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Testing the suitability of insect orders as indicators for olive farming systems

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Abstract:



A previous study suggested the use of certain insects groups as indicators for detecting organic olive farming in Southern Spain. To validate the use of these groups, insects were collected from olive orchards in Cordoba and Granada, comprising two Andalusian provinces with different surrounding landscapes.


Canopies were sampled using the branch‐beating technique during pre‐blooming and post‐blooming periods over 3 years in Granada (1999, 2000 and 2003) and 1 year in Cordoba (2003).


Using a nonparametric linear discriminant analysis method, based on the k‐nearest neighbour algorithm, two discriminant functions were constructed. A first discriminant model took into account interannual variability in Granada Province and the second model focused on environmental heterogeneity between the two provinces. Cross‐validation techniques, such as leave‐one‐out and split‐sample, were applied to the associated discriminant functions for each model to check their performance.


Even though differences existed with respect to the insect composition of the regions, the second model correctly classified 78.1% of the sampled blocks under the non‐organic and organic farming systems at the same time as taking into account two orders: Coleoptera and Hemiptera [excluding Euphyllura olivina olivina (Psyllidae) and the Heteroptera suborder]. The results suggest that the relative abundance of these groups in the post‐blooming period could constitute a potential bio‐indicator of organic olive farming system.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-9563.2011.00526.x

Publication date: November 1, 2011

bsc/afe/2011/00000013/00000004/art00003
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