Native Plants Mitigate Vineyard's Environmental Impact
A recent UC Davis study finds that mixing vines and native plants in wine country provides some environmental benefits over grape-only monoculture, including wildlife habitat and improved carbon emissions.
The new study examined the amount of carbon storage on five ranches that produce organic grapes for the Bonterra label of Fetzer Vineyards, located in Northern California’s Mendocino County. Altogether, the ranches cover 2,962 acres, with roughly one third each devoted to vineyards, forested wildlands or grasslands. The ranches have been organically certified since the late 1980s.
Carbon storage is the process through which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in wood and soil, lessening its impact on global climate change.
The researchers found that the level of carbon storage varied throughout the wildland areas, depending on the type of native vegetation, and, as expected, was much lower in the vineyard areas. In addition, the areas of conserved wildlands also retained habitat for native plant and animal species.