The Mosel Wine region has suffered during the last decades a decrease in productive area, mostly on steep sloping vineyards. To avoid the spread of diseases, the extraction of grapevines on abandoned vineyards is mandatory in Rhineland-Palatinate. At the same time, the organic production of wine is growing slowly, but well established in the area. We assess in this paper the degree of the land-use changes, as well as their effect on runoff generation and sediment production, depending on the age of the abandonment, as well as the type and age of the land management, whether organic or conventional. Land use data were obtained to identify land-use change dynamics. For assessment of runoff generation and soil erosion, we applied rainfall simulation experiments on the different types of vineyard management. These were organically managed, conventionally managed and abandoned ones, all of varying ages. During the last decades of the last century, a decrease of around 30% of vineyard surface could be observed in Germany’s Mosel Wine Region, affecting mostly the steep sloping vineyards. Despite a high variability within the types of vineyard management, the results show higher runoff generation, and soil erosion associated with recently installed or abandoned vineyards when compared to organic management of the vineyards, where erosion reached only 12%. In organic management, runoff and erosion are also reduced considerably, less than 16%, after a decade or more. Thus, organic vineyard management practices show to be very efficient for reduction of runoff and erosion. Consequently, we recommend to adopt as far as possible these soil management practices for sustainable land management of steep sloping vineyards. In addition, soil protection measures are highly recommended for vineyard abandonment according to the law.
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