Zoogenic soil horizons – termite ecosystem engineers in different agro-ecological regions of Mozambique

Andrea Salvucci, Rogério Borguete Alves Rafael, Stefania Cocco, Valeria Cardelli, Lorenzo Camponi, Dominique Serrani, Domingos Feniasse, David C. Weindorf, Giuseppe Corti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Termite nests represent a typical ecosystem engineered to produce a solid and long-lasting home where individuals are protected from predators, rainfall, and sunlight, while maintaining requisite temperatures and humidity. To achieve this, termites translocate and rework soil material as a unique pedogenic force, exposing it to soil genesis factors that may vary temporally. To date, limited information exists on zoogenic soil genesis from termites, with a few reports on the pedomorphological characterization of termite mounds and of the different genetic horizons developed therein. The aims of this work were to report the pedomorphological and physicochemical characterization of termite mounds in two selected sub-tropical agro-ecological zones of Mozambique and to define the genesis of zoogenic soil horizons that form termite mounds. Common soil features like channels and galleries are related to the ability of termites to create a suitable environment for the colony and are created through modification and reworking of soil and subsoil materials. Because of this, termites can be considered as the main pedogenic force, which fosters horizons different in pedomorphological and physicochemical features with respect to the surrounding soil. In view of this, new suffixes or diagnostic horizons may be useful in the characterization of soil horizons affected by bioturbation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00618
JournalGeoderma Regional
Volume32
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Built suffix
  • Deeply modified suffix
  • Soil bioturbation
  • Termite mound

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