Vineyards that contain a mix of grapevines and native vegetation provide greater environmental benefits than vineyards planted solely to vines.
Those were the findings of a study led by John Williams, a post-doctoral research in the University of California, Davis' Department of Environmental Science and Policy.
"What is needed now are land-use policies that will include incentives that will make it economically viable for landowners to develop and manage such complex agricultural landscape mosaics," Williams said in a news release.
The researchers looked at five ranches that grew organic grapes for Fetzer Vineyards in Mendocino County, Calif.
About one-third of the 2,962 acres comprising the ranches was in vineyards, forests or grasslands.
The amount of carbon stored varied with the type of vegetation.
Ground planted just to vineyards had much lower carbon storatge than areas in wildland vegetation.
The wildlands also provided habitat for native plant and animal species.