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Altitudinal Variation in Species Composition and Soil Properties of Banj Oak and Chir Pine Dominated Forests
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 Title & Authors
Altitudinal Variation in Species Composition and Soil Properties of Banj Oak and Chir Pine Dominated Forests
Kumar, Munesh; Singh, Harpal; Bhat, Jahangeer A.; Rajwar, G.S.;
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The study was carried out in two different forest types viz., Banj oak and Chir pine forests to assess the variation in forest species composition and soil properties along altitudinal gradients in the Garhwal Himalayas. The results of the study showed that between the forests soil moisture was higher in Banj oak forest because of closed canopy and dense forest compared to Chir pine forest. The sand particles were reported higher in Banj oak forest which might be due to the addition of organic matter favouring coarse structure of soil, helping in holding maximum water in soils. However in the Chir pine forest low amount of soil organic matter and presence of clayey soil, develops soil compactness which reduces the penetration of water resulting in high soil bulk density. The higher accumulation of litter and presence of moisture in Banj oak forest favours higher nutrient level of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compared to Chir pine forest. The soil organic carbon also reduced with increasing altitude at both gradients. While bulk density has reverse trend with soil organic carbon in both the forests at different peaks of same region. In Banj oak forest, the highest density and total basal cover was reported 1,100 tree and 58.86 respectively. However, the highest values of density and total basal cover of Chir pine forest was 560 tree and 56.94 respectively. The total density and basal cover of both the forests reduced with increasing altitude. The study concludes that Banj oak forest has better nutrient cycling ability, well developed foest floor and has a greater protective and productive features compared to the Chir pine forest which is without lower vegetation cover and having only pine litter accumulation which does not allow any other species to grow.
altitude;soil properties;banj oak;chir pine;himalaya;
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