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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management, 2013 Vol. 9, No. 4, 290–297, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21513732.2013.788565 Seasonal dynamics, slope aspect and land use effects on soil mesofauna density in the mid-hills of Nepal a, b c b Farida Begum *, Roshan Man Bajracharya , Bishal Kumar Sitaula and Subodh Sharma a b Department of Environmental Sciences, Karakoram International University, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan; Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Nepal; Department of International Studies and Environment, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, Norway This study addressed the integrated effects of season, slope aspect and land use on faunal population density, diversity and Soil Biological Quality (QBS-ar index) in the mid-hills of the central Nepal Himalaya. It also examined the relationship among these soil quality indicators. Faunal density and QBS-ar were signiﬁcantly higher during the post-monsoon season when compared with the pre-monsoon season. Faunal population density during both the seasons was higher on the northern rather than southern slope. Faunal density was signiﬁcantly higher in the forest when compared with agricultural land in both seasons. Soil moisture was positively correlated with soil organic carbon (SOC) and population density, but negatively correlated with soil temperature during the pre-monsoon period. In the post-monsoon season, bulk density was negatively correlated with QBS-ar and population density. Season, slope aspect and land use all had signiﬁcant effects on the soil quality indicators. This study suggests that high SOC, moisture content and low bulk density lead to increases in population density of soil mesofauna and the QBS-ar index. Therefore, management practices that enhance SOC contents through plant residue retention on farm land, such as farmyard manure application, crop residue mulching and reduced tillage, could increase the numbers and diversity of soil organisms while improving the fertility and productivity of the land. Keywords: land use; population density; mesofauna; physio-chemical; seasons; slope aspect 1. Introduction degradation of soil quality are considered to be major threats for future productivity of cultivated lands (Solbrig Soils are vital natural sources of a wide diversity of 1991). Soil physical and chemical properties and habitat ecosystem services and goods that provide many bene- conditions of soil fauna become drastically altered when a ﬁts to humans (Daily et al. 1997). They support most natural ecosystem is converted to agricultural ecosystem; agro-ecosystem production system through water reten- continuous tillage and use of agro-chemicals have adverse tion, primary production and nutrient cycling. Soil ecosys- effects on soil biodiversity and faunal habitats (Paoletti tem services are emergent properties resulting from a et al. 1991). The web of life in the soil is a highly com- wide range of processes operating at much smaller scale plex and integral component of agricultural biodiversity in which invertebrates are involved (Lavelle et al. 2006). and it has important interrelationships with other com- Soil comprises a diverse assemblage of organisms that ponents of the ecosystem. Farm management practices is considered to be an important component of the soil inﬂuence mesofauna functions and activity both directly ecosystem. These organisms in turn play a signiﬁcant role and indirectly. Thus, the problem needs to be addressed in litter decomposition, nutrient and energy cycling and through an ecosystem approach. The life cycles, abun- soil formation processes. These soil animals are widely dis- dance and distribution of soil mesofauna are inﬂuenced by tributed around the world, playing a biological role of great soil moisture and temperature directly, e.g., through desic- importance both in natural and in agricultural ecosystems cation, and indirectly, through microhabitat modiﬁcations (Vu & Nguyen 2000). Soil fauna affect the soil physical, and changes in food resources (Berg & Staaf 1980; Stamou chemical and biological properties as well as crop produc- & Sgardelis 1989; Setala et al. 1995; Hasegawa & Takeda