Stand-replacing wildfires alter the community structure of wood-inhabiting fungi in southwestern ponderosa pine forests of the USA

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Category: Ecological Research

Title: Stand-replacing Wildfires Alter the Community Structure of Wood-inhabiting Fungi in Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests of the USA

Author: * Kurth, V.J., Fransioli, N., * Fule, P.Z., Hart, S.C. , Gehring, C.A.

Subject: Carbon, Fungi, Wildfire

Abstract: Increases in stand-replacing wildfires in the western USA have widespread implications for ecosystem carbon cycling, in part because the decomposition of trees killed by fire can be a long-term source of CO2 to the atmosphere. Knowledge of the composition and function of decay fungi communities may be important to understanding how wildfire alters C cycles. We assessed the effects of stand-replacing wildfires on the community structure of wood-inhabiting fungi along a 32-hr wildfire chronosequence. Fire was associated with low species richness for up to 4 yr and altered species composition relative to unburned forest for the length of the chronosequence. A laboratory incubation demonstrated that species varied in their capacity to decompose wood; Hypocrea lixii, an indicator of the most recent burn, caused the lowest decomposition rate. Our results show that stand-replacing wildfires have long-term effects on fungal communities, which may have consequences for wood decomposition and C cycling.

Date: 2013

Type: Journal

Source: Fungal Ecology

Identifier: 6:192-204

Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V

Format: PDF

Language: English