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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Canopy arthropod declines along a gradient of olive farming intensification

Vasconcelos, Sasha; Pina, Silvia; Herrera, Jose M.; Silva, Bruno; Sousa, Pedro; Porto, Miguel; Melguizo-Ruiz, Nereida; Jimenez-Navarro, Gerardo; Ferreira, Sonia; Moreira, Francisco; Heleno, Ruben; Jonsson, Mattias; Beja, Pedro

Abstract

Arthropod declines have been linked to agricultural intensification. However, information about the impacts of intensification is still limited for many crops, as is our understanding of the responses of different arthropod taxa and trophic groups, thus hindering the development of effective mitigation measures. We investigated the impacts of olive farming intensification on canopy-dwelling arthropods in the Mediterranean region. Intensification involves the increased use of agrochemicals, mechanisation and irrigation, but also structural changes from traditional orchards with low densities of large and old trees, to intensive and superintensive orchards with high to very high densities of smaller and younger trees, respectively. Canopy arthropods were vacuum-sampled at 53 sites representing the three orchard intensification levels, in spring, summer and autumn 2017. We evaluated how the arthropod community varied across intensification levels, and in response to orchard structure, management and landscape context. We found no changes in the diversity of arthropod taxa across intensification levels after correcting for sample coverage, but arthropod abundance declined markedly along the intensification gradient. Decreased abundance was associated with changes in orchard structure, lower herbaceous cover, and higher herbicide and insecticide use. The abundance of a specialized olive pest was lower in landscapes with higher woodland cover. The negative effects of intensification were stronger in spring and summer than in autumn, and parasitoids and predators were particularly affected. Overall, results suggest that retaining herbaceous cover, reducing agrochemical inputs and preserving natural woody elements in the landscape, may contribute to mitigate impacts of olive farming intensification on canopy arthropods, particularly on beneficial species.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2022, volume: 12, article number: 17273
Publisher: NATURE PORTFOLIO

Authors' information

Universidade do Porto
Universidade de Lisboa
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Pina, Silvia
Universidade do Porto
Pina, Silvia
Universidade de Lisboa
Herrera, Jose M.
University of Evora
Herrera, Jose M.
Universidad de Cadiz
Silva, Bruno
University of Evora
Sousa, Pedro
Universidade do Porto
Porto, Miguel
Universidade do Porto
Porto, Miguel
Universidade de Lisboa
Melguizo-Ruiz, Nereida
University of Evora
Jimenez-Navarro, Gerardo
University of Evora
Ferreira, Sonia
Universidade do Porto
Moreira, Francisco
Universidade do Porto
Moreira, Francisco
Universidade de Lisboa
Heleno, Ruben
Universidade de Coimbra
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Beja, Pedro
Universidade do Porto

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science
Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-21480-1

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/119941