Carbon Sequestration Potential of Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests in Southern Haryana, India

Vikram Singh, Sharda R. Gupta, Narender Singh


This study analyzes plant biomass, and carbon sequestration in the soil –plant system of the tropical dry deciduous forest ecosystems.  The study was carried out in three protected forests in the tropical dry deciduous forest region in Gurgaon district (270 27’ to 280 32’ N; 760 39’ to 770 32’ E; 186 to 437 m altitude), southern Haryana, India. The forests are dominated by Ailanthus excelsa and Cassia fistula (AE-CF) at Bhondsi; Acacia leucophloea and Balanites aegyptiaca (AL-BA) at Gawalpahari; Anogeissus pendula and Acacia leucophloea (AP-AL) at Raisina. The tree density was 492.5 to 642.5 trees ha-1 with a total basal area of 14.62 to 23.54 m2 ha-1. The aboveground biomass of trees in the three forests was 37.93 to 63.73 Mg ha-1; the belowground biomass being 11.12 to 17.81 Mg ha-1. The total net productivity of trees in the three forests was 6.17 to 12.06 Mg ha-1 yr-1.  Total carbon pool in the three forests was (Mg ha-1): 52.59 AE-CF forest, Bhondsi; 34.17 AL-BA forest, Gawalpahari; 33.61 AP-AL forest, Raisina. The contribution of shrubs to total carbon pool varied from 12.59 to 19.78 %.  The herb layer accounted for 3.48 to 11.48% of total carbon stock in plants. Net carbon flux in the three forests ranged from 2.91 to 5.55 Mg C ha-1yr-1. The soil carbon pool was regulated by vegetation composition and the spatial distribution of carbon in the soil profile.  The soil organic carbon pool (Mg C ha-1) was : 7.383 to 4.923 (0-15cm); 6.693 to 4.183 (15-30cm); 4.166 to 3.335 (30-45cm); 3.590 to 2.500 (45-60cm).The soil organic carbon pool at 0-30cm soil depth was  54.73% to 64.52 % of the total organic carbon pool up to 60cm soil depth. The studied forests showed an appreciable carbon sequestration potential in the plant soil system which could play an important role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. 


Biomass; Litter Fall; Carbon Pool; Carbon Flux; Net Primary Productivity (NPP)


Amundson,R. 2001. The carbon budget in soils. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 29: 535-562.

Bargali, S.S. 1996. Litter fall and nutrient return and leaf decomposition in an age series of eucalypt plantation in Central Himalaya. Oecologia, Montana 4: 31-38.

Bargali, S.S.; Singh, S.P. and Singh, R.P. 1992. Structure and function of an age series of eucalypt plantations in Central Himalaya. I. Dry matter dynamics. Annals of Botany 69: 405-411.

Becknell, J.M.; Kissing Kucek L. and Powers, J.S. 2012. Above ground biomass in mature and secondary dry tropical forests: a literature review and global synthesis. Forest Ecology and Management 276: 88-95.

Brown, S. and Lugo, A.E. 1984. Biomass of tropical forests: a new estimate based on forest volume. Science 223: 1290-1293.

Brown, S. L.; Schroeder, P. and Kern, J. S. 1999. Spatial distribution of biomass in forests of the eastern USA. Forest Ecology and Management 123: 81–90.

Cairns, M.A.; Brown, S.; Helmer, E.H. and Baumgardner, G.A. 1997. Root biomass allocation in the world’s upland forests. Oecologia 111: 1-11.

Chhabra, A.; Palria, S. and Dadhwal, V. K. 2002. Growing stock based forest biomass estimates for India. Biomass and Bioenergy 22: 187-194.

Conti, Georgina; Enrico, Lucas; Casanoves, Fernando and Díaz, Sandra. 2013. Shrub biomass estimation in the semiarid Chaco forest: a contribution to the quantification of an underrated carbon stock. Annals of Forest Science 70(5): 515-524.

Conti, G. and Díaz, S. 2013. Plant functional diversity and carbon storage an empirical test in semi-arid forest ecosystems Journal of Ecology 101: 18–28.

Dadhwal, V.K.; Singh, S. and Patil, P. 2009. Assessment of phyto-mass carbon pools in forest ecosystems in India. NNRMS Bulletin: 41-57.

Forest survey of India (FSI). 1996. Volume Equations for Forests of India, Nepal and Bhutan. Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India, Dehrdun.249 pages.

