Beneficial and harmful fungi are at the root of forest diversity
If there are many trees of a given species in a tract of forest, a new tree of that same species has a harder time thriving in the same area.
This “rare-species advantage” produces diversity in forests.
In a Chinese subtropical forest, researchers showed that the balance between beneficial and harmful soil fungi controls the rare-species advantage.
This study provides the first look into the mechanism behind the strength of the rare-species advantage and adds to an understanding of how all forests develop.