Soil Fertility Status and Recovery in Abandoned Jhum Fallows of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve of Meghalaya

Soil Fertility Status and Recovery in Abandoned Jhum Fallows of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve of Meghalaya

ABSTRACT

The study conducted in the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve of Meghalaya aimed at analyzing the impact of shifting agriculture (‘jhum’) on soil physico-chemical properties in relation to the undisturbed core zone and the recovery pattern of nutrients with the increase in fallow period. Changes in physical and chemical properties of soil of the BR as a result of shifting agriculture in the buffer zone were analyzed on the basis of several parameters such as bulk density and porosity, moisture content, texture, water holding capacity, water-stable aggregates, pH, cation exchange capacity, total organic C, total Kjeldahl N, available P and exchangeable K. Soil organic carbon content was highest (5.93 %) in the undisturbed core zone. Within the buffer zone, the 10-12-yr. old jhum fallow recorded a high value of 5.10 %, which gradually declined to 4.66 % in 6-8-yr. and 4.15 % in 1-yr. old fallow. The loss in total nitrogen, available phosphorus and exchangeable potassium were 35 %, 50 % and 6 % in the jhum fallows.

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