Wood-colonizing fungal community response to forest restoration thinnings in a Pinus tabuliformis plantation in northern China

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College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Forest restoration thinning in Chinese pine (Pinus tabuliformis) plantations can alter stand structure and soil abiotic properties, which have the potential to change biotic properties such as wood-inhabiting fungal community structure. Therefore, three thinning treatments (30%, 41% and 53% of the standing biomass removed) and an unthinned control stand were established at stand age 35 to determine the effects on surface and mineral soil wood-inhabiting fungi. Chinese pine, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) wood stakes were placed horizontally on the soil surface and inserted vertically into the mineral soil and sampled over 3 years. Fungal species were identified using high-throughput amplicon sequencing (HTAS) of DNA barcode regions. Across all wood stake species on the soil surface, operational taxonomic unit (OTU) richness averaged 138 OTUs per thinning treatment. Significantly greater OTU richness (p < 0.01) on both surface pine species stakes was observed in the unthinned control as compared to the moderate and heavily thinned plots. In the mineral soil, wood stakes averaged only 91 OTUs, with no clear OTU pattern for thinning treatment or sampling time for richness. However, aspen stakes had significantly lower (p < 0.01) OTU richness than both pine species stakes on the surface and in mineral soil. Although richness was not strongly affected, fungal community composition in the mineral soil was significantly altered by thinning treatments, wood stake species, and sampling time. This study extends our knowledge of the long-term effects of stand thinning on fungal communities’ richness and composition.

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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118459

Publication Title

Forest Ecology and Management