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Abstract

Earlier this year, the first global thematic assessment from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) evaluated the state of knowledge about pollinators and pollination ( 1 , 2 ). It confirmed evidence of large-scale wild pollinator declines in northwest Europe and North America and identified data shortfalls and an urgent need for monitoring elsewhere in the world. With high-level political commitments to support pollinators in the United States ( 3 ), the United Kingdom ( 4 ), and France ( 5 ); encouragement from the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD's) scientific advice body ( 6 ); and the issue on the agenda for next month's Conference of the Parties to the CBD, we see a chance for global-scale policy change. We extend beyond the IPBES report, which we helped to write, and suggest 10 policies that governments should seriously consider to protect pollinators and secure pollination services. Our suggestions are not the only available responses but are those we consider most likely to succeed, because of synergy with international policy objectives and strategies or formulation of international policy creating opportunities for change. We make these suggestions as independent scientists and not on behalf of IPBES.

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... Globally, calls for pollinator-policy targets reinforce the importance of pollinator studies for conservation (Dicks et al., 2016;IPBES, 2016). Dicks et al. (2016) listed ten policies for pollinators that include synergy with international policy objectives. ...
... Globally, calls for pollinator-policy targets reinforce the importance of pollinator studies for conservation (Dicks et al., 2016;IPBES, 2016). Dicks et al. (2016) listed ten policies for pollinators that include synergy with international policy objectives. However, those policies are not being incorporated in national and subnational legislation. ...
... In this study, we analyze pollinator-relevant Brazilian legislation and discuss how these subnational policy innovations fit calls from the science community. We also evaluated Brazilian legislation concerning pollinator and biome protection vs the international scenario and how the policy targets proposed by Dicks et al. (2016) are embraced by Brazilian legislation at different levels (national, subnational). This study does not include proposed bills and only examines bills that have been passed by legislatures and approved by state governors as law. ...
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Global biodiversity declines and concomitant increases in diseases and calamities indicate the need for well-founded measures to provide sustainable development, guaranteeing material progress and social welfare, while safeguarding biodiversity. Public policies are important in this context as they provide norms for actions to deal with economic and socio-ecological problems. Nevertheless, scientists and legislators have conflicting opinions; perhaps due to lack of knowledge on both sides. Scientists provide information that is never used by legislators and legislators provide laws that do not provide biodiversity protection. Review and understanding of local legislation are thus crucial to understand those relationships and to provide robust suggestions for change. Here, we review Brazilian legislation concerning pollinator-relevant policies to show how these subnational policies fit calls from the science community. We also compared Brazilian legislation related to pollinator and biome protection to legislation in other countries. We found 314 national, state, and municipal laws on apiculture, meliponiculture, economic incentives, pesticides, pollinator awareness, and city planning. Although scientists are producing high-quality science to provide information for legislative standards, that information is not being used. Brazilian policies are numerous, but, in general, lack the standards to provide sustainable conservation. The main flaws are related to the lack of knowledge about non-bee pollinators, integrated pest management and GM crop risks, and lack of long-term monitoring of pollinators and pollination. More comprehensive and interdisciplinary legislation is needed to accomplish crop and biodiversity protection. Brazilian scientists should be consulted more often and participate in proposals for laws relating to pollinator conservation.
... Growing attention towards natural pollinators and pollination is reflected in their importance in the provision of ecosystem services. This fosters the development of new strategies to maximize sustainable management and conservation of crop pollinators (Dicks et al., 2016), which may potentially be used to support biodiversity conservation policies . However, despite growing interest in pollination and pollinators (e.g. ...
... Although scientists are producing high-quality evidencebased studies to support governance and public initiatives, our incipient knowledge about non-bee pollinators and the lack of longterm monitoring of pollinators and pollination severely weakens research, planning and actions (e.g. Dicks et al., 2016;IPBES, 2016;BPBES/REBIPP, 2019;Porto et al., 2020;Hipólito et al., 2021). More holistic and cross-sectoral conservation policies and actions, combined with a forward-looking research agenda, must also shine the spotlight on species that are yet to be identified as crop pollinators, and the same applies to a myriad of tropical species whose biotic interactions provide other key ecosystem services. ...
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We draw attention to potential pollinator species that have not yet been reported as crop pollinators but could likely contribute to agricultural productivity. We refer to this as the neglected diversity of crop pollinators, which we argue should not be excluded from conservation strategies and land-use planning. We used Brazil as case study for at least five main reasons: (1) Brazil is one of the world’s largest food pro- ducers and exporters; (2) Tropical agricultural production is highly dependent on pollinators; (3) Brazil is almost certainly the most biologically megadiverse country; (4) Brazil has high diversity of pollinators; (5) Brazil has played a leading international role in environmental sustainability. We estimated that the neglected diversity of bees as potential crop pollinators in Brazil is 88.4%. For vertebrates, the neglected diversity is 95.2%. This means that many yet to be observed plant–pollinator interactions are entirely off the radar in terms of the conservation agenda for agricultural stability.
... Because of this scenario, there has been a recent growth in the investment to protect pollinator communities. Dicks et al. (2016) defined several measures that policymakers should consider when making decisions to conserve pollinators and secure pollination services, among which the creation and restoration of green infrastructures stands out as a measure designed specifically for urban ecosystems. ...
... Green infrastructures are defined as suitable patches of habitat within highly modified environments in which animals can move through or reside (Andersson et al., 2014;Dicks et al., 2016). In cities, these "new ecosystems" (sensu Hobbs et al., 2006) encompass private and public gardens, cemeteries, golf courses, etc., and can increase local biodiversity while promoting a better quality of life for surrounding communities (Coutts and Hahn, 2015;Nascimento et al., 2020). ...
Article
Pollinator-friendly plants are often a necessary component of the management of urban ecosystem that aim to reduce the impact of the artificial urban matrix on natural pollinator populations. Nectarivorous bats are neglected components of the urban pollinator community and there is a paucity of assessments on pollinator-friendly plants that may provide urban bats with reliable, year-long resources. Crescentia cujete is a bat-pollinated Bignoniaceae with very distinctive chiropterophilous features that is often used as an ornamental species in tropical urban areas worldwide. Its flowers are large and produce copious amounts of nectar, which accumulates in the flower’s storage-shaped flowers. Thus, the species is a potential bat-friendly urban plant. We assessed the species’ year-round flower emission and nightly nectar production dynamics in a green area in northeastern Brazil, and described the behavior of its floral visitors. C. cujete showed a steady, year-round flowering pattern, with no significant seasonality. Its flowers secreted copious amounts of diluted nectar and were visited exclusively by the Pallas long-tongued bat Glossophaga soricina throughout the night at high visiting frequencies, delivering successive visits to individual flowers spaced by short intervals. Our results suggest overexploitation of floral resources from C. cujete by urban bats. Moreover, its continuous flowering and copious nectar production may become a reliable resource in an artificial environment generally lacking bat-pollinated plants, thus mitigating the effects of food shortage for urban nectar bats.
