Even in the desert, fungi and other soil surface microorganisms are critical to ecosystem stability. They capture moisture and nutrients, block invasive species, and prevent soil erosion. Too bad that most have been destroyed by the hoves of grazing livestock and the movements of people on foot and in vehicles.
A new study helps map the relationships between forests and fungi on a large scale. @bberwyn photo.
New analysis offers important forest health information
Colorful mushrooms that pop up in forests around the world are much more than decorative baubles. Much more than realized, fungi are key components of forest ecosystems, helping to regulate the carbon cycle and driving the nutrient exchange between soil and trees.
One recent study showed the the recent bark beetle epidemic across the western U.S. may have wiped out crucial fungi that are critical to forest regrowth, and other research shows they helped stabilize global climate during low-C02 eras.
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