Soil Biodiversity - Results

A total of 1227 macrofauna individuals were sampled across all samples and methods, 62% were in the target groups (80% of soil pits total, 52% of leaf litter total). Major non-target groups were true flies, spiders and beetle larvae. Of the target groups 757 individuals in 62 species were identified, comprising 26 beetle, nine centipede, five harvestmen, three ant, eight earthworm, four millipede and five woodlice species. There were 45 species of ground flora, 11 understory and eight canopy species across all samples.

Microhabitats representing the main body of uniform litter were compared with more localised microhabitats including dead wood and areas of wet soil. Species accumulation curves suggest that for this site it is more efficient to sample from varied microhabitats of limited spatial scale rather than the broad habitat areas when generating a species inventory. For comparative work sampling the main body of uniform litter is more appropriate, given that microhabitats vary from woodland to woodland and would make standardisation problematic. Vegetation showed more distinctive microhabitat-specific species assemblages than soil and leaf litter

invertebrates and was strongly associated with environmental variables. Microhabitats with distinct assemblages included dead wood habitats, which had a high proportion of saproxylic species; a highly disturbed microhabitat with distinct plant and soil species characteristic of ruderal habitats and seeps with earthworm species rarely sampled in standard soil biodiversity surveys. The leaf litter in the conifer plantation area was species poor and the biodiversity quantified was considerably enhanced by the sampling from the additional microhabitats - illustrating the importance of small-scale heterogeneity for increasing plant and soil macrofauna biodiversity at this site.

To view full results, request the paper from the author's ResearchGate page.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith