Author(s): AguilarFernndez M, Jaramillo VJ, VarelaFregoso L, Gavito ME
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Abstract Rates of land conversion from forest to cultivated land by slash-and-burn practices are higher in tropical dry forest (TDF) than any other Neotropical forest type. This study examined the short-term consequences of the slash-and-burn process on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). We expected that slash-and-burn would reduce mycorrhizal colonization and propagules and change species richness and composition. Soil and root samples were taken from TDF control and pasture plots originated after slash-and-burn at four dates during the year of conversion to examine species composition, spore abundance, and infective propagules. Additionally, spore abundance and viability and viable intraradical colonization were measured twice during the second year after conversion. Forest and pasture plots maintained similar species richness and an overall 84\% similarity during the first year after conversion. Infective propagules were reduced in pasture plots during the first year after slash-and-burn, whereas spore abundance and intraradical colonization remained similar in TDF and pasture plots both years of the study. Our results suggest, contrary to the expected, that forest conversion by means of slash-and-burn followed by cultivation resulted in few immediate changes in the AMF communities, likely because of the low heat conductivity of the soil and rapid combustion of plant residues.
This article was published in Mycorrhiza
and referenced in Journal of Agricultural Science and Food Research