RESTORATION CAPACITY OF SOIL MICROARTHROPOD FAUNA WITH RESPECT TO AFFORESTATION PRACTICESK. Sarkar, R. Pramanik and V.C. Joy
The community structure and population fluctuation of soil microarthropod fauna was compared with the micronutrient status in different afforested sites at the Ballavpur Reserve Forest, West Bengal. The population estimated at seasonal intervals from October 1996 to October 1998 showed highest density in young Cassia siamea plantation and lowest in the stand of young, Shorea robusta. Among major groups Acari predominated in all the sites and among insects Collembola recorded the highest population. The relative abundance of Acari ranged between 67.8% in the soil of S. robusta to 82.5% in the soil of mature Acacia auriculiformis plantation. There was a remarkable enhancement in the amount of available phosphorus, calcium and potassium in the soil of Cassia plantation whereas the amount of nitrate nitrogen was very low in all the study sites. The influence of climatic parameters on the population build up of soil microarthropod fauna was evident from the general trend of higher density during post monsoon season when compared to low polulation during winter and summer seasons. However, site specific improvement of environmental conditions was evident from the more or less steady population level in the soil of young Cassia during all the seasons. The probable relationship between soil microarthropod population and availability of important micronutrients was evident from the positive correlation of the fauna with all the edaphic parameters in the three mature plantations. The study revealed that the leaf litter of C siamea is a good source for enhancing biodiversity and micronutrient status
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