Soil macrofauna and earthworm communities in Araucaria forests

Published: 30 November 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/263hnk2248.1
George Brown,


A dataset of soil macrofauna and earthworm communities found in Brazilian Araucaria forests (native Ombrophylous mixed forest and Araucaria angustifolia plantations) was constructed using literature published up to December 2020 on the topic. Studies that evaluated soil macrofauna populations or that collected earthworm in these forests were searched in online databases. Non-indexed journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings were also considered, thus expanding the search. Data on soil, environmental and macrofauna variables were extracted from 13 publications, while data on earthworm populations with or without species identification were extracted from 23 publications. The dataset on macrofauna presents data from 31 sites, including 12 sampling-related variables, 13 climate and vegetation/management-related environmental variables, and 81 soil fauna-related variables and 35 soil-related variables. The earthworm dataset presents data from 50 sites, including 7 sampling-related variables, 4 climate-related variables, 3 vegetation-related variables and 9 earthworm and sampling-related variables. However, some publications provided only means for several sites with similar vegetation type, and for several sampling dates. Total macrofauna density ranged from 119 to 2,231 ind./m2 in native Araucaria forests and from 364 to 1,641 ind./m2 in the A. angustifolia plantations, although mean density in both forests was not significantly different (802 and 760 ind./m2, respectively). Total group richness, on the other hand was significantly lower in the native forest (12 groups) than the Araucaria plantations (19 groups), though the number of plantations was much lower (8) than the forests (23). The most abundant macrofauna taxa were ants (25-27% of total), termites (26-31% total) and beetles (15-18% total). Soil macrofauna biomass was measured at only 3 sites (2 studies). Earthworm density ranged from 0 to 130 ind./m2 in the native forests and from 0 to 285 ind./m2 in the Araucaria plantations. Mean abundance was significantly lower in the native forests (31 ind./m2) than the plantations (68 ind./m2). Overall, 30 earthworm species were found, of which 26 were native and seven exotic/peregrine in the native forests and 12 native and six exotic/peregrine in the plantations. On average, 1.8 species were found per site in native forests, and 2.1 in the plantations, of which at least one was a native species in both forest types. About 50% of the native species found probably represent new, still undescribed species. Earthworm biomass was measured in only 16 sites (5 studies). This dataset is associated with a book chapter entitled “Fauna edáfica e epiedáfica em Florestas com Araucária” by the same authors, in the book “Araucária: pesquisa e desenvolvimento no sistema cooperativo e integrado da Embrapa”, edited by V.A. Sousa, E. Fritzsons, A.V. Aguiar, and J.E. Pinto Jr., and published in 2021/2022 by Embrapa (Brazil).


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The present dataset consists of an excel file with five spreadsheets, including data from 24 publications, from which soil, environmental, macrofauna and earthworm data were extracted. Where soil information was missing it was taken from soil grids ( Climate information was according to Alvares et al. (2013). When not provided, geographic position data was for county seats. Soils and their texture were classified according to FAO/WRB (2015). Only studies using the standard method for collecting soil macrofauna or earthworms in tropical soil conditions (or slight modifications thereof), based on the handsorting of soil monoliths according to the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility (TSBF) Program (Anderson & Ingram, 1993) were included in the database. Information on the size of the monolith, the number of samples taken, and the depth of the sample were recorded. Mean density (no. ind./m2) and biomass data (g/m2 fresh weight in preservative liquid, including intestinal contents) when available for each of the soil macrofauna taxa and the total for all earthworms encountered were recorded. A large proportion of the macrofauna sites are also present in the Earthworm spreadsheet. The datasets have missing values, shown as NA in the spreadsheets. Spreadsheets in the dataset: 1. ReadMe: Information on the type of data/information included in the other spreadsheets. 2. Legend: Detailed explanation of the variables in each table, including units used. Main variable categories are color-coded in lines. The Macrofauna+Env spreadsheet contains 173 variables, and the Earthworms spreadsheet 19 variables. 3. Macrofauna+Env: Includes data on the total density (and biomass, when measured) of the soil macrofauna taxa encountered at each site. Not all studies had the same detailed separation of the taxa, but all found were included in the list. Environmental data, like coordinates, description of vegetation cover, climate (Köppen) and soil (FAO) type, physical and chemical properties, as well as Brazilian biome, management practices (e.g., logging, burning) and sampling details (date, size and number of samples) are provided. 4. Earthworms: Includes data on total density, biomass and richness of earthworms at each locality, as well as the number of native and exotic species, site coordinates, vegetation cover and sampling details. 5. References: Full bibliographic information of each publication used in the dataset, following Brazilian ABNT format. Alvares, C.A., Stape, J.L., Sentelhas, P.C., Gonçalves, J.L.M., Sparovek, G. 2013. Köppen’s climate classification map for Brazil. Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 22: 711–728. Anderson, J., Ingram, J. 1993. Tropical soil biology and fertility: A handbook of methods. 2 ed. CAB International, Wallingford. FAO/WRB 2015. World reference base for soil resources 2014. International soil classification system for naming soils and creating legends for soil maps. FAO, Rome.


Universidade Federal do Parana, Universite de Montpellier, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria Florestas, CIRAD Direction regionale Antilles-Guyane


Araucariaceae, Biodiversity, Bioindicators, Earthworm, Soil Macrofauna, Soil Invertebrate Ecology, Forest Ecosystem, Subtropical Region, Soil Fauna