Degradation of mycorrhizal fungal communities associated with cork oak and understory vegetation by the anthropogenic factors

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Sciendo (De Gruyter)
The cork oak (Quercus suber L.) forests are ecosystems of high environmental and socioeconomic value in the Mediterranean basin. However, in Algeria, the cork oak forests are highly threatened by repeated fires, overgrazing and the anthropogenic pressure that weaken the ecosystem of cork oak and affect its natural regeneration. This degradation results in an alteration of many ecological components of the cork oak, such as fungal communities in the soil. Thus, the aim of this work is to study the effects of cork oak stand degradation on the diversity of mycorrhizal communities associated with Quercus suber and some of its understory shrubs (Cistus monspeliensis, Lavandula stoechas and Thymus vulgaris) in the forest of Brabtia (northeastern Algeria).For this purpose, two sites were chosen: one degraded by the anthropogenic factors and the other non-degraded one. Moreover, it is suggested that some plants of the understory shrub vegetation of cork oak, such as the cistus, lavender and thyme, prove to be favourable to the juvenile growth of this tree. The results obtained showed that the ectomycorrhizal (EcM) root colonization of cistus was higher compared to that of cork oak in both stations. The estimation of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization showed significantly higher levels in the roots of cork oak, cistus, lavender and thyme in the degraded station compared with the non-degraded stations. In contrast, the rhizosphere soils of cork oak and cistus had low number of AM propagules and fungal spores, while under the roots of lavender and thyme, these two parameters were greatly improved with the abundance of the genera Glomus and Gigaspora. These results underline the need to take into account the plant–fungus interactions in the development of restoration strategies of the degraded soils and forest ecosystems
© 2022 Hana Ksentini et al., published by Sciendo. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License - . The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Folia Forestalia Polonica, Series A – Forestry, 2022, Vol. 64 (3), 184–194, available online at: . Keywords: Quercus suber; ectomycorrhizal colonization; cistus; degradation; fungal diversity; lavender; arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; mycorrhizal potential; cork oak; Cistus monspeliensis; Lavandula stoechas; Thymus vulgaris; thyme; Africa; Algeria; Western Mediterranean forest.
Ksentini, H., Amel, M. & Arifa, B. (2022). Degradation of mycorrhizal fungal communities associated with cork oak and understory vegetation by the anthropogenic factors. Folia Forestalia Polonica,64(3) 184-194.