Interactive effects of soil moisture and temperature on soil respiration under native and non-native tree species in semi-arid forest of Delhi, India
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We assessed the impacts of native and non-native tree species and seasonal variation on in situ soil respiration rates for four seasons. A portable infrared carbon dioxide (CO2) gas analyzer (Q-Box SR1LP) was used for in situ measurements. Seven tree species were selected, out of which three are native to Delhi ridge, viz., Vachellia leucophloea, Ficus religiosa and Millettia pinnata and four are non-native, viz., Albizia lebbeck, Prosopis juliflora, Azadirachta indica and Cassia fistula. Our results showed a significant seasonal variation and effect of native and non-native tree species on soil respiration. Soil respiration was high during monsoon and low in winter. The highest annual soil respiration was observed under the canopy of F. religiosa (18.72 µmol CO2 m−2 s−1 year−1) and lowest under A. indica (4.58 µmol CO2 m−2 s−1 year−1). The tree species showed the pattern: F. religiosa > A. lebbeck > P. juliflora > V. leucophloea > M. pinnata > C. fistula > A. indica. Soil respiration showed a positive correlation with soil moisture and temperature (P < 0.05) showing an interplay of both in controlling soil respiration. Our findings also highlighted the effect of litter quality and quantity on soil respiration as low C/N ratio and positive correlation of litter quantity with soil respiration enhanced its rate under F. religiosa. The maximum soil respiration under the canopy of native species than non-native ones suggests their importance in the vital ecosystem functions, and thus, in managing the forest ecosystem of Delhi.
KeywordsC/N ratio Delhi ridge Ecosystem function In situ soil respiration Litter quality Native and non-native species Semi-arid forest
We are thankful to Late Marshal Vinod Rawat for cooperating with us and providing necessary permission and logistics in the conduct of this study. We are also grateful to the laboratory staff of Department of Botany (DU), Forest Department, Govt. of Delhi and their staff for enormous help and support throughout this research.
We acknowledge the financial support received in the form of UGC-NON-NET fellowship and grants from R&D Scheme of University of Delhi.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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