Growth and competitiveness of the New Zealand tree species Podocarpus cunninghamii is reduced by ex-agricultural AMF but enhanced by forest AMF

Alwyn Williams, Hayley J Ridgway, David A Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities found in agricultural systems has been found to be very different to that of forest. The implications of this, if any, for the restoration of indigenous forest on ex-agricultural land is poorly understood. This study investigated the effect that AMF communities isolated from ex-agricultural and forest soils have on the growth of an indigenous New Zealand tree species (Podocarpus cunninghamii). The forest AMF community was isolated from a remnant stand of P. cunninghamii forest and the ex-agricultural AMF from a retired grazing grassland. In addition, the study examined how the two AMF communities affected the competitiveness of P. cunninghamii when grown in competition with an invasive grass species (Agrostis capillaris), which is frequently dominant on ex-agricultural land in New Zealand. P. cunninghamii growth was significantly decreased by inoculation with ex-agricultural AMF compared to forest AMF. Furthermore, the forest AMF community was able to significantly increase P. cunninghamii root production when in competition with A. capillaris. The findings suggest that when attempting to restore indigenous forest on ex-agricultural land, inoculation of tree seedlings with appropriate forest AMF may improve their growth and survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-345
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume43
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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