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Slash-and-Burn Practices Decrease Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Abundance in Soil and the Roots of Didierea madagascariensis in the Dry Tropical Forest of Madagascar

1
Biodiversity, Department of Biology, Ecology Building, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
2
Institute for Applied Ecology, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 August 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 1 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land-Use and Fire around the World from the Past to the Present)
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Abstract

Deforestation and the use of fire to clear land have drastic effects on ecosystem functioning and compromise essential ecosystem services, especially in low-income tropical countries such as Madagascar. We evaluated the effects of local slash-and-burn practices on soil nutrients and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi abundance in a southwestern Madagascar forest. Nine sampling plot pairs were established along the border of a reserve within the Fiherenana–Manombo (pk-32) complex, where soil and seedling root samples of the endemic tree Didierea madagascariensis were taken. We analysed soil extractable PO43−, NH4+, and NO3 as well as total soil carbon and nitrogen. We analysed AM fungal abundance in soil and roots through fatty acid marker analysis (NLFA and PLFA 16:1ω5), spore extraction, and root staining. Slash-and-burn caused an increase in pH and doubled the plant available nutrients (from 7.4 to 13.1 µg PO43− g−1 and from 6.9 to 13.2 µg NO3 g−1). Total C and total N increased in deforested soil, from 0.6% to 0.84% and from 0.06% to 0.08%, respectively. There was a significant decline in AM fungi abundance in soil, with a decrease in soil NLFA 16:1ω5 from 0.2 to 0.12 nmol/g. AM fungi abundance in D. madagascariensis roots was also negatively affected and colonization decreased from 27.7% to 16.9% and NLFA 16:1ω5 decreased from 75.7 to 19 nmol/g. Together with hyphal network disruption, increased nutrient availability caused by burning is proposed as an explanation behind AM decline in soil and roots of D. madagascariensis. This is the first study to report the effects of slash-and-burn on AM symbiosis in Madagascar’s dry forests, with likely implications for other tropical and subtropical dryland forests worldwide where slash-and-burn is practiced. View Full-Text
Keywords: slash-and-burn; fire; deforestation; soil chemistry; NLFA; PLFA; mycorrhizal symbiosis; Didierea; endemic; Madagascar; arbuscular mycorrhiza slash-and-burn; fire; deforestation; soil chemistry; NLFA; PLFA; mycorrhizal symbiosis; Didierea; endemic; Madagascar; arbuscular mycorrhiza
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Barraclough, A.D.; Olsson, P.A. Slash-and-Burn Practices Decrease Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Abundance in Soil and the Roots of Didierea madagascariensis in the Dry Tropical Forest of Madagascar. Fire 2018, 1, 37.

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