Viticulture is a valuable sector worldwide with an extraordinary socio-economic impact in Spain. Numerous pests and diseases threaten vineyards, and their management primarily relies on the use of conventional agrochemicals. The current paradigm of sustainability pursues the implementation of ecologically sound strategies in vineyard ecosystems. The use of cover crops is arising as an alternative with numerous benefits, including favoring above-belowground biodiversity and the presence of beneficial soil organisms such as the entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs).
Land-use intensification at the field and landscape scale is a strong driver for declining biodiversity and ecosystem service provision. Vineyards are characterised by non-productive inter-rows, which could potentially host diverse plant communities. Mulching, tillage or herbicides are used to mitigate the competition between vines and the inter-row vegetation.
When biochar (BC) ages in soil, its properties change substantially: cation exchange capacity (CEC), surface area and porosity increase and water repellency decreases, consequently affecting the interactions with soil microorganisms. Activation of BC by organic acids may be regarded as artificial aging. Here, we study the effect of acid-activated BCs on soil microbial enzyme activities (EA) in comparison to several different control treatments without activated BC. A greenhouse pot experiment was conducted using a vineyard soil treated with multiple soil additives (four replications).