Can Occurrence and Distribution of Ground Beetles (Carabidae) Be Influenced by the Coffee Farming System in the Mount Elgon Region of Uganda?

Neotrop Entomol. 2021 Apr 23. doi: 10.1007/s13744-021-00872-4. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The Mount Elgon region of Uganda has coffee farmlands distributed along the slopes of the mountain, in a mosaic of differing crop combinations, and semi-natural vegetation. Thus, there are parcels of varying microclimate that create disparities in occurrence of key insect functional groups. The study quantified the occurrence of Carabidae in 72 coffee farmlands categorized by altitude: low (1400-1499 m.a.s.l), mid (1500-1679 m.a.s.l), and high (1680-2100 m.a.s.l); and farming system: coffee monocrop, coffee+annual crops, coffee+banana, and coffee+banana+shade trees. The results revealed highly significant effects of altitude, farming systems, and the interaction of the two on occurrence of three Carabidae genera (Anisodactylus, Chlaenius, and Harpalus.). The abundance of Harpalus spp. was higher at lower altitudes in coffee monocropped farming systems; Anisodactylus spp. were more abundant at higher altitudes in coffee+annual crop systems; and Chlaenius spp. were highest in the coffee+banana+shade tree system at mid altitudes. The belowground microclimate parameters of soil moisture, pH, EC; and the aboveground diversity of semi-natural vegetation explained some of the differences in occurrence of the different Carabidae genera. This distinctiveness in preference of different genera in the same family hinders collective recommendations but looks to a more pragmatic strategy in nurturing diversity on a holistic scale.

PMID:33891255 | DOI:10.1007/s13744-021-00872-4