production of metabolites in an emerging biotechnical industry. Concerns over decline of EMF have centered on pollution effects, habitat alteration, and effects of overharvest. In many areas of Europe, a large percentage of EMF are in decline or threatened. Various atmospheric pollutants have had serious direct effects by acidifying and nitrifying soils and indirect effects by decreasing the vitality of EMF-dependent host trees. In addition, a reduction in EMF diversity has been documented where the distributions of host plants have been reduced, intensively used, or simplified. Strategies for the conservation of EMF include decreasing levels of environmental pollutants and retaining diverse assemblages of native host species, habitats, and structures across a landscape. In the Pacific Northwestern United States, high levels of diversity and habitat still exist for conserving, monitoring, and understanding EMF ecology and function. Ectomycorrhizal conservation is an important issue with mycologists, naturalists, or conservationists; however, a wider appreciation of the EMF is needed because of their far-reaching influence on the functioning of ecosystems.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Amaranthus, Michael P. 1998. The importance and conservation of ectomycorrizal fungal diversity in forest ecosystems: lessons from Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-431. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 15 p


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    Conservation, diversity, ectomycorrhizal fungi, forest productivity, forest ecosystem, mushrooms, pollution, truffles

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