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Soil Macrofauna: A key Factor for Increasing Soil Fertility and Promoting Sustainable Soil Use in Fruit Orchard Agrosystems

1
Department of European and Mediterranean Cultures: Architecture, Environment and Cultural Heritage (DiCEM), University of Basilicata, Via Lanera, 20–75100 Matera, Italy
2
Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences (DiSSPA), University of Bari ‘Aldo Moro’, Via Amendola, 165–70126 Bari, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(4), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10040456
Received: 8 February 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Irrigation Strategies and Soil Management in Orchards)
Soils and crops in orchard agrosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change and environmental stresses. In many orchard soils, soil biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides are under threat from a range of natural and manmade drivers. In this scenario, sustainable soil use aimed at increasing soil organic matter (SOM) and SOM-related benefits, in terms of soil quality and fertility, plays a crucial role. The role of soil macrofaunal organisms as colonizers, comminutors and engineers within soils, together with their interactions with microorganisms, can contribute to the long-term sustainability of orchard soils. Indeed, the continuous physical and chemical action of soil fauna significantly affects SOM levels. This review paper is focused on the most advanced and updated research on this argument. The analysis of the literature highlighted that a significant part of soil quality and fertility in sustainably-managed fruit orchard agrosystems is due to the action of soil macrofauna, together with its interaction with decomposing microorganisms. From the general analysis of the data obtained, it emerged that the role of soil macrofauna in orchards agrosystems should be seriously taken into account in land management strategies, focusing not exclusively on fruit yield and quality, but also on soil fertility restoration. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioturbation; ecosystem engineers; orchards; soil biodiversity and fertility; soil macrofauna; soil organic matter bioturbation; ecosystem engineers; orchards; soil biodiversity and fertility; soil macrofauna; soil organic matter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sofo, A.; Mininni, A.N.; Ricciuti, P. Soil Macrofauna: A key Factor for Increasing Soil Fertility and Promoting Sustainable Soil Use in Fruit Orchard Agrosystems. Agronomy 2020, 10, 456.

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