Fine Root Biomass and Production in Tropical Moist Forest of Eastern Nepal

Tilak Prasad Gautam, Tej Narayan Mandal

Abstract


The fine root biomass (< 5 mm diameter) was estimated from two soil depths (upper: 0-15 and lower: 15-30 cm) during summer, rainy and winter seasons in the undisturbed stand (US) and disturbed stand (DS) of tropical moist forest of Sunsari district in eastern Nepal. Soil samples were analyzed also for their physico-chemical characteristics. In the upper soil depth, soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP) and potassium (K) were 3.07%, 0.24%, 626.6 µg g−1, and 346.3 µg g−1 respectively in US and 1.8%, 0.14%, 618.3 µg g−1, and 268.1 µg g−1 respectively in DS. Similarly, annual mean soil microbial biomass: carbon (MB-C), nitrogen (MB-N) and phosphorus (MB-P) were 558.4 µg g−1, 50.7 µg g−1, and 12.3 µg g−1 respectively in US and 438.5 µg g−1, 39.9 µg g−1, and 9.7 µg g−1 respectively in DS. Annual mean fine root biomass (FRB), fine root production (FRP) and turnover rate was 6.6 Mg ha−1, 5.2 Mg ha−1 year−1, and 0.78 respectively in US; and 3.4 Mg ha−1, 2.9 Mg ha−1 year−1, and 0.86 respectively in DS. In comparison to upper depth, FRB decreased in lower depth by 50% in US and 55% in DS. Distinct seasonality was observed in FRB in both the stands. It was maximum in rainy and minimum in summer season. Variations in FRB due to difference in stand, season and depth were significant (P < 0.001). In US, FRB showed significant negative correlations with SOC, TP, MB-C and MB-N whereas, FRP showed significant positive correlations with them except TP. In DS, none of the soil variables showed significant correlations with FRB but SOC, TN, MB-C and MB-N showed significant negative correlations with FRP.

Keywords


Forest Disturbance; Fine Root Dynamics; Soil Characteristics; Seasonal Variation; Tropical Forest.

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