Soil Fauna as Webmasters, Engineers and Bioindicators in Ecosystems: Implications for Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture
Soil biodiversity comprised the organisms that spend all or a portion of their life cycles within the soil or on its immediate surface. Soil Fauna are those organisms that inhabit the soil (include arthropods, nematodes, molluscs, protozoa, rotifera, etc...). Of the total diversity of living organisms that has been described to date, 23% is soil animals. They are the dominant animal group in many terrestrial ecosystems and may have higher biomass on an area basis. According to their body size, soil fauna categorized into microfauna, mesofauna and macrofauna. In both natural and agricultural systems, soil organisms perform vital functions in the soil. Soil fauna are responsible for many ecosystem services like soil formation, nutrient cycling, soil restoration and food webs. These functions range from physical effects to chemical and biological processes. They burrowing and feeding activities result in improved aeration and water infiltration, incorporation of organic matter into the soil, and stabilization of soil aggregates, leading to their designation as ecosystem engineers. They are also play a role in significant indicators of soil health. Human activities leads to loss of soil structure and function through reduction of soil fauna diversity, habitat fragmentation, nutrient cycling and organic matter destruction. A combination of those factors can lead to ecosystem destruction. Soil fauna communities are highly sensitive to environmental variation and destabilization. Moreover, soil fauna are a useful bio-indicators for human disturbance on ecosystem.
Sefi Mekonen Ertiban,
Soil Fauna as Webmasters, Engineers and Bioindicators in Ecosystems: Implications for Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture, American Journal of Life Sciences.
Vol. 7, No. 1,
2019, pp. 17-26.
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