Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 25, Issue 4 2019; Page No.(1773-1783)

A COMPARATIVE ACCOUNT ON ECOLOGY AND SOIL MACROFAUNAL DIVERSITY OF TWO DIFFERENT LAND USE PATTERNS IN SOUTHERN KERALA, WESTERN GHATS.

Reethu R Nair and G. Prasad

Abstract

This study present a comparative account on ecology and diversity of soil macrofauna in two different land use systems in Kerala part of Western Ghats and the study area located at Konni Reserve forest of Pathanamthitta district (rubber plantation and a virgin forest under Konni division). Each site was sampled for macrofauna using different sampling methods. Monthly collection of soil samples were carried out from these two landuse systems for continuous period of February to July, 2016. 22 taxonomic groups were recorded from the two different land use systems. This includes Earthworms (Annelida), Ants (Hymenoptera), Termites (Isoptera), adult beetles and larvae (Coleoptera), Earwigs (Dermaptera), Centipedes (Chilopoda), Millipedes (Diplopoda), Spiders (Arachinida), and Leeches (Arhynchobdellae). The macrofauna shows its highest density and highest abundance of macrofauna in the virgin forest. Ecosystem engineers such as earthworm, ant and termite show its higher number throughout the study period. Termites and other macrofauna exhibit significance between sites whereas earthworm and ants showed it seasonally. The density of macrofauna was higher in the forest ecosystem than rubber plantation during the study period. Diversity indices also show higher values in the forest ecosystem. Physio chemical parameters show significant difference between sites and seasons. Simple correlation analysis shows positive correlation against pH, moisture content and nitrogen whereas strong negative correlation was indicated by temperature. From the present study was revealed that the soil macrofauna appeared to provide a sensitive and early indicator of land use impacts on soil quality.

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