Sustaining biodiversity in Peach orchards : baseline differences between conventional, low input and organic production systems
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- Master's theses (IPM) 
Biodiversity is an important aspect of the agroecosystem and provides ecosystem services which can reduce reliance on phytosanitary chemicals. Increased knowledge of the role of biodiversity is needed for alternative production techniques, particularly of challenging crops. Peaches are one of the most difficult fruits to grow, and usually rely on several fungicide and pesticide applications each year. With a national goal to lower inputs, peach orchards in the Drôme, France are part of a long-term project comparing three agricultural production methods: Conventional, Low-Input, and Organic. This study is a gathering of baseline information on biodiversity in the three orchards to determine the best host for abundant and diverse fauna. Measurements were taken throughout spring and early summer to determine soil quaility and ground-dwelling arthropod abundance and diversity. A modified Beerkan test and number of earthworms in extracted soil volumes were used to measure soil quality. Pitfall traps collected ground beetles and spiders to analyze system dynamics. The three orchards were similar regarding soil quality. Arthropod results showed interesting differences between them, indicating that the surrounding environment greatly influences fauna in the orchard system. Several expected differences were not found, which is attributed to young age of the trees.