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The Ectomycorrhizal Community Structure in European Beech Forests Differing in Coppice Shoot Age and Stand Features

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Abstract:

The composition and the structure of the ectomycorrhizal (EM) community were investigated in seven European beech coppices, and differing for the year of the last cut (2‐48 years), in Northern Italy. The research was conducted on the spatial and temporal distribution of the ectomycorrhizal species, to study if possible changes in the community could be correlated to the application year of these human practices, together with site variables (site slope, pH, C/N, Corg, Norg, soil moisture, exposure, altitude, and bedrock type). The preliminary results indicated that ectomycorrhization degree significantly changes between the organic and mineral horizons. The ecological indexes of richness and evenness showed significant variations in the sampled sites but were not correlated with either coppicing age or slope. EM species composition revealed a significant correlation with slope and soil moisture but not with shoot age. The coppice treatment seems to be not dangerous for the EM community structure, but additional studies are necessary to understand the possible application of the “short rotation” practices in this ecological context, as a sustainable activity, according to the new trends in European Union energetic policies. An EM resilient condition is supposed.

Keywords: Fagus sylvatica; coppice; ectomycorrhiza

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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