Open Access

Organic fertilization influences nematode diversity and maturity index in coffee tree plantations using an agroforestry system


In conventional coffee farming, soil fauna can be negatively affected by the intensive management practices adopted and the use of an agroforestry system (AFS) is an alternative to reduce these impacts. In coffee AFS, soil nutrition is provided mainly using organic fertilizers. This soil management favors the microbiota and can alter the population dynamics of some organisms. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of organic fertilizers on the nematode community in coffee AFS and to determine their impact on soil ecology. Soil samples were collected from three coffee AFS and a nearby Atlantic rainforest fragment. Nematodes were extracted from the samples and identified to the genus. The identified populations were compared using several community and diversity indices to determine the environmental conditions of the systems under evaluation. No differences in total abundance among nematode communities were found in the four areas evaluated. Regarding trophic groups, the coffee AFS treated with either cow manure or poultry litter favored the trophic group of bacterivores. Plant-parasitic nematodes were more abundant in soils of both the naturally fertilized coffee AFS and the Atlantic rainforest fragment. The maturity and structural indexes indicated that the Atlantic rainforest fragment and the naturally fertilized coffee AFS had similar ecological functions. On the other hand, soils fertilized with cow manure were less diverse, had higher dominance in the community, and showed less ecological stability. The nematode communities found in the AFS were similar to those seen in the forest fragment indicating that is possible to produce coffee sustainably without negatively affecting soil quality.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other