, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 425-434
Date: 28 Apr 2009

Ostryopsis davidiana seedlings inoculated with ectomycorrhizal fungi facilitate formation of mycorrhizae on Pinus tabulaeformis seedlings

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Abstract

Reforestation in China is important for reversing anthropogenic activities that degrade the environment. Pinus tabulaeformis is desired for these activities, but survival and growth of seedlings can be hampered by lack of ectomycorrhizae. When outplanted in association with Ostryopsis davidiana plants on reforestation sites, P. tabulaeformis seedlings become mycorrhizal and survival and growth are enhanced; without O. davidiana, pines often remain without mycorrhizae and performance is poorer. To better understand this relationship, we initiated an experiment using rhizoboxes that restricted root and tested the hypothesis that O. davidiana seedlings facilitated ectomycorrhizae formation on P. tabulaeformis seedlings through hyphal contact. We found that without O. davidiana seedlings, inocula of five indigenous ectomycorrhizal fungi were unable to grow and associate with P. tabulaeformis seedlings. Inocula placed alongside O. davidiana seedlings, however, resulted in enhanced growth and nutritional status of O. davidiana and P. tabulaeformis seedlings, and also altered rhizosphere pH and phosphatase activity. We speculate that these species form a common mycorrhizal network and this association enhances outplanting performance of P. tabulaeformis seedlings used for forest restoration.