Impact of Local Cultural Operations on the Ecology of Plankton in a Rice Field Agro-ecosystem of North West Kashmir (J and K) India.
The paper attempts to study the effect of cultivation practices and anthropogenic disturbances on the growth and development of plankton in a paddy field. In order to carry out the investigation, a study site was selected in the North West Kashmir (34o02’N; 74o16E’). The fields were managed as per local cultivation practices. The crop cycle started with the puddling and irrigation of plots during the 1st week of May and ended with the harvest of crop in the last week of August. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers were broadcast as single dose at the rate of 100, 80 and 20 kg/hectare respectively. A total of 47 taxa of plankton including 26 genera of phytoplankton and 21 taxa of zooplankton were recorded during the study. The investigation commenced through a single cultivation cycle between May and August 2007 comprising a total of 8 fortnightly observations. Significant assemblages of planktonic organisms were indicative of the importance of rice fields in preserving biodiversity of the region. The population attributes of the plankton seemed to be influenced greatly by cultural operations. The hydrology of flood waters also appeared to be governed by the anthropogenic disturbances especially the application of artificial fertilizers.
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