Acta zoológica mexicana
Print version ISSN 0065-1737
ROUSSEAU, Guillaume Xavier; SILVA, Paulo Rogério dos Santos and CARVALHO, Cláudio José Reis de. Earthworms, ants and other arthropods as soil health indicators in traditional and no-fire agro-ecosystems from Eastern Brazilian Amazonia. Acta Zool. Mex [online]. 2010, vol.26, n.spe2, pp. 117-134. ISSN 0065-1737.
Deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest and conversion to agriculture with the use of fire creates a mosaic of occupied lands and secondary forests. Considering the fundamental role of soil macrofauna and the lack of information about its resilience to deforestation, this study characterized the earthworms, ants and other soil arthropod communities in secondary forests of 40 and 20 years of age and in cropping system and pastures prepared with slash-and-burn or chop-and-mulch in the Brazilian Eastern Amazonia. Soil macrofauna was sampled according to the TSBF (Tropical Soil Biological and Fertility) methodology. Four sub-indices and one "macrofauna soil health index" were calculated using five principal component analyses. The macrofauna index identified better soil health in chop-and-mulch crops, followed by the 40 yr-old forest and the chop-and-mulch pasture. These results confirmed the fundamental role of old secondary forests for soil biodiversity conservation and the potential of the chop-and-mulch technique to mitigate the effects of land use changes.
Keywords : Soil macrofauna; biodiversity; principal component analysis; soil quality; soil management.