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Journal Articles Asian Soil Research Journal Year : 2021

Origin and Dynamics of Termite Mound Soils in Southern India


Aims: In Southern India, termite above-ground nests can have the shape of cathedral (CAT) or lenticular (LENT) mounds. Although CATare built by the fungus-growing species Odontotermes obesus, the origin and evolution of LENT remain unknown. Therefore, the aim of to study was to estimate the origin and dynamics of LENT from their specific physical and chemical properties. Study Site: This study was carried out in the Bandipur Tiger reserve (dry deciduous forest), Karnataka, Southern India. Methodology:~ All the soil samples were collected in a Fluvisol in the Mule Hole experimental watershed.Only large size mounds between 1.5 - 1.8m high were considered in this study. Soil samples were collected from the outer wall of CATnest and from the soil surface layer (0-5 cm deep) and surrounding soil. Particle-size distribution and dispersion were obtained by process of sedimentation. All the statistical analysis such as principal component analysis (PCA) were calculated using R studio and R version 3.2.1. Results: Using elemental physical and chemical properties, this study showed a gradient of soil properties from the soil sampled between 50-100 cm depth to CAT, LENT and the surrounding topsoil (CTRL, Fluvisol), suggesting that: (i) CAT can be considered patches in the landscapes with specific physical and chemical properties in comparison with CTRL and LENT; (ii) LENT mounds can result from the progressive modification of CTRL (autogenic origin of LENT) and their degradation leads to a progressive recovery of CTRL properties or (iii) they originate from the colonization of abandoned CAT by other termite species (exogenic origin of LENT). Conclusion: This study confirms the complexity of CAT and LENT fates and the need for long-term datasets to determine the origin and evolution of termite mounds.

Dates and versions

hal-03992027 , version 1 (16-02-2023)



A. K. Harit, P. Jouquet. Origin and Dynamics of Termite Mound Soils in Southern India. Asian Soil Research Journal, 2021, pp.19--23. ⟨10.9734/asrj/2021/v5i430115⟩. ⟨hal-03992027⟩
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