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Title: Do fungi have a role as soil stabilizers and remediators after forest fire?

Author: Claridge, Andrew W.; Trappe, James M.; Hansen, Karen;

Date: 2009

Source: Forest Ecology and Management. 257: 1063-1069

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: The functional roles of fungi in recovery of forest ecosystems after fire remain poorly documented. We observed macrofungi soon after fire at two widely separated sites, one in the Pacific Northwest United States and the other in southeastern mainland Australia. The range of species onsite was compared against macrofungi reported after the volcanic eruption at Mount St. Helens, also in the Pacific Northwest. Each of the three sites shared species, particularly representatives of the genus Anthracobia. Soon after disturbance, we noted extensive mycelial mats and masses of fruit-bodies of this genus, particularly at heavily impacted microsites. The mycelial mats appeared to play an important functional role on-site, possibly aggregating soil particles in otherwise highly erodable landscapes. We hypothesise that fungi such as Anthracobia are pivotal species in early system recovery after disturbance, helping minimize the movement of soil in the absence of plant roots. As plant root systems recover, the importance of these fungi in soil stabilization may diminish. Other functional roles of early postfire fungi might include nutrient acquisition, leading to the reestablishment of vegetation. These potential roles need to be experimentally tested and relevant findings incorporated into programs aimed at restoring forest ecosystems after disturbance.

Keywords: Postfire recovery, erosion control, soil aggregation, Anthracobia

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Claridge, Andrew W.; Trappe, James M.; Hansen, Karen 2009. Do fungi have a role as soil stabilizers and remediators after forest fire?. Forest Ecology and Management. 257: 1063-1069


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