Assessment of Soil Physicochemical Properties along an Altitude Gradient in High Altitude Region of Gangotri National Park, Uttarakhand, India
The present study was undertaken in the sub-alpine and alpine region of Gangotri valley of Gangotri National Park (GNP) in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, India. Results showed that selected soils were sandy loam (83%) throughout the region. Soil reactions (pH) vary from 5.00 – 6.28 and showed acidic to the slightly neutral condition. The mean soil Nitrogen (N), and Phosphorus (P) content were calculated 0.37 ± 0.02% and 0.35 ± 0.02%. The value of NP first increased and then decreased along the elevation. Nitrogen and Phosphorus values ranged from 0.01-0.73 and 0.13-0.87. The correlation analysis among the different soil parameters showed that Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) was positively correlated with soil moisture(r = 0.661, p = 0.038); Phosphorus (r = 0.794, p = 0.006) and Nitrogen (r = 0.964, p = 0). SOC and soil moisture increases at the middle elevation (3400-3500 m and 3700-3800 m) and further decreases along the elevation. This may be explained as the impact of long term human influence and altering the natural habitat in the form of a camping spot for trekkers at this elevation and presence of mixed forest (subalpine deodar, pine, and birch) at 3400-3500 m elevational range. This baseline information on soil parameters in Gangotri valley may further help in climate change study in the current scenario of global warming in relation with above ground vegetation and underground soil biota to understand the soil food web dynamics.
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