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Keywords:

  • arbuscular mycorrhiza;
  • erosion;
  • mesh bags;
  • NLFA;
  • organic matter;
  • PLFA

Abstract

Erosion resulting from landslides is a serious problem in mountainous countries such as Nepal. To restore such sites it is essential to establish plant cover that protects the soil and reduces surface erosion. Mycorrhizal fungi growing in symbiosis with plants are essential in this respect because they improve both plant nutrient uptake and soil structure. We investigated the influence of organic matter and P amendment on recently produced biomass of bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in eroded slopes in Nepal. Eroded soil mixed with different types of organic matter or P was placed in mesh bags, which were buried around trees of Bauhinia purpurea and Leucaena diversifolia between June 2003 and December 2003 (the wet season) or between December 2003 and June 2004 (the dry season). Signature fatty acids were used to determine bacterial and AM fungal biomass after the 6-month intervals. The amount and composition of AM fungal spores were analyzed in the mesh bags from the dry season. More microbial biomass was produced during the wet season than during the dry season. Furthermore, organic matter addition enhanced the production of AM fungal and bacterial biomass during both periods. The positive influence of organic matter addition on AM fungi could be an important contribution to plant survival in plantations on eroded slopes. Different AM spore communities and bacterial profiles were obtained with different organic amendments and this suggests a possible way of selecting for specific microbial communities in the management of eroded sites.