Fungi and Trees: Their Complex Relationships


Lynne Boddy
UK Arboricultural Association, £45.00

Relationships between living organisms are commonplace, but are not always recognised or well understood. Trees have associations with many organisms, including many types of fungi. An examination of these diverse and prolific relationships in the exceptionally well-illustrated Fungi and Trees is a welcome addition to the ecological and environmental literature.

The opening chapters introduce fungal life cycles and reproduction via spores and the relationship between fungi and trees, including food and habitats. Chapters three and four present information on positive and negative tree-fungi relationships; the former, which facilitate water and mineral uptake, considerably outweigh the latter which mainly involve the transmission of diseases.

Chapters five and six cover the influence of tree-fungi relationships spread beyond the immediate duopoly and which effect change within the tree catchment but also within populations of other organisms, such as bacteria, viruses and protists. Two major arboreal diseases, notably heart rot and sapwood decay, caused by fungal invasion of living trees and which contribute to habitat provision for other organisms, are examined in chapters seven and eight.

All of these characteristics and relationships are dynamic over long- and short-term-time scales in the context of environmental change, a topic particularly apposite in the 2020s and which is discussed in chapter nine. The final chapter is devoted to the practical issues of conservation and management at small and large scales. It highlights threatened species of trees, fungi and other organisms and reviews management techniques.

This book is inspirational. The author and publisher have done a great job!

Dr A M Mannion