Biodiversity – or biological diversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth. In a vineyard, biodiversity is the diversity of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms, whether at the genetic, species or ecosystem level. This diversity is necessary to sustain fundamental functions, structures and processes in this agro-ecosystem. Biodiversity is therefore a broad term that encompasses the diversity of agricultural and natural ecosystems.
The autochthonous or sown vegetation, when not limited by regional climatic conditions, contributes to the rational and sustainable maintenance of the vineyard, thanks to its capacity to attract beneficial organisms that feed on the parasitic species (thus reducing the need to resort to spraying). The ground covers also helps to improve the soil structure (and is then reused in the form of mulching), helping to reduce erosion and contributing to soil fertilisation.
Promoting biodiversity in agrosystems by using ground covers of native plant species through the use of seeds of native plant species will contribute to the increase of biodiversity in general and of natural predators of vine pests.
Microorganisms represent the main driving force in wine production and the diversity of the vine microbial community can strongly contribute to the uniqueness of the wines derived from each terroir, and the exaltation of distinct regional aromas can be achieved by performing spontaneous fermentations carried out exclusively by native microbiota.
The Interreg Sudoe “Fleurs locales” and “GrapeMicrobiota ” projects study the use of mixtures of native species as cover crops between the vineyards and adopt an innovative strategy to characterise the microbial community of 3 vine varieties from the Douro DOC región.

Vegetation covers can increase biodiversity in agroecosystems, where native plant cover potentially confers additional benefits for biodiversity. Studies has shown some beneficial effects of plant cover of native species in vineyards. We intend to define the most suitable species for the vineyards of the Douro region. Using native species mixtures in cover crops we will preserve and protect the environment and promote the efficient use of resources.

Biodiversidade de ecossistemas agrícolas – dos microrganismos às plantas, more information.