Temperate Agroforestry Systems and Insect Pollinators: A Review
Agroforestry can provide ecosystem services and benefits such as soil erosion control, microclimate modification for yield enhancement, economic diversification, livestock production and well-being, and water quality protection. Through increased structural and functional diversity in agricultural landscapes, agroforestry practices can also affect ecosystem services provided by insect pollinators. A literature review was conducted to synthesize information on how temperate agroforestry systems influence insect pollinators and their pollination services with particular focus on the role of trees and shrubs. Our review indicates that agroforestry practices can provide three overarching benefits for pollinators: (1) providing habitat including foraging resources and nesting or egg-laying sites, (2) enhancing site and landscape connectivity, and (3) mitigating pesticide exposure. In some cases, agroforestry practices may contribute to unintended consequences such as becoming a sink for pollinators, where they may have increased exposure to pesticide residue that can accumulate in agroforestry practices. Although there is some scientific evidence suggesting that agroforestry practices can enhance crop pollination and yield, more research needs to be conducted on a variety of crops to verify this ecosystem service. Through a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of agroforestry practices on pollinators and their key services, we can better design agroforestry systems to provide these benefits in addition to other desired ecosystem services.
Author(s): Bentrup, G; Hopwood, J; Adamson, NL; Vaughan, M