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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 94 No. 2, p. 210-216
     
    Received: Jan 24, 2000


    * Corresponding author(s): olferto@em.agr.ca
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doi:10.2134/agronj2002.2100

Use of Arthropod Diversity and Abundance to Evaluate Cropping Systems

  1. Owen Olfert *a,
  2. Gregory D. Johnsonb,
  3. Stewart A. Brandta and
  4. A. Gordon Thomasa
  1. a Saskatoon Res. Cent., Agric. and Agri-Food Canada, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0X2
    b Dep. of Entomol., 333 Leon Johnson Hall, Montana State Univ., Bozeman, MT 59717-3020

Abstract

Economic viability and soil degradation are major issues facing farmers in the grassland ecozone of the northern Great Plains. Management strategies such as crop diversification, reduced fallow, and reduced inputs are being promoted as solutions. However, knowledge of the impacts of these management strategies on the grassland ecozone is lacking. Studies using a systems approach, applied as the experimental framework with which to monitor and assess alternate input and cropping strategies, are being conducted through the collaboration of crop, pest, economic, and soil scientists. Five examples are presented that highlight the arthropod (insects, spiders, and mites) component of multidisciplinary studies designed to evaluate crop management strategies. They demonstrate that arthropods are the most diverse group of organisms in the ecosystems studied and include beneficial and pest species. These studies attempt to utilize the arthropod assemblages to characterize the ecosystems that they inhabit. Ecosystem-based, baseline arthropod faunas are integral to evaluating existing cropping practices and aid in the redesign of farming systems to make them economically viable and environmentally sustainable.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of AgronomyPublished in Agron. J.94:210–216.