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Fungus diversity in revegetated paddocks compared with remnant woodland in a south-eastern Australian agricultural landscape

Authors

  • Geoff Barrett,

  • James M. Trappe,

  • Alex Drew,

  • Jacqui Stol,

  • David Freudenberger


The authors carried out this work while all were associated with CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems (GPO Box 284, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia). Geoff Barrett is currently a Regional Ecologist with the Department of Environment and Conservation, 7 Turner Avenue, Technology Park, Bentley, WA 6102, Australia; Tel: +61 (0)8 9423 2907; Email: geoff.barrett@dec.wa.gov.au). James Trappe is a McMaster’s Fellow, CSIRO-Canberra and Professor with the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR 97331-5752, USA; Email: trappej@onid.orst.edu). Alex Drew and Jacqui Stol are Researchers at CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and David Freudenberger is now with Greening Australia (PO Box 74, Yarralumla, ACT 2600, Australia). The work was triggered by Holbrook Landcare’s desire to evaluate the biodiversity occurring in their environmental plantings.

Abstract

Summary  Despite the importance of fungi for restoration, their presence in revegetated sites has received little attention. We compared the diversity and composition of macrofungi (i.e. those that form fleshy mushrooms and truffles) in 12 sites where 3-to-6-year-old native trees and shrubs had been planted (woodland restoration sites), with that in six woodland remnants. All sites were within an agricultural landscape near Holbrook in New South Wales. Of 58 fungal genera recorded, 57% occurred in woodland restoration sites and 83% in nearby patches of remnant woodland. Of the genera found in restoration sites, 70% were also found in the woodland remnants. The dominance of early successional genera such as Lacceria and Scleroderma in restoration sites suggests windblown colonisation by fungi. The reduced proportion of hypogeous genera (truffles) that rely on mammal vectors, which are less likely to occur in the restoration sites, also supports the view that most fungi occurred in restoration through colonisation rather than being generated from soil spores. Greatest overall fungal diversity occurred in large remnants that had greater structural complexity. Across all sites, epigeous genera (mushrooms) were most common (78% of all taxa collected across 46 genera) and of the nutritional modes, mycorrhizal genera (forming symbiotic associations with plants) were the most common (206 collections, 71%, 25 genera). Both hypogeous and mycorrhizal fungi were positively associated with the diversity of native forb species (wildflowers), suggesting that lower fungal diversity in restoration sites is likely to be a consequence of long-term agricultural practices, particularly fertilizer use.

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