Mycorrhizal Response To Disturbance

The fundamental role of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae is to provide a direct physical link between the plant community and surrounding soil resources (Miller and Jastrow 1992). Disturbance to soil systems always alter in some way the spatial heterogeneity between soil fungi and plants, organic matter, and nutrient pools (Allen and MacMahon 1985; Allen et al. 1999). Major disturbances usually reduce mycorrhizal inoculum densities. Disturbance to hyphae can occur through compaction of soil pores or physical destruction of the hyphae (Allen and MacMahon 1985) and through vegetation removal or loss of plant cover. The impact of disturbance on mycorrhizal infectivity has been the topic of numerous studies (Jasper et al. 1989; Jasper et al. 1991; McGonigle et al. 1990).

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