Changes in nitrogen and phosphorus availability driven by secondary
succession in temperate forests shape soil fungal communities and
Soil fungal community plays an important role in forest ecosystems, and
forest secondary succession is a crucial driver of soil fungal
community. However, the driving factors of fungal community and function
during temperate forest succession and their potential impact on
succession processes are poorly understood. In this study, we
investigated the dynamics of the soil fungal community in three
temperate forest secondary successional stages (shrublands, coniferous
forests, and deciduous broadleaf forests) using high-throughput DNA
sequencing coupled with functional prediction via the FUNGuild database.
We found that fungal community richness, α-diversity, and evenness
decreased significantly during the succession process. Soil available
phosphorus and nitrate nitrogen decreased significantly after initial
succession occurred, and redundancy analysis showed that both were
significant predictors of soil fungal community structure. Among
functional groups, fungal saprotrophs as well as pathotrophs represented
by plant pathogens were significantly enriched in the early-successional
stage, while fungal symbiotrophs represented by ectomycorrhiza were
significantly increased in the late-successional stage. The abundance of
both saprotroph and pathotroph fungal guilds was positively correlated
with soil nitrate nitrogen and available phosphorus content.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi were negatively correlated with nitrate nitrogen
and available phosphorus content and positively correlated with ammonium
nitrogen content. These results indicated that the dynamics of fungal
community and function reflected the changes in nitrogen and phosphorus
availability caused by the secondary succession of temperate forests.
The fungal plant pathogen accumulated in the early-successional stage
and ectomycorrhizal fungi accumulated in the late-successional stage may
have a potential role in promoting forest succession. These findings
contribute to a better understanding of the response of soil fungal
communities to the secondary forest succession process and highlight the
importance of fungal communities during temperate forest succession.