Climate change — regardless of where you stand on the issue, there’s no denying this fact. New strains of trees are spreading North into Canada and they’re getting a helping hand from an unusual source: fungi that have been dormant underground for eons.
“The idea that long-dormant, symbiotic fungi could help trees migrate during periods of rapid climate change has been around for decades, but no one had taken it seriously enough to investigate,” says the study’s co-author Jason Pither, associate professor of biology at UBC Okanagan. “Could fungi actually remain dormant and viable for thousands of years and be resurrected by plants growing today? Our research suggests it’s possible.”
As the trees migrate north, so do the diseases. Just because you don’t normally have a certain tree disease in your area, don’t let your guard down.