The amount of mulch increases the abundance, and its composition the species diversity of springtails in crop rotation on chernozem soils


  • Anna I. Bokova Moscow State Pedagogical University
  • Ksenia S. Panina Moscow State Pedagogical University
  • Victor K. Dridiger North Caucasian Federal Research Agrarian Centre (NCFRAC)
  • Nataliya A. Kuznetsova Moscow State Pedagogical University
  • Mikhail B. Potapov Moscow State Pedagogical University



Agroecosystems, Collembola, plant residues, field experiment, steppe zone


Mulching is widely used in agriculture to improve soil structure and agrochemical parameters. This is especially true for agroecosystems of steppe chernozems with strong wind erosion and occasional drought. The effect of mulch introduction to the springtail communities was studied in a multi-year field experiment using different mulch quantities (0 tons/ha, 4 tons/ha, 8 tons/ha, 12 tons/ha and 16 tons/ha) and composition (pea and wheat plant residues). No-till technology was applied in a six-field crop rotation (peas — winter wheat— sunflower— winter wheat — corn— winter wheat). Collembola or springtails, playing a significant role in soil formation, were set as a model group for assessing the state of soil animals. Both the general characteristics of the springtail community and the response of individual species to the introduction of plant residues were studied. Their total abundance was correlated positively with an increase in the amount of plant residues of any composition, while no significant changes in species richness (number of species) were noted. Species diversity, assessed by the Shannon-Weaver index, significantly differed when plant residues of different compositions were introduced, while the amount of mulch did not affect this indicator. Different groups of springtail life forms reacted differently to the composition and amount of mulch. The number of springtails increased mainly due to hemiedaphic springtail species, both when plant residues of peas and wheat were introduced. Certain springtail species increased in abundance to the maximum (P. notabilis) and minimum (S. elegans, S. niger, C. succinea) amount of plant residues, while other species were associated with the composition of the mulch (D. tigrina, S. pumilis, P. alba) were identified. These results show that mulch management has pronounced impacts on springtail communities, which can inform management practices to improve the functioning of sustainable soil ecosystems in the future.


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How to Cite

Bokova, A. I., Panina, K. S., Dridiger, V. K., Kuznetsova, N. A., & Potapov, M. B. (2023). The amount of mulch increases the abundance, and its composition the species diversity of springtails in crop rotation on chernozem soils. SOIL ORGANISMS, 95(3), 217–228.