Landslides are common in the Northern Apennines (Italy) and their resulting changes in soil structure affect edaphic fauna biodiversity, whose activity has concurrent impacts on soil structural stability and water-holding capacity. The aim of this study was to characterise landslide evolution and assess potential relationships between its hydrogeological features and soil fauna. The landforms of the study area, located in the River Taro valley, were mapped and the hydraulic head fluctuations and groundwater electrical conductivity profiles were measured. The soil arthropod community was studied in seven sites, one subject to earth flow and six to rotational slide; the last ones were divided into the main scarp of the slide, and five sites characterized by different land use: three grassland, a wheat cultivated field and an overgrown area. Soil organic matter (SOM) and pH measurements were performed. Hydrogeological results suggest unexpected rapid percolation of relatively low-salinity waters through the unsaturated zone. Both lower SOM content and arthropod biodiversity were found in earth flow area, while higher values were found in grasslands. Fauna composition appears to be a good indicator of soil degradation processes, linked to the hydraulic features, and contributes to the evaluation of the soil condition in landslide areas for further agricultural purposes.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited