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Do Long-Term Continuous Cropping and Pesticides Affect Earthworm Communities?

Department of Agroecosystems, Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Łódzki 3, 10-718 Olsztyn, Poland
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Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040586
Received: 4 March 2020 / Revised: 15 April 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
Earthworm species composition, the density of individuals, and their biomass were investigated in spring barley and faba bean fields in a long-term (52-year) experiment conducted at the Production and Experimental Station in Bałcyny, in north-eastern Poland (53°40′ N; 19°50′ E). Additionally, post-harvest residues biomass, soil organic matter (SOM), and soil pH were recorded. The above traits were investigated using two experimental factors: I. cropping system—continuous cropping (CC) vs. crop rotation (CR) and II. pesticide plant protection: herbicide + fungicide (HF+) vs. no plant protection (HF−). A total of three species of Lumbricidae were found: Aporrectodea caliginosa (Sav.) in both crops, Aporrectodea rosea (Sav.) in spring barley, and Lumbricus terrestris (L.) in faba bean. The density and biomass of earthworms were unaffected by experimental treatments in spring barley fields, whereas in faba bean CC increased and HF+ decreased earthworm density and biomass in comparison with CR and HF− respectively. Total post-harvest residues in faba bean fields were higher under CC in relation to CR and under HF+ compared with HF− treatment in both crops. Compared to CR, CC increased soil pH in spring barley fields and decreased in faba bean fields. Experimental factors did not affect SOM. Earthworm density and biomass were positively correlated with SOM content. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil organic matter; soil pH; post-harvest residues; crop rotation; Hordeum vulgare L.; Vicia faba L. ssp. minor soil organic matter; soil pH; post-harvest residues; crop rotation; Hordeum vulgare L.; Vicia faba L. ssp. minor
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Treder, K.; Jastrzębska, M.; Kostrzewska, M.K.; Makowski, P. Do Long-Term Continuous Cropping and Pesticides Affect Earthworm Communities? Agronomy 2020, 10, 586.

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