Thursday, 13 July 2006 - 5:00 PM

Managing soil macrofauna for better soil structure and enhanced water and nutrient use efficiencies in agro-ecosystems.

Lijbert Brussaard, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Dept. Soil Quality, P.O. Box 8005, 6700 EC, Wageningen, Netherlands, Mirjam Pulleman, CIMMYT, Apdo Postal 6-641, 06600 Mexico, Mexico, Abdoulaye Mando, IFDC, BP 4483, Lomé, Togo, Elisée Ouédraogo, Albert Schweitzer Centre for Ecology (CEAS), 01 B.P 3306 Ouagadougou 01, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Johan W. Six, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616.

Over the last four decades soil ecologists have made tremendous progress in describing, understanding and quantifying the overwhelming complexity of biological, biophysical and biochemical interactions in soil. These interactions shape the soil as a habitat for the soil food web and the vegetation and, thereby, as a regulator of the two main life-supporting processes on Planet Earth: production and decomposition. Changes in decomposition and production processes are governed by (human-induced) changes in the amounts and quality of organic residues and fertilizers entering the soil, changes in the physical environment and, indeed, changes in the soil biota. Hence, decomposition and production processes cannot be manipulated without explicitly addressing the composition and activity of the soil food web.

Using a conceptual model, we argue that quantitative understanding of biophysical interactions, in particular those between soil macrofauna and soil structure, are paramount to understanding biological and biochemical interactions in soil and the transmission of water and nutrients to plants. The need to increase the efficiency of crop production worldwide, and to reverse soil degradation, will set the agenda for soil ecologists in the near future.

Key words: soil structure, soil fauna, food web, ecosystem engineer, carbon, water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency

Back to 4.1B Role of Organic Matter for Soil Properties and Consequences for Environmental Functions - Oral
Back to WCSS

Back to The 18th World Congress of Soil Science (July 9-15, 2006)