Diversity of Soil Invertebrate Communities near the Gohagoda Dumping Site and Udawattakele Forest Reserve in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Soil faunal activity is essential for the functioning of all terrestrial ecosystems. Soil fauna are
important in physical and chemical transformation of litter, maintenance of soil fertility and
sustained productivity. By-products of human activities affect the proper functioning of the
soil fauna with a concomitant decrease in long term soil productivity. The fauna could be
used as early indicators of changes brought about in soil properties by pollutants. In Sri
Lanka studies of this nature are lacking and even baseline data against which changes could
be measured are not yet available. A field experiment was set up in Kandy in two forest areas
near the Gohagoda dumping site and the Udawattakele forest reserve area to investigate the
soil and leaf litter invertebrates.
The soil invertebrate fauna was extracted in both sampling sites by using NaCl floatation
method and Baermann funnel. The leaf litter invertebrates were extracted using the Tulgren
funnel. Collembola, Acarina and Nematoda were the dominant phyla in both forests
accounting for more than 80% of the total individuals. The Udawattakele forest area had the
highest taxon and individual numbers of invertebrates. It shows that according to the Tulgren
funnel method, Udawattekele area has high species diversity by both Shannon and Simpson
indices which is significantly higher (<0.001). The results of Bearmann funnel method
showed that it has higher diversity values for Udawattekele than Gohagoda. Overall
Udawattekele has a high diversity and evenness than that of Gohagoda area.
This comprehensive analysis of invertebrate diversity shows that they may be used as
possible indicators of soil quality. They should also be considered as a resource that needs to
be properly managed to enhance ecosystem services.
Keywords: Soil invertebrates, Diversity, Gohagoda, Udawattakele
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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura