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Effects of compost application on soil macrofauna and soil functions in oil palm plantation ¿ Biofunctool® approach

Marichal R., Baron V., Thoumazeau A., Renevier M.S., Caliman J.P., Brauman A.. 2019. In : Book of abstarcts of the Wageningen Soil Conference 2019. Wageningen : Wageningen University and Research, p. 41-41. Wageningen Soil Conference 2019: Understanding soil fonctions, 2019-08-27/2019-08-30, Wageningen (Pays-Bas).

Oil palm produces about 38.7% of all vegetable oil (palm oil and palm kernel oil, 2016) and its cultivation area reach in 18.7 million ha worldwide (mature plantations) in 2017. While palm oil demand will increase in the future, leading an increase of global production, an adapted fertilization is needed to increase yield while preserving soil multifunctionality. Organic fertilization, by Empty fruit bunches (EFB) or compost is an alternative to mineral fertilization. The effect of EFB application on soil quality has been investigated, however the effect of compost application on soil functions and soil macrofauna in oil palm plantations is poorly known. To investigate the effect of compost application, we compared soil functions and soil macrofauna of two treatments of an agronomical trial (compost application / mineral fertilization), taking into account the zone around the palm tree (harvesting path, circle and windrow). Soil functions were assessed using the Biofunctool® framework, which is a novel set of in-field, low tech and time-effective indicators to assess main soil functions: soil carbon transformation, nutrient cycling and structure maintenance. Effect of the zone around the palm tree on soil functions and macrofauna, was largest than the effect of the treatment and the compost application slightly improved carbon transformation functions in the circle zone. Soil functions and macrofauna functional groups data showed similar co-structures indicating the link between soil functions and fauna. We highlighted the importance of spatial heterogeneity and discussed the effect of organic matter.

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