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Pollinator Community Assembly Tracks Changes in Floral Resources as Restored Hedgerows Mature in Agricultural Landscapes

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution


Intensive agriculture reduces wild pollinator abundance, diversity and pollination services, while depending critically on wild pollinators for crop pollination. Floral enhancements such as hedgerows (native, perennial flowering trees and shrubs) can enhance pollinator colonization, persistence, occupancy, and species richness within intensive agricultural landscapes. However, little is known about the specific features of hedgerows that promote pollinator communities in such landscapes. Understanding how pollinator communities respond to local changes in site conditions as hedgerows mature, such as the availability of floral or nesting resources, can help guide the design of more effective hedgerows that promote pollinators and/or pollination services. In an intensively-managed agricultural region of California, we found that pollinator community attributes responded principally to the enhancement of floral diversity as hedgerows mature, as well as to surrounding natural habitat. Once hedgerows matured, this relationship leveled off, suggesting either saturation of community assembly processes, or greater importance of floral density/display relative to diversity. Although we did not find any relationships between measures of pollinator community diversity and nesting resources, such resources are notably difficult to measure. Surrounding natural habitat also affected species and functional richness at hedgerows, particularly for solitary bees that nest above ground. Such species are known to be particularly sensitive to the negative effects of agriculture. Thus, hedgerows in combination with natural habitat may reverse some of the community disassembly provoked by intensive agriculture.

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

Journal: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution

Year: 2018


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