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Physico-Chemical Characteristics of the Grassland Soils of Yusmarg Hill Resort (Kashmir, India)

Keywords: soil chemistry , microhabitat variations , anthropogenic activities , Kashmir , India

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Abstract:

Physico-chemical analysis was carried out on the grassland soils of Yusmarg Hill Resort, Kashmir during the months of May, June, November and December 2010, at four micro sites with some minor variations in the abiotic and biotic factors including anthropogenic pressures. The following soil characteristics were examined: temperature, texture, moisture, organic matter, pH, and conductivity, content of calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, total phosphorus, and organic carbon. Soil texture analysis revealed the soils at all the study sites with major proportion being comprised by the sand fraction and having a sandy silt character. The moisture content was found to be directly related to the herbaceous vegetation cover with the highest value at Site 3 (fenced meadow area). The moisture content showed low percentage at Site 2, which was more affected by grazing and thus resulted in less cover of grasses and probably more evaporation of soil moisture from the exposed site. The soils at all sites were from acidic to mildly acidic in character. The amount of organic matter was fairly good except at Site 2 (non-fenced grazing area) probably due to overgrazing during which much of herbage vegetation was picked up by the grazing animals like sheep and cattle. The values of important cations, such as Ca2+ and Mg2+, showed a gradual decrease from May to December except at Site 4 (transition between a coniferous forest and a meadow) which may be attributed to a good cover of vegetation and good amount of organic matter.

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