Application of Mycorrhizal Roots Improves Growth of Tropical Tree Seedlings in the Nursery: A Step Towards Reforestation with Native Species in the Andes of Ecuador
Ecuador’s tropical mountain rainforests are rich in biodiversity but are facing the highest deforestation rate in South America (1.7%). Tree plantations are one method being used to restore these forests, however these plantations often use fast-growing introduced species rather than native species. To improve the success of native species in order to encourage their greater use in plantations, this study proposes inoculation of nursery seedlings with the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi that is associated with these native species in the forest.
research goals & methods
Seedlings of native tree species Cedrela montana and Heliocarpus americanus, commonly used in reforestation projects in Ecuador with limited success, were inoculated with AM fungi collected from “trap plants” in the forest. The study also analyzed the effects of fertilizer on both inoculated and non-inoculated plants.
conclusions & takeaways
Tree seedling survival was significantly improved by inoculation of AM fungi, and the study recommends inoculating with a diversity of species, as the stress of planting will select for the most competitive species. By improving survival rate of planted native tree species, the study hopes to encourage their use over introduced species in Ecuador’s restoration initiatives.
Application of mycorrhizal roots improves growth of tropical tree seedlings in the nursery: a step towards reforestation with native species in the Andes of Ecuador. New Forests. 2009;38:229–239. doi:10.1007/s11056-009-9143-x.
- Universidad Nacional de Loja (UNL), La Argelia, Loja, Ecuador
- Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL) San Cayetano Alto, Loja, Ecuador
- Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), Freising, Germany
- Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), Institute of Silviculture, Freising, Germany
- Eberhard-Karls-University Tuebingen Botanical Institute,Tuebingen, Germany