Exploit biodiversity in viticultural systems to reduce pest damage and pesticide use, and increase ecosystem services provision – BIOVINE


Abstract: Organic vineyards still rely on large external inputs to control harmful organisms (i. e., pests). The BIOVINE project is developing natural solutions based on plant diversity to control pests and reduce pesticide dependence. The capability of plants of increasing the ecosystem resistance to pests and invasive species is a well-known ecosystem service. However, monocultures (including vineyards) do not exploit the potential of plant diversity. BIOVINE aims to develop new viticultural systems based on increased plant diversity within (e. g., cover crops) and/or around (e. g., hedges, vegetation spots, edgings) vineyards by planting selected plant species for the control of arthropods, soil-borne pests (oomycetes, fungi, nematodes), and foliar pathogens. Candidate plants were identified by literature review, and the selected ones were tested in controlled environment or small-scale experiments. The ability of the selected plants to: i) attract or repel target arthropod pests; ii) conserve/promote beneficials; iii) control soil-borne pests by mean of biofumigation; iv) carry mycorrhizal fungi to vine root system to increase plant health (growth and resistance); v) control foliar pathogens by reducing the inoculum spread from soil, were investigated. New viticultural systems able to exploit plant diversity were then designed following a design-assessment-adjustment cycle, which are under testing in in-vineyard experiments in France, Italy, Romania, Spain and Switzerland for a 2-year period. Innovative viticultural systems should represent an improved way for pest control in organic viticulture, meanwhile they should positively affect functional biodiversity and ecosystem services. New control strategies may provide financial opportunities to vine growers and lower their reliance on pesticides. Preliminary results of the first round of on-farm vineyard experiments are presented and discussed.

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