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    Mosses (Class- Bryopsida) are vital to ecosystem dynamics in numerous biomes, although their effects on soil processes are poorly understood. The interplay of moss cover and seasonal variations in soil processes is still unclear in the Indian Central Himalayas. Therefore, we examined the seasonal variations in net nitrogen (N) mineralization rates and several soil properties under two ground covers (with and without moss cover). We used the ex-situ incubation technique to determine N mineralization rates (Rmin) and standard methodology for soil physical and chemical analysis. During the rainy season, the physical properties of the soil and its nutrients, apart from phosphorus, were higher under moss cover. The winter season, however, showed a different pattern, with soil properties exhibiting higher values in soils without moss cover. Ammonium concentrations were higher under moss cover, while nitrate concentrations were higher in soil without moss cover during rainy and winter seasons. The Rmin rates were higher in soil under moss cover, indicating that moss cover promotes N transformation. In contrast, Rmin rates were negative in soil without moss cover, indicating that N immobilization was dominant in N transformation under this ground cover during the rainy season. Our research shows that mosses positively impact the nutrient status and N mineralization rates in various temperate forest types. The seasonal patterns of soil properties are strongly influenced by soil temperature, moisture, and organic carbon. Therefore, we advocate the conservation of mosses and their integration into forest management plans for better ecosystem processes and services in the ecologically fragile Himalayas. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Anshu Siwach, Siddhartha Kaushal, Kiranmay Sarma, Ratul Baishya. Interplay of moss cover and seasonal variation regulate soil physicochemical properties and net nitrogen mineralization rates in Central Himalayas, India. Journal of environmental management. 2023 Nov 01;345:118839

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    PMID: 37598496

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