Individual study: Diversity of small soil arthropods is higher in arable soils without deep ploughing; a small trial in Normandy, France
Cortet J., Ronce D., Poinsot-Balaguer N., Beaufreton C., Chabert A., Viaux P. & Fonseca J.P.C.D. (2002) Impacts of different agricultural practices on the biodiversity of microarthropod communities in arable crop systems. European Journal of Soil Biology, 38, 239-244
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A small replicated trial in 1997 at an experimental farm in Normandy, France (Cortet et al. 2002) (same study as (Chabert & Beaufreton 2005)), found that the biodiversity of small arthropods (mites (Acari), springtails (Collembola) and others) was higher on arable land without deep ploughing than on conventionally ploughed land. This difference was true for five of the six monitoring months, from January to June 1997. The comparison was replicated on two fields. The land not ploughed in 1997 had been managed under integrated farm management for the previous eight years, and had been treated with significantly less insecticide and fungicide on average (but not less herbicide) than the conventional treatment over five cropping years. Another replicate of the integrated and conventional management was not tilled in 1997. Here there was not such a consistent difference in diversity of small arthropods. The authors concluded that tillage had more influence on small soil arthropods than reduced pesticide use.
Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generally
A small replicated trial in 1997 at an experimental farm in Normandy, France (Cortet et al. 2002) (same study as (Chabert & Beaufreton 2005)) found that the biodiversity of small arthropods (mites (Acari), springtails (Collembola) and others) was not consistently higher on arable land that had reduced insecticide and fungicide use compared to conventionally managed arable land. Half of each field was managed under integrated farming techniques, with reduced pesticide use on average over five cropping years in the previous eight. The comparison was replicated on three fields. In two, the integrated management also involved no deep ploughing. Here, the difference was more consistent (significantly higher biodiversity under integrated management in five out of six monitoring months). Monitoring was between January and June 1997. The authors concluded that tillage had more influence on small soil arthropods than reduced pesticide use.