Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is an ecologically and economically important plant species used for the enhancement of soil fertility, prevention of soil erosion and production of food and medicinal products in mountain ecosystem. Altitude and landuse are the major factors which conditions the nutrient status of soil. In the study six different altitudes (3390 m, 3520 m, 3560 m, 3615 m, 3790 m and 4040 m) above sea level in dry temper-ate region of Himachal Pradesh and three land use pattern viz., (seabuckthorn forest, willow forest and wasteland) were selected for the study and their impact was investigated on soil fertility. Soil properties such (pH, organic car-bon, available macronutrients N, P, K, S and exchangeable cations Ca, Mg) were determined following the standard procedures. The values of soil available nutrients under seabuckthorn varied as pH (8.2 to 7.8), organic carbon (1.05 to 2.35 per cent) N (125 to 205 kg ha-1), P (15 to 31 kg ha-1), K (94 to 284 kg ha-1), S (28 to 53 kg ha-1), ex-changeable Ca (8.56 to 10.20 cmol (p+) kg-1) and Mg (2.3 to 3.6 cmol (p+) kg-1), respectively. The soil nutrients in seabuckthorn forest were found much higher than willow forest and wasteland, especially organic carbon and availa-ble N contents. Soil nutrients were found to increase with increasing altitude and decrease with increasing soil depth. The results concluded that Hippophae rhamnoides had significant effects (p < 0.05) on soil nutrient conditions. Hence our study indicates that seabuckthorn has a big potential for soil conservation, ecological sustainability and restoration of Himalayan ecosystem.
Altitude, Cold desert, Hippophae rhamnoides, Resource management, Soils
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