Ant Community in Neotropical Agrosystems: A Four-Year Study in Conventional and No-Tillage Systems

Wedson Desidério Fernandes, Denise Lange, Janser Moura Pereira, Josué Raizer


Studies comparing agricultural practices that maintain a better quality and a healthy soil fauna consider the no-tillage farming as the most effective practice when compared to other planting techniques. In order to evaluate the influence of the no-tillage and conventional tillage methods (with and without manipulation of the soil before planting, respectively) on ant communities, we monitored two areas with these two types of practice (conventional and no-tillage) over the period of four years. We collected ants once per month along 10 transects randomly distributed using three pitfall traps in each area. In addition, we collected the dead plant biomass present at each point sampled as a parameter for measuring the environmental complexity of the areas. In total, we captured 27,480 individuals belonging to 26 species in the no-tillage area and 24,570 individuals belonging to 24 species in the conventional tillage area. The generalised linear model analysis showed that the no-tillage system had the highest abundance of individuals, as well as richness and diversity of species, during most of the study period, as compared to conventional tillage areas. We also found a significant positive correlation between species richness and dead plant biomass. Thus, it is possible to infer that the no-tillage area is a more complex environment with a greater diversity of ants and, therefore, a more sustainable agrosystem as compared to conventional tillage areas.


ecology; ant community; agroecosystems

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