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Nat Commun. 2015 Jun 16;6:7414. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8414.

Delivery of crop pollination services is an insufficient argument for wild pollinator conservation.

Author information

1
Animal Ecology Team, Center for Ecosystem Studies, Alterra, Wageningen UR, PO Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
2
Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA.
4
Departmento Ecología Integrativa, Estación Biológica de Doñana (EDB-CSIC), Avenida Américo Vespucio s/n, 41092 Sevilla, Spain.
5
School of Biology, University of Leeds, Miall Building, Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.
6
Department of Terrestrial Zoology, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.
7
UR 406 Abeilles et Environnement, INRA, CS 40509, F-84914 Avignon, France.
8
UMT Protection des Abeilles dans l'Environnement, INRA, CS 40509, F-84914 Avignon, France.
9
Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, 578 Wilson Road, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.
10
Nature Conservation and Landscape Ecology Group, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Freiburg, Freiburg D-79106, Germany.
11
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, California 94720-3114, USA.
12
School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2350, Australia.
13
Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont, 617 Main Street, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.
14
Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of California, Davis, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, California 95616, USA.
15
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Singapore.
16
Institute of Ecology and Botany, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Alkotmány u. 2-4, Vácrátót 2163, Hungary.
17
Agroecology Group, Department of Crop Sciences, Georg-August-University, Grisebachstr. 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.
18
Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.
19
Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala 75007, Sweden.
20
South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch Research Centre, Private Bag X7, Claremont 7735, South Africa.
21
Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa.
22
Iziko South African Museum, 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town 8000, South Africa.
23
Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, UMR 7372, CNRS and Université La Rochelle, F-79360 Beauvoir-sur-Niort, France.
24
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University,8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6.
25
Plateforme Régionale d'Innovation "Agriculture Biologique et Périurbaine Durable", EPLEFPA du Lycée Nature, Allée des Druides, 85000 La Roche-sur-Yon, France.
26
Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AR, UK.
27
Agricultural Landscapes and Biodiversity, Agroscope, Reckenholzstr. 191, CH-8046 Zurich, Switzerland.
28
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany.
29
Sustainable Production, The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.
30
Department of Animal Ecology, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 26-32, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.
31
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 401 Biological Laboratories, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
32
Community Ecology Group, University of Bern, Baltzerstr. 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.
33
Department of Entomology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, PO Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel.
34
EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, PO Box 9517, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.
35
ITSAP - Institut de l'abeille, 149 rue de Bercy, F-75012 Paris, France.
36
Department of Biology, Lund University, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden.
37
Centre of Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden.
38
Biology Institute, Federal University of Bahia, Rua Barão de Jeremoabo, s/n, Campus Universitário de Ondina, Salvador, Bahia 40170-290, Brazil.

Abstract

There is compelling evidence that more diverse ecosystems deliver greater benefits to people, and these ecosystem services have become a key argument for biodiversity conservation. However, it is unclear how much biodiversity is needed to deliver ecosystem services in a cost-effective way. Here we show that, while the contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, service delivery is restricted to a limited subset of all known bee species. Across crops, years and biogeographical regions, crop-visiting wild bee communities are dominated by a small number of common species, and threatened species are rarely observed on crops. Dominant crop pollinators persist under agricultural expansion and many are easily enhanced by simple conservation measures, suggesting that cost-effective management strategies to promote crop pollination should target a different set of species than management strategies to promote threatened bees. Conserving the biological diversity of bees therefore requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments.

PMID:
26079893
PMCID:
PMC4490361
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms8414
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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