Harnessing biodiversity to improve vineyard sustainability

A Barnes, Stephen Wratten, Harpinder Sandhu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Modern agricultural practices are becoming increasingly intensive and the expansion of farmland to help feed the burgeoning world population results in the destruction of natural ecosystems. Undisturbed natural areas contain significant amounts of biodiversity; this provides valuable ecosystem functions that are often overlooked in terms of the economic contributions they make to agriculture and our everyday lives. Viticulture, a large and expanding part of the New Zealand horticultural sector is used here as an example of how nature and profitable agriculture can co-exist. In this work, biodiversity is being enhanced under and between vine rows and outside the vine blocks, including biodiversity trails. Vineyards are monocultures, severely reducing ecosystem services with a consequent increasing need for "substitution agriculture" i.e., oil-based inputs such as pesticides, fungicides and insecticides, incurring high variable costs. The Greening Waipara project and its associated protocols were developed partly in response to market pressures from an increasingly environmentally discriminating northern hemisphere wine market. Agriculture and conservation are often viewed as being incompatible, but by introducing functional agricultural biodiversity (FAB) into the vineyard environment, ecosystem services are substituted for unsustainable oilbased inputs. Additional benefits for winegrowers include eco-tourism and marketing opportunities through product differentiation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-74
    Number of pages8
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Volume873
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2010

    Keywords

    • Agroecology
    • Biological control
    • Ecosystem services
    • Educational initiatives
    • Greening Waipara
    • Grower participation

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