Plant-conservative agriculture of acid and degraded Raña-grassland enhances diversity of the common soil mites (Oribatida)

  • Juan Jorrín Centro IFAPA Alameda del Obispo, Dept. Producción Ecológica y Recursos Naturales, Laboratorio de Entomología. Avda. Menéndez Pidal s/n, 14004-Córdoba
  • Pedro González-Fernández Centro IFAPA Alameda del Obispo, Dept. Producción Ecológica y Recursos Naturales, Laboratorio de Suelos. Avda. Menéndez Pidal s/n, 14004-Córdoba
Keywords: Acari, agriculture practices, oribatids, soil biodiversity, Ultisols


The seminatural prairie of the Raña of Cañamero (Spain) is a degraded and unproductive agrosystem with acid and stony soils, and low coverage of xerophytic grasses. In a project about secondary reconversion of the raña-prairie to a more productive cropland, an experimental field (EF) was established to assess the effect on plot-productivity of the interaction between correction of soil pH (liming) with three cropping systems: a no-tilled and annually fertilized and improved prairies, and a conventionally-tilled forage crop. The EF model of management was designed as plant-conservative, because no herbicide was applied after seeding to preserve the post-emergence of wild herbs and the natural grass diversity of the prairie. Between 2008 and 2012, we analysed the effect of managing factors (initial conventional-tillage, fertilization, liming and cropping) and agricultural predictors (pH, C:N ratio, soil bulk density and herbaceous biomass) on the alpha(α)-diversity of one of the major group of soil animals, the oribatids. In relation to the raña-prairie, all EF-plots improved their soil bulk density (ρs) and herbaceous biomass (t/ha), and enhanced desirable α-diversity values (richness, abundance and community equity). We conclude that the plant-conservative model: i) do not affect statistically the species richness of the prairie; ii) the desirable α-diversity responses are negatively correlated with soil bulk density and positively with herbaceous biomass, and iii) the low input or minimum intervention model, of an initial and conventional till and annual fertilisation, is the threshold and optimal model of agricultural management to improving oribatids diversity of the raña-soil.


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Author Biography

Pedro González-Fernández, Centro IFAPA Alameda del Obispo, Dept. Producción Ecológica y Recursos Naturales, Laboratorio de Suelos. Avda. Menéndez Pidal s/n, 14004-Córdoba
Laboratorio de Suelos, Departamento de Producción Ecológica y Recursos Naturales. Now retired


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How to Cite
JorrínJ., & González-FernándezP. (2016). Plant-conservative agriculture of acid and degraded Raña-grassland enhances diversity of the common soil mites (Oribatida). Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 14(1), e0302.
Agricultural environment and ecology