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Diversity in Dung Beetle Assemblages as Indication of Sustainability in Conservation Agricultural Practices in Crop Agro-Ecosystems
1  ARC-Small Grain Institute
Academic Editor: António Onofre Soares


Dung beetle activity in the soil is essential for soil health and play a vital role in any ecosystem. Diversity within a dung beetle assemblage in a particular ecosystem can indicate the sustainable functioning of this system. Monitoring the dung beetle assemblage in an area can designate the ecological status of an area. Using dung beetles can therefore indicate whether the conservation agriculture systems are beneficial for soil health and as a result will improve the overall biodiversity in the system. In the case of crop ecosystems, the presence of a diverse dung beetle assemblage can increase soil health in this system resulting in yield increase of the crop. Dung beetle diversity was determined on Free State farms in agro-ecosystems across different cultivation practices. The study areas were the Vrede and Reitz areas in the North-Eastern Free State. Conservation agriculture (CA) systems were compared with Conventional agriculture (CT) systems in these areas. Seasonal (October, January, May, July) monitoring of dung beetle diversity for the period 2018-2020 was done in crop ecosystems by using dung baited pitfall traps.

Keywords: Dung beetle diversity; Conservation Agriculture; Crop Ecosystems