Plant and Soil

, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 123–134 | Cite as

Interactions between atmospheric CO2 enrichment and soil fauna

  • Marie-Madeleine Coûteaux
  • Thomas Bolger


We have reviewed the responses of soil fauna to increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2 and the consequent climate change. These will affect several attributes of animal populations and communities including their density, biomass, diversity, activity, rates of consumption, life history parameters and migration ability. Changes in the quality and quantity of litter and global warming are the main factors which are expected to modify soil fauna. Although changes have been observed in several attributes of the soil fauna as a consequence of increased concentrations of atmospheric CO2, no general trend which might allow to the prediction of a general pattern of response has been identified. Because of the complexity of the biological mechanisms and the synergetic action of several factors, the few resulting responses reported in the literature are inconclusive. However, some aspects of the situation deserve more attention. These include the consequences of (1) changes in the food resources for soil fauna in the litter layer and in the rhizosphere, (2) the consumption of low quality litter by the macrofauna, (3) the change in life span in response to temperature elevation, (4) the enhancement of earthworm burrowing activity and (5) the changes in community composition arising because of specific differential resistance to adverse conditions.

global change soil fauna decomposition litter quality climate 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie-Madeleine Coûteaux
  • Thomas Bolger

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