ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAE IN AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST ECOSYSTEMS IN CHILE
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) association plays a key role in the sustainability of terrestrial plant ecosystems, in particular those presenting limitations for the establishment and subsequent growth of plants. In Chile, more than 50% of arable soils are originated from volcanic ashes, showing in general several constraints to crop production, such as low pH, high exchangeable aluminum content and low levels of available P. Under these conditions, the management of AM fungal propagules using adequate cultural management practices emerges as a successful alternative in order to maximize the positive effects of AM symbiosis on plant growth in these types of soil. This review presents the results of several years of research about the effect of different agronomic and forest management practices on the density and functionality of the native fungal populations in volcanic soils from Southern Chile, and their subsequent effect on the improvement of soil characteristics. These investigations have contributed to a better understanding of the role played by AM symbiosis in such soils and provide guidance on the most appropriate alternatives to increase its presence and functionality.