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Biomass production, carbon sequestration and nutrient characteristics of 22-year-old support trees in black pepper (Piper nigrum. L) production systems in Kerala, India

Kunhamu, T. K., Aneesh, S., Mohan Kumar, B., Jamaludheen, V., Raj, A. K., Niyas, P.
Agroforestry systems 2018 v.92 no.5 pp. 1171-1183
Acacia auriculiformis, Ailanthus tryphysa, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Casuarina equisetifolia, Grevillea robusta, Macaranga, Piper nigrum, agroforestry, biomass production, black pepper, branches, branchwood, carbon, carbon sequestration, crop yield, delimbing, dry matter partitioning, humid tropics, leaves, multipurpose trees, nitrogen, nitrogen fixation, nutrients, phosphorus, potassium, production technology, roots, soil, stand age, stemwood, vines, India
Diverse kinds of fast growing multipurpose trees are traditionally grown as support trees (standards) for trailing black pepper vines in the humid tropics of India. Apart from differential black pepper yields, such trees exhibit considerable variability to accumulate biomass, carbon and nutrients. An attempt was made to assess the biomass production, carbon sequestration potential (tree + soil) and nutrient stocks of six multipurpose tree species (age: 22 years) used for trailing black pepper vines (Acacia auriculiformis, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Grevillea robusta, Macaranga peltata, Ailanthus triphysa and Casuarina equisetifolia). Results indicate that G. robusta showed the highest total biomass production (365.72 Mg ha⁻¹), with A. triphysa having the least value (155.13 Mg ha⁻¹). Biomass allocation among tissue types followed the order stemwood > roots > branchwood > twigs > leaves. Total C stocks were also highest for G. robusta (169 Mg C ha⁻¹), followed by A. auriculiformis (155 Mg C ha⁻¹). Mean annual carbon increment also followed a similar trend. Among the various tissue fractions, stemwood accounted for the highest N, P and K stocks, implying the potential for nutrient export from the site through wood harvest. All the support trees showed significantly higher soil carbon content compared to the treeless control. Soil N, P and K contents were higher under A. auriculiformis than other species. Nitrogen fixation potential, successional stage of the species, stand age and tree management practices such as lopping may modify the biomass allocation patterns and system productivity.