tivity and have a major impact on the detritus food chain in 1996; Pﬂung & Wolter 2001). agro-ecosystems (Crossley et al. 1989). Soil mesofauna density, diversity and activities, Soil micro arthropods have been shown to be sensitive however, vary with the season (Lasebiken 1974; Badejo to management practices and their activity correlates & Straalen 1993), land use (Begum et al. 2009) and with beneﬁcial soil functions (Parisi et al. 2005). Modern slope aspect effect (Stenburg & Shoshny 2001; Begum agriculture has led to major changes in the agro-ecosystem et al. 2010). Physical and chemical properties of the and to severe impacts on the environment (Gardi et al. soil often vary depending upon slope aspect, position 2002). Among these impacts, reduction in biodiversity and *Corresponding author. Email: email@example.com © 2013 Taylor & Francis International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 291 and topography. Topography inﬂuences local and regional of Bhaktapur district of Nepal. At both the locations, two microclimate by changing the temperature and pattern different land uses, namely agriculture and forest, were of precipitation (Tsui et al. 2004). The variation due to chosen. For both the sites, the forests were of mixed type topographic aspect induced microclimatic differences was (Schima–Castanopsis interspersed with Pinus roxbourghii observed to cause differences in the soil faunal abundance, and other species). diversity, soil moisture, temperature and organic matter On the south facing slope, the climate is warm subtrop- contents, inﬂuencing soil fertility and affecting soil quality ical monsoon with an annual average rainfall of 1672.9 mm (Begum et al. 2010). (1995–2006 data taken from climatological record of Studies examining the seasonal patterns, inﬂuence of Nepal). More than 80% of the rain fall occurs in between slope aspect and effects of land use changes on soil faunal May and September. The average maximum air temper- ◦ ◦ population density and diversity in Nepal Himalaya are ature was 21.85 C and minimum was 11.5 C during the almost non-existent. Thus, the objective of this study was period 1995–2006. The dominated plant species on the to determine the seasonal inﬂuence, land use and slope south facing slope forest were Gaultheria fragmentissma, aspect effects on soil faunal population density, diversity Rhodendron arboreum, Kalikat (Nepali name), Jamoun and soil biological quality index QBS-ar. In addition, we and Prunus cerosoids and Alnus nepalensis.Atthissite examined the relationship between soil biological proper- location, the landscape is dominated by agricultural land and farmers typically grew three crops annually. The major ties and abiotic environment (i.e., soil pH, moisture, bulk density, SOC and soil temperature). crops were maize, wheat, rice and vegetables (potato, mus- tard, cauliﬂower, etc.). The agricultural sampling site was at an elevation of 1686 m with coordinates of 27 39 15.2 N and 085 32 15.2 E. 2. Materials and methods On the north facing slope, the climate was cool 2.1. Study area subtropical monsoon with an annual average rainfall of 2105 mm (1995–2005) located at 27 41.969 N The study was conducted in April and October 2009 along and 085 32.444 E with 80% or more of the rain- two transects with different topographic aspects, namely north facing slope and south facing slope, in the mid- fall occurring between May and September. The average hills of the central Nepal Himalaya (Figure 1). The south maximum air temperature was 19.96 C and minimum facing slope was located in the village Tanchock in 10.43 C during the period 1995–2006. The dominant Ugarchandi Nala Village Development Committee (VDC) forest species were Castanopsis indica, Gaultheria fra- of Kavre district, about 6 km away from Banepa town, grantissma, Alnus nepalensis, Eupetorium odinophorium, while the north facing slope was located in Khasre vil- Schima wallichi, Eucalyptus species, Prunus cerosoides lage of Nayagaun VDC, about 10 km away from Nagarkot and Listea monopotella. The major crops grown were rice, Figure 1. Map indicating study area. 292 F. Begum et al. wheat, maize and vegetables (cauliﬂower, mustard, potato, 2.5. Statistical analysis cabbage, etc.) with two crops usually grown annually. Data were