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Use of arthropods for the evaluation of the olive-orchard management regimes

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1 The presence and abundance of arthropods were compared in three olive orchards under organic, integrated and conventional management regimes. In each olive orchard, trees were sampled in the canopy by beating branches and soil arthropods by placing pitfall traps. Contrary to expectations, the highest abundance of arthropods occurred in the integrated management orchard. The most abundant groups were Formicidae and the species Euphyllura olivinae (Homoptera: Psyllidae).

2 Canopies and the soil under the tree canopy (interior soil) were selected as the most informative sites for sampling. The months with the strongest differences were May, June and July, especially June. In the canopy, Araneae, Coleoptera, Diptera, Heteroptera, Hymenoptera, Homoptera, Lepidoptera, Neuroptera and Thysanoptera were the most abundant, and showed significant differences in abundance among orchards with different management regimes. Moreover, in the canopies, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera showed a seasonal pattern of abundance and consistent significant differences between the organic orchard vs. the integrated and conventional ones in both years of study. In the soil, 12 orders showed significant differences in abundance among management regimes at some point of the sampling season.

3 In a search for biological indicators that could help to distinguish between management regimes, a discriminant analysis applied to the data indicated that only the samples from the canopy were classified according to their management regime in a consistent way over time. The groups selected by the analysis to establish differences among management regimes were Coleoptera, Diptera, Heteroptera, Lepidoptera and Thysanoptera. The analysis applied to compare organic vs. non-organic olive orchards, again identified Coleoptera and Lepidoptera as suitable groups. The results suggest that these two orders are potential bioindicators to distinguish, in a simple way, organic olive orchards from non-organic ones.
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Keywords: Arthropods; IPM; bioindicators; management; olive; organic farming; pesticides

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agroecology and Plant Protection, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, CSIC, c/ Prof. Albareda 1, 18008 Granada, Spain, Departments of 2: Statistic and O.I. and 3: Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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