September 12, 2005
Reforestation of burnt earth: Use truffles
Researchers at the Botany Department of the University of Navarra, Ana MarÃa de Miguel y Miriam de Román, have undertaken a study on the use of mycorrhizzae-introduced plants (colonised with the Tuber melanosporum fungus or black Perigord truffle), on surface land areas affected by fires.
Taking advantage of reforestation work carried out by Viveros y Repoblaciones de Navarra in the recovery of the Nazar kermes oak forest (Estella-Lizarra region), a typical Mediterranean-type ecosystem found in the Navarre region, the two experts compared the progress of the plants' survival with the presence or otherwise of the mycorrhizzae. Mycorrhizzae are the product of the fungus-plant symbiosis produced at the roots of the trees, facilitating the growth of the truffle at a par with that of the plant.After three years of research, they concluded that the kermes oaks exposed to T. melanosporum mycorrhizzae show a greater rate of survival than those planted without mycorrhizzae, when dealing with land suitable for the cultivation of the truffle. Thus, environmental advantages are added to the economic boost in those areas suitable for truffles.
The two botanists have pointed out the lack of research in this field of deteriorated land areas of the Mediterranean, investigations that could be of great use. They also emphasise the value of the use mycorrhizzae in reforestation, given that it favours growth of trees and their resistance to diseases.
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