Fungi may help forests achieve environmental change resilience


Nature is rife with symbiotic relationships, some of which take place out of sight, like the rich underground exchange of nutrients that occurs between trees and soil fungi.

But what happens in the dark may have profound implications above ground, too: A major new study reveals that soil fungi could play a significant role in the ability of forests to adapt to environmental change.

Kai Zhu, assistant professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz, took a unique “big data” approach to investigating the role of symbiotic fungi in tree migration in forests across the eastern United States.

“Our climate is rapidly changing, and our forests are responding, but in very slow motion–it’s hardly detectable,” said Zhu, who wanted to identify factors that contribute to the pace of that response.

Source: Soil fungi may help determine the resilience of forests to environmental change