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On-farm habitat restoration counters biotic homogenization in intensively managed agriculture

Global Change Biology


To slow the rate of global species loss, it is imperative to understand how to restore and maintain native biodiversity in agricultural landscapes. Currently, agriculture is associated with lower spatial heterogeneity and turnover in community composition (-diversity). While some techniques are known to enhance -diversity, it is unclear whether habitat restoration can re-establish -diversity. Using a long-term pollinator dataset, comprising approximate to 9,800 specimens collected from the intensively managed agricultural landscape of the Central Valley of California, we show that on-farm habitat restoration in the form of native plant hedgerows', when replicated across a landscape, can boost -diversity by approximately 14% relative to unrestored field margins, to levels similar to some natural communities. Hedgerows restore -diversity by promoting the assembly of phenotypically diverse communities. Intensively managed agriculture imposes a strong ecological filter that negatively affects several important dimensions of community trait diversity, distribution, and uniqueness. However, by helping to restore phenotypically diverse pollinator communities, small-scale restorations such as hedgerows provide a valuable tool for conserving biodiversity and promoting ecosystem services.

Author(s): Ponisio, LC; M'Gonigle, LK; Kremen, C

Journal: Global Change Biology

Year: 2016


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