analyzed using the software SPSS 15.0 (SPSS Inc. 1989–2006). Statistically signiﬁcant differences in soil biological indicators and physio-chemical indicators with respect to seasons, land use and slope aspect were 2.2. Sampling design determined using three-way factorial ANOVA. Pearson’s Sampling was carried out during the pre-monsoon month correlation was calculated to determine the relationship of April and post-monsoon month of October 2009 at among the soil physio-chemical and biological indicators. both north and south aspects. On each aspect, two treat- ments were taken, namely agriculture and forest. Within each treatment or land use type, ﬁve replicates were 3. Results and discussions taken to ensure adequate representation. Soil samples were collected by using a simple random sampling technique 3.1. Seasonal dynamics, slope aspect and land use along a slope transect of each treatment. The topsoil layer effects on soil physio-chemical indicators was sampled to a depth of 10 cm for faunal extrac- The texture of the soil did not differ according to the slope tionusing a10cm × 10 cm quadrate. Spade and hand aspect but reﬂected differences due to land use changes. trowel were used to excavate the soil, which was trans- On both the aspects of the agricultural land, the soil was ported in labeled polyethylene bags to the lab for faunal of loam texture, while in the forest the texture was silt extraction. Extra sets of soil samples were taken for deter- loam. Three-factor analyses of variance indicated that most mination of physio-chemical properties from a depth of of the physio-chemical properties differed signiﬁcantly 0–10 cm. with respect to land use, slope aspect and seasons. Soil organic carbon (SOC) differed signiﬁcantly with aspect (p < 0.002) and land use (p < 0.00), but was not according to seasons (Table 2). The average SOC content was signif- 2.3. Faunal extraction icantly slightly higher on the north facing slope than the Soil samples were taken to the lab where soil fauna south facing slope in both the seasons (Table 1). This is in were extracted using a modiﬁed Berlese–Tullgren funnel accordance with Schmidt (1991) who reported north facing (Phillipson 1971; Coleman et al. 2004). Once the extraction slopes to be usually cool and moist, with slower decompo- (using light for 5–7 days) was completed, the organisms sition rates and so contains higher amount of SOC, whereas were observed under stereomicroscope at low magniﬁca- south aspect tends to be usually warm and dry, as well as tion (20–40×) and identiﬁed to the order and family level contain less vegetation, hence are prone to erosion lead- as appropriate using different keys. The soil biological ing to depletion of SOC. The decomposition rate depends quality index QBS-ar developed by Parisi et al. (2003) was on environmental factors and quality of litter. Among the determined for each sample. The diversity of soil organism environmental factors, moisture and temperature signif- was determined using the Shannon Index (H), also known icantly affect the rate of decomposition, with favorable as the Shannon–Wiener Diversity Index (SWDI). moisture and temperature conditions resulting in an expo- nential increase in decomposition rate. Average SOC was found to be higher in forest when compared with agricul- 2.4. Physio-chemical soil properties analysis tural land in the pre-monsoon season as expected, while in Prior to soil physical and chemical analysis, all the sam- post-monsoon season the trend was reversed (Table 1). This ples except for soil moisture and bulk density were air was likely due to the residual effect of compost/farmyard dried at room temperature and passed through a 2-mm manure application by farmers in the agricultural ﬁelds sieve. Soil moisture was determined by the gravimetric during the main cropping period. Interaction between sea- method and bulk density by the core method (Blake & sons and land use (p < 0.043) for soil organic carbon was Harte 1986). The soil temperature was measured in the signiﬁcant suggesting that the trend in variation of SOC ﬁeld using a digital thermometer (MEXTECH brand). across land use was not consistent (i.e., different) for dif- The soil pH was measured using pH probe with glass- ferent seasons. The reason for this might be the