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Background

Agriculture needs to better balance productivity while minimising negative impacts on the environment for meeting the sustainable development goals. One means to achieve this balance is by replacing external inputs (e.g. agro-chemicals), with ecological functions provided by biodiversity within the agroecosystem. As ecosystem services are co-produced by people and nature in agricultural landscapes, these ’social-ecological systems’ are shaped by current and past political and management decisions at different spatial scales. A great challenge for ES research, is to better understand synergies and trade-offs among ES across spatiotemporal scales, and how stakeholders balance multiple ES in their management decisions.

 

Biodiversity is central for the delivery of important ES to agriculture such as soil fertility and natural pest control. Viticulture is among the most pesticide-dependent land use types in Europe.  About 20 % of applied pesticides are used in vineyards, which occupy only slightly less than 3 % of the total agricultural area. Viticultural agroecosystems may benefit biodiversity conservation by providing habitats in vineyard inter-rows and by conserving semi-natural landscape elements. On-field management, such as reduced soil tillage and minimised pesticide use, and off-field management, such as the conservation of semi-natural habitats, can enhance the provision of several ES like pest control or biodiversity conservation. However, it is currently unknown how these different elements operating at different spatial scales affect the delivery of ES in vineyard landscapes and how they should be combined to optimise the level and the stability of these key ES.

External drivers like climate change, globalisation of markets, invasive alien species and their interactions increasingly affect global biodiversity and ES provision, e.g. through the spread of novel pests and diseases. Conservation conflicts might arise from shifting agricultural production in relation to changes in temperature and precipitation. Adaptations of viticulture-related land-use to these novel challenges can have adverse effects on different ES like erosion mitigation, the provision of habitat and food sources for natural enemies and aesthetic values for recreation and tourism.

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