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Controls of Soil Spatial Variability in a Dry Tropical Forest

Pulla, Sandeep and Riotte, Jean and Suresh, HS and Dattaraja, HS and Sukumar, Raman (2016) Controls of Soil Spatial Variability in a Dry Tropical Forest. In: PLOS ONE, 11 (4).

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0153212

Abstract

We examined the roles of lithology, topography, vegetation and fire in generating local-scale (< 1 km(2)) soil spatial variability in a seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) in southern India. For this, we mapped soil (available nutrients, Al, total C, pH, moisture and texture in the top 10cm), rock outcrops, topography, all native woody plants >= 1 cm diameter at breast height (DBH), and spatial variation in fire frequency (times burnt during the 17 years preceding soil sampling) in a permanent 50-ha plot. Unlike classic catenas, lower elevation soils had lesser moisture, plant-available Ca, Cu, Mn, Mg, Zn, B, clay and total C. The distribution of plant-available Ca, Cu, Mn and Mg appeared to largely be determined by the whole-rock chemical composition differences between amphibolites and hornblende-biotite gneisses. Amphibolites were associated with summit positions, while gneisses dominated lower elevations, an observation that concurs with other studies in the region which suggest that hillslope-scale topography has been shaped by differential weathering of lithologies. Neither NO3--N nor NH4+-N was explained by the basal area of trees belonging to Fabaceae, a family associated with N-fixing species, and no long-term effects of fire on soil parameters were detected. Local-scale lithological variation is an important first-order control over soil variability at the hillslope scale in this SDTF, by both direct influence on nutrient stocks and indirect influence via control of local relief.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 1160 BATTERY STREET, STE 100, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94111 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2016 06:03
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 07:52
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/53896

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