Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can accelerate the restoration of degraded spring grassland in central Asia.

Abstract

Three years of field inoculation experiments were carried out in a central Asian desert to understand the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the restoration process of degraded grassland. The results indicate that the biomass, density, and cover of ephemerals improved significantly after inoculation with AMF. Compared to the control treatment, aboveground biomass per plant of the mycorrhizal plant species Erodium oxyrrhynchum, Hyalea pulchella, Trigonella arcuata, and Schismus arabicus significantly increased in mycorrhizal treatment, but no significant differences were observed in the nonmycorrhizal species Alyssum linifolim and Ceratocarpus arenarius between mycorrhizal and control treatments. The total seedling numbers per square meter in the mycorrhizal treatment were much more than control treatment in all 3 yr. Inoculation with AMF increased the total cover of ephemeral plants from 7% to 14% in 2005, 15% to 38% in 2006, and 39% to 62% in 2009 than control treatment. Moreover, community productivity (shoot dry weight, grams per square meter) in mycorrhizal treatments significantly increased from 6 to 29 in 2005, 11 to 36 in 2006, and 27 to 81 in 2009 compared with the control treatment. It is concluded that AMF can speed up the regeneration process of grassland and this may be used as an effective biological approach in the restoration of degraded desert ephemeral plant communities.