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Roadside disturbance promotes plant communities with arbuscular mycorrhizal associations in mountain regions worldwide

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

We assessed the impact of road disturbances on the dominant mycorrhizal types in ecosystems at the global level and how this mechanism can potentially lead to lasting plant community changes. We used a database of coordinated plant community surveys following mountain roads from 894 plots in 11 mountain regions across the globe in combination with an existing database of mycorrhizal-plant associations in order to approximate the relative abundance of mycorrhizal types in natural and disturbed environments. Our findings show that roadside disturbance promotes the cover of plants associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. This effect is especially strong in colder mountain environments and in mountain regions where plant communities are dominated by ectomycorrhizal (EcM) or ericoid-mycorrhizal (ErM) associations. Furthermore, non-native plant species, which we confirmed to be mostly AM plants, are more successful in environments dominated by AM associations. These biogeographical patterns suggest that changes in mycorrhizal types could be a crucial factor in the worldwide impact of anthropogenic disturbances on mountain ecosystems. Indeed, roadsides foster AM-dominated systems, where AM-fungi might aid AM-associated plant species while potentially reducing the biotic resistance against invasive non-native species, often also associated with AM networks. Restoration efforts in mountain ecosystems will have to contend with changes in the fundamental make-up of EcM- and ErM plant communities induced by roadside disturbance.
Tijdschrift: Ecography
ISSN: 0906-7590
Volume: 202
Pagina's: 1 - 14
Jaar van publicatie:2024