Soil properties and horizon development vary from place to place depending on climate, organisms, topographic position, parent material and time. Different forest ecosystem and other land covers make strong imprints on the soil beneath them and the information on these changes facilitates improved land management decisions that maintain soil productivity and therefore preserve forest sustainability and long-term ecosystem health.
Currently there are 20 Soil monoliths in the museum with depicts the variation in morphological properties of soil beneath different forest ecosystems in the Kerala part of Western Ghats
- Soil profile from the evergreen forests
Located at an elevation of 600 m in the Sholayar range, Vazhachal Forest Division is protected from the intense actions of weathering agents by the thick vegetation. Surface layer is enriched with organic residues and the soil column extends only up to 56 cm above the parent rock.
- Soil profile from Shola forests
Located at an elevation of 1920m in Munnar Forest Division is extra ordinarily black in colour throughout the depth due to the unique vegetation and cool climatic condition. This soil has a good reserve of organic carbon (5%) at 65cm depth
- Soil profile from grasslands
Located at an elevation of 2120m in Eravikulam National Park has 5.7% organic carbon at 0-20cm depth. Even though the dense root mat is grasslands enriches the surface layer with organic carbon, back of canopy cover intensify the weathering process at deeper layers giving reddish colour
- Soil profile from dry deciduous forests
Located at an elevation of 960m in Chinnar clearly reflect the rain shadow condition of the locality with pH of 7.3 in the surface layer and without any signs of laterisation in the deeper layers
- Soil profile from scrub forests
Located at an elevation of 800m in Chinnar is in the early stage of its development with plenty of weathering rock pieces and poor reserve of organic carbon .
- Soil profile from degraded forests
Located at an elevation of 60m in Pattikkad range. Thrissur Forest Division is unique with its relatively low organic carbon throughout the depth and hard laterite beneath
Contact: Dr. MP Sujatha
Kerala Forest Research Institute
Peechi P.O, Thrissur District, Kerala - 680653, India.