Landscape simplification increases vineyard pest outbreaks and insecticide use

Daniel Paredes, Jay A. Rosenheim, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Silvia Winter, Daniel S. Karp

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Diversifying agricultural landscapes may mitigate biodiversity declines and improve pest management. Yet landscapes are rarely managed to suppress pests, in part because researchers seldom measure key variables related to pest outbreaks and insecticides that drive management decisions. We used a 13-year government database to analyse landscape effects on European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) outbreaks and insecticides across c. 400 Spanish vineyards. At harvest, we found pest outbreaks increased four-fold in simplified, vineyard-dominated landscapes compared to complex landscapes in which vineyards are surrounded by semi-natural habitats. Similarly, insecticide applications doubled in vineyard-dominated landscapes but declined in vineyards surrounded by shrubland. Importantly, pest population stochasticity would have masked these large effects if numbers of study sites and years were reduced to typical levels in landscape pest-control studies. Our results suggest increasing landscape complexity may mitigate pest populations and insecticide applications. Habitat conservation represents an economically and environmentally sound approach for achieving sustainable grape production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalEcology letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Consejería de Agricultura, Ganadería, Pesca y Desarrollo Sostenible of the Junta de Andalucía, especially the Red de Alerta e Información Fitosanitaria (RAIF) for collecting and providing the data to perform this study. Lingling Liu provided code to extract the NDVI measures from Google Earth Engine. We also thank the many farmers and private landowners involved in this study. This work was financed by the research project SECBIVIT, which was funded through the 2017–2018 Belmont Forum and BiodivERsA joint call for research proposals, under the BiodivScen ERA‐Net COFUND programme, with the funding organisations: AEI/Spain, BMBF/Germany, ANR/France, NWO/Netherlands, UEFISCDI/Romania, FWF/Austria (Grant number I 4025‐B32) and the NSF/USA (Grant #1850943).


  • Biological control
  • Lobesia botrana
  • Spain
  • ecoinformatics
  • ecosystem services
  • integrated pest management

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Letter

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