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Decomposition of fine roots of Pinus kesiya and turnover of organic matter, N and P of coarse and fine pine roots and herbaceous roots and rhizomes in subtropical pine forest stands of different ages

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Abstract.

Organic matter accumulation, N and P concentrations of fine (<2 mm diameter) and coarse (2–10 mm) roots of Pinus kesiya and fine roots and rhizomes of ground vegetation, and decomposition of P. kesiya fine roots (<2 mm diameter) were studied in 6-, 15- and 23-year-old P. kesiya forest stands at Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, India. The mean annual dry weight of P. kesiya fine roots did not vary significantly between the stands, but the coarse root mass increased significantly from the 6- to 23-year-old stand. However, herbaceous fine roots and rhizomes showed a reverse trend. Live roots (biomass) showed a higher N and P concentration than the necromass (dead root mass). Nutrient concentrations were greater in the fine roots compared to coarse roots. N and P accumulation was maximum in the 6-year-old stand and minimum in the 15-year-old stand. P. kesiya fine roots decomposed in a three-phased manner in all the stands. The first phase, lasting about 30 days, was characterised by a slow rate of weight loss. This was followed by a rapid phase of weight loss up to 90 days, with an average weight loss of 7.7 mg day–1, and the third phase showed a slow decay pattern (1.2 mg day–1). The weight loss pattern showed a strong seasonal trend; a faster rate of decay in the warm-humid period and a slow rate of decay in the dry-cold period. Nitrogen and P concentration in the decomposing root litter showed a marked decrease and/or increase during decomposition. The study reveals that in the 6-year-old pine stand the roots of herbaceous plants play a more significant role in maintaining the organic matter, N and P status of the soil, while in the older stands pine roots assumed greater significance.

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John, .B., Pandey, .H. & Tripathi, .R. Decomposition of fine roots of Pinus kesiya and turnover of organic matter, N and P of coarse and fine pine roots and herbaceous roots and rhizomes in subtropical pine forest stands of different ages. Biol Fertil Soils 35, 238–246 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-002-0470-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-002-0470-8

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