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University of Nairobi (1982)

The role of termites in litter decomposition and soil translocation with special reference to Odontotermes in arid lands of northern Kenya

Bagine, Richard K N

Titre : The role of termites in litter decomposition and soil translocation with special reference to Odontotermes in arid lands of northern Kenya.

Auteur : Bagine, Richard K N

Université de soutenance : University of Nairobi

Grade : MSc 1982

Résumé partiel
This research work on the role of termites in an arid ecosystem covered elev n months (August 1981 to June 1982). It was conducted at the site of the UNESCO Integrated project in Arid Lands (UNESCO - IPAL). This area is in Western ¥arsabit district,- Kenya. About 80% of this area is semi-arid thorn bush scrubland and receives annual rainfall from about 100 to 600 mID. A survey of the termite fauna as a whole was carried out around most of the IPAL Field camps. Main investigation sites were located at Balesa Kulal and Olturot. The two sites lie about 8 km from each other, Olturot being more to the south eastern slopes of Mt. Kulal than Balesa Kulal. Balesa Kulal lies in riverine woodland vegetation while Olturot is at the boundary of annual grassland and dense woodland vegetation. The woodland vegetation where my experiments were located is not typical of the IPAL area as a whole, which has 3.5% woodlands and even in woodland my sites were perhaps comparatively productive . Rainfall occurs in two seasons (in April and in November) at both sites and maximum daily temperatures are often above 30°C. Ad hoc collecting of termite species was made. Five sub-families were recorded : Kalotermitinae) Nasutitermitinae, Termitinae, Amiter-rmtinaei and Macrotermitinae. A total of 15 species were recorded and their habitats described in relation to elevation, annual rainfall, soils and vegetation. The quadrat method was used to estimate. the standing crop of dead and live plant materials. This information was gathered in order to understand the food resources available to termites. At Olturot where most of the study took place, mean standing crop of grass litter, woody (less than 4 cm diameter) litter, standing grass and standing Shrubs were estimated as 90.4 g, 70.Og and 132.4 g per m respectively. Net primary production was estimated at 488 g perm2 per year. Termites were found to consume about 430g m yr of the estimated primary production, which is about 87% consumption. However the consumption of plant materials varied from month to month. There was a general decline of grass 1itter from l\ ugus t to November 1981 and then from January to April 1982. Also the amount consumed by termites declined simultaneously.

Mots clés : Termites / Odontotermes / Decomposition / Deserts / Soils

Présentation

Page publiée le 22 septembre 2010, mise à jour le 22 février 2018