Climate change is moving tree populations away from the soil fungi that sustain them

By the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks
May 27, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: International

As our planet warms, many species are shifting to different locations as their historical habitats become inhospitable. Trees are no exception… A study published in PNAS shows that trees, especially those in the far north, may be relocating to soils that don’t have the fungal life to support them. …Most large coniferous trees in northern latitudes form relationships with a kind of mycorrhizal fungi called ectomycorrhizal fungi. “As we examined the future for these symbiotic relationships, we found that 35% of partnerships between trees and fungi that interact with the tree roots would be negatively impacted by climate change,” says lead author Michael Van Nuland, a fungal ecologist at the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN). The trees most at risk of this climate mismatch in North America are those in the pine family… The study sheds light on how climate change might be affecting symbioses.

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