Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 498352
Title Land use intensity impact on functional diversity in earthworms regarding regulation of soil structure and water infiltration
Author(s) Faber, J.H.; Pérès, G.; Groot, Arjen de; Krogh, P.H.
Event Wageningen Soil Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands, 2015-08-23/2015-08-27
Department(s) Alterra - Animal ecology
PE&RC
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2015
Abstract Earthworms can be distinguished into three groups that represent different clusters of morphological and behavioural traits. These so-called ecological groups (sensu Bouché 1977) have traditionally been considered to represent different functional groups with respect to soil processes. In this context, one aim of our study was to assess the impact of agronomic intensification across a range of land-use systems on the relationships between earthworm
community composition and soil processes. Secondly, we quantified the relationships between earthworm ecological groups and individual species with soil aggregate formation,macroporosity and water infiltration capacity. In a comparison between permanent grassland, permanent arable land with conventional ploughing, and a 3:3 years rotation system the stability of soil aggregates in the top layer was higher under grass cover, and the stability of 2-
4mm soil aggregates significantly increased with increasing biomass of both anecic and endogeic earthworms. Earthworm burrow distribution over the soil profile was strongly impacted by land management (e.g. total number was higher under grassland vs crop), and specific relationships were identified between some earthworm species and larger macropores.
Water infiltration rates significantly increased with increasing earthworm biomass, and this effect was significant for the group of anecic species. The role of endogeic species appears to be inconsistent between sites or management practices. We discuss the functional ecology of earthworms at the level of functional group and the individual species, focussing on burrow
morphology and vulnerability towards agricultural management practices. Results contribute to the understanding of the linkage between soil biodiversity and provision of ecosystem services.
Our quantitative results can be used in ecohydrological modelling (forecasting) and economic valuation studies.
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