Litter Fall and Litter Dynamics in a Tropical Dry Deciduous Thorn Forest in Rajasthan in North-West India

Atar S. Yadav, R. K. Yadav

Abstract


Litter fall and the dynamics of the forest  litter was evaluated in a tropical dry deciduous thorn forest in Rajasthan  (27° 4' to 28° 4' N and 76° 7' to 77° 13' E). The litter fall started in July,  peaked in December (28 g m-2) and declined to 12 g m-2 by January, and further to 1.8 g m-2 in May. Among the woody species, Anogeissus pendula exhibited highest leaf fall: 124, 12 and 22 g m-2 at the middle, base and top, respectively of a west-facing hill slope. The total annual litter production of woody vegetation was 2.03 Mg ha-1; however, the maximum litter fall was 2.38 Mg ha-2 at the top of the hill slope. The total forest floor litter was 6 Mg ha-1 which consisted of 30, 59 and 11% of leaf litter, twig litter and miscellaneous litter respectively. The forest floor litter varied seasonally. The initial biomass of fresh litter (Fl), duff (D) and soil organic matter (SOM) was 1.6, 9.4 and 14.2 Mg ha-1 respectively. The loss of organic matter ranged from 72% in Fl to 53% in SOM component of the litter in one year. The decomposition of litter occurs mainly in the rainy season with 43% duff and 50% SOM disappearing in July-August, and  about 47%  each of duff and SOM biomass disappearing in December-January. Soil moisture and soil surface temperature played an important role in the decomposition of litter. Annual turnover rate of litter was 92% and turn over time was 1.07 years.

Keywords


Duff; Fresh litter; Forest floor litter; Litter fall; Soil organic matter

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