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Doctoral thesis2017Open access

Interactions between fungi, forest management, and ecosystem services

Varenius, Kerstin


Fungi provide a wide range of ecosystem services (ES) in forests but have for long been difficult to study. Knowledge of their role in soil processes has therefore been lacking and not accounted for in forest management. With the recent development in methodology, we have begun to learn more about fungi and their role in ES provisioning. Interactions between fungi, forest management, and ES were investigated in boreal forests in Sweden. Soil fungal communities were characterised using high-throughput sequencing. Long-term impacts of tree harvesting versus retaining trees on the composition of ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) communities were investigated. Furthermore, as part of the Swedish Forest Soil Inventory and National Forest Inventory, and using structural equation modelling, the interplay between soil fungal community composition and tree growth was investigated. Finally, ES provided by fungi in forests were reviewed and potential consequences of Swedish forest management on selected ES were discussed. Temporary retention of trees for ten years did not seem to compensate for harvesting induced changes in EMF communities, which seemingly lasted for several decades. Permanent retention trees enabled local maintenance of some EMF. These results indicate that harvesting induced soil chemistry changes are more important than tree continuity in deciding post-harvest composition of EMF communities. Therefore, if aiming to conserve EMF, it is recommended to retain intact forest patches. Soil fungal community composition seemed to correlate with tree growth. Increased knowledge on fungal functional traits may therefore improve predictions of boreal forest productivity. Intensive management may alter fungal communities leading to undesired consequences for ES provided by fungi. A proposed way to ensure resilience of managed forests is therefore to consider potential impacts of forestry on fungal communities and to simultaneously aim for multiple ES.


soil fungi, forest management, ecosystem services

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2017, number: 2017:87ISBN: 978-91-7760-064-0, eISBN: 978-91-7760-065-7
Publisher: Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences