Fast improvement of macrofauna communities and soil quality in plantain crops converted to agroecological practices - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Pedobiologia Year : 2022

Fast improvement of macrofauna communities and soil quality in plantain crops converted to agroecological practices

Abstract

Plantain (Musa paradisiaca AAB) is one of the main staple food crops in tropical areas, particularly in the Caribbean region. Therefore, supporting a sustainable production of plantain in this zone is crucial to secure food and to provide income to millions of people. We hypothesized that agroecological practices based on multifunctionality and biodiversity and that preserve soil should i) increase macrofauna abundance, ii) enhance soil chemical fertility, iii) improve soil physical structure, iv) reduce plant infestation by parasitic nematodes, and v) immediately achieve similar yield as in conventional systems. For this purpose, we compared plantain conventional and agroecological systems at the farm scale. The agroecological system consisted in a combination of three innovations: i) inputs of vermicompost to replace mineral fertilizers, ii) use of healthy planting material and iii) use of a mulching of living crop to control weeds. Ten months after the plantation, soil macrofauna abundance had doubled and taxonomic richness had increased by 45% in the agroecological system. In addition, soil structure was improved in the agroecological system (52% of biogenic aggregates in the agroecological system vs. 21 % in conventional systems), as well as the abundance of free-living nematodes associated to plantain roots increased by 73 % in the agroecological system. The abundance of Radopholus similis, one of main plant parasitic nematodes, decreased in the agroecological system. Moreover, the agroecological system achieved similar crop yield level than conventional systems. Agroecological practices are thus an efficient option to allow a fast transition from conventional to environmentally friendly cropping systems
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Dates and versions

hal-03704778 , version 1 (12-07-2023)

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Gladys Loranger-Merciris, Harry Ozier-Lafontaine, Jean-Louis Diman, Jorge Sierra, Patrick Lavelle. Fast improvement of macrofauna communities and soil quality in plantain crops converted to agroecological practices. Pedobiologia, 2022, 93-94, pp.150823. ⟨10.1016/j.pedobi.2022.150823⟩. ⟨hal-03704778⟩
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