Global mycorrhizal plant distribution linked to terrestrial carbon stocks

Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Peter M. van Bodegom, César Terrer, Maarten Van t. Zelfde, Ian McCallum, M. Luke McCormack, Joshua B. Fisher, Mark C. Brundrett, Nuno César de Sá, Leho Tedersoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)


Vegetation impacts on ecosystem functioning are mediated by mycorrhizas, plant-fungal associations formed by most plant species. Ecosystems dominated by distinct mycorrhizal types differ strongly in their biogeochemistry. Quantitative analyses of mycorrhizal impacts on ecosystem functioning are hindered by the scarcity of information on mycorrhizal distributions. Here we present global, high-resolution maps of vegetation biomass distribution by dominant mycorrhizal associations. Arbuscular, ectomycorrhizal, and ericoid mycorrhizal vegetation store, respectively, 241 ± 15, 100 ± 17, and 7 ± 1.8 GT carbon in aboveground biomass, whereas non-mycorrhizal vegetation stores 29 ± 5.5 GT carbon. Soil carbon stocks in both topsoil and subsoil are positively related to the community-level biomass fraction of ectomycorrhizal plants, though the strength of this relationship varies across biomes. We show that human-induced transformations of Earth's ecosystems have reduced ectomycorrhizal vegetation, with potential ramifications to terrestrial carbon stocks. Our work provides a benchmark for spatially explicit and globally quantitative assessments of mycorrhizal impacts on ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5077
Number of pages1
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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