... It is little appreciated that other pest control practices, including those typically employed in IPM, can also impact pollinators and their ecosystem service to crops. Promoting IPM as a specific response to pollinator decline [9] can thus prove problematic. Similarly, actions taken to manage pollinators have the potential to perpetuate pest problems [10]. ...
... By contrast, direct national policy support for pollinators is a more recent phenomenon around the world, usually through national pollinator strategies [9]. These and other biodiversity-focussed strategies, can offer synergy with policy support for IPM. ...
Article
The need to reduce pollinator exposure to harmful pesticides has led to calls to expedite the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM). We make the case that IPM is not explicitly ‘pollinator friendly’, but rather must be adapted to reduce impacts on pollinators and to facilitate synergies between crop pollination and pest control practices and ecosystem services. To reconcile these diverse needs, we introduce a systematic framework for ‘integrated pest and pollinator management’ (IPPM). We also highlight novel tools to unify monitoring and economic decision-making processes for IPPM and outline key policy actions and knowledge gaps. We propose that IPPM is needed to promote more coordinated, ecosystem-based strategies for sustainable food production, against the backdrop of increasing pesticide regulation and pollinator dependency in agriculture. Video Abstract Download : Download video (26MB)
... In response to evidence of declines, pollinators and pollination have attracted public and policy attention globally 2,16 and substantial efforts are underway to respond, through national pollinator strategies and action plans 17 . The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) performed a global assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production from 2014 to 2016 1 . ...
... However, unlike the more recent IPBES global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services 21 , the pollination Articles NATUrE EcOlOGy & EvOlUTiON assessment did not directly compare and rank the relative importance of major drivers of pollinator decline or make any integrated assessment of the risks it generates for society, either at global or at regional levels. Consequently, although researchers have made broad, global recommendations about how to respond to pollinator decline 16 , addressing specific drivers and risks at national or regional scales appropriate for policy implementation has been more challenging 22 . ...
Article
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Pollinator decline has attracted global attention and substantial efforts are underway to respond through national pollinator strategies and action plans. These policy responses require clarity on what is driving pollinator decline and what risks it generates for society in different parts of the world. Using a formal expert elicitation process, we evaluated the relative regional and global importance of eight drivers of pollinator decline and ten consequent risks to human well-being. Our results indicate that global policy responses should focus on reducing pressure from changes in land cover and configuration, land management and pesticides, as these were considered very important drivers in most regions. We quantify how the importance of drivers and risks from pollinator decline, differ among regions. For example, losing access to managed pollinators was considered a serious risk only for people in North America, whereas yield instability in pollinator-dependent crops was classed as a serious or high risk in four regions but only a moderate risk in Europe and North America. Overall, perceived risks were substantially higher in the Global South. Despite extensive research on pollinator decline, our analysis reveals considerable scientific uncertainty about what this means for human society.
... A focus on bee conservation is justified because many species are declining (Potts et al., 2010), and bees have recognized roles in urban ecosystem functioning (Lowenstein et al., 2015). Bee decline has prompted national and international policy agendas for pollinator protection (Dicks et al., 2016;Hall & Steiner, 2019;Pollinator Health Task Force, 2016). However, if urban conservation is to mitigate bee losses and conserve pollination services, bee habitat requirements must be better understood and reconciled with urban development. ...
... Current recommendations for pollinator conservation call for governments to maintain and restore green infrastructure in agricultural and urban landscapes (Dicks et al., 2016;Potts et al., 2010). Despite this, policies rarely address habitat creation in a city (Hall & Steiner, 2019; Pollinator Health Task Force, 2016). ...
Article
Pollinator welfare is a recognized research and policy target, and urban greenspaces have been identified as important habitats. Yet, landscape-scale habitat fragmentation and greenspace management practices may limit a city's conservation potential. We examined how landscape configuration, composition, and local patch quality influenced insect nesting success across inner-city Cleveland, Ohio (U.S.A.), a postindustrial legacy city containing a high abundance of vacant land (over 1600 ha). Here, 40 vacant lots were assigned 1 of 5 habitat treatments (T1, vacant lot; T2, grass lawn; T3, flowering lawn; T4, grass prairie; and T5, flowering prairie), and we evaluated how seeded vegetation, greenspace size, and landscape connectivity influenced cavity-nesting bee and wasp reproduction. Native bee and wasp larvae were more abundant in landscapes that contained a large patch (i.e., >6 ha) of contiguous greenspace, in habitats with low plant biomass, and in vacant lots seeded with a native wildflower seed mix or with fine-fescue grass, suggesting that fitness was influenced by urban landscape features and habitat management. Our results can guide urban planning by demonstrating that actions that maintain large contiguous greenspace in the landscape and establish native plants would support the conservation of bees and wasps. Moreover, our study highlights that the world's estimated 350 legacy cities are promising urban conservation targets due to their high abundance of vacant greenspace that could accommodate taxa's habitat needs in urban areas.
... Calls have been made for transdisciplinary approaches to pollinator research (Bartomeus and Dicks 2019), and ecologists are increasingly seeking to influence policy around pollinator management (e.g. Dicks et al. 2016;Potts et al. 2016;Bartomeus and Dicks 2019;Kleijn et al. 2019), but a wider base from which to define research approaches is required. A truly interdisciplinary approach to understanding sustainability in beekeeping, co-produced with beekeepers holding a variety of perspectives, and designed and implemented in collaboration with trained social scientists, is fundamental to understand sustainability in beekeeping. ...
Article
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Beekeepers are central to pollinator health. For policymakers and beekeeping organisations to develop widely accepted strategies to sustain honeybee populations alongside wild pollinators, a structured understanding of beekeeper motivations is essential. UK beekeepers are increasing in number, with diverse management styles despite calls for coordinated practice to manage honeybee health. Our Q methodology study in Cornwall, UK, indicated five beekeeping perspectives; conventional hobbyists, natural beekeepers, black bee farmers, new-conventional hobbyists and pragmatic bee farmers. Motivations can be shared across perspectives but trade-offs (notably between economic, social responsibility and ideological motivations) result in differing practices, some of which counter ‘official’ UK advice and may have implications for pollinator health and competition. Honeybee conservation emerged as a key motivator behind non-conventional practices, but wild pollinator conservation was not prioritised by most beekeepers in practice. Q methodology has the potential to facilitate non-hierarchical collaboration and conceptualisation of sustainable beekeeping, moving towards co-production of knowledge to influence policy.
