BIOVINE – creating diversified vineyards with lower input needs

The project BIOVINE will exploit biodiversity in viticultural systems to reduce pest damage and pesticide use, and increase ecosystems services provision.

2018.01.31 | Editor: Karin Ullven

Organic vineyards still rely on large external inputs to control harmful organisms (i.e., pests). The CORE Organic Cofund project BIOVINE will develop 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 (eg. 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 and foliar pathogens.

Candidate plants will be identified by literature review, and the selected ones will be tested in controlled environment or small-scale experiments. The ability of the selected plants to attract or repel target arthropod pests, conserve/promote beneficials and control soil-borne pests by mean of biofumigation* will be investigated. So will also their ability to carry mycorrhizal fungi to vine root system as well as their ability to control foliar pathogens by reducing the inoculum spread from soil. 

Design-assess-adjust

New viticultural systems able to exploit plant diversity will then be designed based on results of the activities, following a design-assessment-adjustment cycle, which will then be tested by 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 vinegrowers and lower their reliance on pesticides.

Coordinator: Vittorio Rossi (e-mail: vittorio.rossi@unicatt.it)

Partner countries: IT, FR, ES, CH, RO & SI

* Biofumigation is based on the incorporation of fresh plants with biologically active substances to control soil-borne pests and diseases in agriculture and horticulture. 

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