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A worldwide assessment of soil macroinvertebrate communities

Cite this dataset

Lavelle, Patrick et al. (2022). A worldwide assessment of soil macroinvertebrate communities [Dataset]. Dryad.


Soil macroinvertebrate communities have been assessed worldwide using the standard ISO/TSBF sampling procedure. The Macrofauna database currently comprises 3694 sites distributed throughout 41 countries, from 55º S latitude to 57ºN, sea level to over 4000m in elevation, in total annual total rainfall regimes between 500 and >3000mm and 5 to 32ºC mean temperature. These communities are significantly influenced by climatic parameters, soil texture and vegetation cover. Abundance and diversity were highest in tropical rain forests (1895 ± 305 individuals m-2) and natural savannahs (1796 ± 269), and progressively lower in  tropical cropping systems (tree associated crops 1358 ± 101, pastures or transitory crops: 1178 ± 147), temperate grasslands: 583 ± 70, temperate forests: 529 ± 71, annual crops: 232 ± 14 and dry forest: 221 ± 52 systems.


A standard method deposited at ISO was used at 3694 sites from 41 different countries, in 10 types of plant covers to identify the main drivers of community structure and abundance.

ISO. (2011). ISO 23611-5. Soil Quality-Sampling of Soil Invertebrates-Part 5. Sampling and Extraction of Soil Macro-invertebrates. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Usage notes

This file contains the data set extracted and transformed from an original database to allow adapted data treatment.