Influence of ecological infrastructures on the increase of biodiversity and conservation of beneficial arthropods in citrus orchards
Abstract: We performed a study in nineteen citrus plots representative of the agricultural landscape of the municipality of Altea (100 km south of Valencia, in eastern Spain) in order to determine the influence of ecological infrastructures on biodiversity and conservation of beneficial arthropods. The landscape was dominated by small citrus orchards mixed with low density urban areas, a consequence of touristic urban pressure. We have considered five factors: pest management system (zero residues vs. conventional), size of the plot, distance to nearest natural habitat, presence/absence of cover crop, and presence/absence of other non-citrus fruits in the plot. Four of the five factors showed a positive influence on biodiversification andconservation of beneficials: small plot size, short distance to natural habitat, presence of vegetation cover and presence of other fruits. These are the factors to promote in order to develop biological strategies alternative to traditional pesticide use in the management of citrus pests. Only the factor “pest management system” does not show a significant influence on biodiversity or on abundance of biological control agents.