Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Intensive agriculture reduces soil biota (#journal)

Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe

Soil biodiversity plays a key role in regulating the processes that underpin the delivery of ecosystem goods and services in terrestrial ecosystems. Agricultural intensification is known to change the diversity of individual groups of soil biota. This study examined biodiversity in soil food webs from grasslands in Sweden, the UK, the Czech Republic and Greece. It found that land use intensification reduced the complexity in the soil food webs, as well as the community-weighted mean body mass of soil fauna. In all regions across Europe, species richness of earthworms, Collembolans and oribatid mites was negatively affected by increased land use intensity. Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity, making soil food webs less diverse and composed of smaller bodied organisms.

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