Role of Military Termites (Pseudocanthotermes militaris) in Improving Soil Productivity in Tropical Agroecosystems
Apori, Samuel Obeng
Murongo, Marius Flarian
Muli, Gideon Kalii
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Termites are insects classified at the taxonomic rank of infrared Isoptera. They are soil animals since they spend some part of their life cycle in the soil; together with their association with the soil, they have several effects on soil properties. Termites are among the macrofauna that influence soil physical, chemical and biological properties. They are more active in the semi-arid and arid areas (this is missing in the general topic). According to , termites account for 40 to 60% of the total soil macrofauna biomass in many tropical ecosystems.Their estimated biomass in African savannas is estimated to be between 70 to 110kg/ha . Several studies have shown that termites are able mechanically to chew up plant material with their mandibles and grind it with their gizzard, thereby increasing the surface area accessible to soil microorganisms. However, some termite species are essential in maintaining long-term soil productivity and also in restoring barren soils. Termite accumulate and deposit particles from various soil depths in mounds so that the amount of organic carbon, clay and nutrients, pH and microbial communities is higher in termite mounds than in adjacent termite-free soils. Termites contribute to the regeneration of crusted soils by creating voids on the sealed surface, resulting in increased potential for infiltration, and ultimately enhanced water quality. Hence this review seeks to find out the contribution of termites through their physical, chemical and biological influence on soil and how it enhances soil productivity.
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