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|Title:||Climatic controls of decomposition drive the global biogeography of forest tree symbioses|
|Authors:||STEIDINGER BRIAN; CROWTHER THOMAS; LIANG JINGJING; VAN NULAND MICHAEL; WERNER GIJSBERT; REICH PETER; NABUURS GERT-JAN; DE-MIGUEL SERGIO; ZHOU MO; PICARD NICOLAS; HERAULT BRUNO; ZHAO XIUHAI; ZHANG CHUNYU; ROUTH D; AVITABILE VALERIO; PEAY KABIR|
|Citation:||NATURE vol. 569 p. 404-408|
|Publisher:||NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP|
|Type:||Articles in periodicals and books|
|Abstract:||The identity of the dominant microbial symbionts in a forest determines the ability of trees to access limiting nutrients from atmospheric or soil pools1,2, sequester carbon3,4 and withstand the impacts of climate change1-6. Characterizing the global distribution of symbioses, and identifying the factors that control it, are thus integral to understanding present and future forest ecosystem functioning. Here we generate the first spatially explicit global map of forest symbiotic status using a database of over 1.1 million forest inventory plots with over 28,000 tree species. Our analyses indicate that climatic variables, and in particular climatically-controlled variation in decomposition rate, are the primary drivers of the global distribution of major symbioses. We estimate that ectomycorrhizal (EM) trees, which represent only 2% of all plant species7, constitute approximately 60% of tree stems on Earth. EM symbiosis dominates forests where seasonally cold and dry climates inhibit decomposition, and are the predominant symbiosis at high latitudes and elevation. In contrast, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) trees dominate aseasonally warm tropical forests and occur with EM trees in temperate biomes where seasonally warm-and-wet climates enhance decomposition. Continental transitions between AM and EM dominated forests occur relatively abruptly along climate driven decomposition gradients, which is likely caused by positive plant-microbe feedbacks. Symbiotic N-fixers, which are insensitive to climatic controls on decomposition compared with mycorrhizal fungi, are most abundant in arid biomes with alkaline soils and high maximum temperatures. The climatically driven global symbiosis gradient we document represents the first spatially-explicit, quantitative understanding of microbial symbioses at the global scale and demonstrates the critical role of microbial mutualisms in shaping the distribution of plant species.|
|JRC Directorate:||Sustainable Resources|
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