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Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 12;7(1):17445. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17601-w.

Soil biota in vineyards are more influenced by plants and soil quality than by tillage intensity or the surrounding landscape.

Author information

1
Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Gregor Mendel Straße 33, 1180, Vienna, Austria.
2
Grupo de Protección Vegetal, Departamento de Protección Ambiental, Estación Experimental de Zaidín, CSIC, Profesor Albareda n◦ 1, 18008, Granada, Spain.
3
Institute for Land and Water Management Research, Austrian Federal Agency for Water Management, Pollnbergstraße 1, A-3252, Petzenkirchen, Austria.
4
Université de Rennes I, OSUR, UMR CNRS 6553 'EcoBio', Station Biologique de Paimpont, 35380, Paimpont, France.
5
Université de Rennes I, OSUR, UMR CNRS 6553 'EcoBio', Avenue du Général Leclerc Campus de Beaulieu, F-35042, Rennes Cedex, France.
6
Institute of Integrative Nature Conservation Research, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Gregor Mendel Straße 33, 1180, Vienna, Austria.
7
Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use (CBL), University of Göttingen, Grisebachstraße 6, 37077, Göttingen, Germany.
8
Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Gregor Mendel Straße 33, 1180, Vienna, Austria. johann.zaller@boku.ac.at.

Abstract

Tillage is known for its adverse effects on soil biota, at least in arable agroecosystems. However, in vineyards effects might differ as tillage is often performed during dry periods or only in every other inter-row allowing species to re-colonise disturbed areas. We examined the response of earthworms (lumbricids), springtails (collembola) and litter decomposition to periodically mechanically disturbed (PMD) and permanently green covered (PGC) vineyard inter-rows and assessed whether site effects are altered by the surrounding landscape. In commercial vineyards in Austria we sampled earthworms by handsorting, springtails by soil coring and pitfall trapping and installed litter decomposition bags. Earthworm species diversity increased with plant biomass under PMD but not under PGC; earthworm density was unaffected by tillage but increased with plant biomass mainly at high soil quality (soil fertility index). Springtail species diversity was unaffected by tillage; springtail densities (mainly larger species) were reduced under PGC. Litter decomposition was little affected by investigated parameters. Landscape heterogeneity affected the functional diversity of surface springtails, but did not influence soil-dwelling springtails, earthworms or litter decomposition. We conclude that effects on soil biota of periodical tillage in vineyards need not necessarily be detrimental and will be modified by plant biomass and soil quality.

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