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Carbon Balance Manag. 2009 Aug 25;4:6. doi: 10.1186/1750-0680-4-6.

Altitudinal variation in soil organic carbon stock in coniferous subtropical and broadleaf temperate forests in Garhwal Himalaya.

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  • 1Department of Forestry, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India.



The Himalayan zones, with dense forest vegetation, cover a fifth part of India and store a third part of the country reserves of soil organic carbon (SOC). However, the details of altitudinal distribution of these carbon stocks, which are vulnerable to forest management and climate change impacts, are not well known.


This article reports the results of measuring the stocks of SOC along altitudinal gradients. The study was carried out in the coniferous subtropical and broadleaf temperate forests of Garhwal Himalaya. The stocks of SOC were found to be decreasing with altitude: from 185.6 to 160.8 t C ha-1 and from 141.6 to 124.8 t C ha-1 in temperature (Quercus leucotrichophora) and subtropical (Pinus roxburghii) forests, respectively.


The results of this study lead to conclusion that the ability of soil to stabilize soil organic matter depends negatively on altitude and call for comprehensive theoretical explanation.

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