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Proc Biol Sci. 2018 Feb 14;285(1872). pii: 20172242. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2242.

Landscape configurational heterogeneity by small-scale agriculture, not crop diversity, maintains pollinators and plant reproduction in western Europe.

Author information

1
Agroecology, Department of Crop Science, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany ahass@uni-goettingen.de.
2
Agroecology, Department of Crop Science, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany.
3
Forest Biodiversity Research Network, Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA.
4
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
5
Centre d'Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive UMR 5175, CNRS-Université de Montpellier-Université Paul Valéry Montpellier-IRD-EPHE, Montpellier Cedex 5, France.
6
UMR 1201 Dynafor, INRA-INP Toulouse-ENSAT, Toulouse, France.
7
Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
8
UR 0980 SAD Paysage, INRA 65, Rennes Cedex, France.
9
UMR 6553 ECOBIO, CNRS, Rennes, France.
10
CREAF, Bellaterra, Spain.
11
InForest Jru (CTFC-CREAF), Solsona, Spain.
12
CSIC, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.
13
CTFC (Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia), Solsona, Spain.
14
Instituto Universitario de Investigación, CIBIO, Centro Iberoamericano de la Biodiversidad, University of Alicante, San Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante, Spain.
15
British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford, Norfolk, UK.
16
GINOP Sustainable Ecosystems Group, MTA Centre for Ecological Research, Hungary.

Abstract

Agricultural intensification is one of the main causes for the current biodiversity crisis. While reversing habitat loss on agricultural land is challenging, increasing the farmland configurational heterogeneity (higher field border density) and farmland compositional heterogeneity (higher crop diversity) has been proposed to counteract some habitat loss. Here, we tested whether increased farmland configurational and compositional heterogeneity promote wild pollinators and plant reproduction in 229 landscapes located in four major western European agricultural regions. High-field border density consistently increased wild bee abundance and seed set of radish (Raphanus sativus), probably through enhanced connectivity. In particular, we demonstrate the importance of crop-crop borders for pollinator movement as an additional experiment showed higher transfer of a pollen analogue along crop-crop borders than across fields or along semi-natural crop borders. By contrast, high crop diversity reduced bee abundance, probably due to an increase of crop types with particularly intensive management. This highlights the importance of crop identity when higher crop diversity is promoted. Our results show that small-scale agricultural systems can boost pollinators and plant reproduction. Agri-environmental policies should therefore aim to halt and reverse the current trend of increasing field sizes and to reduce the amount of crop types with particularly intensive management.

KEYWORDS:

bee; compositional heterogeneity; field size; hoverfly; landscape heterogeneity; pollen transfer

PMID:
29445017
PMCID:
PMC5829195
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2017.2242
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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