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Grand Teton National Park Report

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The persistence of mycorrhizal fungi in undisturbed coniferous forest ecosystems is assumed by the renewed appearance of their sporocarps each year. Sporocarps, however, are not produced in areas severely disturbed by fire or clearcutting; yet spores and other propagules of some species of hypogeous fungi are present in the soil in the absence of suitable mycorrhizal hosts, and are capable of forming mycorrhizae several years after clear-cutting or fire (Miller et al. 1989). In fact, hypogeous fungi such as Rhizopogon spp. are typically the first to recolonize root systems of new seedlings after large scale disturbance such as fire, insect attack, or clearcutting (Miller et al. 1989). Are these fungi residual in the soil from previously existing spore banks, or are they continuously being restocked into the area? Information on strategies for persistence, propagation and survival of ectomycorrhizal fungi is required before responses of forest ecosystems to fire and other disturbance can be understood.