Management Intensification of Hay Meadows and Fruit Orchards Alters Soil Macro- Invertebrate Communities Differently

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2020
Authors:E. Guariento, Colla, F., Steinwandter, M., Plunger, J., Tappeiner, U., Seeber, J.
Date Published:28/05/2020
Keywords:management intensity, mountain agriculture, soil biodiversity, South Tyrol, sustainable agriculture, traditional management

Land-use changes and especially management intensification currently pose a major threat to biodiversity both on and beneath the soil surface. With a comparative approach, we investigated how management intensity in orchards and meadows influences soil macro-invertebrate communities in a North-Italian Alpine region. We compared soil fauna assemblies from traditional low-input sites with respective intensively managed ones. As expected, the taxonomical richness and diversity were lower in both intensive management types. Extensive management of both types revealed similar communities, while intensification led to substantial differences between management types. From these results, we conclude that intensification of agricultural practices severely alters the soil fauna community and biodiversity in general, however, the direction of these changes is governed by the management type. In our view, extensive management, traditional for mountain areas, favors soil fauna communities that have adapted over a long time and can thus be viewed as a sustainable reference condition for new production systems that consider the protection of soil diversity in order to conserve essential ecosystem functions.

Recommended citation: Guariento E, Colla F, Steinwandter M, Plunger J, Tappeiner U, Seeber J. (2020): Management Intensification of Hay Meadows and Fruit Orchards Alters Soil Macro- Invertebrate Communities Differently. Agronomy, 10 (6), Art. 767: 1-9.

Citation Key:1157
Refereed Designation:Refereed
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