Agricultural practices play a major role in influencing soil fauna abundance and diversity. Interest in these practices has increased owing to the growing need for sustainable agricultural systems in this era of increasing agricultural intensification. In this study, two paddy rice farming pathways (smallholder and large-scale commercial) and an adjacent natural wetland in Mpologoma catchment were studied to determine the response of soil macroinvertebrates to paddy rice farming pathways. Eighteen macroinvertebrate taxa were observed, some of which were not the usual soil taxa (Hirudinea, Decapoda, Ephemeroptera, Trichoptera, and Odonata). SIMPER analysis showed that Oligochaeta, Gastropoda, and Coleoptera were the major taxa responsible for dissimilarity among sites. Macroinvertebrate richness and diversity also varied among sites. Some taxa showed habitat exclusivity: Diptera, Odonata, and Trichoptera were exclusive to both rice paddies; Decapoda, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, and Blattodea to natural wetland; Diplura and Ephemeroptera were exclusive to large-scale commercial paddies. NMDS ordination showed that macroinvertebrate distribution among sites was strongly correlated with soil pH and calcium and moderately correlated with phosphorus. These results indicate that wetland conversion to rice paddies could affect macroinvertebrate richness and diversity and underscore the importance of soil environment in influencing the macroinvertebrate community in rice paddies.
Date of publication:
RUFORUM Journal Articles