Comparing fungal richness and community composition in coarse woody debris in Central European beech forests under three types of management
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Managing forests by selection cutting is a promising silvicultural technique for maintaining forest biodiversity. Despite the importance of fungi in decomposition and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems, no study to date has investigated the effects of selection cutting on fungal communities, especially using a culture-independent molecular technique to assess more than just the species that are fruiting at the time of sampling. Based on operational taxonomic units (OTUs) found in coarse woody debris, we compared the richness and community composition of wood-inhabiting fungi from selection cutting, age-class, and unmanaged European beech-dominated forests. We found that fungal OTU richness in selection cutting and unmanaged forests was not significantly different (P > 0.05), but it was higher, in both cases, than that in the age-class forest (P = 0.0002). Fungal community composition was not significantly different among the three forest types (P > 0.05). Abundances of common, wood-inhabiting fungal OTUs in different forest types were significantly correlated: the highest and lowest correlations were found between unmanaged forests and selection cutting (ρ = 0.52, P < 0.0001, n = 94), and between unmanaged and age-class forests (ρ = 0.30, P = 0.0080, n = 79), respectively.
KeywordsFungal diversity Silviculture Forest management F-ARISA Culture-independent molecular method
Our work was funded in part by contributing projects to the DFG Priority Program 1374 on “Infrastructure-Biodiversity-Exploratories” (KR 3587/1-1, KR 3587/3-2, BA 2821/9-2). We thank the managers of the three exploratories, Swen Renner, Sonja Gockel, Kerstin Wiesner, and Martin Gorke, for their work in maintaining the plot and project infrastructure; Simone Pfeiffer and Christiane Fischer for providing support through the central office; Michael Owonibi for managing the central data base; and Markus Fischer, Eduard Linsenmair, Dominik Hessenmöller, Jens Nieschulze, Daniel Prati, Ingo Schöning, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Wolfgang W. Weisser and the late Elisabeth Kalko for their role in setting up the Biodiversity Exploratories project. We thank Björn Hoppe for F-ARISA setup; and Peter Otto, Renate Rudloff, Tobias Arnstadt, Kristin Baber, Kezia Goldmann and Beatrix Schnabel for their valuable field and/or laboratory assistance.
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