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Natural disturbances in forests


Fire, insects and drought are some examples of events that kill trees. The death of trees at landscape scales has consequences for both above and belowground structure and function of forests. We have been investigating how tree mortality caused by outbreaks of mountain pine beetle influence the belowground ecology of pine forests. Namely, we are interested in how tree mortality affects soil fungi, and in turn, how changes in these communities affect the recovery of forests in beetle-killed stands.

Relevant publications

Pec GJ, Karst J, Taylor DL, Cigan PW, Erbilgin N, Cooke JEK, Simard SW, and Cahill, JF, Jr.. Changes in soil fungal community structure driven by a decline in ectomycorrhizal fungi following a mountain pine beetle outbreak. Re-submitted to New Phytologist March, 2016

Karst J*, Erbilgin N*, Pec GJ, Cigan PW, Najar A, Simard SW, Cahill JF. 2015. Ectomycorrhizal fungi mediate indirect effects of a bark beetle outbreak on secondary chemistry and establishment of pine seedlings. New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.13492 * these authors contributed equally

 Pec GJ, Karst J, Sywenky A, Cigan PW, Erbilgin N, Simard SS, and Cahill JF, Jr. 2015. Rapid increases in forest understory diversity and productivity following a mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak. PLoS One DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0124691

Cigan PW, Karst J, Cahill JF, Jr., Sywenky A, Pec GJ, Erbilgin N. 2015. Influence of bark beetle outbreaks on nutrient cycling in pine stands in western Canada. Plant and Soil 390: 29-47

Karst J, Randall M, Gehring CA. 2014. Consequences for ectomycorrhizal fungi of the selective loss or gain of pine across landscapes. Botany 92: 855-865

Treu R*, Karst J*, Randall M, Pec GJ, Cigan P, Simard S, Cooke J, Erbilgin N, Cahill JF. 2014. Decline of ectomycorrhizal fungi following a mountain pine beetle epidemic. Ecology 95: 1096-1103. * these authors contributed equally