Plant and Soil

, Volume 175, Issue 1, pp 85–91 | Cite as

A comparative account of the microbiological characteristics of soils under natural forest, grassland and cropfield from Eastern India

  • P. Prasad
  • S. Basu
  • N. Behera
Research Article


Microbiological and physico-chemical characteristics of tropical forest, grassland and cropfield soils from India were investigated. The study revealed that the conversion of natural forest led to a reduction of soil organic C (26–36%), total N (26–35%), total P (33–44%), microfungal biomass (44–66%) and total microbial biomass C, N and P (25–60%) over a period of 30–50 years. Comparative analysis of microbial activity in terms of basal soil respiration revealed maximum activity in the forest and minimum in the cropfield soil. Analysis of microbial metabolic respiratory activity (qCO2) indicated relatively greater respiratory loss of CO2-C per unit microbial biomass in cropfield and grassland than in forest soil. Considering the importance of the microbial component in soil, we conclude that the conversion of the tropical forest to different land uses leads to the loss of biological stability of the soil.

Key words

basal soil respiration soil microbial biomass tropical forest 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Prasad
    • 1
  • S. Basu
    • 1
  • N. Behera
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesSambalpur UniversityOrissaIndia

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