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Wine grapes

Integrating songbird conservation and insect pest management in organic California vineyards

Objectives Statement

Test the hypothesis that biological control of cicadellid and lepidopteran vineyard pests is enhanced through conservation of insectivorous birds via the establishment of songbird nest boxes. 

Study of plant diversity adjacent to a monoculture system: Effects on beneficial arthropod populations and vineyard pest control

From March 15 and throughout the 1997 growing season, intensive weekly sampling of herbivorous insects (mainly leafhoppers and thrips) and associated natural enemies (mainly Anagrus sp and Orius sp) have been conducted in two adjacent Chardonnay vineyard blocks of 5 acres each, North of Hopland. Both blocks are managed organically with half of the area of each block planted to summer cover crops (buckwheat and sunflower), and the other half maintained with bare ground.

Leaf sap brix and leafhoppers in vineyards

The advantages of practicing integrated pest management (IPM) with a "Plant Positive" rather than a "Pest Negative" perspective are becoming increasingly clear. As outlined by Eliot Coleman and many other capable deep agricultural thinkers, this Plant Positive perspective allows us to approach pest outbreaks with an emphasis on their basic causation, instead of simply treating the same old symptoms.

Vineyard Research Shows Pest Management Value of Songbird Nest Boxes


Project location: Central and north coast of California

Enhancing biological control of insect pests using flowering intercrops in wine grape ecosystems


Investigator: Miguel Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, CA
Project location: Sonoma and Napa counties, California

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