... In this respect, many areas of Europe are considered to have higher risk of pollinator decline 9 , and therefore management measures are urgently needed. Dicks et al. 18 proposed ten possible policies to safeguard pollination services and suggested including the evaluation of direct, indirect and sub-lethal effects on pollinators in genetically modified (GM) crop risk assessments. More specifically the authors stated that "GM crops pose potential risks to pollinators through poorly understood sub-lethal and indirect effects" and indicated as an example of such lack of information the case of herbicide-tolerant (HT) GM crops which could impair pollinators possibilities of finding food sources with possible consequences at population and landscape scale. ...
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Bee pollinators are an important guild delivering a fundamental input to European agriculture, due to the ecological service they provide to crops, and the direct economic revenues from apiculture. Bee populations are declining in Europe due to the effects of several environmental stressors, both natural and of anthropic origin. Efforts are ongoing in the European Union to improve monitoring and managing pollinator populations to arrest further declines. Genetically modified (GM) crops are currently cultivated on a limited area in Europe, an environmental risk assessment (ERA) is required prior to their authorization for cultivation. The possible impacts of GM crops on pollinators are deemed relevant for the ERA. Existing eco‐toxicological studies indicated that traits currently expressed in insect resistant GM plants are unlikely to represent a risk for pollinators. However new mechanisms of insect resistance are being introduced into GM plants, including novel combinations of Cry toxins and dsRNA, and an ERA is required to consider lethal and sub‐lethal effects of these new products on non‐target species, including insect pollinators. The evaluation of indirect effects linked to the changes in management practices (e.g. for herbicide‐tolerant GM crops) is an important component of European Union regulations and a requirement for ERA. This paper reviews current approaches used to test the sensitivity of pollinators to GM plants and their products to determine whether sufficient data is being provided on novel GM plants for satisfying the EU risk assessment requirements. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Scaling CS initiatives to the global level may contribute to bee monitoring programs, which can provide essential information on how pollinators face global change [59]. Indeed, participatory research has been increasingly indicated as a powerful strategy for long-term pollinator monitoring, suggesting an avenue for mainstreaming CS in bee and pollination research and advocating for funding those initiatives [60][61][62]. Since the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) already accepts CS data, including these data on research will become more common and highlights the importance of data sharing practices. ...
Article
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Expanding involvement of the public in citizen science projects can benefit both volunteers and professional scientists alike. Recently, citizen science has come into focus as an important data source for reporting and monitoring United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since bees play an essential role in the pollination ecosystem service, citizen science projects involving them have a high potential for attaining SDGs. By performing a systematic review of citizen science studies on bees, we assessed how these studies could contribute towards SDG reporting and monitoring, and also verified compliance with citizen science principles. Eighty eight studies published from 1992 to 2020 were collected. SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 17 (Partnerships) were the most outstanding, potentially contributing to targets related to biodiversity protection, restoration and sustainable use, capacity building and establishing multi stakeholder partnerships. SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 4 (Quality Education), and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) were also addressed. Studies were found to produce new knowledge, apply methods to improve data quality, and invest in open access publishing. Notably, volunteer participation was mainly restricted to data collection. Further challenges include extending these initiatives to developing countries, where only a few citizen science projects are underway.
... In the last decade, there has been a growing concern about the decline of pollinators worldwide (e.g. Potts et al. 2010Potts et al. , 2016Dicks et al. 2016). But the alerts and efforts to protect and conserve pollinators are mainly related to food production and security (e.g. ...
Article
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Urbanization has rapidly increased in recent decades and the negative effects on biodiversity have been widely reported. Urban green areas can contribute to improving human well-being, maintaining biodiversity, and ecosystem services (e.g. pollination). Here we examine the evolution of studies on plant–pollinator interactions in urban ecosystems worldwide, reviewing also research funding and policy actions. We documented a significant increase in the scientific production on the theme in recent years, especially in the temperate region; tropical urban ecosystems are still neglected. Plant–pollinator interactions are threatened by urbanization in complex ways, depending on the studied group (plant or pollinator [generalist or specialist]) and landscape characteristics. Several research opportunities emerge from our review. Research funding and policy actions to pollination/pollinator in urban ecosystems are still scarce and concentrated in developed countries/temperate regions. To make urban green spaces contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services, transdisciplinary approaches (ecological–social–economic–cultural) are needed.
... Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is promoted as a way to mitigate the negative impact of intensive agricultural management on bees. Yet, it has been shown to also impact pollinators and is not a specific response to protect bee populations [163,164]. Egan and colleagues [164] thus introduced a new systematic framework that is called Integrated Pest and Pollinators Management (IPPM; [165]), in order to integrate measures specifically benefiting pollinators. They propose different measures to (1) avoid reaching action thresholds for both pest and pollinators but also (2) curative measures once the action thresholds have been exceeded. ...
Article
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Abstract: Wild bees are facing a global decline mostly induced by numerous human factors for the last decades. In parallel, public interest for their conservation increased considerably, namely through numerous scientific studies relayed in the media. In spite of this broad interest, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject is blatant and reveals a gap between awareness and understanding. While their decline is extensively studied, information on conservation measures is often scattered in the literature. We are now beyond the precautionary principle and experts are calling for effective actions to promote wild bee diversity and the enhancement of environment quality. In this review, we draw a general and up-to-date assessment of the conservation methods, as well as their efficiency and the current projects that try to fill the gaps and optimize the conservation measures. Targeting bees, we focused our attention on (i) the protection and restoration of wild bee habitats, (ii) the conservation measures in anthropogenic habitats, (iii) the implementation of human made tools, (iv) how to deal with invasive alien species, and finally (v) how to communicate efficiently and accurately. This review can be considered as a needed catalyst to implement concrete and qualitative conversation actions for bees.
... Since the 1990s, there has been a surge in reports indicating the decline of pollinators, both in the natural and agricultural habitats, and its impact on pollination services (Buchmann and Nabhan 1996;Kearns et al. 1998;Kremen and Ricketts 2000;Klein et al. 2007;Wilcock and Neiland 2002;Samejima et al. 2004;Hegland et al. 2009;Murray et al. 2009;Potts et al. 2010;Obute 2010;Aslan et al. 2013, Tylianakis 2013, Dicks et al. 2016, IPBES 2016. Biesmeijer et al. (2006) analysed bee and hoverfly assemblages in Britain and the Netherlands based on about one million records from the National Entomological databases. ...
