Soil Fauna

Soil Fauna


animals that inhabit the soil. Soil fauna includes representatives of many groups of terrestrial and aquatic animals. Protozoans, rotifers, and tiny nematodes (nanofauna) inhabit capillary and even film water. Small arthropods, including mites, Collembola, Symphyla, and other microfauna, occupy spaces between solid soil particles not filled with water. Larger invertebrates—earthworms, myriopods, and insect larvae that tunnel into soil (mesofauna)—use all the soil as their habitat. Burrowing vertebrates, such as moles, palaearctic mole rats, mole lemmings, and mole mice, constitute the macrofauna, or megafauna.

One sq m of soil contains from ten to several hundred animals of the mesofauna group and from several thousand to several hundred thousand individuals of the microfauna group. There are thousands of protozoans in 1 g of soil. Soil fauna may be subdivided into animals that permanently inhabit the soil (geo-bionts), organisms that pass through one of the active (feeding) stages of their life cycle in soil (geophils), and species that use the soil only as a refuge (geoxenes). Soil fauna occupies mainly the upper horizons, to a depth of 20–40 cm. In arid localities, only a few species penetrate to a depth of several meters.

Soil fauna, an important factor in soil formation, influences all the properties of soil, including fertility. Its activity accelerates the humification and mineralization of plant residues, alters the salt regime and soil pH, increases the soil’s porosity and permeability to water and air, helps to deepen the accumulative horizon and mix the soil layers, and creates the soil’s water-stable granular structure. Many soil inhabitants, especially insect larvae (such as cockchafers, click beetles, and ground beetles) and nematodes, are dangerous crop and forest pests. Agrotechnical and chemical methods are used to control them.

In many countries, to increase soil fertility, especially of land newly brought under cultivation, the soil fauna is enriched by the introduction of useful species and by the application of compost abounding in useful species.


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References in periodicals archive ?
The services include agro-pedological studies including soil surveys, soil profiles, physicochemical analyzes of soil in the laboratory, the study of microbial biomass, the study of soil fauna, advice and diagnostics on soil.
A 20 year-long study of the soil fauna, nematodes, and other animal species in the McMurdo Dry Valleys have shown that rising climatic conditions since 2001 has led to a decline in the microorganisms in the region.
In biodiversity assessment studies, soil fauna was usually used because of its sensitive response to environmental changes and its functional role on soil ecosystem (Rainio and Niemel, 2003; Sauberer et al.
Soil fauna play an important role in the initial breakdown of complex and large pieces of organic matter, making it easier for soil microorganisms to release carbon and plant nutrients from the material as they continue the process of decomposition.
Therefore, the soil fauna has been used as a biological indicator of soil quality in studies comparing the characteristics of its community in disturbed environments, in different degrees or successional stages, with more mature ecosystems that are considered as a reference (Decaens et al.
The dissolved organic matter represent the most mobile form of OM in the soil and is released by various processes from the solid phase: simple dissolution, adsorption and desorption processes, exchange protonation and dissolution reactions, biological decomposition of OM, and metabolites released by microorganisms, soil fauna and plants (Kaschl et al.
Surface-active soil fauna were measured using pitfall traps, consisting of plastic containers of 10 cm height and 10 cm in diameter with 50% ethanol to about 1/3 of its volume.
In addition, the lack of difference between parameters at 90 days indicates a small and temporary effect of the treatments on the soil fauna.
Effect of farmyard manure and green manure crops on populations of mycophagous soil fauna and Rhizoctonia stem canker of potato.
2] fluxes from soils and soil fauna, including possible emissions from subterranean termites.
Yet according to Shiva and Bandyopadhyay, "Ecological Audit of Eucalyptus Cultivation" (1987), the "complex multi-dimensional impacts on soil moisture and ground water, on the soil fertility; on other plant life and on soil fauna undermine potential of land for biological productivity.