Changes in rhizosphere microbial activity mediated by native or allochthonous AM fungi in the reafforestation of a Mediterranean degraded environment
This study was carried out in a semiarid degraded area to assess the effectiveness of mycorrhizal inoculation with a mixture of native arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi or an allochthonous AM fungus (Glomus claroideum), on the establishment of Olea europaea subsp. sylvestris L. and Retama sphaerocarpa (L.) Boissier in this area. Associated changes in the soil microbiological properties and aggregate stability related to these AM inocula were also recorded. Eighteen months after planting, G. claroideum had increased available P in the rhizosphere of both shrub species. In general, both inoculation treatments increased water-soluble C and water-soluble and total carbohydrates, G. claroideum being the most effective inoculum, particularly in R. sphaerocarpa. The mixture of native AM fungi was the most effective treatment for increasing the aggregate stability of R. sphaerocarpa soil, while that of O. europaea was increased only by G. claroideum. Increased (dehydrogenase, urease, protease-BAA, acid phosphatase and -glucosidase) enzyme activities, in particular of dehydrogenase and acid phosphatase, were recorded in the rhizosphere of both mycorrhizal shrub species. The mixture of native AM fungi was the most effective treatment for stimulating the growth of O. europaea and R. sphaerocarpa (11.6-fold and 3.3-fold, respectively, greater than control plants). The establishment of mycorrhizal shrub species favoured the reactivation of soil microbial activity, which was linked to an increase in aggregate stability.