Earthworm communities in relation to arable management in a landscape context

J.F.T.A. Frazao, M.M. Pulleman, J.H. Faber, J.C.J. Groot, R.G.M. de Goede, L. Brussaard

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Agricultural intensification has homogenised arable fields and landscapes resulting in a decline of earthworm biodiversity, possibly affecting associated soil ecosystem services. Agrienvironmental schemes, such as field margin strips adjacent to arable fields, are being implemented to boost agrobiodiversity, but their effects on earthworm diversity remain unclear, especially regarding the spill-over potential to arable fields. Within Agricultural landscapes, we studied earthworm communities at the arable field and margin scale, as influenced by three groups of drivers: i) soil properties, ii) present and past arable
management, and iii) surrounding landscape. We hypothesized that earthworm communities differ between margins and fields. In the arable fields arable management was expected to override the landscape effect, but the surrounding landscape was expected to have a larger effect on the communities of the margins.Earthworms and soil properties were determined in 26 arable fields and 15 field margin strips in an intensively cultivated region in the Netherlands (Hoeksche Waard). Standardized questionnaires were used to obtain information from farmers about the present and past management of the surveyed habitats. The landscape surrounding the sampled sites was characterized using official topographic maps. Forthcoming results will illustrate the relative
importance of the three drivers on earthworm communities in arable fields, with or without adjacent margins, and in field margin strips. The acquired understanding will improve our understanding of earthworm communities and of factors that drive their assemblages not only at the field scale but also at the landscape scale. Such knowledge will improve our abilities to advise farmers and land managers regarding soil biodiversity management and conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2015
EventWageningen Soil Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands -
Duration: 23 Aug 201527 Aug 2015


ConferenceWageningen Soil Conference, Wageningen, the Netherlands


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