addition of calomel electrode and 1:1 soil:water ratio (McLean 1982). manure and compost on agricultural land only during the Particle size analysis was carried out by the hydrome- main growing season, which is during the early monsoon. ter method using sodium hexametaphosphate as dispersant Soil pH was statistically highly signiﬁcant according to seasons (p < 0.00), aspect (p < 0.00) and land use (Gee & Bauder 1986). Soil organic carbon was deter- (p < 0.00) (Table 2). Interaction between seasons and mined by dry combustion method (Nelson & Sommer 1982). Soil total nitrogen (TN) was determined by Kjeldahl aspect for the soil pH was signiﬁcant indicating non- method (Bremner & Mulvaney 1982), while soil avail- uniform trends in pH with seasons for north and south able phosphorus (P) by modiﬁed Olsen method (Olsen & facing slopes. During the pre-monsoon period, mean pH Sommer 1982). And exchangeable potassium (K) was was strongly acidic, whereas in the post-monsoon period extracted with ammonium acetate and analyzed by Atomic it was somewhat less acidic (Table 1). The slight increase Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). in soil acidity in the dry season could be due to the International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 293 Table 1. Soil physico-chemical properties (mean) with respect to slope aspect, land use and seasons. Soil organic Soil temperature Bulk density ◦ 3 carbon (%) pH Soil moisture (%) ( C) (g/cm ) ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ ∗ Slope aspect Land use Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ South Agriculture 2.46 2.086 4.83 5.632 3.638 35.952 26.76 19.82 1.186 1.31 South Forest 3.72 3.798 4.37 5.056 14.31 27.834 21.08 20.04 1.08 0.99 North Agriculture 2.93 2.496 5.61 5.534 17.56 28.878 21.6 17.26 1.07 1.25 North Forest 4.11 4.34 4.97 5.346 34.028 37.952 19.74 15.82 0.75 0.98 Note: Pr-Mn = pre-monsoon, Po-Mn+= post-monsoon. Table 2. Three factorial ANOVA for physico-chemical properties. Sources Soil organic carbon Moisture Temperature Bulk density pH ns ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ Seasons 0.90 89.778 47.049 10.239 26.747 ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ Land use 126.337 19.075 13.804 51.501 29.136 ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ Slope aspect 11.701 32.288 31.53 13.105 20.82 ∗∗ Note: ns, indicates non-signiﬁcant and 1% level of probability respectively. ameliorating effect of soil organic manure applications Bulk density was seen to be highly statistically sig- during the main cropping period. niﬁcantly different with seasons (p < 0.003), land use Soil moisture was expectantly signiﬁcantly higher dur- (p < 0.00) and slope aspect (p < 0.001) (Table 1). ing the post-monsoon season (p < 0.00). Comparing The average bulk density was higher during the post- land uses, forest soil had signiﬁcantly (p < 0.00) higher monsoon season (1.135 g/cm ) than the pre-monsoon sea- moisture content (Tables 1 and 2) except in the post- son (1.023 g/cm ) (Table 1). The interaction effect between monsoon period, but on the south aspect agricultural soil the seasons and aspect (p < 0.00) for soil bulk density was had higher moisture content than forest. This may be due also statistically signiﬁcant. This is because bulk density is to high slope gradient and shallow soils in the forest lead- altered by crop and land management practices, especially ing to lower moisture retention during the post-monsoon soil tillage, which affects the soil cover, organic matter con- period when compared with agricultural land. Interactions tent, soil structure and porosity. The results showed that between seasons and aspect (p < 0.00), seasons and land bulk density was higher in farm ﬁelds when compared with use (p < 0.00) and aspect and land use (p < 0.001) for soil the forest soil. Cultivation often leads to the destruction moisture were statistically signiﬁcant, suggesting complex of soil structure which results in rapid consolidation and and variable relationships among these parameters. compaction of topsoil with increased bulk density follow- Soil temperature was observed to be statistically highly ing a heavy pre-monsoon rain event. Moreover, the south signiﬁcantly different with seasons (p < 0.00), aspect aspect had higher bulk