Post-fire fungal succession in a Mediterranean ecosystem dominated by Cistus ladanifer L.

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Hernández-Rodríguez, M.; Oria-de-Rueda, J. A.; Martín-Pinto, P. (2013) - Post-fire fungal succession in a Mediterranean ecosystem dominated by Cistus ladanifer L. - Forest Ecology and Management

Wildfires are the major disturbance in Mediterranean ecosystems affecting both vegetation and fungal communities. After fire, fungal communities follow succession patterns mainly driven by the dynamics of post-fire plant communities. The aim of this study is to analyze post-fire fungal succession in a Med- iterranean ecosystem dominated by Cistus ladanifer in northwestern Spain. Sporocarps were collected and identified on a weekly basis during the autumn season from 2003 to 2006 in 100m2 plots located in recently burned plots (early stage) and mature stands (late stage). 146 fungal taxa were found during the 4-year sampling (56 late stage only and 23 early stage only). There was a shift in the taxa composition of fungal community during C. ladanifer succession. Several taxa such as Coprinus spp. and Pholiota car- bonaria were found in the early stage of the succession, whereas late stage taxa like Lepista spp. or Con- ocybe spp. fruited in the last years of succession. Cistus-specific taxa such as Entoloma cistophilum, Hebeloma cistophilum and Lactarius cistophilus were classified as multi-stage taxa as they were able to fruit in both early and late stages. Furthermore, several mycorrhizal taxa, usually associated with mature forest tree stands, were able to fruit much earlier in C. ladanifer scrublands. According to the results of this study, these ecosystems, traditionally considered ecologically and economically unproductive, seem to exhibit significant levels of fungal richness and can play an important role in diversity conservation as well as acting as a bridge for mycorrhizal inoculum in the recovery of forest stands after fir

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