Microarthropods as drivers to indicate soil quality and management sustainability in Italian vineyards


Abstract: Unstandardized approach for evaluating the impact of agricultural practices makes it difficult to compare different methods. The role of pedofauna in relation to soil quality is generally assessed in terms of abundance or taxonomic richness of the edaphic arthropod community, but it is rarely linked with their functional biodiversity. In the context of high quality Italian red wine production (at the farm of ‘Brunello of Montalcino’), the effects of some agricultural practices on soil arthropods were quantified by a range of ecological indices and by the main trophic guilds of the microarthropods. In Autumn 2012, three soil samples were taken in four experimental vineyards that differ in age and mulching application. The total abundance of microarthropods was higher in the older vineyard and where mulching was applied. Taxonomic and functional community structure was simpler in new vineyards. To pursue comprehensive monitoring schemes of biodiversity, it seems advisable to improve and integrate the study of feeding habits of microarthropod communities.

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