Soil Microarthropod- Indicators of Effects of Living Mulches in Sole and Mixed Cropping Systems at University Park Farm, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Abstract

This study was undertaken (May – August, 2013) to ascertain the impact of living mulch cover crops on soil microarthropods in sole and mixed cropping systems.   Maize (Zea mays), watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis) and Egusi-melon (Citrullus cococynthis) were cultivated in sole while Maize- watermelon, Maize – Egusi-melon and Maize – pumpkin were cultivated in  mixed plots, in a Completely Radomized Design. Soil samples were collected at 21 days interval with an 8.5cm bucket- type soil auger for extraction in modified Berlese-Tullgren funnel. The result showed 12species and 84 individuals (control), 15 and 317 (sole), 18 and 455 (mixed) cropping plots. Living mulch cover crops increases soil microarthropods in the mixed cropping system  as there was significant difference (F=0.22, df =1 P>0.05 ) between the sole and mixed cropping. The average soil moisture within 42days was 30.9 %( mixed), 20.9 %( sole) and 24.4(control). Three species; Parallonothrus nigerensis, Gamisinia and Parasitid were absent in the control and sole but occurred at mixed cropping plots, indicaing that intercropping water- melon or egusi- melon with maize  increases the moisture, health  of the soil, species richness and abundance of soil microarthropods.

Keywords: Cryptostigmata, Living Mulch Cover Crop, Mixed cropping, Moisture Content, Soil Microarthropods, Sole Cropping


Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 13-21 (Download PDF)

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