Flora composition in olive crops

The wildplants that grow in the orchards and the margins that often surround them are part of what is known as ecological infrastructures. They harbor a great diversity of parasitoids, providing predators and pollinators that find shelter or alternative food sources. Both provide, therefore, numerous ecosystem services. Among them, the promotion of the role of the auxiliar entomofauna that exerts a natural control of crop pests species. This is known as conservation biological control. We can, by manipulating the habitat of the agrosystem, contribute to minimizing the impact of pests on the crop. This is one of the main advantages of having a covercrop, spontaneous or sowed. To study the composition of the flora of olive agroecosystem, we follow a protocol that allows us to know its abundance and diversity. On the one hand, 5 trees per plot are randomly selected. In the ground that is projected under their canopy, it is noted what plant species are found, their occupation percentage of occupation and their phenological state. This operation is repeated in the ground between adjacent trees.

For the study of the composition of the flora on the margins, a 1m2 square is also used, which is distributed 10 times randomly along the margin. On the other hand, the presence of predator arthropods and parasitoids associated with the wildplants is also studied. To do this, an entomological net designed to sample insects from medium-height vegetation is used. Several 10-meter transects are performed and the captured arthropods are subsequently identified in the laboratory. These operations are carried out fortnightly between April and May and weekly during summer and autumn.

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