DECOMPOSITION DYNAMICS OF QUERCUS DEALBATA (HOOK. F. & TH.) LEAF LITTER IN TWO REGROWING SUBTROPICAL HUMID FOREST STANDS IN MEGHALAYAA. Arunachalam, Kusum Maithani, A. K. Das, H. N. Pandey And R. S. Tripathi
The weight loss pattern during decomposition of Quercus dealbata L. leaf litter was studied over a period of 600 days in two regenerating stands of a subtropical humid forest ecosystem in Meghalaya, northeast India. The differences in soil organic matter and microbial population between stands were significant. The leaf litter decomposed in a two-phased pattern-an initial faster rate of decay, followed by a slow decay phase. A composite exponential model, Y=a+bxl+bx2 showed a good fit for the observed decay pattern, in both the stands. The leaf litter in the 16-year old regrowth decomposed at a faster rate as compared to that in the 13-years old regrowth. The climate, microenvironmental conditions and microbial population had a significant (p <0.01) effect on the decay rate. The daily decay constants (k) of the leaf litter in the 13 and 16-years old regrowths were 0.0024 and 0.0034, respectively.
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