Chapter
Pollination is an essential requirement for fruit and seed set. It is, therefore, crucial for crop productivity and sustenance of flowering plant diversity in their natural habitats. Nearly 90% of flowering plants use a range of animals to achieve pollination. Human-induced environmental changes in recent decades have markedly reduced the diversity, density and distribution of pollinators around the world, resulting in global pollinator crisis. The crisis is also threatening the survival of managed pollinators that are being used routinely for decades for pollination services of a large number of crop species grown in monoculture cropping system. Thus, pollination constraints have raised serious concern on the sustenance of crop productivity and plant diversity in the coming decades. Concerted efforts are being made around the world to study pollinator and pollination both in natural and agricultural habitats to mitigate the crisis. Recent approaches have been to use integrated pollination services using the wild as well as managed pollinators for crop species and to make the agricultural and natural habitats favourable for the sustenance of pollinators. Unfortunately, biologists in the tropics in general and India in particular have remained indifferent about pollinators and pollination services of wild as well as pollinator-dependent crop species. Serious efforts are needed to initiate extensive studies on the pollination ecology of our crops and wild species and make all possible efforts to identify and alleviate the pollinator crisis.
... At larger scales, governments need to promote policies that strengthen pesticide regulations to address landscape contamination, for instance, by banning the cosmetic use of pest control products, or by rewarding farmers for adopting organic, diversified and ecologically intensified farming practices with price incentives and technical support (Dicks et al., 2016;Graystock et al., 2013). In this process, educating and raising awareness of the public are a key step to encourage societies to apply these strategies, for instance, by supporting the dissemination of scientific research to general audiences (Michez, Rasmont, Terzo, & Vereecken, 2019). ...
Article
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Aim: Among the numerous anthropogenic pressures threatening biodiversity, habitat destruction and climate change are pointed to as dominant. In response, a number of mitigation strategies are elaborated to save endangered living organisms. However, the taxonomic level and geographical extent at which conservation strategies should be designed and implemented remain generally unclear. Here, we aim to assess and discuss the importance to apply conservation strategies at an appropriate taxonomic scale. For this purpose, we focus our analyses on bumblebees (genus Bombus), a group of critically important and endangered pollinators. Location: West-Palaearctic. Methods: We use a species distribution modelling approach to investigate and compare climatic and habitat-related variables associated with the distribution of West- Palaearctic bumblebees. Our analyses are based on a data set gathering more than 125,000 unique observation points for 68 species. Results: We highlight species-specific associations with climatic and land cover variables, depicting the strong relevance of taxon-specific mitigation strategies for the conservation of those key pollinators. We also identify that the occurrence probability of localized and widespread species is mostly predicted by specific land cover characteristics and climatic conditions, respectively. Finally, we report the general absence of phylogenetic signal associated with the relative importance of each environmental variable in species distribution models, underlining the difficulty to predict species-specific environmental requirements based on evolutionary relationships. Main conclusions: In the light of these results, we conclude that climate change and landscape destruction are not expected to drive the fate of all bumblebee species in a same direction, even for phylogenetically close lineages. We argue in favour of geographically and taxonomically adapted conservation strategies and discuss the limitations of untargeted action plans for species with different climatic/habitat requirements.
... Although there is considerable consensus on the biophysical interventions that are effective for pollinator conservation (IPBES 2016;Sutherland et al. 2019), there is far less research on the "human factor"-the behavioral interventions required to get people to enhance habitats to conserve pollinators (Christmann 2019). With high-level political commitments to support pollinators only surfacing (Dicks et al. 2016;IEEP 2017), it remains unclear whether and how the conservation actions in these initiatives are consistent with behavior change theories and models. An assessment of the capacity of planned interventions for pollinators to deliver is urgently needed. ...
Article
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Solutions for conserving biodiversity lie in changing people's behavior. Ambitious international and national conservation policies frequently fail to effectively mitigate biodiversity loss because they rarely apply behavior-change theories. We conducted a gap analysis of conservation behavior-change interventions advocated in national conservation strategies with the Behavior Change Wheel (BCW), a comprehensive framework for systematically characterizing and designing behavior-change interventions. Using pollinator conservation as a case study, we classified the conservation actions listed in national pollinator initiatives in relation to intervention functions and policy categories of the BCW. We included all national-level policy documents from the European Union available in March 2019 that focused on conservation of pollinators (n = 8). A total of 610 pollinator conservation actions were coded using in-depth directed content analysis, resulting in the identification of 787 intervention function and 766 policy category codes. Overall, these initiatives did not employ the entire breadth of behavioral interventions. Intervention functions most frequently identified were education (23%) and environmental restructuring (19%). Least frequently identified intervention functions were incentivization (3%), and restriction (2%) and coercion were completely absent (0%). Importantly, 41% of all pollinator conservation actions failed to identify whose behavior was to be changed. Building on these analyses, we suggest that reasons for the serious implementation gap in national and international conservation policies is founded in insufficient understanding of which behavioral interventions to employ for most beneficial impacts on biodiversity and how to clearly specify the intervention targets. We recommend that policy advisors engage with behavior-change theory to design effective behavior-change interventions that underpin successful conservation policies.
... Although its tractability is moderately low, its importance is moderately high, and its neglect is high. Several potential solutions exist (Dicks et al., 2016), but no panacea. The drivers are multi-faceted (Potts et al., 2010) and require a combination of multiple tactics. ...
Article
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Various environmental challenges are rapidly threatening ecosystems and societies globally. Major interventions and a strategic approach are required to minimize harm and to avoid reaching catastrophic tipping points. Setting evidence-based priorities aids maximizing the impact of the limited resources available for environmental interventions. Focusing on protecting both food security and biodiversity, international experts prioritized major environmental challenges for intervention based on three comprehensive criteria – importance, neglect, and tractability. The top priorities differ between food security and biodiversity. For food security, the top priorities are loss of pollinators, soil compaction, and nutrient depletion, and for biodiversity conservation, ocean acidification and land and sea use (especially habitat degradation) are the main concerns. While climate change might be the most pressing environmental challenge and mitigation is clearly off-track, other issues rank higher because of climate change's high attention in research. Research and policy agendas do not yet consistently cover these priorities. Thus, a shift in attention towards the high-priority environmental challenges, identified here, is needed to increase the effectiveness of global environmental protection.
