Khurram Shehzada, Chunlong Lib, Hafiz Muhammad Bilalb*, Muhammad Asad Hameedc
aCollege of Resources & Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, CHINA
bCollege of Horticulture & Forestry Sciences, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan,
cLand Resources Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Center, Islamabad,
*Corresponding author: [email protected]
Soil formation and development take place by the combine effect of abiotic and biotic factors, in which the role of soil organisms is considerable. Most of the properties of the soils totally depend upon these abiotic and biotic factors such as parent material, climate, topography, time, and biota. Soil pedogenesis or formation also encompasses some Physico-chemical and biological processes.
Primarily, the soil starts to form by means of physical weathering of the rocky material, in which rocks are broken down into smaller pieces by some natural agencies. Afterward, some micro-organisms, like bacteria, liverworts, mosses, and lichens consequently agitate the substrate after the disintegration of rocks and combine the organic compounds and detritus, which are the final products of nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis. In this fashion, the micro-organisms stabilize the soil environment, making favorable conditions for others soil organisms that play important role in the development of healthy and fertile soils, which are able to support plant communities. With the passage of time, the soil structure develops and the availability of nutrients increases as the byproducts such as feces, root exudate, plant litter, and other metabolic waste are added into the soil system, and the organisms contributing to the soil development throughout their life by combining to weathered material. Soil becomes thicker as the depth increases because the influence of soil biota decreases with an increase in depth. The amount of organic matter remains balanced in the soil system by its decomposition, ultimately causing nutrient recycling.
The living biota presents in a wide range in the soil environment, from small organisms to large invertebrates. Soil macro-organisms are the imperative component of the below-ground biodiversity, which needs appropriate management for a healthy and fertile soil system, that supports above-ground biodiversity. Hence, macro-organisms are the indicator of habitat quality, they are also linked to the above-ground biodiversity and consider soil modifiers. They maintain the biological equilibrium in the soil ecosystem by predating other organisms, e.g. microfauna considers an important predator of algae and bacteria, thus regulating their abundance in soil. Organisms are found in the soil ecosystem as; ants, termites, collembola, amphipods, millipedes, centipedes, earthworms, slugs, and snails, with some smaller organisms, like, viruses, prions, mycoplasmas, and viroids. The activities of these organisms are obstructed when humans disturb the ecosystem, in which they are found. It is found that the major threats to the macro-organisms are; climate change, bush fires, genetically modified creatures, toxic waste, and landslides. Macrofauna is the most sensitive organism, therefore any change in the soil environment can affect their activities because they need soil to feed, live, and reproduce.
Arthropods (macrofauna) cover 85 % of the total soil fauna and are found as meso and macro groups in the soil environment. Soil macro-organisms (> 20004m) play a very important role in decomposition and biodegradation processes in the soil ecosystem. Soil arthropods contribute to the decomposition of organic matter, humification process, and nutrient recycling and also influence the physical properties such as; porosity, bulk density, and water availability. They also contribute to developing a good soil structure, with good aeration and water infiltration. Vice versa, the soil medium along with its Physico-chemical properties such as soil quality, pH, redox conditions, and organic matter contents have a greater influence on the activities of organisms and their functioning in the soil system.
The organisms or biota are components component of all land-use systems. In a well-structured and productive soil, the soil biota encompasses macro-fauna, mesofauna, and micro-fauna along with much smaller organisms such as prions, viroids, mycoplasmas, and viruses. The macro-fauna such as arthropods are assumed more significant rather than microfauna because arthropods increase the rate of decomposition processes and efficiently mix the organic substances with the soil. Also, the contribution of arthropods to soil biomass is greater than other micro-organisms. For example; the soils may be rich in biomass that have only a few earthworms as compared to those soils that have a large number of protozoa. All the soil arthropods are assumed to be an integral component of the soil environment, and lots of information has been collected on arthropods and their activities, and their functional in maintaining soil health and productivity has been reviewed comprehensively.
Soil reflects ecosystem metabolism, and carried Physico-chemical and biological processes at the same time. A common criterion to estimate the long-term sustainability of land use systems is to assess its soil quality fluctuations with a diversity of organisms. Therefore, a lot of soil organism communities provide respected information about the health of the soil ecosystem because they are the key component in structure development, responsive to a wide range of ecological stresses, easily interpreted, and have integrative effects over time.