Ecology of Armillaria species on silver fir (Abies alba) in the Spanish Pyrenees
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We describe the distribution and the ecology of three Armillaria species observed in silver fir (Abies alba) forests of the Pyrenees. We surveyed the presence and abundance of Armillaria above and belowground in 29 stands. Isolates were identified by the PCR-RFLP pattern of the IGS-1 region of their ribosomal DNA. We measured several ecological and management parameters of each stand in order to describe Armillaria infected sites. Armillaria cepistipes was the most abundant of three species observed. Armillaria gallica was dominant in soils with a higher pH and at lower elevations. Armillaria ostoyae seemed to be more frequent in stands where A. alba recently increased its dominance relative to other forest tree species. Thinning activities correlated with an increased abundance of Armillaria belowground. In 83% of the stands the same Armillaria species was observed above and belowground. It seems that in a conifer forest, A. cepistipes can be more frequent than A. ostoyae, a virulent conifer pathogen. Since logging is related to a higher abundance of Armillaria in the soil, the particular Armillaria species present in a given stand could be considered an additional site factor when making management decisions.