Forest survey of India (FSI) 2011. The State of Forest Report. Govt of India, Forest Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forest. Dehradun. 322 pages.

Gairola, S.; Sharma, C.M.; Ghildiyal, S K. and Suyal, S. 2011. Live tree biomass and carbon variation along an altitudinal gradient in moist temperate valley slopes of the Garhwal Himalaya (India). Current Science 100: 1862-1870.

Gillespie T.; Lipkin, B; Sullivan, L.; Benowitz, D.; Pau, S. and Keppel G. 2012. The rarest and least protected forests in biodiversity hotspots. Biodiversity and Conservation 21: 3597–3611.

Gilliam, F.S. 2007. The Ecological significance of the herbaceous layer in temperate forest ecosystems. BioScience 57: 845-858.

Gupta, S. R. and Singh, J. S. 1982. Influence of floristic composition on the net primary production and dry matter turnover in a tropical grassland. Australian Journal of Ecology 7: 363-374.

Houghton, R.A. 2007. Balancing the global carbon budget. Annual Review of Earth Planet Science 35: 313-347.

IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 2007. The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to Fourth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change. Solomon, S. Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K.B., Tignor, M. and Miller H.L. (Editors). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 976 pages.

Janzen, D.H. 1988. Tropical dry forest: The most endangered major tropical ecosystem. Pages 130-137, In: Wilson, E.O. (Editor) Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Joshi, S.P., Raizada, A. and Srivastava, M.M. 1991. Biomass and net primary productivity under a deferred grazing pattern in Himalayan high altitude grassland. Range Management and Agroforestry 12: 1-13.

Kalembasa, S.J. and Jenkinson, D.S. 1973. A comparative study of titrimetric and gravimetric Method for the analysis of organic carbon in soil. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 24: 1085-1090.

Kumar, Ravi; Gupta, S.R.; Singh, Sarnam; Patil, Parshant and Dadhwal, V.K. 2011. Spatial Distribution of Forest Biomass Using Remote Sensing and Regression Models in Northern Haryana, India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 37: 37-47.

Kumar, A., Marcot, B.G. and Saxena, A. 2006. Tree species diversity and distribution patterns in tropical forests of Garo hills. Current Science 91: 1370-1381.

Lal, R. 2009. Challenges and opportunities in soil organic matter research. European Journal of Soil Science 60: 158–169.

Lal, R. 2005. Forest soils and carbon sequestration. Forest Ecology and Management 220: 242-258.

Lal, M. and Singh, R. 2000. Carbon sequestration potential of Indian forests. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 60: 315-327.

Lodhiyal, N., Lodhiyal, L.S. and Pangtey, Y.P.S. 2002. Structure and function of Shisham forests in central Himalaya, India: Dry matter dynamics. Annals of Botany 89: 41-54.

Montagnini, F. and Nair, P.K.R. 2004. Carbon sequestration: an underexploited environmental benefit of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry Systems 61: 281-298.

Moore, P.T., van Miegroet, H., Nicholas, N.S., 2007. Relative role of understory and overstory in carbon and nitrogen cycling in a southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 37: 2689–2700.

Murphy, P.G. and Lugo, A.E. 1986. Ecology of dry tropical forest. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 17: 67-88.

Nair, P.K.R.; Kumar, B.M. and Nair, V.D. 2009. Agroforestry as a strategy for carbon sequestration. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 172:10-23.

Negi, J. D. S., Manhas, R. K., and Chauhan, P. S. 2003. Carbon allocation in different components of some tree species of India: a new approach for carbon estimation. Current Science 85: 1528–1531.

Olivares, E. and Medina, E.1992. Water and nutrient relations of woody perennials from tropical dry forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 3: 383–392.

Olson, J.S. 1975. Productivity of forest ecosystem, Pages 33-43. In : Reichle, D.E.; Franklin, J.F. and Goodall, D.W. (Editors) Productivity of World Ecosystems. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. USA.

Palm, C.; Sanchez, P.; Ahamed, S. and Awiti, A. 2007. Soils: A Contemporary Perspective. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32: 99-129.

Patil, P., Singh, S. and Dadhwal, V.K. 2010. Above ground forest biomass assessment in southern Gujarat. Journal of Indian Society of Remote Sensing 38: 119-132.

Poffenberger, M. (Editor). 2000. Communities and Forest Manage-ment in Southeast Asia. International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Gland. 222 pages.

