Changes in litter decomposition and soil organic carbon in a reforested tropical deciduous cover (India)
Soil organic carbon is built over time by vegetative decomposition. This study explores potential changes in soil organic carbon in India due to changing patterns of vegetation, such as deforestation, agricultural use, and reforestation with novel species compositions and disturbance cycles.
Research & methods
This study examines litter decomposition and its contribution to soil organic carbon under differing vegetation types at suburban sites in Gujarat, India. Litterbags of species common in human-dominated settings including trees, grasses, ornamental shrubs, and garden vegetables were set out in protected plots. Remaining carbon and other chemical constituents were measured every 90 days. Litter decomposition correlated with specific leaf area (SLA), with higher-SLA leaves such as herbs decomposing faster than lower-SLA leaves such as tree leaves.
Conclusions & takeaways
Litter decomposition is correlated with SLA, chemical structure of the leaf, and with rate of litter deposition. The rate of litter decomposition affects the percentage of carbon contributed to soil stocks.
Changes in litter decomposition and soil organic carbon in a reforested tropical deciduous cover (India). Ecological Research. 2012;28:239–248. doi:10.1007/s11284-012-1011-z.
- Ecology Laboratory, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat, India