Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proc R Soc Lon B Biol Sci

Agroecology, University of Göttingen, Waldweg 26, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.05). 03/2007; 274(1608):303-13. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3721
Source: PubMed


The extent of our reliance on animal pollination for world crop production for human food has not previously been evaluated and the previous estimates for countries or continents have seldom used primary data. In this review, we expand the previous estimates using novel primary data from 200 countries and found that fruit, vegetable or seed production from 87 of the leading global food crops is dependent upon animal pollination, while 28 crops do not rely upon animal pollination. However, global production volumes give a contrasting perspective, since 60% of global production comes from crops that do not depend on animal pollination, 35% from crops that depend on pollinators, and 5% are unevaluated. Using all crops traded on the world market and setting aside crops that are solely passively self-pollinated, wind-pollinated or parthenocarpic, we then evaluated the level of dependence on animal-mediated pollination for crops that are directly consumed by humans. We found that pollinators are essential for 13 crops, production is highly pollinator dependent for 30, moderately for 27, slightly for 21, unimportant for 7, and is of unknown significance for the remaining 9. We further evaluated whether local and landscape-wide management for natural pollination services could help to sustain crop diversity and production. Case studies for nine crops on four continents revealed that agricultural intensification jeopardizes wild bee communities and their stabilizing effect on pollination services at the landscape scale.

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Available from: Saul A Cunningham, Oct 04, 2015
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    • "Pollinators are responsible for the pollination of over 80% of flowering plants (Ollerton et al. 2011), and the vast majority of global food crops benefit from animal pollination, with approximately half of these crops being highly dependent (Klein et al. 2007). While the honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) is considered the most economically valuable pollinator species for agriculture, wild pollinators can be more efficient per individual in enhancing the yield and quality of many crops (Klein et al. 2007; Garibaldi et al. 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Species distribution models (SDM) are increasingly used to understand the factors that regulate variation in biodiversity patterns and to help plan conservation strategies. However, these models are rarely validated with independently collected data and it is unclear whether SDM performance is maintained across distinct habitats and for species with different functional traits. Highly mobile species, such as bees, can be particularly challenging to model. Here, we use independent sets of occurrence data collected systematically in several agricultural habitats to test how the predictive performance of SDMs for wild bee species depends on species traits, habitat type, and sampling technique. We used a species distribution modeling approach parametrized for the Netherlands, with presence records from 1990 to 2010 for 193 Dutch wild bees. For each species, we built a Maxent model based on 13 climate and landscape variables. We tested the predictive performance of the SDMs with independent datasets collected from orchards and arable fields across the Netherlands from 2010 to 2013, using transect surveys or pan traps. Model predictive performance depended on species traits and habitat type. Occurrence of bee species specialized in habitat and diet was better predicted than generalist bees. Predictions of habitat suitability were also more precise for habitats that are temporally more stable (orchards) than for habitats that suffer regular alterations (arable), particularly for small, solitary bees. As a conservation tool, SDMs are best suited to modeling rarer, specialist species than more generalist and will work best in long-term stable habitats. The variability of complex, short-term habitats is difficult to capture in such models and historical land use generally has low thematic resolution. To improve SDMs' usefulness, models require explanatory variables and collection data that include detailed landscape characteristics, for example, variability of crops and flower availability. Additionally, testing SDMs with field surveys should involve multiple collection techniques.
    Ecology and Evolution 09/2015; DOI:10.1002/ece3.1579 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    • "Wild pollinators have the potential to provide effective pollination services while avoiding the increasing expense of renting limited numbers of honey bee hives and are therefore of great interest to many producers. Apple production is highly dependent on insect visitation to ensure good fruit set, seed number, and fruit quality (Klein et al. 2007, Garratt et al. 2014a), and pollination limitation has been documented in commercial orchards, even with rented honey bees (Garratt et al. 2014b, Martins et al. 2015). Interestingly, some apple producers in our study region in Adams County, Pennsylvania (PA), have gone away from supplementing orchards with managed pollinators since the early 1990s (Park et al. 2010, Joshi et al. 2011) with no reported loss of yield or fruit quality. "
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    ABSTRACT: Wild pollinators supply essential, historically undervalued pollination services to crops and other flowering plant communities with great potential to ensure agricultural production against the loss of heavily relied upon managed pollinators. Local plant communities provision wild bees with crucial floral and nesting resources, but the distribution of floristic diversity among habitat types in North American agricultural landscapes and its effect on pollinators are diverse and poorly understood, especially in orchard systems. We documented floristic diversity in typical mid-Atlantic commercial apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) orchards including the forest and orchard-forest edge ("edge") habitats surrounding orchards in a heterogeneous landscape in south-central Pennsylvania, USA. We also assessed the correlation between plant richness and orchard pollinator communities. In this apple production region, edge habitats are the most species rich, supporting 146 out of 202 plant species recorded in our survey. Plant species richness in the orchard and edge habitats were significant predictors of bee species richness and abundance in the orchard, as well as landscape area of the forest and edge habitats. Both the quantity and quality of forest and edges close to orchards play a significant role in provisioning a diverse wild bee community in this agroecosystem.
    Environmental Entomology 09/2015; DOI:10.1093/ee/nvv147 · 1.30 Impact Factor
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    • "More than one third of the global food production comes from crops partially or totally dependent on animal-mediated pollination (Klein et al., 2007). Pollination may also enhance crop quality (Klatt et al., 2014), and is particularly important for crops providing essential nutrients (Eilers et al., 2011). "
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