In recent decades, wildfires in ponderosa pine forests have increased in size and severity. These wildfires can remove large, contiguous patches of mature forests, alter dominant plant communities and increase woody debris, potentially altering fungal community composition. Additionally, post-fire conditions may shift dominant fungal functional groups from plant-symbiotic ectomycorrhizal fungi to more saprotrophic fungi.
We investigated the long-term (13 years post-wildfire) effect of fire severity on 1) fungal sporocarp density, functional groups and community composition and 2) ectomycorrhizal colonization and community composition from naturally regenerating ponderosa pine seedlings on the Pumpkin Fire that burned in 2000 in Arizona, USA. Plots were located in unburned areas, moderate-severity burned areas, and two high-severity (defined as 100 percent tree mortality) burned areas. High-severity burned areas were established either adjacent to residual live forest edges, or at least 200 meters from any residual live trees.
Owen, S.M. 2019. Tree regeneration following large wildfires in southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Ph.D. Dissertation, Northern Arizona University.
Owen, S.M., A. Patterson, C.A. Gehring, C.H. Sieg, L.S. Baggett, P. Z. Fulé. In review. Large, high-severity burn patches limit fungal recovery 13 years after wildfire in a ponderosa pine forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry.