Ecosystem Services of Forests: Carbon Stock in Vegetation and Soil Components in a Watershed of Kumaun Himalaya, India

Bharat Giri Gosain, Girish C. Negi, P. P. Dhyani, Surendra S. Bargali, Raghu Saxena

Abstract


This study was carried out across eighteen forest stands dominated by Pinus roxburghii and Quercus leucotrichophora forests to understand vegetation patterns and physico-chemical properties of soils in Khulgad watershed (District Almora in Uttarakhand) with a particular focus on carbon stock in vegetation and soil pool. C-sequestration in vegetation pool was also estimated. Oak forests were found rich in species diversity as compared to Pine forests. The above ground biomass of Oak forests (189.8 Mg ha-1) was also computed significantly greater than the Pine forests (119.1 Mg ha-1), and consequently the more carbon stock in vegetation pool (91.1 vs 56.6 Mg ha-1). Also, C stock in soil of Oak forests was found more than twice as compared to Pine forests (171.8 vs 73.7 Mg ha-1). C input to forest floor through litter fall was computed 5.97 Mg ha-1 for Oak forests and 4.21 Mg ha-1 for Pine forests, and over 98% of this input was accounted for by leaf litter. Thus in terms of total C pool (vegetation + litter + soil), Oak forests (268.87 Mg ha-1) had two times greater C than the Pine forests (134.48 Mg ha-1). However, net primary productivity (NPP) computed for tree layer of Pine forests (9.04 Mg ha-1 yr-1) was markedly greater as compared to Oak forests (5.68 Mg ha-1 yr-1). Thus C-sequestration rate in Oak and Pine forests was recorded 2.64 Mg ha-1 yr-1 and 3.96 Mg ha-1 yr-1, respectively. Oak forests were also characterized by high SOM, soil moisture, WHC and soil fertility (N, P, K), and all the soil nutrients in these forests decreased with increasing soil depth (0-90 cm). Oak forests should therefore be conserved and maintained to mitigate the climatic change impacts through stocking more C in vegetation and soil pool.

Keywords


Biomass; Biodiversity Index; Forest Floor Litter; Soil C Pool; Khulgad Watershed; Oak and Pine Forests

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