The rate of organic matter decomposition and the structure of the communities of microarthropods were compared between two corn fields receiving contrasting agricultural management practices (low input and intensive farming). The rate of decomposition tended to be higher in the intensively managed field in the beginning of the growing season, but decreased to a level significantly lower than the observed in the low input field by the end of the growing season. This suggested that the biological community associated with the decomposition process could be negatively influenced in the intensively managed field. Analyses of the structure of microarthropod communities indicated differences between the two areas. The microarthropod populations present in the intensively managed field suffered abrupt decrease in numbers as the season progressed.
Soil fauna; organic matter; decomposition; agroecosystems; farming systems; low-input agriculture