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Century-long recovery of mycorrhizal interactions in European beech forests after mining

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Rodríguez-Uña, Asun  ORCID logo
Rodríguez-Echeverría, Susana  ORCID logo
Moreno-Mateos, David  ORCID logo


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleBackground and aims</jats:title> jats:pEcological restoration strategies are emerging globally to counteract biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. However, restored ecosystems may not reach undisturbed biodiversity and functionality. One reason of this limited success may be a focus on short-term recovery of diversity, composition, or isolated functions. These simplified metrics may underestimate the real time ecosystems need to recover. Thus, studies of more complex metrics, like biotic interactions, at larger timescales, are essential to understand ecosystem recovery.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pUsing molecular identification, we assessed the recovery of the interactions between ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungi and European beech (jats:italicFagus sylvatica</jats:italic> L.) in two opencast iron mines in use since the fourteenth century and abandoned over 107 and 148 years.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleResults</jats:title> jats:pSpecies richness, species diversity, jats:italicBasidiomycota</jats:italic>/jats:italicAscomycota</jats:italic> abundance ratio and taxonomic distinctness of EcM fungi recovered to undisturbed values, whereas species composition was still different. Certain fungal functional traits (i.e. exploration and sporocarp types) also reached undisturbed values. Differences in soil pH and NHjats:sub4</jats:sub>jats:sup+</jats:sup> affected the composition of the EcM communities associated with beech, suggesting that mining caused a long-term impact in soil biogeochemistry, that directly impacted beech-EcM interactions.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusion</jats:title> jats:pMycorrhizal interactions require more than 150 years to recover following mining. Contrary to the rapid recovery response provided by simple metrics like species richness, recovery metrics with more ecological information, like the identity of plant-EcM interactions, may be still capturing signals of incomplete recovery.</jats:p> </jats:sec>



3107 Microbiology, 31 Biological Sciences, 3103 Ecology, 14 Life Below Water

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Plant and Soil

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
This study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through Societal Challenge Program (CGL2015-70452-R) awarded to D.M.M. A.R.-U. was funded by Environmental Fellowship Program of “Tatiana Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno” Foundation (2016; A.R.-U. and D.M.M. were supported by the Spanish National Research Agency through María de Maeztu Excellence Unit accreditation 2018-2022 (Ref. MDM-631 2017-0714).