Effects of cover crops and vineyard management strategies on arthropod biodiversity


Abstract: Increased biodiversity is promoted as an important aim for sustainable viticulture andcan have direct and indirect consequences in terms of biological control of grapevine pests. Animportant aspect for enhancing functional biodiversity within vineyards is the speciescomposition and management of cover crops and ecological infrastructures such as hedgessurrounding vineyards. In addition, vineyard management practices can have an impact on thelevel of biodiversity. We assessed arthropod species richness and number of individuals perspecies in vineyard plots managed either according to integrated, bioorganic or biodynamicstandards. Besides the application of different plant protection strategies, vineyards werediffering in particular regarding the composition of cover crops, as integrated vineyards werecovered by a grassy cover, while in organically managed vineyards a highly diverse mixture ofherbaceous plants was planted. Arthropods were trapped on the vineyard floor by pitfall traps, inthe canopy via beating trays and in the cover crops using a sweep net. Overall, a higher numberof arthropod species and individuals were found in the bioorganic and biodynamic vineyards,which was in particular evident for arthropods trapped in the different cover crops. In addition,selected plants often found at vineyard edges or as part of cover crop mixtures were assessed fortheir attractiveness for arthropods via vacuum sampling. A number of plants like wild carrots(Daucus carota), winter vetches (Vicia villosa) or white mustard (Sinapis alba) proved toparticularly favour the occurrence of certain arthropods within vineyards, among them a numberof parasitic Hymenoptera and Diptera. Results of these studies prove the importance of type andstructure of cover crops for enhancing arthropod biodiversity within vineyards.

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