Case study of microarthropod communities to assess soil quality in different managed vineyards
Abstract. Land use influences the abundance and diversity of soil arthropods. The evaluation of the impact of different management strategies on soil quality is increasingly sought, and the determination of community structures of edaphic fauna can represent an efficient tool. In the area of Langhe (Piedmont, Italy), eight vineyards characterized for physical and chemical properties (soil texture, soil pH, total organic carbon, total nitrogen, calcium carbonate) were selected. We evaluated the effect of two types of crop management, organic and integrated pest management (IPM), on abundance and biodiversity of microarthropods living at the soil surface. Soil sampling was carried out in winter 2011 and spring 2012. All specimens were counted and determined up to the order level. The biodiversity analysis was performed using ecological indexes (taxa richness, dominance, Shannon–Wiener, Buzas and Gibson's evenness, Margalef, equitability, Berger–Parker), and the biological soil quality was assessed with the BSQ-ar index.
The mesofauna abundance was affected by both the type of management and sampling time. On the whole, a higher abundance was in organic vineyards (N = 1981) than in IPM ones (N = 1062). The analysis performed by ecological indexes showed quite a high level of biodiversity in this environment, particularly in May 2012. Furthermore, the BSQ-ar values registered were similar to those obtained in preserved soils.