Use of soil arthropods as indicators of the soil quality in southern Rwanda
The focus of this study is on the use of soil and litter arthropods specifically insects as indicators of soil quality at the Arboretum of Ruhande and Rubona Agricultural research station in southern Rwanda. Exotic, native, agroforestry and natural regenerated tree species will be studied at Arboretum of Ruhande, while fields of banana, coffee plantations and pasture lands will be studied at Rubona Agricultural Research Station. Arthropods will be collected and studied up to the family level and they will be compared with physical and chemical parameters with the main purpose of maintaining and improving the productive capacity of the soil and conservation of soil biodiversity. Targeted and dominant soil insect families will be identified and hierarchically classified up to the species level by the use of dichotomous keys.
This project shall contribute to the personal skills and competences in the understanding of the role of soil arthropods in general and that of soil insects specifically ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in ecosystem functioning, principally in their ability to maintain or to restore soil quality. At the end of the training, Mr. Nsengimana shall be able to do the taxonomy of (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to the species level. These skills will be used in agricultural and soil biology research, and in teaching and learning at the University of Rwanda.