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Abstract

Biodiversity Online J

Soil Macroinvertebrate Communities as Indicators of Ecosystem Services in American Tropical Environments

Submission: March 12, 2021; Published: April 27, 2021

Abstract

Soil macroinvertebrate communities comprise 16 commonly found orders with a vast range of functions and adaptive strategies. They are highly sensitive to chemical, physical and biological conditions found in the different strata of the soil system, from surface litter and humus system to organic horizons down to ca. 30cm depth. This review synthesizes studies realized at 4 different American tropical sites with identical methodologies. They evaluated the value of the components of this community as indicators of range (high, medium, low) values of a set of soil biodiversity, chemical, physical quality and macro aggregation synthetic indicators, proxies of soil-based ecosystem services. In all 4 situations studied, we found taxa that were significant indicators of all 4 soil quality sub indicators considered, with only one exception. Soil biodiversity (19 indicator taxa in total) and chemical quality (10) had a larger number of indicator taxa than macro aggregation (9), soil macro aggregation (9) and physical quality (3). Large taxonomic units (orders) had a better average indicator value (0.50±0.10 on a range of 0 to 1) than species level (0.22±0.03). Ants, Coleoptera, Arachnida and termites were the groups with the largest indicator values. Macroinvertebrate communities may therefore serve as simple tools for field evaluations of ranges of ecosystem services. Comparison of the sets of indicator taxa extracted with the scientific method should be compared with farmers and other field practicians knowledge, to elaborate certified systems for ES evaluation, in support of public policies that aim at enhancing their provision.

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