International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mechanical mastication and prescribed fire in conifer–hardwood chaparral: differing responses of ectomycorrhizae and truffles

Darlene Southworth A C , Jessica Donohue A , Jonathan L. Frank A and Jennifer Gibson B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Biology, Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR 97520-5071, USA.

B Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, PO Box 188, Whiskeytown, CA 96095, USA.

C Corresponding author. Email: southworth@sou.edu

International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(7) 888-896 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF10033
Submitted: 9 March 2010  Accepted: 15 February 2011   Published: 1 September 2011

Abstract

Fire-prone hardwood–conifer chaparral comprises a significant component of vegetation in seasonally dry areas where prescribed burns of standing vegetation are limited by air-quality restrictions and narrow climatic opportunities for burning. Mechanical mastication is used by land managers to reduce aerial fuels. When burned, the dry masticated slash layer may result in prolonged soil heating, particularly of the upper soil layers, which contain ectomycorrhizal roots and seasonal truffles (hypogeous fungal sporocarps). The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of mechanical mastication followed by prescribed fire on ectomycorrhizae and truffles. We treated blocks with mechanical mastication only, mechanical mastication followed by prescribed fire, prescribed fire only, and no treatment. Five years after the prescribed burn, soils with ectomycorrhizal roots were sampled at the canopy dripline of Pinus attenuata and Quercus kelloggii and surveyed for truffles. Ectomycorrhizae and truffles were described by morphology and by DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region. Ectomycorrhizal communities did not differ among treatments. However, burning reduced the abundance and species richness of truffles in both controls and masticated vegetation. We conclude that prescribed burning of mechanically masticated slash does not harm ectomycorrhizal communities, but does inhibit fruiting of truffles.

Additional keywords: brush mastication, fuels reduction, hypogeous fungi, oak–chaparral.


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