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Contribution of insect pollinators to crop yield and quality varies with agricultural intensification

Bartomeus, Ignasi and Potts, Simon G. and Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf and Vaissière, Bernard E. and Woyciechowski, Michal and Krewenka, Kristin and Tscheulin, Thomas and Roberts, Stuart P.M. and Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka and Westphal, Catrin and Bommarco, Riccardo (2014). Contribution of insect pollinators to crop yield and quality varies with agricultural intensification. PeerJ. 2, 1-20
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.328

Abstract

Background: Up to 75% of crop species benefit at least to some degree from animal pollination for fruit or seed set and yield. However, basic information on the level of pollinator dependence and pollinator contribution to yield is lacking for many crops. Even less is known about how insect pollination affects crop quality. Given that
habitat loss and agricultural intensification are known to decrease pollinator richness and abundance, there is a need to assess the consequences for different components
of crop production. Methods: We used pollination xclusion on flowers or inflorescences on a whole
plant basis to assess the contribution of insect pollination to crop yield and quality in four flowering crops (spring oilseed rape, field bean, strawberry, and buckwheat) located in four regions of Europe. For each crop, we recorded abundance and species richness of flower visiting insects in ten fields located along a gradient from simple to heterogeneous landscapes.
Results: Insect pollination enhanced average crop yield between 18 and 71% depending on the crop. Yield quality was also enhanced in most crops. For instance, oilseed
rape had higher oil and lower chlorophyll contents when adequately pollinated, the proportion of empty seeds decreased in buckwheat, and strawberries’ commercial
grade improved; however, we did not find higher nitrogen content in open pollinated field beans. Complex landscapes had a higher overall species richness of wild pollinators across crops, but visitation rates were only higher in complex landscapes for some crops. On the contrary, the overall yield was consistently enhanced by higher visitation rates, but not by higher pollinator richness. Discussion: For the four crops in this study, there is clear benefit delivered by pollinators on yield quantity and/or quality, but it is not maximized under current agricultural intensification. Honeybees, the most abundant pollinator, might partially compensate the loss of wild pollinators in some areas, but our results suggest the need of landscape-scale actions to enhance wild pollinator populations.

Authors/Creators:Bartomeus, Ignasi and Potts, Simon G. and Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf and Vaissière, Bernard E. and Woyciechowski, Michal and Krewenka, Kristin and Tscheulin, Thomas and Roberts, Stuart P.M. and Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka and Westphal, Catrin and Bommarco, Riccardo
Title:Contribution of insect pollinators to crop yield and quality varies with agricultural intensification
Series/Journal:PeerJ (2167-8359)
Year of publishing :2014
Volume:2
Page range:1-20
Number of Pages:20
Publisher:PeerJ
ISSN:2167-8359
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:F Plant production > F02 Plant propagation
L Animal production > L20 Animal ecology
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Agricultural Science
Agrovoc terms:biodiversity, pollinators, apidae, ecosystem services
Keywords:Biodiversity, Pollination, Honeybees, Wild bees, Agroecosystems, Ecosystem services
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-2619
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-2619
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000347566800002
ID Code:12129
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:06 May 2015 06:31
Metadata Last Modified:19 Feb 2016 06:09

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