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Making hollow trees: inoculating living trees with wood-decay fungi for the conservation of threatened taxa - a guide for conservationists

Wainhouse, Matt and Boddy, Lynne 2022. Making hollow trees: inoculating living trees with wood-decay fungi for the conservation of threatened taxa - a guide for conservationists. Global Ecology and Conservation 33 , e01967. 10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01967

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Abstract

Decaying wood and cavities in living trees are fundamental determinants of forest biodiversity. However, a long history of forestry and land-use change has created a fragmented network of woodland with a depleted stock of veteran trees that support these microhabitats. Decomposition is a slow process and it may take heart-rot fungi hundreds of years to establish before hollowing even begins. A major challenge to forest restoration, therefore, is how these habitats can be restored or replicated. One approach is to inoculate trees with heart-rot fungi as a direct intervention to accelerate tree hollowing. We identify two types of conservation inoculation that could be beneficial in forest conservation: (1) Veteranising inoculations designed to benefit cavity and decay dependant fauna; and (2) Translocation inoculations, to reintroduce locally extinct, dispersal-limited heart-rot fungi. Tree inoculations have a hundred-year pedigree but successes have been mixed and there are no long-term published studies. Reflecting on previous heart-rot inoculations we discuss elements of the inoculation protocol to aid design of conservation inoculations. Conservation inoculations have the potential to be a useful tool in forest restoration and we hope to stimulate wider uptake as a direct method for conservation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2351-9894
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 12 December 2021
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2022 12:15
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/146873

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