Fungus-growing termite foraging activity increases water infiltration but only slightly and temporally impacts soil physical properties in southern Indian woodlands - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles European Journal of Soil Biology Year : 2018

Fungus-growing termite foraging activity increases water infiltration but only slightly and temporally impacts soil physical properties in southern Indian woodlands

Abstract

In the tropics, termites are known to be key litter decomposers and soil bioturbators. Their foraging activity in the soil leads to the production of galleries with specific soil physical, chemical and biological properties. This study investigates the influence of these foraging galleries on water infiltration and soil properties in south-Indian woodlands. A significant increase in water infiltration (× 3 that of control plots) was measured in soil as a result of Odontotermes spp. activities, likely because of the production of galleries in the first cm of the soil. Termite foraging activity was also associated with a significantly greater amount of clay in soil, probably because termites cover the wall of their galleries with fine-size particles, resulting in an increased saturated soil water content. Conversely, no differences in C content, CO2 emission and soil bulk density were measured in comparison with the surrounding soil. Consequently, this study confirms the beneficial impact of termites on water infiltration in soil but suggests a rather low local impact on soil chemical and biological functioning.
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Dates and versions

hal-01955527 , version 1 (14-12-2018)

Identifiers

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Sougueh Cheik, Nicolas Bottinelli, Raman Sukumar, Pascal Jouquet. Fungus-growing termite foraging activity increases water infiltration but only slightly and temporally impacts soil physical properties in southern Indian woodlands. European Journal of Soil Biology, 2018, 89, pp.20-24. ⟨10.1016/j.ejsobi.2018.09.001⟩. ⟨hal-01955527⟩
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