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Changes in a soil microarthropod community in the vicinity of dominant tree species under trampling management at the Safari Zoological Center, Israel

  • Liu, Rentao
  • Meller, Roy
  • Steinberger, Yosef
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
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Tree-canopy and trampling management are reported to influence soil arthropod abundance and diversity. However, there is limited understanding of their interactive effects on a soil microarthropod community at the Safari Zoological Center, central Israel. This study assessed the spatial influence of three dominant tree species (Cupressus sempervirens, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, and Tamarix aphylla) under contrasting trampling and enclosure treatment on soil microarthropod abundance and diversity during a wet Mediterranean winter. There was a significant interactive effect of tree species and trampling management on soil moisture, organic matter, pH, and soil density, with an individual effect of tree species or trampling management on soil electrical conductivity and water-holding capacity. There was a significantly greater abundance of total microarthropods under enclosure than under trampling in open spaces and beneath the E. camaldulensis canopy, with the greatest abundance found in the open spaces under enclosure. However, there were no significant differences in the average abundance of total microarthropods between trampling and enclosure beneath either the T. aphylla or C. sempervirens canopy. The soil Acari diversity indices (i.e., taxon richness, Shannon index, and evenness index) were significantly greater under enclosure than under trampling in open spaces and beneath tree-canopy habitats, with the exception of taxon richness beneath the C. sempervirens canopy. We concluded that the trampling activities had a detrimental effect on soil microarthropod abundance and soil Acari diversity in some cases only. The distinctive canopy architecture of some tree species (i.e., T. aphylla and C. sempervirens) has ecophysiological attributes which could mediate the effect of trampling on soil microarthropods.

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