Compensatory mechanisms of litter decomposition under alternating moisture regimes in tropical rice fields

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
APPLIED SOIL ECOLOGY, 2016, 107 pp. 79 - 90
Issue Date:
2016-11
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A conversion from permanently flooded rice cropping systems to crop rotations that include non-flooded upland crops is heavily promoted in tropical regions to meet the challenges of sustainable food production while reducing water consumption and trace gas emissions. Shorter periods of flooding and manipulation of fertilizer inputs affect belowground community composition, biomass and functioning. However, there have been no previous studies of how such shifts in rice field management might affect soil biota and decomposition. Our objective was to examine how crop diversification, which demands different moisture regimes and nitrogen inputs, influences belowground invertebrate assemblages and their contribution to the decomposition of crop residues. We conducted a litterbag experiment in lowland paddy fields at the experimental field sites of the DFG-ICON project (Laguna, the Philippines) that were either continuously flooded, had seasonally alternating wet and dry periods, or were continuously dry. Additionally, subplot treatments within these crop rotations included different N fertilizer management practices. At a total of 36 plots we used litterbags with two different mesh sizes to assess decomposition with and without fauna over a period of 72 days. Furthermore, we sampled soil microfauna and mesofauna in both the wet (rainy) and dry seasons.
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