The use of conservation and sustainable practices could restore the abundance and richness of soil organisms in agroecosystems. Fitting in this context, this study aimed to highlight whether and how different soil living communities reacted to the conversion from an integrated to an organic orchard. The metataxonomic approach for fungi and bacteria and the determination of biological forms of diatoms and microarthropods were applied. Soil analyses were carried out in order to evaluate the effect of soil chemical features on four major soil living communities. Our results showed that the different taxa reacted with different speeds to the management changes. Fungi responded quickly to the changes, suggesting that modification in agricultural practices had a greater impact on fungal communities. Bacteria and microarthropods were more affected by abiotic parameters and less by the management. The diatom composition seemed to be affected by seasonality but the highest H’ (Shannon index) value was measured in the organic system. Fungi, but also diatoms, seemed to be promising for monitoring changes in the soil since they were sensitive to both the soil features and the anthropic impact. Our study showed that soil biodiversity could be affected by the conversion to sustainable management practices from the early years of an orchard onwards. Therefore, better ecological orchard management may strengthen soil sustainability and resilience in historically agricultural regions.
Soil communities: Who responds and how quickly to a change in agricultural system? / Coller, E.; Longa, C. M. O.; Morelli, R.; Zanoni, S.; Ippolito, M. C. C.; Pindo, M.; Cappelletti, C.; Ciutti, F.; Menta, C.; Zanzotti, R.; Ioriatti, C.. - In: SUSTAINABILITY. - ISSN 2071-1050. - 14:1(2022), p. 383.383. [10.3390/su14010383]
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