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Meta-networks of fungi, fauna and flora as agents of complex adaptive systems

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... What is sustainability in the context of forest integrity? It is maintaining scaling relationships inherent to self-organisation (see Graham, 2014;Simard et al., 2013;Rozenfeld et al., 2009;Rickles et al., 2007;Sandywell, 1996). In the presence of intransitivity, the forces driving self-organisation can be analysed with game theory (the analysis of group interaction). ...
... Therefore, sustainable forest management guided by the principles of self-organisation is to be based on a collective of strategies (see Graham Lorenz, 1990). The two principles of the self-organisation are nature automation, like self-regeneration of a forest, self-differentiation of a stand, selfstructuration of a community, etc., and concentration on essential, such as on a protecting key response traits and ecosystem legacies that are critical in the avoidance of a biodiversity threshold, i.e., an abrupt decline in species richness, with habitat loss (see Mackey et al., 2015;Estavillo et al., 2013;Simard et al., 2013;Holt and Miller, 2011;Thompson et al., 2009;Rickles et al., 2007;Schütz, 2006;Diaci, 2006;Kotar, 2006;Kerr et al., 2002;Cody, 1985). In this context, 'A critical management target is conservation of genetic legacies for the system memory and adaptive capacity they provide' (Simard et al., 2013). ...
... The two principles of the self-organisation are nature automation, like self-regeneration of a forest, self-differentiation of a stand, selfstructuration of a community, etc., and concentration on essential, such as on a protecting key response traits and ecosystem legacies that are critical in the avoidance of a biodiversity threshold, i.e., an abrupt decline in species richness, with habitat loss (see Mackey et al., 2015;Estavillo et al., 2013;Simard et al., 2013;Holt and Miller, 2011;Thompson et al., 2009;Rickles et al., 2007;Schütz, 2006;Diaci, 2006;Kotar, 2006;Kerr et al., 2002;Cody, 1985). In this context, 'A critical management target is conservation of genetic legacies for the system memory and adaptive capacity they provide' (Simard et al., 2013). Unfortunately, 'the vital requirements of clarity, simplicity and practicality do not appear to have been seriously considered in the formulation of many of the genetic criteria and indicators developed to date for the management and monitoring of forest resources' (Boshier and Amaral, 2004; Table 2). ...
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Petrokas-Baliuckas: Self-sustaining forest-409-APPLIED ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH 15(4):409-426. Abstract. It has been recognized and discussed in the literature that values associated with forest integrity, i.e., sustainability and diversity, are relevant to the three aspects of self-organisation: resilience, health, and evolvability. However, evolvability has not yet been studied and also there is still no relevant notion of forest health. This calls for a biodynamic approach to forests and clearly addresses questions relating to scaling and self-organisation since the different levels of detail must be compatible to ensure the consistency of sustainability and diversity assessments. To support the development of a biodynamic approach to forests we review the concepts of self-organisation, criticality and resilience, and their relationship to forest integrity in the light of fractal organisation theory. An exploration of fractal connectivity behind key bioindicators and biomonitors in the avoidance of a biodiversity threshold can be suggested thus far. Forest integrity refers to empirical scaling relationships that are emergent features of biodiversity. In a forest, species as different as fungi, plants, animals and insects, and processes as disparate as disturbance, dispersal, facilitation/competition and nutrient cycling, are related through ecological interaction networks; a 'fractal' is the 'collective phenomenon' of these networks.
... The above-ground community of cavity nesters is connected to a belowground fabric of mycorrhizal fungi that links current and future generations of trees (Simard et al. 2013). Mycorrhiza is the symbiotic association between plant roots and fungi, and it is present in most plants around the world. ...
... Nevertheless, arbuscular fungi persist or recover better than ectomycorrhizal fungi after fire events. Therefore, the empirically validated and hypothesized interconnectedness of the biological entities (fungi, trees, cavity nesters) and dynamics in Pewen forests underlie their nature as self-organized complex adaptive systems (Simard et al. 2013;Ibarra et al. 2020b). Here, processes as disparate as disturbances, facilitation, competition, dispersal, and nutrient cycling are connected through cross-scale below-and above-ground fabrics. ...
... I am fascinated by plants, these beings who have developed such diverse and successful ways of being on this planet, so different from humans. Plants are highly collaborative and generous, as research showed, both within their own species as well as through a multitude of collaborations with fungi, insects, and mammals (among others, see Simard 2013;Wohlleben 2015;Bieman and Tavarres 2014). How could I learn from plants? ...
... But the haunting that envelops the potted plant becomes even more apparent when we think of how plants sustain themselves and their relations. Research has shown that plants have intricate and lively systems of exchange and communication that for a large part happen through the root-system and mycorrhizal networks (among others, see Simard 2013Simard , 2018. Through this fine network of fungal threads in the soil that intertwines with the roots of trees and plants, they exchange nutrients and information. ...
