The aim was to assess fungal communities associated with living needles and soil of Pinus sylvestris in managed and unmanaged forest stands to get a better understanding of whether and how different intensities of forest management affects fungal diversity and community composition under the north temperate forest zone conditions. The study was carried out in three national parks in Lithuania. Each included five study sites in managed stands and five in unmanaged stands. At each site, three random soil cores and five random last-year needle samples were collected. Following DNA isolation, a DNA fragment of the ITS2 rRNA gene region of each sample was individually amplified and subjected to high-throughput sequencing. Analysis of 195,808 high-quality reads showed the presence of 1909 fungal taxa. Richness and composition of fungal taxa were similar in each substrate (needles and soil) in managed vs. unmanaged sites. The most common fungi in needles were Coleosporium campanulae (12.4% of all fungal sequences), Unidentified sp. 3980_1 (12.4%), Unidentified sp. 3980_4 (4.1%) and Sydowia polyspora (3.1%). In soil: Unidentified sp. 3980_21 (8.6%), Umbelopsis nana (8.2%), Archaeorhizomyces sp. 3980_5 (8.1%) and Penicillium spinulosum (6.3%). The results demonstrated that managed and unmanaged P. sylvestris stands support similar diversity and composition of fungal communities associated with living needles and soil.
Keywords: Scots pine; anthropogenic effects; community composition; fungal biodiversity; natural ecosystems.