Fungal communities associated to conifers have been typically studied in temperate conifer forests, but
little is known about tropical habitats. The present study examined the macrofungal succession and corresponding
sporocarp production in Pinus patula stands in Ethiopia. For this purpose, we surveyed nine
permanent plots (100 m2) established in five-, eleven- and thirty-six years old P. patula plantations
and estimated fungal taxa richness, diversity and sporocarp yields. Composite soil samples were also collected
from each plot to determine explanatory edaphic variables for fungal taxa compositions. We found
a total of 53 fungal taxa belonging to Basidiomycota, with the exception of Xylaria hypoxylon which is
Ascomycota. The majority of the collected taxa were saprophytic and about 6% were ectomycorrhizal
fungi. About 36% of the taxa were classified as edible. Taxa richness, the Shannon diversity index and
sporocarp yields showed significant increasing trends towards the more mature P. patula stands.
Fungal community composition was also correlated significantly with N, K, and pH. This study extends
our knowledge on fungal diversity and community structure in managed P. patula plantations. Higher
diversity and sporocarp production was found in older stands. Thus, the deliberate presence of mature
trees in Pinus stands could provide incentives for the production and conservation of ecologically and
commercially important fungal species in the study area.
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