Can hydrologic management practices of rice fields contribute to macroinvertebrate conservation in southern Brazil wetlands?
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The expansion of rice fields is one of the main human activities responsible for the decline of natural wetlands throughout the world. However, rice fields have been recognized as having considerable potential value for many aquatic species. In this sense, an important question from the point of view of biodiversity conservation is the adequacy of these agricultural wetlands as an integrated managed landscape that contributes to maintain a rich biodiversity. The two main questions of this study were: (1) Do richness, density, and composition of macroinvertebrates differ in rice fields with different management practices (flooded and dry)?; and, (2) Do richness, density and composition of macroinvertebrates change in rice fields over the rice cultivating phases? Six collections were carried out in six rice fields with different management practices after cultivation (three dry and three flooded during the fallow phase). The macroinvertebrates were sampled using a corer (7.5-cm diameter) inserted 10 cm into the substratum of the rice fields. We recorded 6,425 macroinvertebrates, comprising 71 macroinvertebrate taxa. Macroinvertebrate richness and density varied over the rice cultivating cycle. The different management practices adopted after cultivation did not influence the macroinvertebrate richness and density; however, they influenced composition. Thus, the mosaic created by the variation of flooded and dry rice fields would provide the setting for a greater number of taxa within the agricultural landscape. The difference in taxa composition between flooded and dry rice fields is an interesting result in terms of biodiversity conservation. Rice producers could maintain part of their agricultural land flooded during the fallow phase. These management practices adopted could be an important strategy for biodiversity conservation in areas where the natural wetlands were converted into rice fields.
KeywordsAgricultural wetland Neotropical region Cultivating cycle Sustainability
This research was supported by funds from CNPq (research 471844/2004-7; doctoral grant to Cristina Stenert 140288/2006-6). Leonardo Maltchik holds a Brazilian Research Council—CNPq Research Productivity grant. The authors are grateful to Dr. Mercedes Marchese for identification of the oligochaetes, Suzana Maria Fagondes de Freitas, MSc, and Álan Panatta for collaboration in the identification of the larval midges, Dr. Georgina Bond Buckup for identification of the Hyalellidae, Dr. Alaíde Aparecida Fonseca Gessner for identification of the Coleoptera, Dr. Márcia Spies and Ana Emília Siegloch, MSc, for identification of the Trichoptera and Ephemeroptera, Carolina C. Mostardeiro, MSc, for identification of the Spongillidae, and Dr. Wagner E. P. Avelar for identification of the Sphaeriidae. We declare that the data collection complied with Brazilian current laws.
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