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Responses of soil nematode communities to agroecological crop management systems

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Soil nematodes are sensitive to human intervention and widely used as biological indicators of disruptions and alterations in soil quality. The aim of this work was to identify nematodes that are good biological indicators in maize crops under different management systems, and to establish the impact levels of these systems. Soil samples were collected over a 3-year period at a depth of 0.0-0.3 m in areas under six different management systems for maize (Zea mays) monoculture, and intercropped maize and Canavalia ensiformis. Six areas of native vegetation were also assessed to provide a reference for ecological balance. After identification and counting, nematode communities were characterised according to abundance (total and relative), diversity (identified genera and diversity indexes), trophic structure and ecological maturity (disturbance indexes). Nematodes proved to be good ecological indicators, responding to the systems employed. Intercropping maize and Canavalia ensiformis in at least one assessment year reduced disruption and increased nematode diversity, which were both verified based on specific indexes. It was also observed that the maize monoculture increased disruption leading to a drop in nematode fauna diversity and an increase in the incidence of plant-feeding nematodes.

Affiliations: 1: 1Departamento de Agronomia, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Rodovia Celso Garcia Cid Km 380, CP 6001, 86051-990 Londrina, PR, Brazil; 2: 2Programa de Pós-graduação em Agronomia, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Rodovia Celso Garcia Cid Km 380, CP 6001, 86051-990 Londrina, PR, Brazil


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