... In addition to the complete sequence of the mtGenome, we also report the polymorphic sites of the studied population in this molecule (Table S3). These data might be useful for population genetic, phylogenetic and conservation studies (revised by Smith 2015) and are especially relevant considering all of the efforts recently applied to develop conservation strategies for native bees (Dicks et al. 2016;Potts et al. 2016), due to their importance as pollinators of native and commercial plants (Garibaldi et al. 2014(Garibaldi et al. , 2016. In general, the number of SNPs was correlated with gene size (Figure S5), but a higher ratio of SNPs could be observed in the CO3 and ND4 genes, suggesting that these genes are good candidates for phylogenetic and taxonomic studies. ...
Article
The analysis of mitochondrial DNA polymorphism has been applied in multiple organisms to obtain information about species biology, ecology, population dynamics, and evolution. In this manuscript, the complete sequencing and characterization of the mitochondrial genome (mtGenome) of Tetrapedia diversipes are reported and discussed from comparative and evolutionary perspectives among all mtGenomes available for bees so far. The T. diversipes mtGenome is 15,358 bp long and exhibits the typical set of genes and an A+T-rich region of 588 bp. The overall base composition is biased towards A/T (84.3%), with 42.6% A, 41.7% T, 9.8% C, and 5.9% G nucleotides. The obtained data also comprise the mitochondrial DNA methylation and single-nucleotide polymorphic sites of one T. diversipes population. Transcription follows the “tRNA punctuation” model, with at least three primary polycistronic transcripts that are posteriorly processed. Additionally, higher expression rates of the 16S gene suggest the existence of an exclusive transcription site in this region, and the differential expression of the 12S gene between larvae and adults reveals different isoforms for this gene. The sequence order of protein-coding and rRNA genes is conserved across different bee lineages, and differences are restricted to tRNA gene positions. The present results characterize numerous understudied aspects of bee mtGenomes, and a major evolutionary review of this molecule within the group is provided. Therefore, this work is a valuable resource for studying mitochondrial molecular biology and evolution in bees.
... Ezek a tendenciák nemcsak a háziméhekre, hanem a vad beporzókra nézve is károsak. A nemzetközi szakirodalomban és szakpolitikákban globálisan és európai léptékben is megfogalmazódott, hogy ha csupán néhány termény hozamának TájválTozás, TájhasználaT és az ideális méhlegelő rövid távú maximalizálására törekszünk az intenzifikáció által, az a beporzók populációinak károsodása és az ökológiai integritás sérülése révén, hosszútávon a fenntartható élelmiszerbiztonság kockáztatását vonhatja maga után (Dicks et al. 2016, Potts et al. 2016a. ...
... The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was initiated in 2012 to provide governments and society with independent and scientifically based assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services, corresponding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). IPBES has recently compiled a thorough review of the scientific literature and assessed the global status of pollinators, pollination and food production (IPBES, 2016), and concluded that pollinators and the pollination service they provide are threatened by land-use change, agricultural intensification, climate change, pesticide use, pathogens, genetically modified organisms, and invasive species (Dicks et al., 2016;IPBES, 2016;Potts et al., 2016). Pollinators play key role in the survival of integrity of terrestrial ecosystem through their major role in plant reproduction, thereby providing services and goods to the society. ...
... Pollinators are under threat from factors associated with human activities, including habitat loss and degradation, pesticides, parasites, patho-gens, invasive species, and climate change, as demonstrated by the International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES 2016;Potts et al. 2016). To safeguard pollinators, the conservation of natural landscapes and the use of bee-friendly practices in agriculture should be promoted and implemented (Carvalheiro et al. 2011;Garibaldi et al. 2014;Dicks et al. 2016), which is considered a global priority (Brown et al. 2016). In the face of rising demand for pollinatordependent crops (Aizen et al. 2009), it is fundamental to identify key pollinator species with the dual goals of improving the effectiveness of Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-019-00727-3) ...
Article
The need for basic information on tropical crop pollinators remains a key priority. Here, we used a dataset on Brazilian bee-crop interactions to determine important bee species for crop pollination and discuss their management in Brazilian croplands. We developed an analytical approach to select key bee species and genera from datasets based on different criteria, selecting only interactions reported as effective pollination events. Data on pollination included 261 records of unique crop-pollinator interaction, 144 bee species, and 23 crops. Despite the importance of social species, solitary bees accounted for 56% of the observed interactions. Of the 14 most important species, eight are solitary and six are social. A few of the selected species are already reared in Brazil, e.g., honeybees and some stingless bees, but practical knowledge on their management for crop pollination is poorly disseminated among farmers, hindering such an application.
... Assessments on the value of pollinators (An & Chen, 2011;Gallai et al., 2009) can trigger motivation to preserve pollinators. The importance of policies (Christmann, 2019c;Cole et al., 2020;Dicks et al., 2016b;EU, 2020;Gemill-Herren et al., 2021) and a structured policy dialogue including worst-case scenario, low-cost crosssector policy instruments and cross-cutting benefits have been highlighted (Christmann, 2020). ...
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Reward-based wildflower strips are the most common approach for pollinator protection in high-income countries. Low-and middle-income countries cannot afford this practice. A promising pilot study in Uzbekistan introduced an alternative approach, Farming with Alternative Pollinators, focusing on farmers as target group, marketable habitat enhancement plants and a method-inherent incentive: higher income per surface achieved already in the first year. We hypothesized that higher income would be a replicable enabling factor across continents, but a knowledge-raising campaign would be necessary in many low-and middle-income countries. We assessed the replicability of the incentive with a small number of farmers in 2015-2016 in Morocco but focused on assessing if farmers have sufficient knowledge to recognize wild pollinators and use this approach. We conducted 766 interviews using a standardized questionnaire with randomly selected smallholder farmers in three culturally different farming societies of low-and middle-income countries (Morocco, Turkey and Benin). Farming with Alternative Pollinators induced higher income (75% (2015), 177% (2016)) also in Morocco. The trial and the survey show the indispensability of a knowledge-raising campaign as the second enabling factor. However, based on capacity building, Farming with Alternative Pollinators could have indeed high potential to promote pollinator protection in low-and middle-income countries.
... Maintenance of diversified farming systems and the conservation and restoration of green infrastructure, which are i.e. demanded as pollinator policies ( Dicks et al., 2016), are possibly more appealing to pollinator-dependent farmers than to wine-growers. Still, pollinatorfriendly management could have financial advantages to vine-growers. ...
