Effectiveness of the GAEC cross compliance standards Rational management of set aside, Grass strips to control soil erosion and Vegetation buffers along watercourses on surface animal diversity and biological quality of soil

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Marta Biaggini *
Paolo Bazzoffi
Roberta Gentile
Claudia Corti
(*) Corresponding Author:
Marta Biaggini | marta.biaggini@virgilio.it

Abstract

Landscape simplification and loss of natural and semi-natural habitats are the major causes of biodiversity decrease in agricultural landscapes. In order to mitigate the effects of intensive agricultural management the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies in Italy has included the agronomic measures Rational management of set aside, Grass strips to control soil erosion and Vegetation buffers along watercourses in the decree on cross compliance. In this paper we review the results of a field research performed in Central Italy. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of the above mentioned GAEC standards for animal diversity enhancement. Using different animal groups as indicators, superficial Arthropod fauna and Herpetofauna, we found striking differences in the biodiversity levels of areas characterized by the application or by the lack of GAEC standards, with the latter being characterized by a significatively impoverished fauna. In particular, the set aside area and the buffer of riparian vegetation resulted of primary importance to allow higher biodiversity levels. Also the analysis of the biological quality of the soil, as assessed through the QBS-ar index based on edaphic micro-Arthropod fauna, indicated a higher quality of semi-natural habitats with respect to arable lands.

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Author Biographies

Paolo Bazzoffi, CRA-ABP Agricultural Research Council

Agrobiology and Pedology Research Centre

Claudia Corti, Museo di Storia Naturale dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze

Sez. di Zoologia “La Specola”