Arthropod-mediated ecosystem services and dis-services responding to vertebrate exclusions and systematic tree pruning in Tuscan olive groves


Abstract: In agricultural farms, natural predation is an important factor in pest control that may lead to an increase in productivity. In ECO-OLIVES project, we wrapped trees canopy to
exclude birds and bats predation and simulate their decline. Furthermore, it’s crucial to
understand how to minimize the impact of agricultural practices on arthropods abundance and composition. To evaluate systematic tree pruning effect, in COMPASS project we pruned olive trees in different periods. We sampled arthropods, focusing on Araneae and Formicidae, in twelve olive groves in Tuscany, controlling birds and bats predation and tree pruning. After the first two years of sampling, we managed to find two interesting spider species. Phaeocedus vankeeri (Chatzaki, 2019), a new species for Italy, and Eidmannella pallida (Roewer, 1935), an alien species not found yet in Tuscany. Our preliminary analyses resulted in a seasonal variation in species richness and abundance of arthropods. We also report the first results regarding ECO-OLIVES and COMPASS study questions, but we must perform further analyses.

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