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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Planting Betula pendula on pine sites infested by Heterobasidion annosum: disease transfer, silvicultural evaluation, and community of wood-inhabiting fungi

Lygis V, Vasiliauskas R, Stenlid J


Persistence of the root rot pathogen Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. s.s. on infested areas and its transfer to a forest regeneration was studied in three forest sites in eastern Lithuania. The sites represented H. annosum disease centres in Pinus sylvestris L. stands, which were clear-felled and replanted with Betula pendula Roth 25 years prior to our study. Fungal isolation from trees and stumps on each site was performed on both replanted B. pendula and surrounding P. sylvestris from the previous generation. Low productivity of B. pendula stands (45.0-76.1 m(3).ha(-1)), high mortality rates, and comparatively low vigor of trees (measured as crown densities) indicated a strong impact of root rot. Based on somatic incompatibility tests, we detected large spreading areas of clones of H. annosum (up to 48 m across) and old (35- to 40-year-old) clonal individuals. Territorial clones covered areas that encompassed both previous stands of P. sylvestris and current stands of B. pendula. Our results showed that H. annosum is able to persist in root systems of diseased trees for decades and readily attack birch replanted on infested sites. In addition, a total of 83 fungal species (out of 398 isolates) was found as a result of sampling 508 B. pendula, 49 P. sylvestris, 21 Juniperus communis L., and 1 Salix cinerea L. trees

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2004, Volume: 34, number: 1, pages: 120-130