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A role for Australian ectomycorrhizal fungi in the rehabilitation of denuded landscapes in Asia

Dell, B. and Malajczuk, N. (1996) A role for Australian ectomycorrhizal fungi in the rehabilitation of denuded landscapes in Asia. In: First International Conference on Mycorrhizae (ICOM), 4 - 9 August, Berkeley, California.


Fast growing trees are being used to revegetate denuded landscapes in many parts of eastern Asia. These areas include grasslands in the Philippines that once supported rainforests dominated by dipterocarps, and lowland subtropical and upland temperate regions of southern China. Soils of these denuded landscapes are typically acidic, highly leached, low in P, N and some micronutrients and, in some places, are high in Ni and Cr (ultramafic soils). There is very low species diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi in these disturbed sites compared to the isolated pockets of remnant vegetation remaining in some areas. The reclamation of these lands with trees is successful where there are tangible short-term financial benefits to the local people. Consequently, Australian trees are favoured in initial rotations because of their potential high growth rates and wood quality. Our experience is that establishment and growth of eucalpts in disturbed sites is enhanced by inoculation with isolates of ectomycorrhizal fungi that are matched to site type and host tree. Inoculation programs are desirable because where eucalypts are planted, the few indigenous ectomycorrhizal fungi are mostly ineffective in promoting the growth of eucalypts. Examples of inoculation trials in China and the Philippines are given to illustrate these principles. Once the disturbed sites have been stabilised through the establishment of a tree cover, options then arise for the reintroduction of indigenous commercial species such as dipterocarps. The development of inoculum for mixed tree plantations and multipurpose trees are challenges for research. Considerable effort will be required to understand the behaviour of potential inoculum fungi in the field before their commercial release.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
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