Reindeer grazing alter soil fungal community structure and litter decomposition related enzyme activities in boreal coniferous forests in Finnish Lapland
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CitationSantalahti, Minna. Sun, Hui. Sietiö, Outi-Maaria. Köster, Kajar. Berninger, Frank. Laurila, Tuomas. Pumpanen, Jukka. Heinonsalo, Jussi. (2018). Reindeer grazing alter soil fungal community structure and litter decomposition related enzyme activities in boreal coniferous forests in Finnish Lapland. APPLIED SOIL ECOLOGY : A SECTION OF AGRICULTURE, ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT, 132, 74-82. 10.1016/j.apsoil.2018.08.013.
Reindeer grazing in northern boreal zone affects forest floor vegetation heavily and alters the vegetation structure. However, the effect of grazing on soil fungal communities, which are intimately linked to plants, is not currently known. Therefore, our objectives were to investigate changes caused by reindeer grazing on soil fungal communities, litter decomposition rate and litter degrading extracellular enzyme activities. The study was conducted in four areas divided into grazed and non-grazed sites (all together 38 sample plots) in northern boreal forests in Finnish Lapland. Fungal communities were analyzed from humus with high-throughput sequencing technology (454-pyrosequencing), and litter mass loss and extracellular enzyme activities were analyzed after a one-year litterbag experiment. The results showed that grazing significantly affected the fungal community structure and the abundance of certain fungal genera and species. Grazing also decreased laccase and enhanced cellobiohydrolase I activities from the litterbags. Our study is one of the first to describe detailed fungal community composition in sites with long-term history of reindeer grazing and exclusion. Our results indicate that reindeer grazing alter fungal community structure and litter degradation related enzyme activities in the northern boreal forest soils.