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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Ectomycorrhizal necromass turnover is one-third of biomass turnover in hemiboreal Pinus sylvestris forests

Hagenbo, Andreas; Fransson, Petra; Menichetti, Lorenzo; Clemmensen, Karina E.; Olofsson, Madelen A.; Ekblad, Alf


Societal Impact Statement Efficient mitigation of climate change requires predictive models of forest ecosystems as sinks for atmospheric carbon. Mycorrhizal fungi are drivers of soil carbon storage in boreal forests, yet they are typically excluded from ecosystem models, because of a lack of information about their growth and turnover. Closing this knowledge gap could help us better predict future responses to climate change and guide policy decisions for sustainable management of forest ecosystems. This study provides new estimates of the production and turnover of mycorrhizal mycelial biomass and necromass. This information can facilitate the integration of mycorrhizal fungi into new predictive models of boreal forest soils. Summary center dot In boreal forests, turnover of biomass and necromass of ectomycorrhizal extraradical mycelia (ERM) are important for mediating long-term carbon storage. However, ectomycorrhizal fungi are usually not considered in ecosystem models, because data for parameterization of ERM dynamics is lacking. center dot Here, we estimated the production and turnover of ERM biomass and necromass across a hemiboreal Pinus sylvestris chronosequence aged 12 to 100 years. Biomass and necromass were quantified in sequentially harvested in-growth bags, and incubated in the soil for 1-24 month, and Bayesian calibration of mathematical models was applied to arrive at parametric estimates of ERM production and turnover rates of biomass and necromass. center dot Steady states were predicted to be nearly reached after 160 and 390 growing season days, respectively, for biomass and necromass. The related turnover rates varied with 95% credible intervals of 1.7-6.5 and 0.3-2.5 times yr-1, with mode values of 2.9 and 0.9 times yr-1, corresponding to mean residence times of 62 and 205 growing season days. center dot Our results highlight that turnover of necromass is one-third of biomass. This together with the variability in the estimates can be used to parameterize ecosystem models, to explicitly include ERM dynamics and its impact on mycorrhizal-derived soil carbon accumulation in boreal forests.


chitin; degradation; ergosterol; extramatrical mycelium; extraradical mycelium; fungal biomass; fungal necromass; mycorrhiza

Published in

Plants, People, Planet
2024, Volume: 6, number: 4, pages: 951-964
Publisher: WILEY