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In this paper I share my personal attempt of co-working with plants as ghosts and how this has started to shape a curatorial practice that tries to resist extractivism. I wanted to rethink my own practice as a curatorand investigate how to shape relations and ethics differently. For this work I turned towards plants and ghosts as my teachers and allies. They pointed me towards strategies of being-with, generosity and sympoiesis, which I am trying totranspose into a (life-)practice. Rooted Hauntology Lab as an artistic-curatorial project is both the result and ongoing practical playground for this experimentation.
... In general, these factors affect ecological processes that are important for ecosystem functioning, such as primary productivity, population recovery from disturbances, interspecific competition, community structure, and fluxes of energy and nutrients. Ultimately, a key management target is to conserve the genetic legacies for ecosystem memory and the adaptive ability they provide [78]. ...
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Developing forest harvesting regimes that mimic natural forest dynamics requires knowledge on typical species behaviors and how they respond to environmental conditions. Species regeneration and survival after disturbance depends on a species’ life history traits. Therefore, forest succession determines the extent to which forest communities are able to cope with environmental change. The aim of this review was to (i) review the life history dynamics of hemi-boreal tree species in the context of ecological succession, and (ii) categorize each of these tree species into one of four successional development groups (gap colonizers, gap competitors, forest colonizers, or forest competitors). To do this we embraced the super-organism approach to plant communities using their life history dynamics and traits. Our review touches on the importance and vulnerability of these four types of successional groups, their absence and presence in the community, and how they can be used as a core component to evaluate if the development of the community is progressing towards the restoration of the climatic climax. Applying a theoretical framework to generate ideas, we suggest that forests should be managed to maintain environmental conditions that support the natural variety and sequence of tree species’ life histories by promoting genetic invariance and to help secure ecosystem resilience for the future. This could be achieved by employing harvesting methods that emulate natural disturbances and regeneration programs that contribute to maintenance of the four successional groups.
... En general, escasean árboles grandes y, sobre todo, de las especies de mayor valor económico. Los árboles grandes tienen un rol desproporcionado en redes de interacción (es decir, redes ecológicas coexistentes de micorrizas, polinización, dispersión de semillas, epífitas, y nidos) que ligan los ecosistemas por debajo y arriba del suelo (Simard et al. 2013;Filotas et al. 2014). Con la eliminación de estos árboles se perdieron los servicios ecosistémicos que proveen: son fuente de recursos genéticos, regulan el agua y los nutrientes, y proveen de hábitat crítico para una diversidad grande de plantas epífitas, animales y hongos; estos roles son bien conocidos globalmente, pero recién se empiezan a estudiar en Misiones (Cockle et al. 2010(Cockle et al. , 2011Díaz et al. 2012;Grassi et al. 2016;Lindenmayer and Laurance 2017). ...
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Para conservar una superficie representativa de los bosques subtropicales de Misiones (Argentina), ecosistema amenazado a nivel mundial, es necesario encontrar una solución económicamente viable a las superficies que hoy, y de acuerdo con la Ley 26331, sólo se pueden destinar al manejo sostenible del bosque nativo, así como a disminuir la deforestación en las áreas pasibles de ser reemplazadas (901617 ha y 477858 ha, respectivamente, de acuerdo con el último ordenamiento territorial realizado por la Provincia de Misiones). La deforestación, que ocurre desde mediados del siglo pasado, fue fomentada por políticas públicas de incentivos a actividades de producción intensivas como las plantaciones forestales u otros cultivos. Los bosques remanentes están degradados por la explotación de las principales especies nativas comerciales en ciclos de corta menores a 20 años, y la productividad maderera es más baja de lo necesario para sostener económicamente la actividad. En algunos casos, la productividad podría recuperarse con manejos post-extracción (e.g., el corte de bambúes y lianas), mientras que, en situaciones de mayor degradación, se necesitan acciones de manejo más intensivas como la escarificación de los suelos o la plantación de renovales de especies de alto valor comercial y rápido crecimiento que permitan turnos de corta de 30 años e incrementos de al menos 3 m3.ha-1.año-1. Asimismo, se necesita una política de control del comercio ilegal de madera nativa, que disminuye los precios y reduce la rentabilidad de productores responsables. Por otra parte, la obtención de madera debería complementarse con reducciones impositivas, por ejemplo, a través de la compensación por provisión de servicios ecosistémicos, o mediante otros tipos de usos, como el aprovechamiento de recursos no madereros. En el caso de pequeños y medianos productores, el gobierno y ONG deberían estimular la conservación del bosque por el uso de sus recursos y servicios ambientales, incentivar activamente la diversificación de la producción y brindar las herramientas que les permitan a los productores independizarse del cultivo intensivo de tabaco. Es necesario un mayor financiamiento directo a los productores para el manejo, así como a organismos dedicados a generar conocimiento que permita avances concretos en el manejo sostenible del bosque.
... This may be reflected in a shift in usage from "biological legacies" to a broader view of "ecosystem memory" (Ogle et al., 2015;Johnstone et al., 2016;Bergeron et al., 2017), with more explicit consideration of a wide variety of functions that are retained or promoted through management, including the influence of the retained vegetation on future successional dynamics (Drever et al., 2006;Messier et al., 2013). An example is the promotion of fire through management focused on affecting both ecosystem structure and tree species composition (Stanturf et al., 2014), or maintenance of nutrient uptake capacity in stands through retention of trees that support diverse assemblages of mycorrhizae (Simard et al., 2013). Although the explicit quantification of functional complexity has become a focus of academic research, the degree to which such conceptions of complexity have been (or can be) incorporated into silvicultural planning is not clear. ...
