Table of Contents
Journal of Ecosystems
Volume 2014, Article ID 294867, 13 pages
Research Article

Litter Production, Decomposition, and Nutrient Release in Subalpine Forest Communities of the Northwest Himalaya

1Herbal Research and Development Institute, Mandal, Gopeshwar, Uttarakhand 246401, India
2Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, University of Horticulture and Forestry, Mehalchauri, Chamoli, Uttarakhand 246431, India
3High Altitude Plants Physiology Research Centre, HNB Garhwal (Central) University, Srinagar, Garhwal, Uttarakhand 246174, India
4GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kosi-Katarmal, Almora, Uttarakhand 243643, India

Received 11 July 2014; Revised 30 September 2014; Accepted 23 October 2014; Published 18 November 2014

Academic Editor: Nicholas Clarke

Copyright © 2014 Vinod K. Bisht 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.


Production, decomposition, and release of nutrients from leaf and nonleaf litter were investigated in four subalpine forests of North-West Himalaya, India. Total annual litter fall in four communities varied from 2950.00 to 4040.00 kg ha−1 and was found significant (CD0.05 = 118.2). Decomposition of leaf litter varied from 1.82–3.5% during autumn-winter to 36.14–45.51 during summer rainy season in all stands and percent of mass loss was significantly varied in stands (CD6.00). Similarly, decomposition in nonleaf litter was varied from 0.3–1.1% during autumn-winter to 19.59–30.05% during summer rainy season and was significantly varied irrespective of seasons. However, percent decomposition of leaf litter and the values of decay constant () were at par in all stands. Total standing state of nutrients in fresh litter as well as release of total nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in due course of decomposition (12 months) was also varying significantly. The rate of nonleaf litter decomposition was significantly positively correlated with air temperature ( in all communities). The significant correlation was observed only in Rhododendron-Sorbus forest community (PRS). Study indicates that the air temperature is a major determinant for nonleaf litter decomposition in this region.