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ISRN Forestry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 524679, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/524679
Research Article

Decomposition and Nutrient Release Dynamics of Ficus benghalensis L. Litter in Traditional Agroforestry Systems of Karnataka, Southern India

1Tree Improvement and Propagation Division, Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Malleswaram, Bangalore, Karnataka 560003, India
2Department of Environmental Science, College of Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences, PB No. 329, Raichur, Karnataka 584102, India
3Azim Premji University, Bangalore, Karnataka 560100, India

Received 19 November 2012; Accepted 27 January 2013

Academic Editors: P. Robakowski and S. F. Shamoun

Copyright © 2013 B. Dhanya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Decomposition and nutrient release dynamics of leaf litter of Ficus benghalensis, a common agroforestry species in southern dry agroclimatic zone of Karnataka, were studied using the standard litter bag technique in surface and subsurface methods of application. Results revealed a marginally higher rate of decay in subsurface placement (22.5% of initial litter mass remaining after one year of decomposition) compared to surface treatment (28.3% of initial litter mass remaining). Litter quality (lignin content and lignin/N ratio) and climatic and soil conditions of the study site (monthly rainfall and soil moisture) were found to influence the rate of decomposition. Mineralisation of litter was found to be in the order K > N > P. The paper further discusses the implications of these results for rainfed farming in Mandya and emphasises the potential of F. benghalensis in reducing nutrient input costs for resource-poor dryland farmers.