Article
The expansion and intensification of agriculture are the main causes of current insect declines. Pollinators like cavity-nesting bees can be limited by reduced nesting and feeding opportunities in farmland. As insects constitute the bulk of terrestrial biodiversity and fulfill important ecological functions, there is an urgent need to identify ways to combine agricultural land use and insect conservation. Perennial crops like grapevine can provide permanent habitats for numerous beneficial organisms including various pollinators. With their dominating character in viticultural areas and > 7 million ha covered by vines globally, their potential to contribute to nature conservation should be more widely considered. We compared effects of organic management, inter-row vegetation characteristics and landscape parameters on the abundance and species richness of cavity-nesting bees in Central German vineyards. In a paired study design, we assessed cavity-nesting bees in 15 pairs of organically and conventionally managed vineyards along a gradient of landscape complexity. We found that organic management, even though it enhanced flower availability in the vineyards, was only partially beneficial for cavity-nesting bee abundance. Abundance and species richness were enhanced by either semi-natural habitat area or proximity of woody elements like hedges or forest remnants, most likely due to the nesting demands of this particular group of pollinators. We conclude that vineyards can help to sustain cavity-nesting bee abundance , given that landscapes are managed accordingly. We recommend maintaining or establishing woody elements between vineyards, which is likely to also benefit additional groups of organisms such as breeding birds in viticultural landscapes.
... Assessments on the value of pollinators (An & Chen, 2011;Gallai et al., 2009) can trigger motivation to preserve pollinators. The importance of policies (Christmann, 2019c;Cole et al., 2020;Dicks et al., 2016b;EU, 2020;Gemill-Herren et al., 2021) and a structured policy dialogue including worst-case scenario, low-cost crosssector policy instruments and cross-cutting benefits have been highlighted (Christmann, 2020). ...
Article
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Reward-based wildflower strips are the most common approach for pollinator protection in high-income countries. Low- and middle-income countries cannot afford this practice. A promising pilot study in Uzbekistan introduced an alternative approach, Farming with Alternative Pollinators, focusing on farmers as target group, marketable habitat enhancement plants and a method-inherent incentive: higher income per surface achieved already in the first year. We hypothesised that higher income would be a replicable enabling factor across continents, but a knowledge-raising campaign would be necessary in many low and middle-income countries. We assessed the replicability of the incentive with a small number of farmers 2015-2016 in Morocco but focused on assessing if farmers have sufficient knowledge to recognize wild pollinators and use this approach. We conducted 766 interviews using a standardized questionnaire with randomly selected smallholder farmers in three culturally different farming societies of low- and middle-income countries (Morocco, Turkey and Benin). Farming with Alternative Pollinators induced higher income (75% (2015), 177% (2016)) also in Morocco. The trial and the survey show the indispensability of a knowledge-raising campaign as second enabling factor. However, based on capacity building, Farming with Alternative Pollinators could have indeed high potential to promote pollinator protection in low- and middle-income countries.
... The configuration and heterogeneity of the landscape in which the bee colonies are located, along with the characteristics of agricultural management, have direct and indirect implications on the survival of bees (e.g., Dicks et al. 2016;Dolezal et al. 2019;St. Clair 2020). ...
Article
Honeybees settled in agricultural ecosystems may encounter glyphosate residues on flowers of cultivated and native plants growing in semi-natural habitats. This work analyzes the relationship between the presence of pesticides in honey and some features of the landscape that surrounds the apiaries. A total of 30 honey samples were analyzed, and the presence of glyphosate and of its metabolite Aminophosphoric Acid (AMPA) was registered with a positivity of 50% and 30%, respectively. The presence of both glyphosate and AMPA in honey, even at very low levels, identifies an important pathway whereby pesticides migrate from the site of application to the hive and into the honey. Our results suggest that the increasing amount of croplands along with the intensification of industrial agriculture is not sufficient to explain the relationship with glypho-sate and AMPA residues in honey. These trends suggest that more detailed studies within particular regions of the landscape could be useful to better understand the relationship of agricultural practices and the presence of pesticides in honey. Glyphosate / AMPA / Landscape configuration / Crop matrix
... Beyond theoretical implications, these types of studies provide mechanistic insights to guide evidence-based conservation policy relating to the type of landscape-level resource management required for conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. As biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide-threatening associated benefits and services-such studies need to be given priority (Dicks et al., 2016). Looking forwards, however, the success of landscape ecologists in enhancing ecosystem service delivery through landscape design (Grass et al., 2020;Landis, 2017), requires engagement with stakeholders and policy makers to identify cost-benefits associated with sustainable intensification, and also in balancing sustainability and conservation with other related financial and social needs (Geertsema et al., 2016;Grass et al., 2021). ...
Chapter
Despite a developing understanding of how landscape level processes moderate biodiversity patterns and ecosystem functioning, key questions remain unresolved, therefore limiting our ability to manage for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning at the most appropriate scales. These questions have remained unanswered because studies in agricultural landscapes generally over-emphasize alpha diversity within managed land uses, and are focused at scales that are irrelevant to species studied. We argue that the key to resolving unanswered questions in landscape-moderated effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning lies in establishing the distribution of available species and functions across the landscape and between land uses, and in understanding how this distribution of species varies with changing landscape context. We emphasize the need for studies that empirically test the mechanisms underpinning landscape-moderated effects on biodiversity and ecosystem function and link these with ecosystem service delivery. We facilitate this approach by outlining the empirical investigations that will lead to a better understanding of biodiversity patterns and ecosystem functioning at the landscape scale, and we highlight statistical approaches to support these different approaches to sampling. Our paper is divided in four sections: (A) we identify where and why gaps exist in our mechanistic understanding of landscape level processes, by reviewing current hypotheses; (B) we outline why, and how, landscape level research would benefit from shifting the focus to the distribution and partitioning of species and functions within a landscape; (C) we outline why, and how, larger scale processes, such as dispersal and meta-population dynamics need to be addressed in a more interactive fashion; and finally, (D) we round out by highlighting the experimental settings where landscape effects most urgently need testing.
... There are also many other potential ways to evaluate the pollinator protection plans. For example, a team of scientists released ten policy items that would promote pollinating insect conservation (Dicks et al. 2016). It is possible that the state pollinator plans would score higher or differently if assessed using those criteria instead. ...
