Nontimber forest products (NTFPs) represent an important source of income to millions of people in tropical forest regions, but some NTFP species have decreased in number and become endangered due to overexploitation. There is increasing concern that the planting stocks of Dyera polyphylla and Aquilaria filaria are not sufficient to sustain the yield of NTFPs and promote forest conservation. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of two arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, Glomus clarum and Gigaspora decipiens, on the early growth of two NTFP species, D. polyphylla and A. filaria, under greenhouse conditions. The seedlings of both species were inoculated with G. clarum or G. decipiens, or uninoculated (control) under greenhouse conditions. Percentage of AM colonization, plant growth, survival rate, and nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations were measured after 180 days of growth. The percentage of AM colonization of D. polyphylla and A. filaria ranged from 87 to 93% and from 22 to 39%, respectively. Colonization by G. clarum and G. decipiens increased plant height, diameter, and shoot and root dry weights. Shoot N and P concentrations of the seedlings were increased by AM colonization by as much as 70-153% and 135-360%, respectively. Survival rates were higher in the AM-colonized seedlings at 180 days after transplantation than in the control seedlings. The results suggest that AM fungi can accelerate the establishment of the planting stocks of D. polyphylla and A. filaria, thereby promoting their conservation ecologically and sustaining the production of these NTFPs economically.
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