Tree Plays Significant Role in Soil Conservation


“Native Tree Species Play a Significant Role in the Conservation of Soil-Litter Arthropods and Maintenance of Better Soil Conditions in Rwanda”- new research has found

A recent study conducted by Dr. Venuste Nsengimana and co-author on the relationships between the land use, soil properties and families of soil-litter arthropods, has indicated that families of soil-litter arthropods respond differently to the land use and soil physicochemical properties. The findings were published in Biodiversity Journal on 26 April 2021 under the title, “Diversity and abundance of soil -litter arthropods and their relationships with soil physicochemical properties under different land uses in Rwanda.’’

According to the research team, soil-litter arthropods are critical for ecosystem functioning and sensitive to land use change, and hence to the variations in soil physicochemical properties. The researchers, however, realized that relationships between soil-litter arthropod communities and soil physicochemical properties are poorly studied in Rwanda. They were thus motivated to undertake a study on the subject.
’’The objective of the study was to identify soil-litter arthropod diversity and abundance in each land use, to study the variations in soil physicochemical properties. These are soil pH, soil organic carbon, soil total nitrogen, soil available phosphorus, and soil texture, and to study the relationships between soil-litter arthropod abundance and soil physicochemical properties”, said Dr. Nsengimana.

Methodologically, a total of 3176 individuals of soil-litter arthropods were collected, identified and classified into 13 orders and 23 families. Higher abundance was found in soil and litter sampled in plots of native tree species and banana plantations compared to exotic tree species and coffee plantations. Also, higher diversity was found in plots of native and exotic tree species.

“The analysis of soil physicochemical properties indicated that native tree species offer suitable conditions of studied soil properties. The study of the relationships between the land use, soil properties and families of soil-litter arthropods indicated positive correlations and relationships mainly in native tree species,’’ Dr. Nsengimana explained. “We therefore concluded that native tree species play a significant role in the conservation of soil-litter arthropods and maintenance of better soil conditions,” he added.

The team recommends the study findings to researchers in ecology and biodiversity conservation, soil and animal ecology, and policy makers in land use planning and land use management. To read more, please open this link :

Dr Venuste Nsengimana, Lecturer at UR-CE & Deputy Director of the CoBat UR-CST

Nsengimana Venuste holds a PhD in “Sciences Agronomiques et Ingénierie Biologique” (Agronomy and Bioengineering) from the University of Liège, Gembloux Agro Bio-Tech, Belgium ;a Master of Science in Biodiversity Conservation from UR, a Postgraduate certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from UR, and Bachelor’s degree in Education (Biology) from the former National University of Rwanda (NUR). He serves UR-CE as a Lecturer of Biology and heis the Deputy Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Natural Resources Management based in the UR - College of Science and Technology.

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Public Relations and Community Engagement Officer, UR-CE