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Land use practices and ectomycorrhizal fungal communities from oak woodlands dominated by Quercus suber L. considering drought scenarios

AuthorsAzul, Anabela Marisa; Sousa, Joao Paulo; Agerer, R.; Martín, María P. ; Freitas, Helena
KeywordsEctomycorrhizal fungal community
Land use
Soil diversity
Quercus suber
Mediterranean ecosystems
Issue Date6-Sep-2010
AbstractOak woodlands in the Mediterranean basin have been traditionally converted into agro-silvo-pastoral systems and exemplified sustainable land use in Europe. In Portugal, in line with the trend of other European countries, profound changes in management options during the twentieth century have led to landscape simplification. Landscapes are dynamic and the knowledge of future management planning combining biological conservation and soil productivity is needed, especially under the actual scenarios of drought and increasing evidence of heavy oak mortality. We examined the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal community associated with cork oak in managed oak woodlands (called montado) under different land use practices, during summer. ECM fungal richness and abundance were assessed in 15 stands established in nine montados located in the Alentejo region (southern Portugal), using morphotyping and ITS rDNA analysis. Parameters related to the montados landscape characteristics,land use history over the last 25 years, climatic and edaphic conditions were taken into account. Fifty-five ECM fungal taxa corresponding to the most abundant fungal symbionts were distinguished on cork oak roots. Cenococcum geophilum and the families Russulaceae and Thelephoraceae explained 56% of the whole E CM fungal community; other groups were represented among the community: Cortinariaceae, Boletaceae, Amanita, Genea, Pisolithus, Scleroderma, and Tuber. There were pronounced differences in ECM fungal community structure among the 15 montados stands: C. geophilum was the only species common to all stands, tomentelloid and russuloid species were detected in 87–93% of the stands, Cortinariaceae was detected in 60% of the stands, and the other groups were more unequally distributed. Ordination analysis revealed that ECM fungal richness was positively correlated with the silvo-pastoral exploitation regime and low mortality of cork oak, while ECM fungal abundance was positively correlated with extensive agro-silvo-pastoral exploitation under a traditional 9-year rotation cultivation system and recent soil tillage. The effects of land use on the ECM fungal community and its implications in different scenarios of landscape management options, oak mortality, and global warming are discussed.
Publisher version (URL)http://www.springerlink.com/content/p558414200471108/fulltext.pdf
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