Litter Production and Nutrient Return in Three Different Aged Regenerating White Oak (Quercus leucotrichophora A. Camus) Forests in the Central Himalaya

S. C. Garkoti


The present study described forest floor biomass, patterns of litter fall and nutrient return in three regenerating white oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) forests (16, 27 and 34 years old). The study sites were earlier invaded by pine (Pinus roxburghii) and oak returned after fire killed the pine. The main objectives of the present study were to evaluate changes in litter dynamics of regenerating oak forests and to estimate the time of recovery these forests may require. Total annual litter fall was 258.5 g m-2, 428.3 g m-2 and 561.7 g m-2, respectively in the 16, 27 and 34 year old oak stands.  The proportional contribution of the leaf litter fraction to the total litter fall decreased significantly with stand age. Litter nutrient concentration in the 16 year old oak stand was the lowest and generally highest in 34 year old stand. Relatively high leaf litter nutrient concentration and low nutrient retranslocation from senescing tissues, low litter dry matter: litter N ratio in the 34 year old forest indicate increase in soil nutrient pool. These estimates are similar to undisturbed mature oak forests of the region. .


Litter Fall; Forest Floor; Oak; Nutrient Retranslocation; Central Himalaya; Turnover


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