The study was carried out to examine the diversity and abundance of soil mesofauna and microbial population in three (3) Forest Reserves in Southwestern Nigeria (Oluwa, Omo and Akure forest reserves). Soil samples were collected from the study areas and the mesofauna present were isolated and identified. The bacteria count and fungi count were also obtained and identified. The pH was also determined likewise the soil physical properties were obtained. It was observed that the diversity and abundance of bacteria were significantly higher (p< 0.05) in Oluwa Forest Reserve and significantly lower in Omo Forest Reserve. There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the fungi diversity and abundance in the study habitats. The results for the soil pH show that 5.83, 5.93 and 6.40 values were obtained for Omo, Akure and Oluwa forest reserves respectively. Also, there were no significant differences in the soil physical properties recorded from the study habitats. The Shannon- Weiner diversity index for the mesofauna for Omo, Oluwa and Akure Forest Freserves were 1.69, 0.19 and 1.82 respectively. Furthermore, the species evenness for Omo Forest Reserve is 0.19, while it was 0.19 and 0.20 for Oluwa and Akure Forest Reserves respectively. This shows that species diversity of mesofauna in Omo and Akure Forest Reserves were significantly (p<0.05) higher than what was obtained from Oluwa Forest Reserve. The correlation coefficient values indicated that there was no significant correlation between soil pH and bacteria count in both Oluwa and Akure Forest Reserve (R2 < 50%). But, there is a significant correlation between soil pH and bacteria count in Omo Forest Reserve (R2 > 50%). Likewise, there were no significant correlation between the soil pH and fungi count and between the soil pH and mesofauna in all the three Forest types / habitats.
Key words: Mesofauna, forest reserve, habitat, diversity, micro-organism.
Copyright © 2020 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0