Soil carbon and nutrient accumulation under forest plantations in Jharkhand state of India.
The decrease and degradation of the tropical forests affect not only the production of timber but also the global environment in a large scale. The ability of soil to sustain and its supply of nutrients to a growing forest are controlled by a complex of biogeochemical processes. The purpose of the present study aims to assess the degraded forest fringe areas, to promote plantations of various types and to evaluate their impacts on the soil nutrients and carbon content accumulation. The soil organic carbon (SOC) and nutrient content were evaluated and compared between plantations of mixed native species (MNS), some native tree species as Shorea robusta, Dalbergia sissoo, Dendrocalamus spp., certain agro-forestry species and some exotic varieties. The impacts of the plantations on the SOC and the nutrients were firstly analyzed through comprehensive chemical analyses and the results were compared with the soil samples collected prior to plantation forestry. Significant changes were observed in SOC content, in nutrients, and in amounts of exchangeable cations. Soil carbon levels were highest under the MNS, Dendrocalamus and Tectona grandis stands and lowest under D. sissoo and Terminalia arjuna. Total N showed highest levels under Dendrocalamus and Pongamia pinnata and significantly higher in stands of native species; lowest total N level was observed in D. sissoo plantations. The C/N ratios of the soil varied between 9.2 and 13.5 among the exchangeable cations. Ca2+ recorded the maximum levels and Na+ showed the lowest levels.