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Pollination services from field-scale agricultural diversification may be context-dependent

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment


Diversification of field edges is widely used as a strategy to augment pollinator populations and, in turn, supplement crop pollination needs. Hedgerow plantings, a commonly applied field-scale diversification technique, have been shown to increase wild bee richness within edges and into crop fields; however, their effects on pollination services in mass-flowering, pollinator-dependent crops typical of large-scale commercial monocultures are less well-known. We evaluated the indirect contribution of hedgerows to sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seed set vis-a-vis wild bee abundance and the interaction between wild bees and managed honey bee pollinators. Although wild bee species richness and the interaction between wild and managed pollinators were significantly associated with augmented seed set, these factors were unrelated to whether a hedgerow was present. The pollinator species foraging within crop fields differed significantly from those found within adjacent hedgerows and bare or weedy field edges, with hedgerows supporting higher species richness than crop fields or unenhanced edges. However, in an independent data set, greater numbers of sunflower-pollinating bees were found in hedgerows than in control edges. Hedgerows may therefore help these crop-pollinating species persist in the landscape. Our findings suggest that hedgerows may not always simultaneously achieve crop pollination and wild bee conservation goals; instead, the benefits of hedgerows may be crop- and region-specific. We recommend evaluation of hedgerow benefits in a variety of crop and landscape contexts to improve their ability to meet ecosystem-service provisioning needs. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Sardinas, HS; Kremen, C

Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Year: 2015


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