USING BIOINDICATORS BASED ON BIODIVERSITY TO ASSESS LANDSCAPE SUSTAINABILITY. A scientific paper by Maurizio G. Paoletti published on Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 74 (1999) 1-18
Although not new, the use of bioindicators is an innovative approach for assessing various types of environmental mismanagement, including pollution, high input farming, inappropriate disposal of wastes, contamination, etc. This approach uses biological organisms (including invertebrates, the focus of this volume) and biodiversity as tools to assess ongoing situations in the environment. Although lab work is needed, bioindicator-based studies rely extensively on field assessment of a few or limited number of taxa. Sampling, statistics and species identification form a large part of these studies, and must be supported by knowledge of the basic biological and ecological features of the organisms and landscape under study. Computerized open databases offering images and multiple entering accessions are expected to improve the current identification and analysis methods based on manuals, books and two-dimensional figures.
Bioindicator-based studies have the potential to make a major contribution to optimizing different farming systems, input practices, new crops, rotation, etc., and to influence political policies governing landscape management, urban and industrial areas; landscape reclamation and transformation.
In particular, laws aimed at reducing environmental contamination and at remediating high input farming must take into consideration environmental benefits that can be assessed using bioindicators; evaluations of new genetically engineered crops must consider biodiversity as a value and bioindicators as tools that can help in reaching decisions about their environmental impact. ©1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Biodiversity; Bioindicators; Invertebrates; Taxonomy; Environments; Landscapes; Rural environments; Reclamation.