- Last updated on 2008.03.20 by Frans Janssens
Checklist of the Collembola: Succession of soil-tied invertebrates on afforested agricultural land

L. De Bruyn1,2, Scheirs, J.2; Van Gossum, H.2; Smets, K.2; Janssens, F.2

1 Institute of Nature Conservation, Kliniekstraat 25, 1070 Brussel, Belgium,
2 Evolutionary Biology Goup, Department of Biology, University of Antwerpen (RUCA), Belgium


The last decade the EU has promoted the afforestation of agricultural land. After afforestation a lot of biotic and abiotic components change. One of these is the composition of the soil-tied fauna which accounts for a huge part of biodiversity in temperate forest ecosystems.

The study site, located in two small forests at 15 km south of Antwerp (Belgium), consisted of 9 poplar stands which originated from agricultural land. The period after afforestation varied from 16 to more than 200 years. Invertebrates were sampled in each stand by means of core samples (depth: 5 cm; i: 48 mm), pitfall traps and colour traps. In each sampled stand we measured soil moisture, pH, the total amount of nitrogen, carbon, phosphate and nitrate.

Analysis of the data revealed that not only the species composition but also the community structure changes with the duration of afforestation. The first group of species is primarily found in recently established poplar stands, with high levels of nitrate and a low total amount of nitrogen. The second group of species mainly occurs in old poplar stands, with low levels of nitrogen, a high pH and a high amount of nitrogen. The third group is found in almost each stand but reaches the highest densities in the 45 year old stand at intermediate levels of the above mentioned soil parameters. The community structure was further analysed using diversity indices. We found a positive relationship with the duration of afforestation.