Predatory arthropods in apple orchards across Europe: Responses to agricultural management, adjacent habitat, landscape composition and country

Happe A.-K., Alins G., Blüthgen N., Boreux V., Bosch J., García D., Hambäck P.A., Klein A.-M., Martínez-Sastre R., Miñarro M., Müller A.-K., Porcel M., Rodrigo A., Roquer-Beni L., Samnegård U., Tasin M., Mody K. (2019) Predatory arthropods in apple orchards across Europe: Responses to agricultural management, adjacent habitat, landscape composition and country. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 273: 141-150.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2018.12.012

Abstract:

Local agri-environmental schemes, including hedgerows, flowering strips, organic management, and a landscape rich in semi-natural habitat patches, are assumed to enhance the presence of beneficial arthropods and their contribution to biological control in fruit crops. We studied the influence of local factors (orchard management and adjacent habitats) and of landscape composition on the abundance and community composition of predatory arthropods in apple orchards in three European countries. To elucidate how local and landscape factors influence natural enemy effectiveness in apple production systems, we calculated community energy use as a proxy for the communities’ predation potential based on biomass and metabolic rates of predatory arthropods. Predator communities were assessed by standardised beating samples taken from apple trees in 86 orchards in Germany, Spain and Sweden. Orchard management included integrated production (IP; i.e. the reduced and targeted application of synthetic agrochemicals), and organic management practices in all three countries. Predator communities differed between management types and countries. Several groups, including beetles (Coleoptera), predatory bugs (Heteroptera), flies (Diptera) and spiders (Araneae) benefited from organic management depending on country. Woody habitat and IP supported harvestmen (Opiliones). In both IP and organic orchards we detected aversive influences of a high-quality surrounding landscape on some predator groups: for example, high covers of woody habitat reduced earwig abundances in German orchards but enhanced their abundance in Sweden, and high natural plant species richness tended to reduce predatory bug abundance in Sweden and IP orchards in Spain. We conclude that predatory arthropod communities and influences of local and landscape factors are strongly shaped by orchard management, and that the influence of management differs between countries. Our results indicate that organic management improves the living conditions for effective predator communities. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.

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Management trade-offs on ecosystem services in apple orchards across Europe: Direct and indirect effects of organic production

Samnegård U., Alins G., Boreux V., Bosch J., García D., Happe A.-K., Klein A.-M., Miñarro M., Mody K., Porcel M., Rodrigo A., Roquer-Beni L., Tasin M., Hambäck P.A. (2019) Management trade-offs on ecosystem services in apple orchards across Europe: Direct and indirect effects of organic production. Journal of Applied Ecology. 56: 802-811.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13292

Abstract:

Apple is considered the most important fruit crop in temperate areas and profitable production depends on multiple ecosystem services, including the reduction of pest damage and the provision of sufficient pollination levels. Management approaches present an inherent trade-off as each affects species differently. We quantified the direct and indirect effects of management (organic vs. integrated pest management, IPM) on species richness, ecosystem services, and fruit production in 85 apple orchards in three European countries. We also quantified how habit composition influenced these effects at three spatial scales: within orchards, adjacent to orchards, and in the surrounding landscape. Organic management resulted in 48% lower yield than IPM, and also that the variation between orchards was large with some organic orchards having a higher yield than the average yield of IPM orchards. The lower yield in organic orchards resulted directly from management practices, and from higher pest damage in organic orchards. These negative yield effects were partly offset by indirect positive effects from more natural enemies and higher flower visitation rates in organic orchards. Two factors other than management affected species richness and ecosystem services. Higher cover of flowering plants within and adjacent to the apple trees increased flower visitation rates by pollinating insects and a higher cover of apple orchards in the landscape decreased species richness of beneficial arthropods. The species richness of beneficial arthropods in orchards was uncorrelated with fruit production, suggesting that diversity can be increased without large yield loss. At the same time, organic orchards had 38% higher species richness than IPM orchards, an effect that is likely due to differences in pest management. Synthesis and applications. Our results indicate that organic management is more efficient than integrated pest management in developing environmentally friendly apple orchards with higher species richness. We also demonstrate that there is no inherent trade-off between species richness and yield. Development of more environmentally friendly means for pest control, which do not negatively affect pollination services, needs to be a priority for sustainable apple production. © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society

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