Influence of Agriculture on Diversity and Abundance of Macroscopic Ground Crawling Terrestrial Arthropods in Mweka, Kilimanjaro
This study assessed the influence of agricultural activities on macroscopic terrestrial ground crawling arthropods around Mweka. We specifically assessed abundance and diversity of macroscopic ground crawling arthropods in cultivated and natural sites of the study area. Pitfall trap method was used during data collection. In cultivated and natural areas, we placed six stations randomly, totaling 12 stations in the study area. In each station, one 4×3 grid of pitfall trap was placed. We used Shannon-Wiener (H’) and Simpson (D) diversity indices to determine arthropods diversity in cultivated and natural areas. Abundance was obtained by summing up the number of individuals in each station to get station abundance and the area abundance was obtained by totaling the number of individuals obtained in each station. Abundance of arthropods did vary significantly between natural area (81.6%) and cultivated area (18.4%) at t=3.955, P=0.0005, df=10. Similarly, higher diversity of arthropods was recorded in natural area (H’=2.25; D=0.87) than in cultivated area (H’=1.20, D=0.53) and it varied significantly H’: t=3.955, P=0.0027, df=10; D: t=3.306, P=0.0079, df=10. Anthropogenic factors associated with cultivation and heterogeneity of habitats was responsible for variations in arthropods abundance and diversity between cultivated and natural areas of Mweka. Therefore, conservation awareness is necessary to the farmers as their activities have impacts in species abundance and diversity.