Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Diversity and abundance of soil-litter arthropods and their relationships with soil physicochemical properties under different land uses in Rwanda.

Abstract

Soil-litter arthropods are critical for ecosystem functioning and sensitive to land use change, and hence to the variations in soil physicochemical properties. The relationships between soil-litter arthropod communities and soil physicochemical properties, however, remain poorly studied in Rwanda. We explored the relationships between the families of soil-litter arthropods and soil properties in exotic and native tree species, and in varieties of coffee and banana plantations. Soil-litter arthropods were sampled by using Berlese funnels, hand sorting, and pitfall traps, and were identified to the family level. Soil cores were collected and analysed for soil pH, available phosphorus, total nitrogen, soil organic carbon, silt, clay and sand. A total of 3176 individuals of soil-litter arthropods were collected, identified and classified into 13 orders and 23 families. Higher abundance was found in soil and litter sampled in plots of native tree species and banana plantations compared to exotic tree species and coffee plantations. Higher diversity was found in plots of native and exotic tree species. The analysis of soil physicochemical properties indicated that native tree species offer suitable conditions of studied soil properties. The study of the relationships between the land use, soil properties and families of soil-litter arthropods indicated positive correlations and relationships mainly in native tree species. We conclude that forest with native tree species play an important role in the conservation of soil-litter arthropods and for maintenance of better soil conditions.