Present concern for the negative environmental impacts and growing demand for organic olive oil, arise the need to develop useful indicators of agroecosystem health in olive-growing regions. One key indicator of health and sustainability is the abundance and biodiversity of invertebrates, especially arthropod fauna. Spanish scientists have determined that Coccinellids (ladybugs) can be used to distinguish organic, conventional and integrated farming systems.
Coccinellids were chosen because they are the most abundant family of coleopteran in the olive agroecosystem. They fulfill all the requirements for a useful bioindicator, because thay are a widely distributed and abundant species; are relatively easy to sample and identify; have well-known biologies and life cycles; and are relatively immobile.
The study was carried out over two years, collecting ladybugs from three large olive grove zones, one per management. Results indicate that the richness and abundance of ladybirds were higher in the organic than the non-organic orchards. Conclusions led to identify orchards respectfull with environment.
|Contact: Dr. Belen Cotes|
Universidad de Granada