density than the north in both the (p < 0.00) and land use (p < 0.001) (Table 2). Soil tem- seasons, likely due to lower SOC and poor soil structure on perature was higher during the pre-monsoon period due the southern slopes. to dry weather conditions. Comparing both land-use types, TN was not statistically signiﬁcantly different with sea- soil temperature was higher in agricultural soil than forest sons, aspect and land use; however, mean values were soil except on the south aspect during the post-monsoon slightly higher during the post-monsoon season than the period. Forest had canopy cover and litter which retains pre-monsoon season. Comparing both the aspects, means moisture and makes the soil cooler than the agricultural values on the north (0.26%) was slightly higher than the soil. The aspect of a slope can also have a notable inﬂu- southern aspect (0.2%). Similarly, comparing both the ence the local climate (microclimate). The soil temperature land use types, TN values were generally higher for for- was expectantly higher on the south rather than the north est (0.24%) than agricultural soil (0.21%). This could be aspect (Table 2). This was due to the southern aspect fac- attributed to higher SOC contents of forest soil and north- ing directly toward the sunlight, which makes the soil drier ern aspect. Zhang et al. (2009) reported that SOC and TN and warmer than north facing slope. Similar ﬁndings were were higher at shady rather than sunny locations at Qilian reported by Begum et al. (2010). The interaction between Mountain in China. seasons and land use (P = 0.013) was signiﬁcant for Soil available P was signiﬁcantly higher (p < soil temperature as well, suggesting that apart from slope 0.002) during the pre-monsoon season compared with aspect, vegetative cover and time of the year have a com- post-monsoon season. According to land use type, it plex inﬂuence on the heat retention or cooling of the soil was slightly higher in agricultural soil than forest; how- surface. ever, differences were not statistically signiﬁcant. Slight 294 F. Begum et al. differences in P could be due to inputs of organic manure seasons, soil faunal population density was highest during and chemical fertilized in main cropping season (pre- the post-monsoon, which could be attributed to high soil monsoon) on agricultural land. Monkiedje et al. (2006) moisture and SOC content in the soil which provided a found signiﬁcantly higher available P and pH in cropland favorable habitat for soil mesofauna. In the pre-monsoon than in the forested soils. Available P was also some- period, the total population density of soil fauna was 2 2 what higher on the north- rather than the south facing 3765 individuals per m compared to 11,245 per m during slope. the post-monsoon period (Table 3). Exchangeable K was not statistically signiﬁcantly dif- On the south facing slope, during the pre-monsoon ferent with seasons, aspect or land use. Comparing seasons, season, the density of soil fauna in agricultural land was 2 2 mean exchangeable. K was slightly higher during the post- 3580 per m while in forest soil it was 2680 per m . By con- monsoon season than the pre-monsoon season. Across trast, the north facing slope had greater average density land uses, it was higher in agricultural soil than forest of 5320 per m in forest soil compared with agricultural soil; southern slopes had more exchangeable K than the soil which had 3480 individuals per m . However, dur- north aspect. The status of K and P appears to be inﬂu- ing the post-monsoon period, on the south facing slope, enced by soil type and geology as well as by other factors the density of soil fauna was higher in the forest soil at (Bajracharya & Sherchan 2009). 