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Key Plant Species May Be Important for Supporting Wildflower Pollinators

Increased agricultural production has likely led to loss, fragmentation, and degradation of flower-rich habitats for pollinators. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017 1:07 pm EDT
"Since wildflowers typical to agricultural habitats were among the most effective plant species, our study shows that the protection of pollinators will be most successful when AES are directed at advancing the sustainable use of arable landscapes"

Increased agricultural production has likely led to loss, fragmentation, and degradation of flower-rich habitats for pollinators. To counteract these negative effects of modern agricultural practices, efforts to maintain and restore diverse plants in agricultural landscapes—called agri-environmental schemes (AES)—have been implemented in numerous European countries. A new study in Insect Conservation and Diversity found that flower mixtures planted within AES may not need to be highly diverse to support pollinators in agricultural landscapes.

For the study, investigators tested four recommended seed mixtures for their attractiveness to wild bees and hoverflies in AES. Of 94 available plant species, 14 key plant species were crucial for the whole flower-visiting bee and hoverfly community.

The authors note that a selection of efficient key plant species, targeted at different pollinator groups throughout the flowering season, seems a promising tool for future development.

“Since wildflowers typical to agricultural habitats were among the most effective plant species, our study shows that the protection of pollinators will be most successful when AES are directed at advancing the sustainable use of arable landscapes,” said Daniela Warzecha, lead author of the study. 

Additional Information

Link to Studyhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/icad.12264/full#references

About Journal

Insect Conservation and Diversity explicitly associates the two concepts of insect diversity and insect conservation for the benefit of invertebrate conservation.  The journal places an emphasis on wild arthropods and specific relations between arthropod conservation and diversity.  Key topics covered in the journal will include biogeography, climate change (and its impacts on distributions and range), conservation genetics, global biodiversity, integrating conservation science and policy, and long-term planning and implementation. Insect Conservation and Diversity is particularly keen to welcome submissions that are related to the following concepts: Understanding the past and present distribution of biodiversity, implementing suitable monitoring systems for arthropod populations to disentangle stochastic and natural variation from that resulting from anthropogenic action, identifying harmful factors influencing arthropod populations and their cascading effects on ecosystem services, seeking strategies to alleviate the action of harmful factors and restoring ecosystem services


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