Web Below

Jim Campbell jcampbell90 at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 29 23:01:20 EST 1998

Foresters receive plenty of training covering the fungal world below and
above, understanding the importance of interelationships through such
courses as Forest Ecology, Forest Pathology, etc.
We study the balances that nature strives to undo, as dynamic forests always
attempt to reach the climax, mature, stabilized state.  Left alone, every
forest switches species composition in a never ending cycle over thousands
of years, due mostly to interspecies competition.  A pine forest can become
mostly hardwood, then return to pine following the inevitable disaster.  The
fungi continue to adapt, no doubt some species 'appearing', replacing
pioneer species.
I appreciate the research described in Web Below, but it brings up more
questions to be answered by more research that mostly will confirm much of
what we already know, and perhaps something new, depending on the lenses
chosen to examine facts.
I suspect that there is significant difference in the physiology of roots
between species, accounting for the absorption properties noted.
When a tree becomes shaded or otherwise inhibited from full photosynthesis,
root activities no doubt alter as growth hormones fluctuate for survival, as
with decreased root growth during growing season in favor of other tree
parts.  The fungi are there no matter what, found in soils even following
severe drought, wildfire, clearcutting, surviving all the millennia in spore
state.  When all else might disappear, fungi will be left to munch on the
last resource.
Strongly opposed to the THEORY of evolution, I understand why there are many
discrepancies with hard data.
I value diversity as a forester.  For one more obscure reason, it is too
expensive to fight diversity.  But even where some have won the battle
there, there is sufficient fungi throughout the forest or no doubt all the
affected trees would die.  Win the battle, the war comes back, and some find
themselves in the anti-diversity battle again.  I justify managed diversity
if for no other reason than to assure habitat for the widest possible range
of wildlife.  The days of clearcutting and monoculture are probably
shortlived with the emphasis on alternative fibers such as Kenaf which can
yield 5-15 tons of fiber per acre per year than wood fiber production.  With
that kind of competition, we cannot continue to engage in high cost clearing
and planting, not to mention tying up investments for 15 years waiting for
the first thinning for pulpwood.  The fungi is there, like the termites and
woodsroaches always will be, and no doubt the market will enable a greater
diversity of fungal species as more tree species are tolerated alongside the
'valuable' species.

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