Population trends of soil invertebrate macrofauna within a hedgerow intervropping in Embu, Kenya
Smithson, P. C.
Swiff, M. J.
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The effects of land use practices on the soil invertebrate populations is well documented, but their potential as indicators of soil status is little understood. A study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that soil invertebrate macrofaunal communities vary in abundance and biomass at varying layers of soil 'within a hedgerow intercropping. The study was conducted over dry and wet spells during the long rainy season, at Embu in an ongoing on-station hedgerow intercropping agroforestry experiment started in the 1993 long rains. The macrofauna populations were monitored in soil monoliths (25 cm x 25 cm x 30 cm). Soil samples were collected from different locations within each plot at the start and at the end of each season to determine the soil physical and chemical parameters. Analyses of variance indicated highly significant differences among treatments, significant differences in soil depths whereas the interaction between treatments and soil depths was not significant. Faunal groups responded differently to different treatments. Macrofauna populations were significantly higher for treatments with Calliandra calothyrsus particularly when the treatment involved the incorporation of litter unlike with Leucaena leucocephala where the fauna showed significant response only whenever inorganic fertilizer was incorporated. Soil arthropods sampled within a hedgerow intercropping: termites, ants, beetles, centipedes, flies, spiders, mites and millipedes.