Pitfall traps were used in 1995 and 1996 to sample epedaphic (i.e., dwelling at the soil surface) springtails (Collembola) from four cropping systems in southern Wisconsin. Cropping systems ranged from low- to high-management intensity based on tillage and chemical inputs. The abundance of individuals per species and species diversity were analyzed and the results were used to compare the impact of each cropping system on springtails. We hypothesized that the low-input cropping system (i.e., pasture) would enhance springtail abundance and diversity, whereas high-input cropping systems (e.g., continuous corn) would negatively impact springtails. Although some data supported our initial hypothesis, other cases showed that the low-input pasture system did not favor springtail abundance and diversity, nor did agronomic disturbance necessarily affect these parameters negatively. This suggests that factors other than cropping system can influence springtail populations. Abiotic factors including soil moisture and temperature and biotic factors such as springtail community structure need to be assessed before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the influence of agricultural inputs on springtail populations.
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