Soil organic matter rather than ectomycorrhizal diversity is related to urban tree health - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2019

Soil organic matter rather than ectomycorrhizal diversity is related to urban tree health

Ben Somers
  • Function : Author


Urban trees provide many ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, air quality improvement, storm water attenuation and energy conservation, to people living in cities. Provisioning of ecosystem services by urban trees, however, may be jeopardized by the typically poor quality of the soils in urban areas. Given their well-known multifunctional role in forest ecosystems, ectomycorrhizal fungi (EcM) may also contribute to urban tree health and thus ecosystem service provisioning. Yet, no studies so far have directly related in situ EcM community composition to urban tree health indicators. Here, two previously collected datasets were combined: i) tree health data of 175 Tilia tomentosa trees from three European cities (Leuven, Strasbourg and Porto) estimated using a range of reflectance, chlorophyll fluorescence and physical leaf indicators, and ii) ectomycorrhizal diversity of these trees as characterized by next-generation sequencing. Tree health indicators were related to soil characteristics and EcM diversity using canonical redundancy analysis. Soil organic matter significantly explained variation in tree health indicators whereas no significant relation between mycorrhizal diversity variables and the tree health indicators was found. We conclude that mainly soil organic matter, through promoting soil aggregate formation and porosity, and thus indirectly tree water availability, positively affects the health of trees in urban areas. Our results suggest that urban planners should not overlook the importance of soil quality and its water holding capacity for the health of urban trees and potentially also for the ecosystem services they deliver. Further research should also study other soil microbiota which may independently, or in interaction with ectomycorrhiza, mediate tree performance in urban settings.
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Dates and versions

hal-02893857 , version 1 (08-07-2020)





Maarten van Geel, Kang Yu, Gerrit Peeters, Kasper van Acker, Miguel Ramos, et al.. Soil organic matter rather than ectomycorrhizal diversity is related to urban tree health. PLoS ONE, 2019, 14 (11), 14 p. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0225714⟩. ⟨hal-02893857⟩
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