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Earthworm community in conventional, organic and direct seeding with living mulch cropping systems

Pelosi, Céline and Bertrand, Michel and Roger-Estrade, Jean Earthworm community in conventional, organic and direct seeding with living mulch cropping systems. (2009) Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 29 (2). 287-295. ISSN 1774-0746

(Document in English)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/agro/2008069


The loss of biodiversity by intensification of agricultural practices is a major environmental issue that calls for the design of new cropping systems. For instance, negative effects of tillage on earthworm populations have been reported. However, few field studies have compared full cropping systems. Here, we assessed diversity, density and biomass of earthworm populations for 3 years. We use a combined method involving a diluted solution of allyl isothiocyanate to expel earthworms followed by hand sorting. In a long-term trial, we compared 3 systems: (1) a conventional system, (2) a direct seeding living mulch-based cropping system, named a living mulch cropping system, and (3) an organic system. These three cropping systems differed in terms of soil tillage, pesticide and nitrogen use, and crop biomass production. The results showed that measured variables, except diversity, varied depending on the year of sampling. Further, anecic and epigeic density was 3.2–7.2 times higher in the living mulch cropping system than in the conventional and organic systems. There were 3.4–12.5 times more anecic and epigeic earthworm biomass in the living mulch cropping system. The conventional and organic systems showed, respectively, 2.8 and 2.2 times more earthworm density, and 1.9 and 1.8 times more endogeic earthworm biomass than in the living mulch cropping system. Shannon-Wiener and equitability indices were superior in the living mulch cropping system compared with the conventional and organic systems. Cropping systems thus modified specific and functional diversity as well as earthworm community biomass. On the other hand, the organic and conventional systems did not differ in their earthworm density, biomass or diversity.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Springer Verlag editor. The definitive version is available at http://link.springer.com/ The original PDF of the article can be found at Agronomy for Sustainable Development website : http://link.springer.com/journal/13593
ProdINRA Id:27156
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Other partners > AgroParisTech (FRANCE)
French research institutions > Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - INRA (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:06 Dec 2016 13:33

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