13,340 per m than on agricultural land, i.e., 6329 per m . A similar trend of higher faunal population density in the forest (18,260 per m ) and less in the agricultural 3.2. Seasonal dynamics, slope aspect and land use soil (7060 per m ) was also observed for the northern effect on soil biological indicators slope aspect during the post-monsoon period. Moreover, 3.2.1. Seasonal dynamics, slope aspect and land use when considering both forest and agriculture land uses, effects on soil faunal population density and total faunal density was higher on the northern aspect, diversity namely 12,660 per m when compared with the southern Soil fauna extracted from the samples were grouped into slope, i.e., 9830 per m during the post-monsoon period. the following categories: Collembola, Acarina, Nematoda, According to land use types, in both the seasons, forest potworms (Enchytridae), small earthworms, Diplopoda, had higher faunal abundance than agricultural soil except Symphyla, Chilopoda, Pauropoda, Protura, Diplura, micro- during the pre-monsoon period on the south aspect. The coleoptera adults and larvae, Lepidoptera, Dipteral adult greater density and cover of vegetation, leaf litter, and and larvae, Hymenoptera and Orthroptera. Of these cate- moist conditions in the forest produces a more humid and gories, Collembola and Acarina were the dominant groups cool soil surface, which is most conducive for all organ- of soil fauna at the study locations. Among the soil isms and avoids desiccation from intense sunshine and high microarthropod groups Collembola and Acari are the most evapotranspiration. often studied group, due to their high abundance and diver- The SWDI was weakly statistically signiﬁcantly differ- sity, as well as important role in key biological processes. ent among the seasons (p = 0.052) (Table 4), while accord- They are known to be important in catalyzing organic mat- ing to slope aspect and land use it was non-signiﬁcant. ter decomposition and central role in the soil food web, Higher diversity of soil fauna was observed during the making them suitable organisms for use as bioindicators of post-monsoon season (Table 3). This was presumably due changes in soil quality, especially due to land use practices to higher moisture and SOC contents in the soil at this time. and pollution (Rombke et al. 2006). Clearly, maintenance of organic matter or plant residues Analysis of variance indicated that soil faunal popula- on the soil surface enhances soil moisture as well as food tion density was highly signiﬁcantly different according to sources for soil organisms and provides favorable habitats seasons (p < 0.00) as well as land use (p < 0.009), but supporting a high diversity of mesofauna. Such a practice not signiﬁcantly different with slope aspect (Table 3). The also increases the SOC content and, thereby, the fertil- interaction between seasons and land use (p < 0.018) was ity status of agricultural soil, which would lead to greater signiﬁcant for population densities of the soil fauna. Across productivity of the land. Table 3. Soil biological properties (mean) with respect to aspect, land use and seasons. Population density (no./m)SWDI QBS-ar ∗ ∗ ∗ Slope aspect Land use Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ Pr-Mn Po-Mn+ South Agriculture 3580 6320 0.998 1.342 48 71.6 South Forest 2680 6320 1.164 1.342 55.6 85 North Agriculture 3480 7060 1.162 1.344 54.2 79.4 North Forest 5320 18260 1.078 1.176 56.4 99.2 Note: Pr-Mn = pre-monsoon, Po-Mn+= post-monsoon. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 295 Table 4. Three way ANOVA for biological indicators. McIntosh and Allen (1993). Positive correlations between soil faunal population density and soil moisture have also Sources Population density SWDI QBS-ar been reported by others (Reddy 1984;Tsaifoulietal. 2005; ∗∗ ∗ ∗∗ Begum et al. 2010). This is because moisture is a crucial Seasons 18.730 4.050 21.973 ∗∗ ns ns Land use 7.681 0.995 2.315 factor that enhances the biological activity in soils. SWDI ns ns ns Slope aspect 1.407 0.172 1.962 was correlated with QBS-ar (p < 0.01; r = 0.547), which ∗ ns ns Seasons and land use 6.247 0.124 0.402 clearly indicated that the higher diversity of soil arthropods ∗ ∗∗ Note: ns, and indicates non-signiﬁcant, 5% and 1% level of led to higher values of the QBS-ar index (Table 5). probability respectively. During the post-monsoon season, bulk density was negatively correlated with SOC (p < 0.01; r = –0.872) and likewise during the pre-monsoon as expected (Table 6). 