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In the past several decades, a trend in forestry and silviculture has been toward promoting complexity in forest ecosystems, but how complexity is conceived and described has shifted over time as new ideas and terminology have been introduced. Historically, ecologically-focused silviculture has focused largely on manipulation of structural complexity, but often with the functional role of features in mind. Recently there has been a shift toward viewing complexity in an "adaptive" or "resilience" context, with a focus on understanding forests as complex adaptive systems. As new concepts and terminology are introduced it will be essential that silviculture researchers understand their dissemination into silviculture research, experimental design, and treatment implementation. With this goal in mind we set out to better understand: (1) how complexity terminology and ideas have shifted over time in silviculture, (2) how different conceptions of complexity have been incorporated into silviculture experiments and treatments, and (3) how various complexity concepts are being reconciled with each other in practice. We conducted a multi-stage review of the silvicultural literature for the time period 1992-2017 that included: (1) a broad keyword analysis, (2) a detailed review of a narrower subset of publications, and (3) a thorough review of a set of silvicultural experiments that included a focus on complexity in their design. We also developed a set of case studies that illustrate shifts in complexity conceptions in silvicultural experiment design and analysis. Our analysis indicates considerable lags in incorporation of complexity-focused terminology and ideas into silvicultural research and experimental treatment design. Very few silviculture-focused studies have incorporated adaptive complexity concepts explicitly into design or analysis, even though these concepts were introduced nearly a decade ago and are widely discussed in the literature. However, in our case studies we document how silviculture experiments and research programs that were not designed explicitly around complexity concepts have begun to incorporate these ideas into analysis of treatment outcomes. Silviculture researchers should focus on reconciling conceptions of complexity through analysis of existing experiments and with modeling studies, as well as attempting to better understand mechanistic relationships among structural, functional, and adaptive conceptions of complexity.
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Infrastructure is all around us: under, above, even inside our built and natural landscapes. Sometimes hidden, sometimes visible. The flows that course through them make our cities, economies, and lives possible. Cities could not even exist without infrastructure. Life is endowed with more possibilities by infrastructure. The centrality of infrastructure is pervasive. Worldwide, cities embrace infrastructure for economic competitiveness, well-being, access, environmental protection and knowledge creation. As cities are crucibles that concentrate the human condition, infrastructures are conduits that enable that concentration and empower human achievement. As infrastructures shape almost every aspect of daily life, this article assays the various ways it currently makes places both less sustainable and resilient, as well as more so, and how we can minimise the former and optimise the latter.
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Mycorrhizal fungal networks linking the roots of trees in forests are increasingly recognized to facilitate inter-tree communication via resource, defense, and kin recognition signaling and thereby influence the sophisticated behavior of neighbors. These tree behaviors have cognitive qualities, including capabilities in perception, learning, and memory, and they influence plant traits indicative of fitness. Here, I present evidence that the topology of mycorrhizal networks is similar to neural networks, with scale-free patterns and small-world properties that are correlated with local and global efficiencies important in intelligence. Moreover, the multiple exploration strategies of interconnecting fungal species have parallels with crystallized and fluid intelligence that are important in memory-based learning. The biochemical signals that transmit between trees through the fungal linkages are thought to provide resource subsidies to receivers, particularly among regenerating seedlings, and some of these signals appear to have similarities with neurotransmitters. I provide examples of neighboring tree behavioral, learning, and memory responses facilitated by communication through mycorrhizal networks, including, respectively, (1) enhanced understory seedling survival, growth, nutrition, and mycorrhization, (2) increased defense chemistry and kin selection, and (3) collective memory-based interactions among trees, fungi, salmon, bears, and people that enhance the health of the whole forest ecosystem. Viewing this evidence through the lens of tree cognition, microbiome collaborations, and forest intelligence may contribute to a more holistic approach to studying ecosystems and a greater human empathy and caring for the health of our forests.
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Adaptive behavior of plants, including rapid changes in physiology, gene regulation and defense response can be altered when linked to neighbouring plants by a mycorrhizal network. Mechanisms underlying the behavioral changes include mycorrhizal fungal colonization by the mycorrhizal network or interplant communication via transfer of nutrients, defense signals or allelochemicals. We focus this review on our new findings in ectomycorrhizal ecosystems, but also review recent advances in arbuscular mycorrhizal systems. We have found that the behavioral changes in ectomycorrhizal plants can depend on environmental cues, the identity of the plant neighbor and the characteristics of the mycorrhizal network. The hierarchical integration of this phenomenon with other biological networks at broader scales in forest ecosystems, and the consequences we have observed when it is interrupted, indicates that underground 'tree talk' is a foundational process in the complex adaptive nature of forest ecosystems. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.
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