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The Tree Microbiome - in brief

Trees are never alone, within and without they play host to a diverse range of microorganisms, from familiar mushroom producing fungi at the root to nitrogen-fixing bacteria within leaves.

 


woodland fungi are indicators of a diverse array of underground processes

These relationships have co-evolved over hundreds of millions of years and are an integral part in the life of a tree, from germination to decomposition. Some microbes can be inherited from seed and others from the surrounding environment, their compositions modulating over time depending on environmental and biological factors.

 

Trees are in constant chemical dialogue with these tiny lifeforms that can have profound effects not only on the health and growth of an individual tree but also on the way carbon and nitrogen is cycled within the wider environment - mycorrhizal fungi alone are estimated to hold the equivalent of 36% of yearly global fossil fuel carbon emissions.

springtail on log
the tree microbiome overlaps with that of other woodland creatures

In a rapidly shifting climate, trees must rely on their genetics and microbial communities to adapt.

A healthy microbiome can help trees resist pathogens, access more nutrients and water, and improve overall resilience.

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