3.2.2. Effects on soil biological quality index QBS-ar The higher the SOC content in the soil, lower will be The QBS-ar index was highly signiﬁcantly different by sea- the bulk density as organic matter has a low density and sons (p < 0.001); however, with aspect and land use type, also enhances soil structure which leads to high porosity it was non-signiﬁcant (Table 4). The QBS-ar was higher and loose soil conditions. Bulk density was also nega- during the post-monsoon season, which was likely also tively correlated with QBS-ar (p < 0.05; r = –0.488), due to higher soil moisture and SOC contents. The aver- population density (p < 0.05; r = –0.559) but posi- and age QBS-ar value was found to be higher for forest soil tively correlated with soil pH (p < 0.01; r = 0.624) and than agricultural land on both the slope aspects. In both the the SWDI (p < 0.01; r = 0.572). Soil pH was negatively seasons, the average QBS-ar was observed to be higher on correlated with SOC (p < 0.01; r = –0.595) and popu- the north aspect when compared with the southern slope. lation density (p < 0.05; r = –0.511). Acidic conditions Similar results were reported by Rokaya (2008) and Begum are generally not well tolerated by most soil organisms et al. (2010). and hence their numbers decline with low pH. Organic matter in the soil tends to have an ameliorating effect on soil pH. Population density and diversity of mesofauna are 3.3. Pearson’s correlation among soil parameters greatest in soil with high porosity and organic matter, as Pearson’s correlation analyses were also done separately well as, good soil structure (Anderen & Lagerlof 1983). to the pre- and post-monsoon data to determine the rela- SOC was positively correlated with population density tionship among soil properties in different seasons. In the (p < 0.01; r = 0.673) and QBS-ar (p < 0.01; r = 0.697). pre-monsoon season, bulk density was strongly negatively A strong positive correlation (p < 0.01; r = 0.697) was correlated with SOC (p < 0.01; r = –0.746) and soil mois- noted between population density and the QBS-ar index. ture (p < 0.01; r = –0.752) as shown in Table 3. Soil Higher SOC content in the soil was primarily responsible moisture, on the other hand, was negatively correlated with for the higher population density and QBS-ar. Soil organic soil temperature (p < 0.01; r = –0.619) and positively cor- carbon is important to soil fertility because of its role in related with SOC (p < 0.01; r = 0.661), and population maintaining soil structure, retaining water and as a nutri- density (p < 0.01; r = 0.565). Similar ﬁndings of a nega- ent reserve as well as chemical buffer (Howard & Howard tive correlation between SOC and soil pH were reported by 1990). Table 5. Pearson’s correlation among various physico-chemical and biological properties in pre-monsoon season. SOC pH Moisture Temperature BD PD SWDI QBS-ar ∗∗ PD 0.163 0.250 0.565 −0.125 −0.257 1 −0.072 0.059 SWDI −0.068 0.087 0.189 −0.349 0.1 −0.072 1 0.547 QBS-ar 0.111 0.107 0.165 −0.373 −0.060 0.058 0.547 1 Notes: PD, Population density; SWDI, Shannon–Wiener Diversity Index; BD, Bulk density. ∗ ∗∗ Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed), Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). Table 6. Pearson’s correlation among various physio-chemical and biological properties in post-monsoon season. SOC pH Moisture Temperature BD PD SWDI QBS-ar ∗∗ ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ PD 0.673 −0.511 0.396 −0.227 −0.559 1 −0.360 0.697 ∗∗ SWDI −0.412 0.443 0.011 −0.124 0.572 −0.360 1 −0.027 ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗ QBS-ar 0.493 −0.386 0.329 −0.387 −0.488 0.697 0.027 1 Notes: PD – Population density; SWDI – Shannon–Wiener index; BD – Bulk density. ∗ ∗∗ Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed), Correlation is signiﬁcant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). 296 F. Begum et al. 4. Conclusions Berg B, Staaf H. 1980. Decomposition rate and chemical changes of Scots pine needle litter. II. Inﬂuence of chemical composi- The physio-chemical and biological properties investigated tion. Ecol Bull. 32:373–390. in this study exhibited variations according to the sea- Blake GR, Harte KH. 1986. Methods of soil analysis. In: Klute A, son, slope aspect and land use type. Our results showed editor. 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International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management – Taylor & Francis
Published: Dec 1, 2013
Keywords: land use; population density; mesofauna; physio-chemical; seasons; slope aspect
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