Open Access

The role of soil and plant cover as drivers of soil macrofauna of the Dnipro River floodplain ecosystems


Floodplain ecosystems are hotspots of biological diversity and perform important ecosystem functions in the landscape. The key to understanding the sustainability of ecosystem function is knowledge of the relationships between ecosystem components. The article reveals the role of morphological and physical properties of soil, as well as phytoindication of environmental factors as drivers of biological diversity of soil macrofauna of protected ecosystems of the Dnipro River floodplain. The studies were conducted in the forest floodplain ecosystems of the “Dnipro-Orilskiy” Nature Reserve. The studies of morphological properties of soils allowed us to identify the representatives of two reference groups: Fluvisol and Gleysol. The soil physical property data were subjected to principal component analysis, which extracted four principal components whose eigenvalues exceeded unity and described 79.9% of the variation in traits. The principal components of variation in soil physical properties and phytoindication assessments of environmental factors were used as predictors of the community structure of soil macrofauna. These predictors were able to explain 29.6% of the community variation. Physical soil properties are most important as a driver of soil macrofauna. The morphological properties of the soil and phytoindicator assessments are able to explain a much smaller part of the community variation. The pure influence of the predictors is small, indicating that they interact significantly in influencing soil animals. The results obtained have implications for the development of optimal strategies for floodplain ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other, Plant Science, Zoology, Ecology