American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Ant Diversity in a Sugarcane Culture without the Use of Straw Burning in Southeast, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Débora Rodrigues De Souza, Erich Stingel, Luiz Carlos de Almeida, Catarina Bortoli Munhae, Antonio J. Mayhé-Nunes, Odair Correa Bueno and Maria Santina De Castro Morini

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2010.183.188

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 5, Issue 2

Pages 183-188

Abstract

Abstract: Problem statement: One of the current requirements of agroecosystem management is the maintenance of biodiversity. Manual sugarcane harvesting with the previous burning of straw has been gradually replaced by mechanical harvesting in Brazil. However, the diversity of Formicidae, which can be a natural pest controller, has not been studied in this new system yet. Approach: This study was carried out to assess the diversity of ants in an exclusively mechanically harvested sugarcane culture based on the hypothesis that species richness and abundance will increase with the deposition of straw in this culture system. Ants were sampled using pitfall traps in six sugarcane cultivars during three consecutive harvest cycles. Results: A total of 8,139 ants, distributed in 39 species, were collected. Richness, abundance and diversity differed between harvest cycles, especially in the first cycle, when the soil did not have any straw and in the two last cycles and the straw layer was about 10-15 cm thick. The communities found in the second and third cycles were similar and the maintenance of straw in the culture contributed to a greater species diversity, particularly of generalist predaceous taxa, which may contribute to the natural control of pests. Conclusion: The diversity of ants increased with straw deposition, including of taxa that may be beneficial to the sugarcane culture. However, new studies of the predatory and competition relations in this agroecosystem are necessary.

Copyright

© 2010 Débora Rodrigues De Souza, Erich Stingel, Luiz Carlos de Almeida, Catarina Bortoli Munhae, Antonio J. Mayhé-Nunes, Odair Correa Bueno and Maria Santina De Castro Morini. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.