06 March, 2024

Pollinator responses to farmland habitat features: one-size does not fit all

 By Maher et al.

orange-legged furrow bee

In a world where pollinators are increasingly under threat, largely due to the intensive nature of modern agriculture, understanding the impact of farming practices on this group is more crucial than ever. A study conducted in Ireland across twenty-nine diverse farming sites—ranging from livestock to crop systems and varying in intensity—sought to uncover how different farm habitats affect pollinator communities. This research assessed pollinators, plants, and habitat features to explore the nuanced relationships between farm habitats and the abundance and diversity of pollinating insects.

The study revealed that responses of pollinators to farm environments vary significantly across species. Hoverflies, for example, showed a preference for less structured farms with more drainage ditches, whereas bumblebees were more abundant in areas with a rich mix of grassy margins, ditches, and hedgerows, especially on crop farms. Solitary bees, on the other hand, favoured areas with high floral diversity but were less common on crop farms. Intriguingly, within each pollinator group, different species showed unique responses to the same environmental factors.

This research underscores the complexity of pollinator conservation in agricultural landscapes, highlighting that a one-size-fits-all approach is not effective. Conservation strategies need to be tailored to the specific needs of different pollinator groups, taking into account the quantity, diversity, and quality of habitats to truly benefit these essential insects.

Read the scientific publication in JPE.

No comments:

Post a Comment