Plants influence their soil environment, which affects the next generation of seedlings that can be established. While research has shown that such plant–soil feedbacks occur in the presence of mycorrhizal fungi, it remains unclear when and how mycorrhizal fungi mediate the direction and strength of feedbacks in tree communities. Here we show that arbuscular mycorrhizal and ectomycorrhizal fungal guilds mediate plant–soil feedbacks differently to influence large-scale patterns such as tree species coexistence and succession. When seedlings are grown under the same mycorrhizal type forest, arbuscular mycorrhizal plant species exhibit negative or neutral feedbacks and ectomycorrhizal plant species do neutral or positive feedbacks. In contrast, positive and neutral feedbacks dominate when seedlings are grown in associations within the same versus different mycorrhizal types. Thus, ectomycorrhizal communities show more positive feedbacks than arbuscular mycorrhizal communities, potentially explaining why most temperate forests are ectomycorrhizal.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Medicine (miscellaneous)