Changes in the community structure of epigeic arthropods in the conditions of ecological farming of pea (Pisum sativum L.)

Vladimír Langraf1, Kornélia Petrovicová2*, Janka Schlarmannová1, and Zuzana Chovancová1
At present, when climate change has a negative effect on crop yield, good agricultural practices have a high importance via their direct influence on soil properties and biodiversity. The aim of this research was to assess the influence of ecotones and environmental variables (soil pH, soil moisture, K, P, N and soil temperature) on the abundance of epigeic arthropods. Between the years 2018 to 2021, we collected 4008 individuals belonging to 11 taxonomic groups in the conditions of ecological farming of pea (Pisum sativum L.) crop in the south-western part of Slovakia using the pitfall trap method. We observed a decrease in the average number of individuals in the direction of pitfall traps 1 (ecotone) to 5 (barley crop) in April (p = 0.0127), May (p = 0.0452) and July (p = 0.0287). The dispersion of epigeic arthropods was affected by soilpH (p = 0.0142), P (p = 0.0465), K (p = 0.0385), N (p = 0.0366) and soil temperature (p = 0.0166). In the beetle model group, which was represented by the highest number of individuals, we confirmed an increasing number of individuals with increasing values of K (r = 0.712), P (r = 0.654), N (r = 0.699) and soil temperature (r = 0.681). Our results suggest that agricultural intensification affects epigeic arthropods in pea crop. Biodiversity and soil structure stability is importantfor the production of biomass and also affects crop yields.
Keywords: Agrosystems, central Europe, crop, epigeic groups, soil management.
1Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Department of Zoology and Anthropology, Tr. A. Hlinku 1, 94901, Nitra, Slovakia.*Corresponding author (kornelia.petrovicova@gmail.com).2University of Agriculture in Nitra, Institute of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Tr. A. Hlinku 2, 94901, Nitra, Slovakia.