Management practices, and not surrounding habitats, drive bird and arthropod biodiversity within vineyards

Zielonka, Natalia B., Shutt, Jack D., Butler, Simon J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5111-5639 and Dicks, Lynn V. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8304-4468 (2024) Management practices, and not surrounding habitats, drive bird and arthropod biodiversity within vineyards. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 367. ISSN 0167-8809

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Abstract

Agrochemical use and habitat loss associated with agriculture are drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide, and biodiversity-friendly farming practices, including organic management, are increasingly promoted by policy and industry in an attempt to offset this. Grapes are an important perennial crop globally, and in the UK, viticulture is the fastest growing agricultural sector and sustainable vineyard management is promoted by the Sustainable Wines of Great Britain ‘SWGB’ scheme. Here, we performed the first assessment of the simultaneous effects of surrounding habitats and vineyard management practices on bird and arthropod biodiversity across 22 English vineyards (10 certified-organic, 11 SWGB-accredited, and 3 both). We surveyed birds using point counts and arthropods with pitfall traps, and used linear mixed modelling to relate diversity and abundance to habitat and management predictors at landscape and local scales. We show that arthropod abundance is significantly higher on organic vineyards, whilst bird diversity is significantly lower on SWGB-accredited vineyards, but we find no other significant effects of organic certification or SWGB-accreditation on biodiversity. We also find no significant effects of the surrounding habitat structure on the biodiversity of birds and arthropods. Instead, we show that ecotoxicity scores derived from agrochemical use data have a significant negative impact on bird diversity, and on arthropod abundance and diversity. Organic status predicts a significant reduction in ecotoxicity scores, but only when application frequency is not considered, and contradictorily, SWGB-accredited vineyards have higher ecotoxicity scores than those without accreditation. Ground vegetation cover has a consistent, positive effect on bird and arthropod diversity, with model predicted diversity increasing 1.5 and 2.5-fold, respectively, in vineyards with the highest vegetation cover, and herbicide use has a negative effect on the vegetation cover. Our research demonstrates that individual management practices have a stronger effect on vineyard biodiversity than the habitat context, overall management regime or certification. Our study sets an important baseline for vineyard management and accreditation schemes and generates key recommendations for improvement. To benefit biodiversity within vineyards, we recommend that sustainability accreditation schemes include requirements to reduce the ecotoxicity of used agrochemicals, and promote higher ground vegetation cover and height by reducing herbicide use.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2024 10:30
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 10:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/94756
DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2024.108982

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