Microbial Inoculants for Sustainable Forests

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  • This article was downloaded by: [University of Windsor]On: 24 November 2014, At: 08:24Publisher: Taylor & FrancisInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK

    Journal of Sustainable ForestryPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wjsf20

    Microbial Inoculants forSustainable ForestsM. S. Reddy a , L. M. Funk a , D. C. Covert a , D. N.He a & E. A. Pedersen aa Agrium Inc., AgBiologicals , Saskatoon,Saskatchewan, CanadaaPublished online: 17 Oct 2008.

    To cite this article: M. S. Reddy , L. M. Funk , D. C. Covert , D. N. He & E. A.Pedersen (1997) Microbial Inoculants for Sustainable Forests, Journal of SustainableForestry, 5:1-2, 293-306, DOI: 10.1300/J091v05n01_08

    To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J091v05n01_08

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    http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

  • Microbial Inoculants for Sustainable Forests

    M. S. Reddy L. M. Funk

    D. C. Covert D. N. He

    E. A. Pedersen

    ABSTRACT. Fungal root pathogens are widespread and may cause substantial seedling losses in conifer nurseries. Furthermore, poor seedling survival and growth on reforestation sites results in reduced forest regeneration. Use of microbial inoculants for disease control and plant growth promotion has become an important endeavour. A microbial culture collection of 500 strains was assessed for biologi- cal control of fungal root pathogens andlor plant growth promotion of conifer seedlings. Seven of these strains showed signiticant suppres- sive effects on various soil-borne fungal pathogens. On Douglas fir, two strains, RAL3 and 64-3, reduced disease caused by Fusarium by 7-42% in repeated growthroom assays. The same strains significant- ly increased healthy stand of white spruce seedlings inoculated with Fusarium and Pythium in a conifer nursery, and increased the surviv- al of bare-root white spruce seedlings planted on a reforestation site by 19-23%. Both strains also significantly increased new root and

    M. S. Reddy, L. M. Funk, D. C. Covert, D. N. He and E., A. Pcdersen are affiliated with Agrium Inc., AgBiologicals, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

    [Hawonh co-indexing entry note]: "Microbial lnoculants for Sustainable Forests." Reddy. M. S. el al. Co-published simultaneously in Journol o/'Suahinohle Formrn' (Food Products Press. an imprint of The Hewonh Prcss, Inc.) Vol. 5. No. 112. 1997. pp. 293-306; and: Surminohl~ Fowsrs: Glohol Clrol- Cnge.~ and Local Solurions (ed: 0. Thomas Bouman. and David G . Brand) Food Products Press. an imprint of The Hawonh Press. Inc.. 1997. pp. 293-306. Single or multiple copies of this article arr available for a fee from The Hewonh Document Delivery Sewice [I-800342-9678.9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: getinro@hawonh.com].

    O 1997 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved. 293

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  • 294 Sustainable Forests: Global Challenges and Local Solutions

    total plant dry weights. Strain RAL3 in commercial formulation maintained a viable population of about log 8-9 cfuiml for over a year whcn stored at 5C. Strain survival on seed varied with conifer species. No decreases in bacterial populations were observed on seeds of jack pine or Douglas fir after 37 to 44 days storage at S T , but decreases were observed on seeds of white spruce and Scots pine. This study has providcd candidate beneficial microbial inocu- lants which offer promise for development of commercial inoculants for the forestry industry. [Article copies available for a fee jiDm The Haworth Document Delivery Sewice: 1-800-342-9678. E-mail address: getinfo@ haworth.com]

    INTRODUCTION

    Forestry is an extremely important industry in many countries, including Canada (Reddy et al. 1993). With an increasing demand for forest products, foresters have turned toward more intensive management practices to increase productivity of forest lands. These methods include the breeding of forest trees with increased growth and superior wood characteristics, artificial regeneration using seedlings, control of competing vegetation, t h i ~ i n g stands to reduce competition between trees, fertilization to stimulate growth, and improved methods for harvesting and utilization of wood. Most of these practices are well understood and are used in modem forestry, Perhaps the most effective way of increasing productivity is the use of genetically improved material as planting stock. Unfor- tunately, this material is usually in short supply.

    Over seven hundred million conifer seedlings are planted annual- ly in Canada, making silviculture an extremely important industry. It is imperative that seedling quality be at a high level to allow for successful reforestation of harvested land. Seedling losses occur in conifer nurseries as well as on reforestation sites. Fungal pathogens inciting seed and/or root diseases in nurseries include Fusariurn, Cylindrocarpon, Cylindrocladiunl and Pythium. Diseases caused by these pathogens may be important limiting factors in production of high quality seedlings in forest and conservation nurseries. All nurseries experience some losses to damping-off and root rot dis- eases, despite the best efforts at control. These losses may occur in several forms, the most obvious being dead and dying seedlings

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  • Reddy et al. 295

    observed in nursery beds. The economic loss represented by this type of seedling mortality may vary with the age of the affected seedlings. Diseases may also damage seedlings, making them un- suitable for planting. Damaged seedlings are thrown away (culled) during lifting and packaging. Some diseased seedlings may escape culling or remain symptomless at the time of lifting. In these cases, pests are transported to field plantings, where they continue to cause economic losses by killing, stunting, or deforming trans- planted seedlings.

    Chemical pesticides were initially formulated for effectiveness on many soil-borne pathogens. This broad spectrum efficacy often resulted in destruction of both beneficial and injurious organisms (Baker and Cook 1974). However, resistance to these chemicals can develop rapidly in pathogens. In recent years, problems with pesti- cide resistance, toxicity to non-target organisms, and environmental contamination have greatly reduced the desirability of chemical fungicides (Campbell 1989). Recent public and government in- volvement in banning chemicals used in agriculture and forestry will undoubtedly make the use of chemical fungicides difficult at best. Therefore, foresters and nursery managers need to examine all al- ternatives for controlling fungal diseases. One of the most accept- able approaches to disease control is the use of naturally occumng microbial inoculants to reduce or suppress the activity of hngal pathogens (Reddy 199 1).

    Losses in forest productivity include poor seedling establishment and survival on reforestation sites due to factors other than disease. For example, root growth of transplanted seedlings is often limited, contributing to poor seedling health. Root system morphology is a major determinant of seedling success in the field. The goal of bare-root nursery managers is to produce high quality seedlings

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    which can tolerate lifting, handling, and planting processes, and not only survive but grow competitively in the field. This goal is a challenging one to attain. No two nurseries are alike and within- nursery variation in soil and microclimate may be as great as that among nurseries. Seedling grading has been controversial because no scientifically based procedure has been developed for identify- ing which seedlings in a nursery will be the most competitive in the field. The economic impact due to seedlin

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