Litter dynamics in Imperata cylindrica grassland under culturally managed system in North East India

Karabi Pathak, Arun Jyoti Nath, Ashesh Kumar Das, Mohan Bhar


Imperata cylindrica is a dominant grass species in North East India and is traditionally managed in the family farms for socioeconomic purposes. However, little is known about its role on ecosystem dynamics and nutrient fluxes. The present study was undertaken in Barak Valley part of North East India to study the leaf, root and rhizome litter production, litter mass loss, litter chemistry and decomposition dynamics of leaf, root and rhizome litter, and pattern of nutrient release from the leaf, root and rhizome litter. The mean monthly surface and belowground litter production was recorded as 64 and 215 kg ha-1 respectively. The annual total litter production in Imperata grassland was 3344 kg ha-1. The time required for 50% and 99% decomposition of litter residue was shorter for surface litter than the belowground litter. The concentration of N, P, K and C was more in surface litter than the belowground litter. Belowground litter returned more nutrients to soil system than surface system. Imperata cylindrica with slow decomposition of its belowground litter can help in soil organic matter build up in the long run, and therefore prove efficient in soil health conservation.

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