BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES AND THEIR PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS IN MANAGEMENT OF DEGRADED SITES BY RESTORATION FORESTRY
Keywords:Ecosystem degradation, ecological rotation, restoration forestry, sustainability
One of the main objectives of "restoration forestry" is to suggest management options for improving degraded soil fertility through biological processes of trees. This aspect was formulated on the premise that the sustainable productivity of a natural ecosystem is derived to a great extent from the biogeochemical processes of litter and soil. These processes include biomass
and nutrient accumulation by carbon assimilation, nutrient recycling by litter fall,
root turnover and their subsequent decomposition and decay, resulting in humus synthesis. The soil fertility build-up and its sustainability is dependent not only on the maintenance of these activities at certain critical levels but even more importantly on their functioning as an integrated system with regulatory mechanisms operating in a synchronised manner. Essentially it means making acyclic processes more cyclic, thereby leading to improvement of structure and function of an ecosystem. However, little is known about the mechanism of these effects especially with respect to restoration of degraded sites by tree planting. The discussion in this paper is focused on these aspects of restoration forestry and their importance in field management of plantations based on biogeochemical cycles. It is envisaged that a judicious decision on management of a restored area would depend on such rotations that maintain and
sustain the cyclic nature of ecosystems without jeopardising the production of such areas.