Consider the following statements:
1. Most tropical soils are clays with little porosity
2. The soils of tropical rain forests is very fertile to support the high productivity of the forests
Which among the above statements is / are correct?
Soil in Tropical Rain Forests
It would appear to us that tropical soils are very fertile in order to support this high productivity. But, it is incorrect to say so. If we closely look at the system, we find that soils of Tropical Rain Forests are very thin and the rock below them highly weathered. An analysis of soils of tropical regions shows them to be virtually devoid of soluble minerals. Rocks weather rapidly due to high temperatures and abundant moisture, and millennia of rapid weathering and torrential rains to wash away nutrients from the soils have left the soils very low in nutrient stocks. It has also been supported by the analysis of stream water draining tropical regions, which likewise reveals a scarcity of dissolved nutrients. Most tropical soils are clays with little soluble mineral content, and moderate to strong acidity which interferes with the ability of roots to take up nutrients. Only about 20% of the humid tropics has soils that can support agriculture, and most of this area is already in use. In soils of the Tropical Rain Forests, the nutrients are found mainly in living plant biomass and in the layer of decomposing litter; there is little nutrient content of the deeper soil, as there is in temperate- zone ecosystems. This suggests that plants are intercepting and taking up nutrients the moment they are released by decomposition. Many organisms play role in decomposition process: termites, bacteria, fungi, various invertebrates.
This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module