Afforestation in barren laterite lands with Swietenia macrophylla G. King and plant growth promoting microbes Afforestation in laterite lands

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Karthikeyan Arumugam


Barren laterite lands are available plenty in Kasargode District of Kerala, India and being used mainly for extracting laterite bricks for building construction. These lands are found barren due to lack of vegetation and rocky nature. Afforestation in these lands is very essential to avoid extraction of laterite bricks so as to prevent degradation of lands.  To develop vegetation in these laterite lands the soil properties of laterite was examined as a first step of afforestation process.  It was found that the soils have lack of plant growth promoting microbes (PGPM) and poor in major nutrients (N, P, K). Therefore, the PGPM specifically arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomus fasciculatum and Glomus geosporum) and bacteria (Azospirillum brasilense and Bacillus megaterium) were used for afforestation in laterite lands along with Swietenia macrophylla G. King a commercially important tree of Kerala, India.  The laterite soils were collected and used as potting media for growing seedlings of S. macrophylla in nursery and the cultured PGPM were inoculated in to the seedlings of S. macrophylla and maintained for 3 months. The PGPM inoculated seedlings showed improved growth, biomass and nutrient uptake. Thereafter the seedlings were transplanted at laterite lands at Karmanthodi, Bovikanam, Kasargode, Kerala, India and monitored their growth for 12 months. The seedlings inoculated with PGPM showed up to 98% survival rate with improved growth. From this study it was understood that PGPM have the potential to increase the efficiency of plant growth system in S. macrophylla seedlings through supply of essential levels of N, P and K that helped for successful afforestation in hardy laterite lands.


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Arumugam, Karthikeyan. “Afforestation in Barren Laterite Lands With Swietenia Macrophylla G. King and Plant Growth Promoting Microbes: Afforestation in Laterite Lands”. REFORESTA, no. 9 (June 30, 2020): 54-65. Accessed February 4, 2023.


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