Ectomycorrhizal Associations of the Dipterocarpaceae


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Dipterocarps are one of the most important tree families in the lowland forests of Southeast Asia and are somewhat unusual among tropical trees in that they form ectomycorrhizal (EcM) symbiotic root-inhabiting fungal associations. It has been hypothesized that dipterocarps have been partnered in this mutualistic association prior to the separation of Gondwana. Under many conditions EcMs form rapidly on dipterocarp seedlings through inocula present in the soil, although few studies have been conducted to provide evidence that they improve seedling establishment and performance. There are hundreds of EcM species associated with dipterocarps. Fungal fruit body surveys suggest that the most important families are Amanitaceae, Boletaceae, and Russulaceae, although Thelephoraceae also become numerically important when root tips are examined. EcM communities are affected by various biotic and abiotic factors, as well as anthropogenic perturbations, and the importance of these in structuring EcM communities is examined herein.