Research review

Future Needs of Mycorrhizal Research in South African Forestry

Published in: South African Forestry Journal
Volume 153, issue 1, 1990 , pages: 31–35
DOI: 10.1080/00382167.1990.9629030
Author(s): W.J. SwartDepartment of Plant Pathology,, J.M. TheronFaculty of Forestry,


The association formed by the short roots of Pinus and Eucalyptus species with mycorrhizal fungi results in increased nutrient absorption and protection from pathogens. Different species of mycorrhizal fungi vary greatly in their effectiveness toward a given host species under given environmental conditions. Most species of mycorrhizal fungi known in South Africa commonly occur in Europe whereas the four major pine species cultivated in this country are indigenous to the USA and Mexico. Mycorrhizal associations in South African plantations are, therefore, probably not the most effective. The selection and introduction of new species and strains of mycorrhizal fungi combined with a thorough understanding of their biology, could improve this situation. It is unrealistic to expect a single fungal isolate or species to be effective for each commercial pine or eucalypt species on each site type and for each set of silvicultural treatments. The general aim should, therefore, be to select fungi which will consistently stimulate tree growth over a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. Future research strategies should also investigate other possible uses of mycorrhizal fungi and the possibility of increasing their effectiveness by genetic manipulation.

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