Earthworms in tropical tree plantations: effects of management and relations with soil carbon and nutrient use efficiency

  • Authors: Zou, X; Gonzalez, Grizelle
  • Publication Year: 2001
  • Publication Series: Book Chapter
  • Source: Management of Tropical Plantation-Forests and their Soil Litter System: Litter, Biota and Soil Nutrient Dynamics. M. V. Reddy Ed. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield (NH), USA.

Abstract

With the vast amount of abandoned tropical land due to non- sustainable farming practices, tropical tree-plantations become an effective means in restoring soil productivity and preserving ecosystem biodiversity. Because earthworms are the dominant soil fauna in moist tropical regions and play an important role in improving soil fertility, understanding the mechanisms by which forest management practices affect the abundance and community structure of earthworms will be crucial in designing future reforestation programs. Forest management practices include site preparation, tree species selection, fertilization, and harvesting. While native earthworms are often negatively affected by using exotic tree species, they can often be preserved in plantations using native species. Conventional practices of site preparation and harvesting often favor exotic endogeic earthworms and impose negative impact on native epigeic earthworms. The effects of chemical fertilization on earthworms vary with soils and fertilizers. These management practices alter soil properties such as soil C and N levels, and change the quantity and quality of plant litter. Under similar climate and soil conditions, earthworm abundance is positively correlated with soil C and N levels. High earthworm density is associated with high litter and low nutrient use efficiency of tree-plantations. We conclude that forest management practices can drastically affect earthworm population and that maintaining a healthy population of earthworms can further promote forest nutrition in tropical tree-plantations

  • Citation: Zou, X., and González, G. 2001. Earthworms in tropical tree plantations: effects of management and relations with soil carbon and nutrient use efficiency. Chapter 11. Pages 283-295 in: Management of Tropical Plantation-Forests and their Soil Litter System: Litter, Biota and Soil Nutrient Dynamics. M. V. Reddy, Ed. Einfield, NH: Science Publishers.
  • Keywords: Earthworms, tropical tree plantations, forest management, forest fertilization, soil carbon, nutrient use efficiency
  • Posted Date: January 8, 2015
  • Modified Date: January 13, 2015
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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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