Oecologia

, Volume 172, Issue 4, pp 1179–1189

Ectomycorrhizal fungal community assembly on regenerating Douglas-fir after wildfire and clearcut harvesting

  • Jason S. Barker
  • Suzanne W. Simard
  • Melanie D. Jones
  • D. M. Durall
Ecosystem ecology - Original research

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-012-2562-y

Cite this article as:
Barker, J.S., Simard, S.W., Jones, M.D. et al. Oecologia (2013) 172: 1179. doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2562-y

Abstract

Wildfire severity in forests is projected to increase with warming and drying conditions associated with climate change. Our objective was to determine the impact of wildfire and clearcutting severity on the ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) community of Douglas-fir seedlings in the dry forests of interior British Columbia, Canada. We located our study within and surrounding the area of the McLure fire (August 2003). We hypothesized that disturbance would affect EMF community assembly due to reductions in fungal inoculum. Five treatments representing a range of disturbance severities were compared: high severity burn, low severity burn, screefed clearcut (manual removal of forest floor), clearcut, and undisturbed forest. EMF communities in the undisturbed forest were more complex than those in all disturbance treatments. However, aspects of community assembly varied with disturbance type, where the burn treatments had the simplest communities. After 4 months, regenerating seedlings in the burn treatments had the lowest colonization, but seedlings in all treatments were fully colonized within 1 year. EMF communities were similar among the four disturbance types, largely due to dominance of Wilcoxina throughout the study period. However, forest floor retention influenced community assembly as the EMF in the clearcut treatment, where forest floor was retained, had levels of diversity and richness comparable to the undisturbed forest. Overall, the results suggest that increasing forest floor disturbance can alter EMF community assembly in the first year of regeneration. A correlation between poorly colonized seedlings and seedling productivity also suggests a role for productivity in influencing community assembly.

Keywords

WildfireEctomycorrhizaeForest floorClearcut harvestingWilcoxina

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason S. Barker
    • 1
  • Suzanne W. Simard
    • 1
  • Melanie D. Jones
    • 2
  • D. M. Durall
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentUniversity of British Columbia OkanaganKelownaCanada