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Fungal diversity in sacred groves vs. managed forests in Epirus, NW Greece

Journal of Microbiology & Experimentation
Stephanos Diamandis,1 Eleni Topalidou,1 Dimitrios Avtzis,1 Kalliopi Stara,2 Rigas Tsiakiris,3 John M Halley2


Fungal diversity and yield based on sporophore production was assessed in sacred groves of Epirus NW Greece and was compared to nearby forests. Sacred groves are woodland surrounding old chapels or monasteries which have been left undisturbed and hold oldgrowth trees. In eight sites, plots were set in sacred groves and also in managed coppice forests (as controls). Sampling was conducted in 2013, 2014, 2015. The 208 fungal taxa recorded were classified as ectomycorrhizal (ECM), saprotrophic and xylotrophic. Sacred groves were found to hold greater species richness and higher yield but when fungal groups were compared individually, yield of ECM fungi was higher in control sites. On the basis of the current research it was found that: 1) Sacred groves hold more fungal diversity of xylotrophic and saprotrophic fungi. 2) ECM fungi are more productive in younger, managed forests. 3) Even with clearcut logging on a 30-yr rotation, fungal diversity remains high. These results should be considered when managing old-growth woods for fungal conservation.


sacred groves, state-managed coppice forest, fungal diversity, species richness, sporophore yield, conservation