Habitat restoration promotes pollinator persistence and colonization in intensively managed agriculture
Widespread evidence of pollinator declines has led to policies supporting habitat restoration including in agricultural landscapes. Yet, little is yet known about the effectiveness of these restoration techniques for promoting stable populations and communities of pollinators, especially in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. Introducing floral resources, such as flowering hedgerows, to enhance intensively cultivated agricultural landscapes is known to increase the abundances of native insect pollinators in and around restored areas. Whether this is a result of local short-term concentration at flowers or indicative of true increases in the persistence and species richness of these communities remains unclear. It is also unknown whether this practice supports species of conservation concern (e.g., those with more specialized dietary requirements). Analyzing occupancies of native bees and syrphid flies from 330 surveys across 15 sites over eight years, we found that hedgerow restoration promotes rates of between-season persistence and colonization as compared with unrestored field edges. Enhanced persistence and colonization, in turn, led to the formation of more species-rich communities. We also find that hedgerows benefit floral resource specialists more than generalists, emphasizing the value of this restoration technique for conservation in agricultural landscapes.
Author(s): M'Gonigle, LK; Ponisio, LC; Cutler, K; Kremen, C
Journal: Ecological Applications