Bioindicators for evaluating farm management effects on soil quality in agroecosystems from Santa Clara, Cuba.

Recently, the use of biological indicators have emerged as a promising tool for evaluating soil quality due to their high sensibility and quick responses to changes induced by disturbances to the soil ecosystem. Some groups of mesofauna have been identified as suitable bioindicators of the soil fertility and, also, of the degree of disturbance in soil ecosystem. However, studies approaching the composition and structure of soil mesofauna communities in tropical ecosystems are even very limited. Moreover, there is a lack of information in the relation between soil properties and soil borne diseases. This research focus on both goals and is conducted in Santa Clara, Cuba. First, the identification of soil fauna bioindicators sensitive to changes in soil quality caused by the impacts of different soil management strategies and land uses. At the same time, it will assess the incidence of that management and land uses on disease suppressiveness as consequence of soil responses to agricultural disturbances. Rhizoctonia fungi is the pathogen selected for the experiments with common bean on brown calcareous soil (indicatives crop and soil type in Santa Clara, Cuba). The expected results will enrich the knowledge of soil mesofauna's role in the maintenance of soil quality and, from the practical perspective; it will provide a quick and low-cost tool for assessing soil quality. Furthermore, it will be identified the potentiality of brown calcareous soil in the suppressiveness of Rhizotoctonia, as well as the influence of land use and farm management on disease suppressiveness as a consequence of changes in soil properties.