J. Bio. Env. Sci.12(6), 102-111, June 2018
The scarcity of arable lands in the cocoa economy-oriented Nawa region greatly changed food crop production systems currently characterized by severe fallow period reduction (one year in many cases) and even it disappearing. Used Mucuna pruriens for reducing fallow period is an agro-ecological solution in the tropics for sustained soil fertility. This study aimed to compare earthworms’ communities and soil properties of two improved fallow (M. pruriens fertilized or not with chemical fertilizer) with natural fallow. Soil samples were analysed and earthworms collected, identified and counted at six months and 12 months. Comprehensively, no significant difference was recorded for soil properties apart from P increase recorded for all treatments after 12 months of fallowing. Earthworms distributed into three trophic groups and Mucuna pruriens-based fallows harboured the highest earthworm’ density and biomass notably when fertilized with NPK. This confirms that restoration of fertile or fertilizers-enriched soils is faster than poor soils. The detritivorus group, which feeds on plan litter, had highest biomass and density under the fertilized Mucuna pruriens plots. However, no species was clearly impacted by none of the treatments. This study clearly demonstrated the swift answer of earthworms to change in vegetation and soil mineral components.
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