University of Oulu

Scots pine and its ectomycorrhizal symbionts under chronic low-level urban pollution—responses and restoration

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Author: Tarvainen, Oili1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2009
Publish Date: 2009-12-08
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in Kuusamonsali (Auditorium YB210), Linnanmaa, on 18 December 2009, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Doctor Jacqueline Baar
Professor Melanie Jones


Boreal urban forests are becoming more and more fragmented and, at the same time, are exposed to low-level but long-term nitrogen and sulphur deposition. Natural mid-boreal forests are dominated by few tree and shrub species, while herbs and grasses are rare. Soils in mid-boreal forests are rich in ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, forming a symbiotic relationship with forest trees, which is important for the nutrient cycle especially in nutrient-poor ecosystems.

Aims of this thesis were 1) to study differences between mid-boreal urban and rural forests in composition of macrofungi and structure of plant communities, 2) to explore whether responses of Scots pine seedlings to excess N are mediated via soil or via air, and 3) to study if partial removal of vegetation and humus layer alleviates the adverse effects of excess N on plant and fungal communities, and promotes performance and regeneration of Scots pine in urban forests. The growth responses of seedlings and their mycorrhizal colonization were studied in both field and greenhouse experiments. Peroxidase (POD) activity was used as a root stress indicator.

Urban forests were poor in number of fruiting ECM fungal species, but rich in herbs and grasses in the field layer, as compared to rural forests. These differences were thought to result from changes in soil properties. ECM fungal colonization in Scots pine roots did not respond significantly to high nitrogen load in soil, but high root POD activity indicated changes in root physiology.

ECM macrofungal diversity in urban forests was not markedly increased during a five-year survey after a partial humus removal treatment. On the other hand, fruiting of Cortinarius semisanguineus is a positive response to the treatment. Scots pine seedling emergence was poor due to rapid revegetation at the urban sites, but the treatment promoted both root and shoot growth of planted Scots pine seedlings in urban forests. Decreased root POD activity in Scots pine seedlings in the humus removal treatment possibly indicates lowered root stress.

Soil manipulations may result in a risk of nutrient leakage, and a risk of invasion by non-typical plants. Also, small stand size with high recreation pressure causes a risk for tree regeneration in urban forest stands. These risks need to be considered when planning management of urban coniferous forests.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-6062-9
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6061-2
Issue: 543
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2009. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.