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Vegetatio

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 81–90 | Cite as

The biomass of an Indian monsoonal wetland before and after being overgrown with Paspalum distichum L.

  • A. G. van der Valk
  • B. A. Middleton
  • R. L. Williams
  • D. H. Mason
  • C. B. Davis
Article

Abstract

Paspalum distichum L. has been the dominant species in the monsoonal wetlands of the Keoladeo National Park in northcentral India since 1982 when grazing by water buffalo and domestic cattle was halted. Maximum water levels in these wetlands occur immediately after the end of the summer monsoon in late September of early October and then decline until the next summer monsoon the following June. After the normal 1985 monsoon, maximum water depths were around 140 cm. After the poor 1986 monsoon, maximum water depths were only around 60 cm. Paspalum distichum maximum aboveground biomass at four sites ranged from 850 g m-2 at the shallowest site to 3400 g m−2 at a deep water site. The maximum biomass of other vegetation types, which had dominated this wetland prior to 1982, ranged from 1400 g m-2 at a deep water site (Ipomoea aquatica Forsk.) to only 240 g m-2 to 400 g m-2 at a deep-water submersed site (Hydrilla verticillata (L. f.) Royle/Cyperus alopecuroides Rottb.) and at a shallow emergent site (Scirpus tuberosus Desf./Sporobolus helvolus (Trin.) Dur. et Schinz). For all vegetation types, biomass changed seasonally in response to changing water levels and temperatures. After the 1986 monsoon, above-ground biomass for all vegetation types was much lower than it had been after the 1985 monsoon. Mean below-ground biomass was very low in all vegetation types (1 to 47 g m-2). Paspalum distichum had a higher aboveground biomass at nearly all water depths in all seasons than that of the pre-1982 vegetation types. Paspalum distichum belowground biomass, however, is comparable to, or less than, that of the pre-1982 vegetation types. During years with an average monsoon, the overall primary production of these wetlands is estimated to have increased 2.5 to 3.5-fold since they were overgrown with Paspalum distichum.

Key words

Cyperus alopecuroides Hydrilla verticillata Ipomoea aquatica Primary production Scirpus tuberosus Sporobolus helvolus Standing crop Water level 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. van der Valk
    • 1
  • B. A. Middleton
    • 1
  • R. L. Williams
    • 1
  • D. H. Mason
    • 1
  • C. B. Davis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural ResourcesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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