Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Mycorrhizal fungi
Mains level: The newscard discusses impacts of air pollution on Trees.
Trend in Europe is alarming
- Besides affecting human health, air pollution is also causing malnutrition in trees by harming a fungus that is important for providing mineral nutrients to tree roots, finds a new study.
- Mycorrhizal fungi are hosted by the trees in their roots to receive nutrients from the soil.
- These fungi provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from soil in exchange for carbon from the tree.
- This plant-fungal symbiotic relationship is crucial for the health of the tree.
- However, high levels of the nutrition elements like nitrogen and phosphorus in the mycorrhizae change them to act as pollutants rather than nutrients.
Impact of the malnutrition
- The signs of malnutrition can be seen in the form of discolored leaves and excessive falling of leaves.
- This leaves forests vulnerable to pests, disease and climate change.
- The researchers noted that ecosystem changes can negatively affect tree health.