The use of different legume species, as green manure, may affect differently soil biological and chemical properties. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of four legumes species used as green manure on soil biological and chemical properties in short-term. We evaluated the following legume species: Crotalaria, Cajanus, Mucuna and Canavalia. The study was arranged in a completely randomised design with four replicates. The plants were incorporated into the soil (0-20 cm) by harrow and the chemical and biological properties were evaluated 30 and 60 days from the incorporation. Soil chemical and biological properties showed different trends according to legume species used. Soil P and K contents were highest in plot with Crotalaria, while soil Ca content was highest in plot with Mucuna. Soil microbial biomass was higher in plot with Mucuna as compared with others green manure species. Fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis was higher in plots with Mucuna and Canavalia than the others plots. Our results supported the hypothesis that different types of legume used as green manure affect differently the biological and chemical properties of soil. In this case, Mucuna was more effective to improve soil biological properties, while Crotalaria seems to be more efficient in the improvement of chemical properties.
Key words: Organic fertilization, alternative agriculture, legumes.