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Universidad de Salamanca (2019)

Ecological infrastructures and organic farming : effects on beneficial arthropod communities in Mediterranean traditional crops

Rosas Ramos, Natalia

Titre : Ecological infrastructures and organic farming : effects on beneficial arthropod communities in Mediterranean traditional crops

Infraestructuras ecológicas y cultivo orgánico : efectos sobre las comunidades de artrópodos beneficiosos en cultivos mediterráneos tradicionales

Auteur : Rosas Ramos, Natalia

Université de soutenance : Universidad de Salamanca

Grade : Doctor en Biología 2019

Résumé partiel
The current scenario of global threats to biodiversity coupled with the growing concern about the long-term sustainability of agroecosystems has led to the development of measures including the maintenance of ecological focus areas such as non-cropped habitats or the promotion of environmentally friendly agricultural practices such as organic farming. Under this scenario of biodiversity loss, the preservation of ecological infrastructures is crucial to maintain ecosystem functions and to deliver ecosystem services such as pollination or biological control of pests, which largely determine agricultural productivity and food security. In addition, the development of reliable evaluation schemes is essential to assess the status of biodiversity. In agroecosystems, ecological infrastructures contribute heavily to enhance biodiversity and underlying services, and their contribution depends on their ecological quality. Based on the questionnaire by Boller et al. (2004) for temperate areas, we propose a reliable tool for evaluating the ecological quality of woodland patches, hedges and grass strips associated with Mediterranean agroecosystems (simplified questionnaire). Since management practices and organism composition vary across geographical regions, the implementation of evaluation tools adapted to other geographical regions is deemed necessary. The development of the simplified questionnaire followed a five-steps’ approach : (i) application of the Boller’s questionnaire in the field ; (ii) Boller’s questionnaire adaptation ; (iii) development of the simplified questionnaire through the assessment and simplification of Boller’s questionnaire ; (iv) evaluation of the simplified questionnaire effectiveness ; (v) proposal of plant indicator species associated to the different quality levels obtained from applying the simplified questionnaire, as an additional tool for quality assessment that complements such questionnaire. A total of 482 ecological infrastructures were evaluated in La Rioja (Spain) in 2014. We point out that the assessment tool based on simplified questionnaire is straightforward and easy to apply by both experts and non-experts. We also propose the simplified questionnaire development procedure as a guide to create evaluation questionnaires adapted to other ecological infrastructure types. The role that ecological infrastructures such as hedges or strips have in enhancing functionally important groups has been reasonably well investigated in temperate areas. However, it is much less documented in agroecosystems from the Mediterranean basin, even though this area has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot for conservation priorities

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