Root distribution and soil properties under 12-year old sympodial bamboo plantation in Central Himalayan Tarai Region, India

  • R. Kaushal
  • Salil TewariEmail author
  • R. L. Banik
  • S. D. Thapliyal
  • Indra Singh
  • S. Reza
  • J. Durai


Worldwide, majority of the studies on root distribution have been confined to different tree species and monopodial bamboos in China with limited information on sympodial bamboos mainly due to methodological complexities. The present study therefore aims at understanding root distribution pattern of six commercial bamboo species and its impact on soil properties. Six bamboo species viz., Bambusa balcooa, Bambusa bambos, Bambusa nutans, Dendrocalamus asper, Dendrocalamus hamiltonii, and Dendrocalamus strictus were evaluated for their rooting pattern and impact on soil properties. Coarse root (CR) intensity was maximum in B. bambos (209.2) while, fine root (FR) intensity was highest in D. strictus (594.2). The FR contribution ranged from 69.9% in B. bambos to 80.1% in D. strictus. Coarse root biomass (in 0–50 cm soil profile) was highest in D. hamiltonii (1.19 Mg ha−1) and lowest in D. strictus (0.44 Mg ha−1). Maximum FR biomass (6.27 Mg ha−1) was observed in B. nutans which was closely followed by D. hamiltonii (6.19 Mg ha−1). In all the species, the share of fine root intensity was higher (70–80%) as compared to coarse roots. The contribution of FR was higher in genus Dendrocalamus (D. strictus, D. hamiltonii and D. asper) as compared to other species in genus Bambusa. Depth wise distribution of CR intensity revealed that roots were more or less uniformly distributed in 0–30 cm soil depth while fine root intensity was higher in 0–10 cm where 47% roots were observed. Soil physical properties viz., hydraulic conductivity, water stable aggregates and mean weight diameter showed significant improvement under different species. As compared to control treatment, soil organic carbon, NPK showed significant improvement. D. hamiltonii and B. balcooa were found better species are better species for maintaining soil fertility status. From the study it could be concluded that D. hamiltonii due to higher fine root biomass, is suitably recommended for resisting soil erosion, enhancing ground water recharge and maintaining soil fertility. B. balcooa can be preferred for agroforestry due to less root competition and compact canopy.


Bamboo Coarse root Fine roots Physicochemical properties Root biomass Root pattern 



This research was supported by National Mission on Bamboo Application, Department of Science and Technology (2005–2009), National Bamboo Mission (2010–2012), State Forest Department, Uttarakhand, India and International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) from 2016 to 2019. The financial help received during these periods is duly acknowledged. The authors are thankful to the Joint Director Agroforestry Research Centre, GBPUAT, Pantnagar for providing necessary facilities to conduct the work. The help rendered by Mr. Ramesh Kumar during laying of experiment and data collection is duly acknowledged. We extend our sincere thanks to the anonymous reviewers for the constructive suggestions and comments for improving the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water ConservationDehradunIndia
  2. 2.G.B. Pant, University of Agriculture and TechnologyPantnagarIndia
  3. 3.Ex-Research Consultant Bamboo Coordinating CentreG.B. Pant, University of Agriculture and TechnologyPantnagarIndia
  4. 4.East Africa Regional OfficeInternational Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR)Addis AbabaEthiopia

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