Effects of land-use change on soil microbial C, N and P in a Himalayan watershed (2004)

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Soil microbial C, N and P as affected by land-use change were studied in a Himalayan watershed at Sikkim, India. The major land-uses considered were forests (dense and open), agroforestry types (large cardamom and mandarin), open cropped and wasteland areas covering subtropical and temperate zones. Across the land-use, microbial C ranged from 219 to 864 μg g−1, microbial N from 30 to 142 μg g−1, and microbial P from 12 to 43 μg g−1 soils. The microbial C, N and P were positively related to each other. The microbial C:N ratio in these soils ranged from 6 to 11 and the microbial C:P ratio from 18 to 27. The conversion of forests into other land-uses resulted in a remarkable decline in the amounts of soil nutrients and microbial C, N and P. The microbial nutrients in the Himalayan region are very sensitive to land-use/cover changes. Therefore, the conversion of forest to agricultural land should be reversed. Agroforestry systems should be included in agricultural land in mountainous regions.
Year: 2004
Language: English
In: Pedobiologia, 48: 83-92 p.