ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


Soil Biotic Activity in Response to Compost. P1; 76

Pfotzer, G. H. & Schüler, C.

Department of Ecological Agriculture, D-37213 Witzenhausen.

This poster presents data concerning the effects of compost application on soil-living organisms (fauna and flora). The results are based on experiments conducted within a field trial designed to evaluate the long-term impact of compost application on soil properties. The trial was established in 1986 and is currently undergoing the third rotational sequence. The following organically fertilised treatments are compared to a minerally fertilised control treatment: i) composted farmyard manure, ii) composted farmyard manure plus hornmeal, iii) composted source separated organic household waste. Fertilisers are applied to root crops. The subsequent cereals are left unfertilised to measure after effects.
Soil biological activity was measured using the bait-lamina test as described by von Törne, soil respiration, soil microbial biomass (SIR) and the rate of fluoresce in diacetate (FDA) hydrolysis. The first method provides an overview of the soil faunal feeding activity measured in terms of the number of perforated baits. It shows the absolute activity found in a treatment as well as the vertical distribution of the feeding activity. All plots were sampled four times in 1994 when potatoes were grown and 1995 when winter barley was cultivated. Data was correlated with the population density of collembola and acaria, sampled on 20 occasions since 1989.
The present results show that compost fertilisation increased microbial and faunal activity as well as population densities of collembola and mites significantly compared to mineral fertilisation. Highest values were found in plots supplied with biogenic waste compost. The soil biotic activity was not statistically significant affected by additional horn meal application to farmyard compost. However, soil total carbon and nitrogen content indicates less humus accumulation.

Törne, E. von (1990): Assessing feeding activities of soil-living animals. I. Bait-lamina-tests. Pedobiologia, 34, 89-101.