Powell, T.L.; Gholz, H.L.; Clark, K.L.; Starr, G.; Cropper Jr., W.P. and Martin, T.A. 2008. Carbon exchange of a mature, naturally regenerated pine forest in north Florida. Global Change Biology 14: 2523–2538.

Proctor, J., Anderson, J. M., Chai, P., & Vallack, H. W. 1983. Eco-logical studies in four contrasting lowland rain forests in Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak. I. forest environments structure and floristics. Journal of Ecology 71:237-260.

Ravindranath, N.H. and Ostwald, M. 2008. Methods for estimating above-ground biomass. Pages 113-147, In: Ravindranath, N.H. and Ostwald, M. (Editors) Carbon Inventory Methods: Handbook for Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Carbon Mitigation and Roundwood Production Projects (Advances in Global Change Research 29). Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

Rawat, Y.S. and Singh, J.S. 1988. Structure and function of oak forests in Central Himalaya. Dry matter dynamics. Annals of Botany 62: 413-427.

Sahu, S. C.; Sharma, Jagmohan and Ravindranath, N. H. 2015. Carbon stocks and fluxes for forests in Odisha (India). Tropical Ecology 56: 77-85.

Salunkhe, O; Khare P.K ; Sahu T.R. and Singh, S. 2016. Estimation of tree biomass reserves in tropical deciduous forests of Central India by non-destructive approach. Tropical Ecology 57: 153-161.

Sanchez, R.G., Sanchez, J.A. 1995. Litter fall in primary and secondary tropical forests of Mexico. Tropical Ecology 36: 191-201.

Saxena, A.K., Rana, B.S., Rao, O.P. and Singh, B.P. 1996. Seasonal variation in biomass and primary productivity of para grass (Brachiaria mutica) under a mixed tree stand and in an adjacent open area in northern India. Agroforestry Systems 33: 75-85.

Schlesinger, W.H. 1977. Carbon balance in terrestrial detritus. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 8: 51-81.

Singh, K.P. and Misra, R.1979. Structure and Functioning of Natural, Modified and Silvicultural Ecosystems in Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Final Technical Report, MAB Research Project, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

Singh, L. and Singh, J.S. 1991. Species structure, dry matter dynamics and carbon flux of a dry tropical forest in India. Annals of Botany 68: 263-273.

Singh, J.S.; Lauenroth, W.K. and Steinhorst, R.K. 1975. Review and assessment of various techniques for estimating net aerial primary productivity in grasslands from harvest data. Botanical Review 41: 181-232.

Singh, Vikram; Gupta, S.R. and Singh, Narender. 2014. Vegetation composition, species diversity and soil carbon storage in tropical dry deciduous forests of southern Haryana. Indian Journal of Science 7: 28-39.

Singh, Vikram; Gupta, S.R. and Singh, Narender. 2016. Functional Leaf Trait Variations in Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest Ecosystems at Gurgaon, Northern India. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 42 (2): 81-92.

Sunderland, T.; Apgaua, D.; Baldauf, C.; Blackie, R.; Colfer, C.; Cunningham, A.B.; Dexter, K.; Djoudi, H.; Gautier, D.; Gumbo, D.; Ickowitz, A.; Kassa, H.; Parthasarathy, N.; Pennington, R.T.; Paumgarten, F.; Pulla, S.; Sola, P.; Tng, D.; Waeber, P. and Wilmé, L. 2015. Global dry forests: a prologue. International Forestry Review 17: 1-9.

Sundarpandian, S.M. and Swamy, P.S. 1999. Litter production and leaf-litter decomposition of selected tree species in tropical forests at Kodayar in the Western Ghats, India. Forest Ecology and Management 123:231–244.

Waeber, P.; Ramesh, B.; Parthasarathy, N; Pulla, S. and Garcia, C. 2012. Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests in South Asia: A Research Agenda. Prepared for “Key Issues for the Global Dry Forests” Workshop organized by CIFOR/ ForDev, Zurich, 28–30 October, 2012.

Yang, Y.; Mohammat, A.; Feng, J.; Zhou, R. and Fang, J. 2007. Storage, patterns and environmental controls of soil organic carbon in China. Biogeochemistry 84: 131–141.

Zhou, G.; Guan, L.; Wei, X.; Zhang, D.; Zhang, Q.; Yan, J.; Wen, D.; Liu, J.; Liu, S.; Huang, Z.; Kong, G.; Mo, J. and Yu, Q. 2007. Litterfall production along successional and altitudinal gradients of subtropical monsoon evergreen broadleaved forests in Guangdong, China. Plant Ecology 188:77–89.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.