Lavender and symbiotic fungi key to Cypress reforestation in Morocco
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
January 20, 2007
Cypress reforestation efforts are unsuccessful without dual cultivation with lavender or mycorrhizal fungi, according to researchers studying replanting programs in Morocco.
Cypress has a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, a micro-fungi that helps the tree’s roots uptake water, nitrogen, and phosphorous from the surrounding soil. Further, in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, several species of lavender and thyme are also associated with Cypress. These shrubs appear to enhance soil productivity, which in turn, helps spur growth of Cypress trees.
“Increased understanding of the process of natural regeneration of cypress trees has allowed the application of a new method of replanting of this species in the Moroccan High Atlas,” said the Institut de Recherche Pour le Developpement, an institutions that sponsored the research, in a statement. “In the sites that must be re-wooded, bands of lavender were planted in strips of earth built up perpendicularly to the slope so as to retain water. The cypress saplings were planted the following year. The first results confirm the beneficial role lavender has on these young plantations: their mortality after one year proves to be very low and soil erosion remains limited.”
The researchers next plan to look at the role of other shrubs in creating optimal growing conditions for other tree species.
This article is based on a news release from the Institut de Recherche Pour le Developpement.