Converting Australian tropical rainforest to native Araucariaceae plantations alters soil fungal communities
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Native rainforest tree plantations are increasingly viewed as potentially important for high value timber production and provision of a range of ecological services in tropical and subtropical areas. In order to determine the extent to which conversion of rainforest to native Araucariaceae plantation influences soil fungi, we compared soil fungal communities under native rainforest and 73-74 year-old Araucaria bidwillii, Araucaria cunninghamii and Agathis robusta plantations at Gadgarra State Forest, Queensland, Australia. Following direct extraction of DNA from soil, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions was conducted. Ordination analysis of the T-RFLP data revealed significant separation of the fungal communities according to forest type along the first canonical axis, with the native rainforest samples separating from the three Araucariaceae plantations along the second axis. Overall, the most abundant ITS sequences in clone assemblages from the four forest types were Ascomycota, followed by Basidiomycota, Zygomycota and Chitridomycota, however their relative importance varied in individual forest types. The results indicate that conversion of tropical rainforest to monoculture plantations of native trees can significantly alter soil fungal diversity.
Soil biology and biochemistry
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified