Investigating the rate of litterfall and decomposition in Phulai dominated forest of Pakistan: A nutrient cycling perspective

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Research Paper 01/01/2017
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Investigating the rate of litterfall and decomposition in Phulai dominated forest of Pakistan: A nutrient cycling perspective

Iqra Naeem, Lubna Ansari, Syed M. Nizami, Talal Asif, Hina Tariq, Tariq Mahmood
Int. J. Biosci.10( 1), 42-51, January 2017.
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Phulai (Acacia modesta) is widely distributed and dominates in subtropical forests of Pakistan. Every year a huge amount of litter falls on the ground and decomposed to become part of nutrient cycling in this forest ecosystem. Although past research highlighted that llitterfall and roots decomposition is an important process in terrestrial C and N cycling. Unfortunately no attempt has been made in the past to explore the rate of decomposition of litter fall as well as the roots and subsequent entry into the soil as nutrients of this forest ecosystem. Therefore to cope with this knowledge gap one year data collection for total litterfall and decomposition bag experiment for leaf litter and roots of various classes (Fine having diameter <2mm, Medium = 2mm and coarse >2mm) was carried out. The study revealed that on average basis 31.95 t ha-1 yr-1 litterfall in this ecosystem with 32 % mass loss from decomposition. Moreover fine, medium and coarse roots deteriorate at rate of 33%, 34% and 29% of initial mass respectively. The examination of the supplements from litter fall as Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), Phosphorus (P) and Carbon (C) entering into the soil at rate of 0.209, 1.31, 0.139 and 4.45 t ha-1 yr-1 respectively. Our results suggest that the decomposition rate and nutrient release in this forest ecosystem are closely linked to initial nutrients and C contents of litters. Thus, further investigations are required to explore specific content of the easily decomposable component in order to assess the effect these components on decomposition.


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