Indicating soil quality in cacao-based agroforestry systems and old-growth forests: The potential of soil macrofauna assemblage

Rousseau Guillaume Xavier, Deheuvels Olivier, Rodriguez Arias Ignacio, Somarriba Chavez Eduardo. 2012. Indicating soil quality in cacao-based agroforestry systems and old-growth forests: The potential of soil macrofauna assemblage. Ecological Indicators, 23 : pp. 535-543.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
[img] Published version - Anglais
Access restricted to CIRAD agents
Use under authorization by the author or CIRAD.

Télécharger (789kB)


Abstract : Soil quality or health is a fuzzy concept that has been vigorously criticized due to the extreme variability of soil and the difficulty of linking soil indicators to soil functions and sustainability. In most soil quality studies some obvious factors or typologies are used as a basis to select the "best indicators" of soil quality, i.e. those that best explain the differences among the plots under study. This is not the case for a variety of natural or agro-ecosystems including the Talamanca cacao-based agroforestry systems (AFS), which present neither a pre-established typology nor a clear framework to evaluate their soil quality. This situation required a selection of indicators based on the literature that was oriented by the non-equilibrium thermodynamic theory. A framework was elaborated through full and minimum indicator sets of baseline soil physical and chemical indicators, along with macrofauna groups. A minimum set of four well-accepted abiotic soil quality indicators (bulk density, sum of bases, pH and carbon) was able to separate cacao AFS plots and forests into five distinct clusters along a low-to-high "soil quality" gradient. The AFS rated as "good" soil quality did not differ from the forest. Abundances of selected macrofauna groups were well correlated with these indicators and helped elucidate the soil quality clusters identified. In particular, high predator abundance indicated proper energy flow and confirmed the high abiotic soil quality, thus confirming the potential of macrofauna groups as apt soil quality indicators. However, these indicators need to be tailored to local conditions. Consequentially, cacao-based AFS in Talamanca are able to conserve soil and provide a high level of soil-related ecological services. Considering the soil an open system where the non-equilibrium thermodynamic theory applies successfully guided indicator selection and could help to reformulate the soil quality definition. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Sol, Qualité, Fertilité du sol, Faune du sol, Organisme indicateur, Facteur du milieu, Propriété physicochimique du sol, Sol de forêt, Conservation des sols, Agroforesterie, forêt tropicale, Theobroma cacao

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Costa Rica

Mots-clés complémentaires : Service environnemental

Classification Agris : P34 - Soil biology
P35 - Soil fertility
F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
K10 - Forestry production

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2005-2013) - Intensification écologique

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Rousseau Guillaume Xavier, Universidade Estadual do Maranhão (BRA)
  • Deheuvels Olivier, CIRAD-PERSYST-UMR SYSTEM (CRI)
  • Rodriguez Arias Ignacio, CATIE (CRI)
  • Somarriba Chavez Eduardo, CATIE (CRI)

Autres liens de la publication

Source : Cirad - Agritrop (

View Item (staff only) View Item (staff only)

[ Page générée et mise en cache le 2021-02-22 ]