Impact of land use changes on nematode diversity and abundance

Kimenju, J. W; Karanja MRNNK; GK;. Impact of land use changes on nematode diversity and abundance.; 2013.


This study was conducted to determine the effect of land use on nematode community structure. The land use types represented in the study sites were natural forest, plantation forest, tea, coffee, napier grass, agroforestry, fallow and annual crops dominated by maize and beans. Nematode diversity and abundance decreased with intensity of land cultivation or human interference, with the natural forest being regarded as the benchmark. The decrease in nematode diversity was assessed using Shannon, Simpson and species richness indices and was used to reflect the underlying changes in physical, chemical and biological properties of soil environment. The highest maturity indices (MI) for free-living and plant parasitic index (PPI) were recorded in the natural forest and intensively cultivated land under annual crops (maize/beans) respectively. Herbivorous nematodes were predominant in soils that were under agricultural production while saprofagic nematodes dominated the forested land as exemplified by the ratios of freeliving to plant parasitic which were, 5.18 and 0.54 in the natural forest and annual crop ecosystems respectively. Changes in the nematode community structure as exhibited by diversity indices may be a reflection of real differences in soil and ecosystem functions.

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