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Earthworm Populations in Savannas of the Orinoco Basin. A Review of Studies in Long-Term Agricultural-Managed and Protected Ecosystems

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  • Danilo López-Hernández

    () (Laboratory of Environmental Studies, Institute of Tropical Zoology and Ecology, Central University of Venezuela, Apdo 47058, Caracas 1041A, Venezuela)

Abstract

Earthworm biomass and production in savannas are limited by seasonal precipitation and the lack of organic and nutrient resources; I hypothesize that after a long-term protection of savanna from fire and agricultural activities drastic changes in the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil occur with a concomitant increase in earthworm abundance and activities. Similar changes might occur after a long-term fertilization of savannas with manure. This review article considers the earthworm communities and other soil quality indices in Trachypogon savannas of the Orinoco Basin in an organic agricultural forestal savanna (OAFS) amended with compost over forty years in Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela, and in an Experimental Station long-term protected (PS) from fire and cattle raising from more than four decades in Central Llanos, Venezuela, comparison is made with results from similar savannas. Long-term additions of organic manure or a long protection have induced significant changes in the soil physical and chemical properties of the natural savanna (NS) soils that induce a significant increase in the density and biomass of earthworm populations. On the other hand, the protection of the savanna promotes an improvement in the physical and chemical properties of the soil, which favors an increase in the density and biomass of earthworms in the PS compared with the NS subjected to recurrent burning and grazing. The results emphasize the importance of appropriate organic matter management and the relevance of earthworms in such agroecosystems.

Suggested Citation

  • Danilo López-Hernández, 2012. "Earthworm Populations in Savannas of the Orinoco Basin. A Review of Studies in Long-Term Agricultural-Managed and Protected Ecosystems," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(2), pages 1-22, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jagris:v:2:y:2012:i:2:p:87-108:d:17063
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    protected savanna; organic farms; soil quality; microbial biomass; enzymatic activities; Amazonia; pedofauna;

    JEL classification:

    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q13 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Markets and Marketing; Cooperatives; Agribusiness
    • Q14 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Finance
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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