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The key role of inter-row vegetation and ants on predation in Mediterranean organic vineyards

Abstract : Biodiversity-friendly farming practices are taking centre stage, with herbicide use sparking major public debate on human health. Vegetation cover is increasingly used to enhance agroecosystem biodiversity and functions, providing important ecosystem services like biological pest control. However, further information is required on the relationship between vegetation cover, natural enemies, and pest predation. Using a sentinel prey experiment set up in 26 Mediterranean organic vineyards, we analysed the response of generalist predators, and the associated final predation and dynamics under three inter-row management types: bare soil, one out of two inter-rows vegetated and all inter-rows vegetated. Predation on sentinel prey was monitored on the ground and on the vine trunk throughout the daytime and after a night of exposure. Generalist predator abundance was quantified using pitfall traps. Final sentinel prey predation both on vine trunks and on the ground were significantly higher in fully vegetated vineyards, with a shorter prey survival time than in tilled vineyards. Both diurnal and nocturnal predation were significantly related to increased vegetation cover and richness. Moreover, 96 % of the identified predation events involved ants. We demonstrated the key role of vegetation cover in improving the predation function through a spill-over from the inter-row to the grapevine. Contrary to what is commonly observed in agrosystems, we clearly identified ants as the predominant predator both on the ground and on the vine trunk. Our study has important implications for Mediterranean vineyard management, promoting vegetation as a nature-based solution. Sustainable management of vineyard vegetation favouring the natural predator community may contribute to a reduction in pesticide use and fossil fuel consumption.
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https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03135152
Contributor : Michelle Leydet <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 8, 2021 - 5:56:22 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 3:03:07 AM

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Chloé Blaise, Christophe Mazzia, Armin Bischoff, Alexandre Millon, Philippe Ponel, et al.. The key role of inter-row vegetation and ants on predation in Mediterranean organic vineyards. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 2021, 311, pp.107327. ⟨10.1016/j.agee.2021.107327⟩. ⟨hal-03135152⟩

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