Fine root dynamics in two tropical dry evergreen forests in southern India
Seasonality in fine root standing crop and production was studied in two tropical dry evergreen forests viz., Marakkanam reserve forest (MRF) and Puthupet sacred grove (PSG) in the Coromandel coast of India. The study extended from December 89 to December 91 in MRF and from August 90 to December 91 in PSG with sampling at every 2 months. Total fine interval. Mean fine root standing crop was 134 g m−2 in MRF and 234 g m−2 in PSG. root production was 104 g m−2 yr−1 in MRF and 117 g m−2 yr−1 in PSG. These estimates lie within the range for fine roots reported for various tropical forests. Rootmass showed a pronounced seasonal pattern with unimodal peaks obtained during December in the first year and from October–December in the second year in MRF. In PSG greater rootmass was noticed from June–October than other times of sampling. The total root mass in MRF ranged from 114 to 145 g m−2 at the 13 sampling dates in the three sites.
The live biomass fraction of fine roots in MRF ranged from 46 to 203 g m−2 and in PSG it ranged from 141 to 359 g mm−2 during the study periods. The dead necromass fraction of fine roots ranged from 6 to 37 g m−2 in MRF and from 12 to 66 g m−2 in PSG. Fine root production peaked during December in both the forest sites. The necromass fraction of newly produced roots was negligible.
Total N was slightly greater in PSG than in MRF. Whereas total P level was almost similar in both the sites. The study revealed that season and site characteristics influenced fine root system.