Earthworm Diversity and Their Influences on Soil Enzyme Activities in Organic, Sustainable and Conventional Farming Systems of Puducherry
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Keywords:Coastal agro-ecosystem, Earthworm diversity, Organic farming, Soil enzymes
An experiment was conducted to study the earthworm diversity and its influence on soil enzyme activities in organic, sustainable and conventional farming systems in the state of Puducherry. A total of five earthworm species namely Drawida willsi, Drawida scandens, Lampito mauritii, Perionyx excavates and Eudrilus eugeniae were present in the study sites. Four species were found in conventional and sustainable farming and five species were found in organic farming. Earthworm species diversity, population, species dominance, and biomass were significantly higher in organic farming systems compared to sustainable and conventional farming systems. In addition, soils from organic farming showed higher activity of urease, alkaline phosphatase, β-glucosidase, cellulase, invertase and xylanase activities and they had a significant positive correlation with earthworm population and biomass. Our results revealed that the presence of earthworms strongly affected enzyme activities in soil. Earthworm casts probably contributed to the enrichment of plant-available nutrients and higher soil enzyme activities in organically managed soils.
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