Varenius K, Lindahl BD, Dahlberg A
FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 93 (9) - [2017-09-01; online 2017-09-29]
Fennoscandian forestry has in the past decades changed from natural regeneration of forests towards replantation of clear-cuts, which negatively impacts ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) diversity. Retention of trees during harvesting enables EMF survival, and we therefore expected EMF communities to be more similar to those in old natural stands after forest regeneration using seed trees compared to full clear-cutting and replanting. We sequenced fungal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) amplicons to assess EMF communities in 10- to 60-year-old Scots pine stands regenerated either using seed trees or through replanting of clear-cuts with old natural stands as reference. We also investigated local EMF communities around retained old trees. We found that retention of seed trees failed to mitigate the impact of harvesting on EMF community composition and diversity. With increasing stand age, EMF communities became increasingly similar to those in old natural stands and permanently retained trees maintained EMF locally. From our observations, we conclude that EMF communities, at least common species, post-harvest are more influenced by environmental filtering, resulting from environmental changes induced by harvest, than by the continuity of trees. These results suggest that retention of intact forest patches is a more efficient way to conserve EMF diversity than retaining dispersed single trees.