From vineyard Integrated Pest Management to re-thinking viticultural system study and management


Abstract: The paper deals with scientific aspects of viticultural system study and management. It covers the issues of i) the promises of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), ii) uncertainties imposing limits and providing opportunities, iii) multidimensional aspects, iv) ecosystem service production, v) agroecological and ecosocial system sustainability, and vi) integration of viticultural systems into sustainable rural development. These issues require a multidisciplinary approach to viticulture system study and management and show the utility of taking into account systems analysis, modelling, informatics, hierarchy and scale theories, socioeconomic aspects, sustainability sciences and complexity theory. To some extent, the order of the issues reflect the historical development of viticultural system study and management. To a greater extent, however, the order reflects a view that accepts different legitimate perspectives in dealing with complex adaptive systems. The sucessful integration of different disciplines and scientific areas may continue to produce incremental gains in knowledge and rationalization of management procedures. However, it appears to be unpromising to produce the leaps required to meet the challenges of modern agriculture. The re-thinking of viticultural system study and management leads to ethical reflections that point out the need to complement the predominant utilitarian additional moral value systems with other values systems to obtain a comprehensive basis for decision-taking and actions. It also postulates limits for a comprehensive commodification of good and services. Furthermore, the re-rethinking calls into question the modern denial of reality and rejects logical positivism, instrumentalism and philosophical relativism doctrines in agricultural system study and management. The opportunities given by the plurality of different legitimate perspectives and the re-thinking carried out along the lines sketched out in this paper may only have scratched the surface of the problem but appear nevertheless to hold the promise for a fundamental revision of viticultural system study and management.

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