Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 449–461 | Cite as

Phosphorus dynamics and solubilizing microorganisms in acid soils under different land uses of Lesser Himalayas of India

  • Ranjan PaulEmail author
  • Raj Deo Singh
  • A. K. Patra
  • D. R. Biswas
  • Ranjan Bhattacharyya
  • K. Arunkumar


Although chemical and some soil physical properties have been studied under different land uses of the Lesser Himalayas of India, very limited information is available on soil biochemical properties. Hence we investigated phosphorus (P) fractions [total P (TP), inorganic P (Pi), organic P (Po), available P, microbial biomass P (MBP)], enzyme activities [dehydrogenase, phosphatases, phytase], phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) and fungi (PSF), and their correlations of acid soils (0–15 and 15–30 cm depths) under different land uses (viz, organic farming, maize–wheat, apple orchard, undisturbed oak forest and uncultivated land of the Indian Himalayas). All land use systems differed significantly for the P fractions, except TP. The highest values for TP, Pi, available P and MBP were found in soils under oak forest and lowest in uncultivated land. However, Po content was highest in apple orchard. The organic farming (organic manures field under garden pea-french bean cropping system for > 10 years) maintained highest activities of dehydrogenase, acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase. The highest phytase activity and highest numbers of PSB (99 × 103 g−1 soil) and PSF (30 × 103 g−1 soil) were observed in the rhizosphere soils of oak forest. Significant relationships between soil P fractions and enzyme activities, except alkaline phosphatase, were recorded in surface soil layer. PSB and PSF population were also correlated significantly with P fractions and enzyme activities. This would lead us to understand the level of degradation of P pools due to cultivation over forest system and the suitable management practices needed for soil quality restoration.


Acid soils Himalayas Phosphorus Soil enzymes Phosphate solubilizers Organic farming 



The authors are thankful to Dr. (Mrs.) Geeta Singh, Principal Scientist, Division of Microbiology, ICAR-IARI for her helpful discussion during the experiment. Also thanks are due to Dr. S.C. Kaushik, Technical Officer, Division of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry, ICAR-IARI for technical advice The first author is grateful to ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, for awarding him the merit Scholarship during his M.Sc period.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest regarding the content of the paper and all the authors agreed to publish.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Soil Science and Agricultural ChemistryICAR-Indian Agricultural Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil ScienceBhopalIndia
  3. 3.ICAR-Centre for Environmental Science and Climate Resilient AgricultureNew DelhiIndia
  4. 4.Division of Soil Resource StudiesICAR-National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land use PlanningNagpurIndia
  5. 5.School of AgricultureLovely Professional UniversityPhagwaraIndia

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