Eurasian Soil Science

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 432–437 | Cite as

Soil carbon stocks along an altitudinal gradient in different land-use categories in Lesser Himalayan foothills of Kashmir

Soil Chemistry


The carbon sequestration potential of soils plays an important role in mitigating the effect of climate change, because soils serve as sinks for atmospheric carbon. The present study was conducted to estimate the carbon stocks and their variation with altitudinal gradient in the Lesser Himalayan foothills of Kashmir. The carbon stocks were estimated in different land use categories, namely: closed canopy forests, open forests, disturbed forests, and agricultural lands within the altitudinal range from 900 to 2500 m. The soil carbon content was determined by the Walkley–Black titration method. The average soil carbon stock was found to be 2.59 kg m–2. The average soil carbon stocks in closed canopy forests, open forests, and disturbed forests were 3.39, 2.06, and 2.86 kg m–2, respectively. The average soil carbon stock in the agricultural soils was 2.03 kg m–2. The carbon stocks showed a significant decreasing trend with the altitudinal gradient with maximum values of 4.13 kg m–2 at 900–1200 m a.s.l. and minimum value of 1.55 kg m–2 at 2100–2400 m a.s.l. The agricultural soil showed the least carbon content values indicating negative impacts of soil plowing, overgrazing, and soil degradation. Lower carbon values at higher altitudes attest to the immature character of forest stands, as well as to degradation due to immense fuel wood extraction, timber extraction, and harsh climatic conditions. The study indicates that immediate attention is required for the conservation of rapidly declining carbon stocks in agricultural soils, as well as in the soils of higher altitudes.


carbon sequestration altitudinal gradient erosion slope deforestation soil bulk density 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Shaheen
    • 1
  • Y. Saeed
    • 1
  • M. K. Abbasi
    • 2
  • A. Khaliq
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir MuzaffarabadKashmirPakistan
  2. 2.University of PoonchAzad Jammu and KashmirPakistan

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