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Soil Health and Arthropods: From Complex System to Worthwhile Investigation

Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Viale delle Scienze 11/A, 43124 Parma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(1), 54;
Received: 12 December 2019 / Revised: 8 January 2020 / Accepted: 13 January 2020 / Published: 16 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Elucidating the Role of Soil Arthropods in Soil Health)
The dramatic increase in soil degradation in the last few decades has led to the need to identify methods to define not only soil quality but also, in a holistic approach, soil health. In the past twenty years, indices based on living communities have been proposed alongside the already proven physical-chemical methods. Among them, some soil invertebrates have been included in monitoring programs as bioindicators of soil quality. Being an important portion of soil fauna, soil arthropods are involved in many soil processes such as organic matter decomposition and translocation, nutrient cycling, microflora activity regulation and bioturbation. Many studies have reported the use of soil arthropods to define soil quality; among taxa, some have been explored more in depth, typically Acari and Collembola, while generally less abundant groups, such as Palpigradi or Embioptera, have not been investigated much. This paper aims to evaluate and compare the use of different soil microarthropod taxa in soil degradation/quality studies to highlight which groups are the most reported for soil monitoring and which are the most sensitive to soil degradation. We have decided not to include the two most present and abundant taxa, Acari and Collembola, in this paper in consideration of the vast amount of existing literature and focus the discussion on the other microarthropod groups. We reported some studies for each taxon highlighting the use of the group as soil quality indicator. A brief section reporting some indices based on soil microarthropods is proposed at the end of this specific discussion. This paper can be considered as a reference point in the use of soil arthropods to estimate soil quality and health. View Full-Text
Keywords: soil biodiversity; microarthropods; macroarthropods; bioindicators; soil quality; mesofauna; soil degradation soil biodiversity; microarthropods; macroarthropods; bioindicators; soil quality; mesofauna; soil degradation
MDPI and ACS Style

Menta, C.; Remelli, S. Soil Health and Arthropods: From Complex System to Worthwhile Investigation. Insects 2020, 11, 54.

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