Soil microbes that survived tough climates can help young trees do the same

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 13:52 in Biology & Nature

Microbial stress can be a boon for young trees. Saplings grown in soil microbes that have experienced drought, cold or heat are more likely to survive when faced with those same conditions, researchers report in the May 26 Science. And follow-up tests suggest that the microbes’ protective relationship with trees may linger beyond initial planting.    The team’s findings could aid massive tree planting efforts by giving new saplings the best chance of survival over the long run, says Ian Sanders, a plant and fungal ecologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. “If you can control which microbes are put onto tree saplings in a nursery, you can probably help to determine whether they’re going to survive or not when they’re transplanted to the field.” As climate change pushes global temperatures ever higher, many species must either adapt to new conditions or follow their ideal climate to new places (SN: 1/25/23). While...

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