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After the US federal government created a national pollinator protection plan in 2015, many states followed with their own. Since their goal is to promote pollinating insect conservation, we wanted to know whether the state plans are using best practices for evidence-based science policy. In early 2019 we found and downloaded every existing, publicly available US state pollinator protection plan. We then used content analysis to assess the goals, scope, and implementation of state-level pollinator protection plans across the US. This analysis was conducted using three distinct frameworks for evidence-based policymaking: US Department of Interior Adaptive Resources Management (ARM), US Environmental Protection Agency management pollinator protection plan (MP3) guidance, and Pew Trusts Pew-MacAthur Results First Project elements of evidence-based state policymaking (PEW) framework. Then we scored them using the framework criteria, to assess whether the plans were using known best practices for evidence based policymaking. Of the 31 states with a state pollinator plan, Connecticut was the state with the lowest total score across the three evaluation frameworks. The state with the highest overall scores, across the three frameworks, was Missouri. Most states did not score highly on the majority of the frameworks. Overall, many state plans were lacking policy elements that address monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment. These missing elements impact the ability of states to achieve their conservation goals. Our results indicate that states can improve their pollinator conservation policies to better match evidence-based science policy guidance, regardless of which framework is used.
... Bees in Europe and North America are one of the declining insect groups (Zattara and Aizen, 2021). Habitat loss, fragmentation and pesticides are among the reasons discussed to be responsible for this decline, which mostly emerge from intensified agriculture resulting in habitat changes reducing flower resources required for food and nest construction (Dicks et al., 2016;Dicks et al., 2020;Goulson et al., 2015). ...
Article
Flower strips are a frequently adopted measure to conserve insects, especially pollinators, and are subsidized as Agri-Environmental Scheme in many regions. They provide a high quantity of flowers, but their flower species composition and phenological development is mostly uniform. This may result in only a fraction of pollinator species being enhanced. Flower-rich semi-natural habitat patches along slopes, fences or ditches, may provide resources for additional species, but they are not politically promoted. In this study, we compare pollinator communities in sown perennial flower strips with existing flower-rich herbaceous semi-natural habitat patches, both located at the edge of conventional apple orchards in Southern Germany. The flower strips attracted a higher pollinator abundance and species richness than the existing habitat patches. However, the bee species composition differed between the two habitat types. The existing habitat patches attracted bee species with different pollen specialization than the sown flower strips. Pollinator abundance and species richness varied between the different existing habitat patches indicating a high heterogeneity of these existing habitats, whereas the flower strips showed consistently high pollinator abundance and richness. We conclude that existing herbaceous habitat patches are attractive for pollinators and should be promoted by policy actions. Flower-rich semi-natural habitat patches develop without sowing next to typical agricultural landscape elements like slopes, fences and ditches with moderate mowing or herbicide application. They generally do not compete with agricultural land use and thus have a high potential to promote pollinator conservation.
... Previous authors have similarly suggested that forage availability within flight range of the nest site and across the season may be more important than the spatial continuity of forage resources or the spatial extent of individual patches (e.g. Jha and Kremen 2013;Dicks et al. 2015Dicks et al. , 2016Herascu 2017). ...
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Context There have been dramatic global declines in pollinating insects. A common land management intervention to support wild pollinators is to plant non-crop flowering plants (‘pollinator planting’). However, there are limited data on which species or spatial arrangement of planting provide maximum benefit to wild pollinators. Objectives Here we investigate which flowering species and locations are visited by free-foraging Bombus terrestris (buff-tailed bumblebees) in species-rich semi-natural grassland and woodland. Methods Two study nests of buff-tailed bumblebees were established in Wytham Woods, UK. Pollen analogue pigments were sprayed on open flowers in the study area over a period of two months, with unique colours used to identify separate sections of the study area. Pollen load analysis was used to identify forage species and foraging locations. Results Bumblebees showed low flower constancy, visiting five flower species per trip on average, and as a group the sampled bumblebees visited 36 of the 49 plant species identified in study area surveys. Many individuals foraged in multiple, spatially-discrete locations during single trips. Conclusions The positive relationship between floral diversity and pollen load species diversity, and the positive relationship between site floral diversity and frequency of visitation, suggest behavioural strategies that maximize the diversity of flower species visited, in line with the energetic costs and benefits hypothesis . This supports recommendations for pollinator plantings with high species diversity, potentially spread across many small forage areas across the landscape.
... Importance of systematic appraisal of the local community knowledge about the status or conservation threats to biodiversity has been widely recognized (Sutherland et al. 2004;Brook and McLachlan 2008;Chowdhury and Koike 2010;Singh et al. 2013;Braga and Schiavetti 2013;Roue et al. 2017). Use of multiple evidence that recognizes the community's knowledge in shaping conservation programs has therefore been strongly advocated (Hunter and Brehm 2003;Sutherland 2013;Segger and Phillips 2015;Dicks et al. 2016;Smith et al. 2017). Nagoya Protocol (2014) too emphasizes the role of local and indigenous knowledge for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. ...
Article
Systematic appraisal of community’s knowledge as evidence for biodiversity conservation has been widely recognized. For conserving the rich biodiversity in the rural landscape outside the protected areas, it is important to document the knowledge and perception of the farming community. Although such appraisal is available for different taxa, no such systematic study is available for herpetofauna- one of the most vulnerable faunal groups. Our study attempts to document the impact of agricultural intensification on herpetofauna in an agricultural landscape through knowledge and perception appraisal of the farming community. A semi-structured questionnaire survey and validation was conducted in areas of low, medium, and high agricultural intensification. In all areas, farmers indicated an overall decrease in herpetofauna abundance. Farmers at the mid and high agricultural intensification zones reported a more significant decrease in herpetofauna sightings specifically for amphibians and snakes compared to those under low intensification regions. Farmers at low intensification area recognized significantly more herpetofauna. Farmers attributed five major threats to herpetofauna and ranked pesticide as the most significant reason, especially those in higher intensification. The majority were aware of the importance of herpetofauna as a biological pest control agent. Level of education or farming experience did not seem to have any influence on the farmers’ knowledge. Our findings integrated with other quantitative studies will facilitate future community-driven conservation in the studied agricultural landscapes.
... Moreover, farmers historically (and erroneously) have been treated as a homogenous group in terms of their beliefs. But rather, farmer beliefs, demographics, and economics vary, and these factors all mediate the adoption of pollinator supportive production practices (Kaine and Bewsell, 2008;Wilson et al., 2009;Dicks et al., 2016). ...
