Agroforestry systems in the Colombian Amazon improve the provision of soil ecosystem services

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In the Colombian Amazon, the provision of soil-based ecosystem services is threatened mainly by loss of plant cover. Methodologies are required that allow for a holistic assessment of soil degradation or restoration and associated changes in the provision of ecosystem services.

With this objective, we measured macroinvertebrate communities, soil macroaggregates, soil hydrological properties and chemical soil properties in areas of the deforested Colombian Amazon. The sampled areas are located two landscape units (undulating footslopes and hillsides) and four different land use types (Mature Forest, Forest Implementations, Sylvopastoral Systems and Traditional pastures).

Parameters were assembled into soil hydrological, chemical soil properties, macroaggregates and macroinvertebrate communities sub indicators that were subsequently grouped into a General Indicator of Soil Quality (GISQ). Values indicated differences in the provision of soil-based ecosystem services among landscape units and land use types. We confirmed and quantified the negative effects of deforestation and land-use intensification, increasing from Forest Implementation to Sylvopastoral Systems and Traditional Pastures. Soil macroinvertebrate communities and physical properties as proxies for soil biodiversity and soil hydrological functions were the most negatively affected.

Rodriguez, Leonardo; Suárez, Juan Carlos; Pulleman, Mirjam M.; Guaca, Lised; Rico, Adrian; Romero, Miguel; Quintero, Marcela; Lavelle, Patrick.

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