Abundance and diversity of soil arthropods and fungi in shelterbelts integrated with pastures in the central tablelands of New South Wales, Australia

https://doi.org/10.17221/12/2012-JFSCitation:Mbuthia E.W., Shariff J.H., Raman A., Hodgkins D.S., Nicol H.I., Mannix S. (2012): Abundance and diversity of soil arthropods and fungi in shelterbelts integrated with pastures in the central tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. J. For. Sci., 58: 560-568.
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Shelterbelts are important for the sustainability of agriculture because they provide a variety of benefits to farmers and the society. Several published papers demonstrate that integration of shelterbelts with agroecosystems offers positive outcomes, such as better yield, more congenial microclimate, and greater organic matter levels. Nonetheless, soil biological diversity, the driver of greater organic matter levels, has not been convincingly tested and verified yet. In addressing this gap, we measured abundance and diversity of populations of arthropods and fungi in three
11-year old shelterbelts integrated with pasture to determine whether a correlation exists between the abundance of and diversity in populations of arthropods and fungi in two seasons: late autumn-early winter (May–June 2011) and late winter-early spring (August–September 2011). Litter from the soil surface and soil from two depths were sampled at increasing distance from the midpoint of shelterbelts for the extraction of arthropods and isolation culturing of fungi. The relationship among distance, depth and biodiversity of different groups of arthropods and fungi was analysed using linear regression. We found that over both seasons arthropod abundance in the litter and soil declined with increasing distance from the midpoint of the shelterbelts, and with soil depth. However, fungi abundance in either season was not affected by proximity to the shelterbelt but increased with greater soil depth. Distance from the shelterbelt midpoints did not bear an impact on the diversity richness of both arthropods and fungi.
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