The area occupied by Pinus pinaster in Portugal is rapidly diminishing because of forest fires. Ectomycorrhizal fungi form obligate, mutually beneficial associations with P. pinaster which improve plant growth and resistance to adverse conditions. The aim of this work was to assess whether native ectomycorrhizal fungi could be a useful tool in the reforestation of burned areas. The work was conducted in a forest nursery greenhouse, where P. pinaster seedlings were inoculated with compatible ectomycorrhizal fungal isolates: Suillus bovinus, Pisolithus tinctorius, Rhizopogon roseolus, and a mixture of the three fungi, using burned and unburned forest soil as substrate. Inoculation significantly enhanced the growth of P. pinaster, with R. roseolus proving to be the most effective in burned soil, with an 8-fold increase in plant fresh weight. Overall, inoculation stimulated growth most in burned than in unburned soil. This study suggests that inoculation with selected ectomycorrhizal fungi in containerised nurseries can be an advantageous approach for the successful establishment of P. pinaster in burned soil. The obtained results point out to the interest of extending these studies into fire-impacted areas, using ectomycorrhizal fungi as a biological tool.
- Burned soil
- Forest fire
- Forest nursery inoculation
- Inoculant ectomycorrhizal fungi
- Maritime pine