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Ecosystem services in vineyard landscapes: a focus on aboveground carbon storage and accumulation



Organic viticulture can generate a range of ecosystem services including supporting biodiversity, reducing the use of conventional pesticides and fertilizers, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through long-term carbon (C) storage. Here we focused on aboveground C storage rates and accumulation using a one-year increment analysis applied across different winegrape varietals and different-aged vineyard blocks. This produced a chronosequence of C storage rates over what is roughly the productive lifespan of most vines (aged 2-30 years). To our knowledge, this study provides the first estimate of C storage rates in the woody biomass of vines. Additionally, we assessed C storage in wildland buffers and adjacent oak-dominated habitats over a 9-year period.


Carbon storage averaged 6.5 Mg/Ha in vines. We found the average annual increase in woody C storage was 43% by mass. Variation correlated most strongly with vine age, where the younger the vine, the greater the relative increase in annual C. Decreases in C increment rates with vine age were more than offset by the greater overall biomass of older vines, such that C on the landscape continued to increase over the life of the vines at 18.5% per year on average. Varietal did not significantly affect storage rates or total C stored. Carbon storage averaged 81.7 Mg/Ha in native perennial buffer vegetation; we found an 11% increase in mass over 9 years for oak woodlands and savannas.


Despite a decrease in the annual rate of C accumulation as vines age, we found a net increase in aboveground C in the woody biomass of vines. The results indicate the positive role that older vines play in on-farm (vineyard) C and overall aboveground accumulation rates. Additionally, we found that the conservation of native perennial vegetation as vineyard buffers and edge habitats contributes substantially to overall C stores. We recommend that future research consider longer time horizons for increment analysis, as this should improve the precision of C accumulation rate estimates, including in belowground (i.e., soil) reservoirs.

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