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Towards understanding the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in forest phosphorus cycling : a modelling approach

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Many studies have shown the importance of ectomycorrhizal fungi (EM) in forests both for nutrient availability and for carbon (C) and nutrient cycling in the soil. Yet so far they are not incorporated in forest ecosystem growth and yield models. Recent research suggests phosphorus (P) shortage could be a major constraints to forest productivity in the future. For a realistic simulation of future forest ecosystem functioning, inclusion of detailed soil P cycling and the trees-EM interaction is necessary. We developed a full ecosystem P model that simulates P uptake by roots and EM, allocation within trees, physiological deficiency effects on C assimilation and allocation, release through litter decomposition, coupled with water, C and nitrogen (N) fluxes accounted for in the mechanistic forest stand model ANAFORE. Our results confirm the importance of incorporating EM in forest ecosystem models and suggest that the lack of incorporation of P in models may result in an under- or overestimation of forest growth. This new model has the potential of being used to assess the response of trees and/or stands to nutrient availability under different climate and management scenarios. With the current parameterization it is functional as a scientific research tool to investigate hypotheses.

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Life Sciences, Plant Science, Ecology, other