Roots and mycorrhizas in plantation ecosystems (book chapter)

Vogt, Asbjornsen, Ercelawn, Montagnini, Valdés 2020

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Abstract: The role of roots and mycorrhizas in natural and plantation forests in the tropics is reviewed. To illustrate key issues that need to be considered when trying to assess the role of roots and mycorrhizas in tropical forest plantations, literature from the temperate zone is used when information is not available from the tropics. The following characteristics of roots and mycorrhizas are reviewed: root diameters and their function, root density and nutrient uptake, rooting depth, fine root seasonality, root adaptations, types and distribution of mycorrhizal associations, mycorrhizal attributes, and variability in host plant and fungus relationships. Other topics reviewed are: 1) tree productivity, carbon allocation within trees and what controls allocation to roots plus mycorrhizas and shoots, 2) how the importance of roots and mycorrhizas varies with stand development and succession, 3) the relationships between roots and mycorrhizal associations and nutrient cycling, and 4) how roots and mycorrhizal associations need to be considered in forest management (specifically focusing on fungal pathogens and insect pests, heavy metal toxicity and several management activities). Research topics that are important to pursue to better understand the role of roots and mycorrhizas in forest plantations are presented throughout the text. The rationale is presented for using an ecosystem approach, rather than isolated studies, when examining roots and mycorrhizas.