Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 309–320 | Cite as

Biochemical properties of soils of undisturbed and disturbed mangrove forests of South Andaman (India)

  • R. Dinesh
  • S. G. Chaudhuri
  • A. N. Ganeshamurthy
  • S. C. Pramanik

Abstract

Studies on soil quality of mangrove forests would be of immense use in minimizing soil degradation and in adopting strategies for soil management at degraded sites. Among the various parameters of soil quality, biological and biochemical soil properties are very sensitive to environmental stress and provide rapid and accurate estimates on changes in quality of soils subjected to degradation. In this study, we determined the general and specific biochemical characteristics of soils (0-30 cm) of inter-tidal areas of 10 undisturbed mangrove forest sites of S. Andaman, India. In order to determine the effects of disturbance, soils from the inter-tidal areas of 10 disturbed mangrove forest sites were also included in the study. The general biochemical properties included all the variables directly related to microbial activity and the specific biochemical parameters included the activities of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes that are involved in the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus cycles in soil. The pH, clay, cation exchange capacity, Al2O3 and Fe2O3 levels exhibited minimum variation between the disturbed and undisturbed sites. In contrast, organic C, total N, Bray P and K levels exhibited marked variation between the sites and were considerably lower at the disturbed sites. The study also revealed marked reductions in microbial biomass and activity at the disturbed sites. In comparison to the undisturbed sites, the levels of all the general biochemical parameters viz., microbial biomass C, microbial biomass N, N flush, basal respiration, metabolic quotient (qCO2), ATP, N mineralization rates and the activities of dehydrogenase and catalase were considerably lower at the disturbed sites. Similarly, drastic reductions in the activities of phosphomonoesterase, phosphodiesterase, ß-g1ucosidase, urease, BAA-protease, casein-protease, arylsulfatase, invertase and carboxymethylcellulase occurred at the disturbed sites due mainly to significant reductions in organic matter/substrate levels. The data on CO2 evolution, qCO2 and ATP indicated the dominance of active individuals in the microbial communities of undisturbed soils and the ratios of biomass C:N, ATP:biomass C and ergosterol:biomass C ratios indicated low N availability and the possibility of fungi dominating over bacteria at both the mangrove sites. Significant and positive correlations between soil variables and biochemical properties suggested that the number and activity of soil microorganisms depend mainly on the quantity of mineralizable substrate and the availability of nutrients in these mangrove soils.

Key words

ATP Ergosterol Hydrolytic enzyme activities Mangrove forests Microbial biomass C Soil biochemical properties Soil microbial activity 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Dinesh
    • 1
  • S. G. Chaudhuri
    • 2
  • A. N. Ganeshamurthy
    • 2
  • S. C. Pramanik
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Crop Production and PHTIndian Institute of Spices ResearchKeralaIndia
  2. 2.Division of Crop Production and PHTIndian Institute of Spices ResearchKeralaIndia

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