Work Package 1: Experimental setup

Objective of WP1

In this WP we will focus on three major objectives to be carried out during the first project year:
1. Development of appropriate techniques to quantify biodiversity and soil based ecosystem services;
2. Identification of experimental sites in the appropriate landscape context;
3. Further experiments promoting knowledge on management options enhancing ESS.

Expected results

9 experimental sites equally distributed in 3 landscape configurations (from vine monoculture to diversified landscapes) will be identified in each country. Each experimental site allows testing three soil management modalities, representing a disturbance gradient (for instance permanent ground cover, tillage, green fertilizer, ...).

Details per tasks

Identification of experimental sites

Different strategies in soil management (tillage, permanent
ground cover, …) will be chosen and compared

The selection of experimental sites in each participating country are based on two major variables, one being the soil management strategy and the second being the level of landscape diversity. Each partner has identified three levels of soil management intensity (levels of disturbance) that exist in the respective area of production. Once the soil management modalities have been fixed, three plots of similar soil type (focal fields), close together (maximum 200 m apart) or one plot harbouring each one of the three modalities (minimal surface per modality 20 acre) have been identified or created.

This setup is repeated in landscape sectors of different intensities (percentage of semi-natural habitat). In total, 9 experimental sites are tested during the PromESSinG project in each participating country. In order to quantify the percentage of major landscape elements, a detailed GIS-mapping will be performed in a 1km radius around each focal field.

Simple (left) and diversified (right) landscapes will be chosen to implement the experimental plots.

Work Package 2 : Biodiversity assessment

Objective of WP2

WP2 aims at assessing the diversity of indicator species occurring in vineyards, with a special focus on soil related organisms.

Expected results

The final goal is to get insights in the role of various functional groups in provisioning ecosystem functions and services by investigating different levels of disturbance and effects of landscape heterogeneity.

Details per tasks

The vineyards inter-rows
can host a high diversity
of plant species

Plant species richness
Plant species richness: Identification of species will be performed in the focal fields; estimates of the relative percentage of identified species using abundance or cover scales will be provided.

Bacteria and fungi
play an important role
in soil fertility

Microflora – nutrient transformers, decomposers and microsymbionts: Diversity of soil microflora including AMF will be assessed through 454 pyrosequencing of bacteria and fungi present in the samples (Lindahl et al. 2013, Philippot et al. 2012).

Earthworms :
"the soil engineers"

Macrofauna – soil structure engineers: Earthworms will be collected according to standard procedures (Pelosi et al. 2009) in a known volume of soil. Individuals collected will be identified to the lowest taxonomical level possible and biomass will be measured.

carabid beetles
Carabid beetles
are feared predators !

Insects – biocontrollers: Predators such as ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) will be collected using pitfall traps and determined to species level. Parasitoids of grape berry moth (GBM) larvae will be sampled by collecting first generation GBM larvae in young flower buds and keeping larvae in the laboratory until parasitoids emerge. In addition, yellow sticky traps will be installed in the vineyards to monitor presence of Anagrus spp. parasitoids.

Work Package 3 : Assessment of ecosystem functions and associated services

Objective of WP3

In this WP soil- and landscape-based ecosystem services will be quantified in temperate European vineyard systems. For this purpose, key functional groups of soil biota and beneficial insects and three ecosystem processes they influence will be considered all having a substantial relevance for the grapevine grower.

Expected results

Diversity parameters obtained in WP2 will form the basis for assessing differences in ecosystem functions and services among the different plots.

Details per tasks

tea bags

Tea bags contain organic matter.
They will be weighed and then buried for three weeks.
After this period of decomposition by soil organisms, they will be collected and weighed again, in order to determine
the organic matter decomposition rate.

Soil fertility, structure and water retention capacity
Measurement of soil texture, soil water holding capacity and nutrient content in the various samples will be done according to standard procedures. Diversity parameters obtained from WP2 for soil microflora including AMF and earthworms will be used to assess the effects of species diversity on the relevant functions of the vineyard soil ecosystem. Soil organic matter decomposition and enzyme activity of soil microflora will be assessed via litter bags.

Pest control
Presence of entomopathogenic fungi will be monitored. Plant-beneficial rhizosphere bacteria including the fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. will be identified. They might have the potential to protect grapevine roots against fungi causing root rotting like Roesleria spp. Diversity parameters obtained from WP2 for carabid beetles and parasitoids will be used to assess the effects of species diversity on the relevant functions of the vineyard soil ecosystem. Plant abundance and species composition will be assessed at certain time points during the vegetation period on plots of a size of 1 m2 replicated several times within the respective vineyard plots.

Work Package 4 : Provisioning Services

Objective of WP4

In this WP we will evaluate the effects of a combined soil- and landscape based trial on grape quality during the vegetation period as well as the socio-economic impacts of different management systems.

Expected results

Different environmental factors as well as management practices influence yield and quality of grapes, which are in particular temperature, water availability, micro climate, canopy management, yield expectations, plant protection measures and time of harvest. Different soil management practices, e.g. partial rootzone drying, could have effects on plant physiology and therefore also on grape quality.

Details per tasks

Grapes will be collected
on experimental plot to
measure quality parameters
such as sugar, acidity, etc.

Grape quality
Grape quality will be measured with FT-IR analyses, in order to determine must standard parameters, as soluble solids, glucose, fructose, titrateable acid and pH.

Wine characteristics
will also be assessed

Secondary metabolites
Total amounts of polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids can be quantified by using spectralphotometric methods. Methanol extracts of frozen grapes or grape skins will be used and measurements will be performed.

Socio-economic factors
Implications as well as social and economic acceptance of the different soil management strategies and landscape factors identified in PromESSing by the grapevine grower will be addressed by following two approaches:
1. Studying aspects of the integration of the different soil management strategies into the grapevine production system: parameters like economic costs, equipment, workload and integration into general work procedures will be evaluated.
2. Studying the recognition of ESS by grapevine growers as far as they are linked to the soil and evaluating the values and sustainability of the ESS for the farmers and their applied production system.

Work Package 5 : Analysis and Synthesis

Objective of WP5

Data from the common experiments will be analyzed at different spatial and temporal levels. The data will be analyzed at the country level, as well as across Europe, for all data sets that have been collected in multiple countries.

Expected results

The analysis will identify factors (management, landscape) associated with biodiversity and ecosystem services in different countries.

Details per tasks

Univariate analyses
Univariate analyses will give an overview of the effects of management and surrounding landscape on biodiversity, ecosystem functions and associated services in European vineyards. The different biodiversity/ecosystem measurements will be the response variables and the management regimes (as factors or ranked disturbance intensities) and surrounding landscape complexity as explanatory variables, explicitly taking into account the nested hierarchy of the treatment variables (management nested within landscape).

Multivariate analyses
Multivariate analyses allow comparisons of similarity of communities. We will use standard multivariate analyses (NMDS, DCA, RDA, CCA) to investigate the relationship between community composition (biodiversity) and environmental variables (management, landscape). Multivariate analyses will also be used to reduce the dimensionality of environmental data (collinearity) for univariate analyses. Multivariate analyses can also help identifying species associated with different ecosystem processes.

Work Package 6 : Spreading of project results

Objective of WP6

The purpose of this WP is to execute the process of implementation and dissemination of project results to local and regional stakeholder groups in each country (e.g. wine grower associations, conservation advisors, land managers), to regional-European authorities, policy makers (national and EU-level), to the international scientific community (i.e. agro-ecologists, agronomists) as well as to the general public.

Expected results

A project website (, Workshops, Scientific publications, Policy briefs.