chapter  13
24 Pages

Avian Conservation Practices Strengthen Ecosystem Services in California Vineyards

ByJulie A. Jedlicka, Russell Greenberg, Deborah K. Letourneau

Ecosystem services such as pest control and pollination are functions provided by biological diversity that are critical to human societies and their agricultural production [1], [2]. Nevertheless, agriculture often generates environmental pollution, contributes to habitat loss and, hence, decreases biodiversity [3], [4]. Environmentally sustainable farming practices are designed to foster biodiversity and ecosystem services. For example, birdfriendly® coffee systems are well-known for their conservation value, particularly in providing habitat for insectivorous migrant bird species [5], [6]. Studies comparing insect herbivore abundance with and without net caging over plants (exclosures) suggest that insectivorous birds significantly reduce both herbivorous arthropod abundance and plant damage in agricultural and natural systems [7], [8]. As a result, conservation of birds in agricultural landscapes may benefit growers through the provision of pest control services. For example, outside exclosures avian predation of

insect pests increased quantities of marketable fruit and raised farmer income in apple [9], [10] and coffee [11], [12] production systems.