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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 257326, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/257326
Research Article

Facilitation of American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) Seedling Establishment by Pinus virginiana in Mine Restoration

1Conservation Science Training Center at the Wilds, Cumberland, OH 43732, USA
2Department of Botany Oxford, Miami University, OH 45056, USA
3USDA Forest Service, 359 Main Road, Delaware, OH 43015, USA

Received 15 July 2011; Accepted 31 October 2011

Academic Editor: Herman Shugart

Copyright © 2012 Jenise M. Bauman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study evaluated the influence of planting sites on the establishment and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) colonization of American chestnut (Castanea denetata (Marsh.) Borkh.) on an abandoned coal mine in an Appalachian region of the United States. Root morphotyping and sequencing of the fungal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region were used to identify the ECM species associated with the chestnut seedlings. Germination, survival, ECM root colonization, and growth were assessed in three habitats: forest edge, center (plots without vegetation), and pine plots (a 10-year-old planting of Pinus virginiana). Seedlings in pine plots had higher survival (38%) than the other plot types (center 9% and forest edge 5%; ). Chestnuts found colonized by ECM within the pine plots were larger ( ), contributed by a larger root system ( ). Forest edge and pine plots had more ECM roots than seedlings in center plots ( ). ITS fungal sequences and morphotypes found among chestnut and pine matched Scleroderma, Thelephora, and Pisolithus suggesting these two plant species shared ECM symbionts. Results indicated that the presence of P. virginiana had a greater facilitative effect on growth and survival of chestnut seedlings.