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While research suggests that pollinator decline is linked with agricultural practices, it is unclear whether farmers share this view and adapt management to promote pollinators based on their understanding of these threats. To address these issues, we surveyed farmers of pollinator-dependent cucurbit crops across four states in the Midwest, USA. We grouped farmers by their perceptions of pollinator declines and routes of pesticide exposure and used statistical models to evaluate if farmers manage pests and pollinators based on these perceptions. Out of 93 completed surveys, 39% of farmers believed pollinators were in decline. When grouped, 17% of farmers were classified as proponents, ranking (on a 1–5 Likert scale) the factors mediating pesticide exposure and pollinator declines as important or highly important. For comparison, 44 and 39% of farmers were classified as neutral or skeptical, respectively, of these same factors. Compared to the neutral and skeptic groups, proponents were on average younger, had fewer years farming but more years in family farming, and were more dependent on income from outside the farming system. Proponents also on average reported smaller farms, higher pest richness, more land in cucurbit production, and greater richness of crops that are not pollinator dependent, when compared to the neutrals and skeptics. We did not find pest and pollinator management to be related to farmer perceptions of pollinator decline or routes of pesticide exposure, but farmers classified as pollinator “proponents” were more likely to indicate participation in future pollinator habitat restoration programs. Rather, management strategies were better explained by on-farm environmental conditions (e.g., pest richness, farm size, number of pollinator dependent crops) and economic factors (e.g., sources of income). Generally, our research shows that farmers who perceive pollinator threats may not be using pollinator supportive practices. Thus, while some farmers believe in pollinator declines, there remains a need to connect this knowledge with on-farm practices.
... We are increasingly aware of the significant contribution pollinators make to global food production, particularly of nutritionally important crops (Smith et al., 2015). In addition, as evidence of yield deficits emerge (Garibaldi et al., 2016), there is a need to ensure pollination services are supported through policy and practice (Dicks et al., 2016;Garibaldi et al., 2019). Avoiding ...
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Pollinators face multiple pressures and there is evidence of populations in decline. As demand for insect‐pollinated crops increases, crop production is threatened by shortfalls in pollination services. Understanding the extent of current yield deficits due to pollination and identifying opportunities to protect or improve crop yield and quality through pollination management is therefore of international importance. To explore the extent of ‘pollination deficits’, where maximum yield is not being achieved due to insufficient pollination, we use an extensive dataset on a globally important crop, apples. We quantified how these deficits vary between orchards and countries as well as compare ‘pollinator dependence’ across different apple varieties. We found evidence of pollination deficits and in some cases, risks of over‐pollination were even apparent where fruit quality could be reduced by too much pollination. In almost all regions studied we found some orchards performing significantly better than others, in terms of avoiding a pollination deficit and crop yield shortfalls due to sub‐optimal pollination. This represents an opportunity to improve production through better pollinator and crop management. Our findings also demonstrate that pollinator dependence varies considerably between apple varieties in terms of fruit number and fruit quality. We propose that assessments of pollination service and deficits in crops can be used to quantify supply and demand for pollinators and help target local management to address deficits although crop variety has a strong influence on the role of pollinators.
... México siendo un país mega-diverso biológicamente requiere desarrollar un plan nacional para la conservación de los polinizadores. En otros países tales estrategias se consideran de interés y seguridad nacional (Dicks et al. 2010;Brown et al. 2016;Dicks et al. 2016;IPBES 2016). La meliponicultura al igual que otras actividades que dependen de las abejas se puede beneficiar sustancialmente de la implementación de diferentes acciones en beneficio de los polinizadores. ...
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Stingless beekeeping had long been neglected overall, and in areas like Yucatán, traditional meliponiculture has been on the verge of extinction. However, since the start of the twentyfirst century, stingless bees and meliponiculture have gained much more positive public profile. Presently, Meliponiculture has gained widespread popularity and is now seen as an economic enterprise beyond hunting from the forests or the possession of a few colonies as a hobby. Nonetheless, many threats have resulted from this approach. In this chapter, a summary on history and importance of stingless beekeeping in the Maya region is presented together with an account on the current situation and an opinion on future threats and potential for the activity
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Non-bee insects have been identified as important crop pollinators globally. However, strategies to protect pollinators and enhance crop pollination usually focus on supporting bees. This study examined the effects of landscape structure, location within field, and floral resources on pollinators’ visits on mass-flowering caraway (Carum carvi L.) in boreal farmland, and the effects of the visits on caraway yield. Pollinator visits on caraway flowers were monitored and caraway yield measured in 30 fields at landscapes ranging from field-dominated to forest-dominated landscapes. Hoverflies were the most abundant flower-visitors of caraway, followed by honeybees. Hoverflies and other flies made more flower visits on caraway than all bee species combined. Pollinator groups differed in their responses to landscape and local factors. Flies were most abundant near field edges and in landscapes with high forest cover. Non-syrphid flies and solitary bees responded positively to the cover of flowering herbs in the adjacent field margins. Flower visits by honeybees, instead, were positively related to the flowering crop cover in the study fields. Caraway seed yield increased with increasing number of flower visits by honeybees, hoverflies and all pollinators together. Pollinator exclusion reduced caraway fruit set (i.e. the number of fruits per flower) by 13% and seed yield by 40%. Our study is the first to report the high importance of flies to crop pollination in boreal farmland, where caraway is an important export crop. The results highlight the need of taking flies and their habitat requirements into account when developing strategies to enhance crop pollination.
Article
1.Cultivation of bioenergy feedstocks is a growing land‐use worldwide, yet we have a poor understanding of how bioenergy crop management practices affect biodiversity. This knowledge gap is particularly acute for candidate cellulosic bioenergy feedstocks, such as tree plantations, and for organisms that provide important ecosystem services, such as pollinators. 2.We examined bee communities in 83 sites across three states in the southeastern USA—Alabama, Florida and Georgia. We compared bee abundance and diversity in 66 pine plantation sites that reflect management with and without potential bioenergy feedstock production. At least three bioenergy feedstock production methods have been proposed for this region: 1) converting conventional timber stands to short‐rotation bioenergy plantations; 2) harvesting feedstock by thinning conventional plantations; and 3) harvesting of woody debris residues after plantations have been clear‐cut. 3.We found that bioenergy‐associated management practices including younger plantations (relative to older) and woody debris removal (relative to debris unremoved) in clear‐cut plantations were associated with reduced bee diversity. Removing ground debris in clear‐cut plantations also drastically increased bee abundance, though this effect was largely driven by strong dominance of just two bee species. Clear‐cut plantations had lower beta diversity than standing plantations. 4.Synthesis and applications. Management practices associated with bioenergy feedstock production can have negative effects on bee community diversity. In particular, harvesting of debris in clear‐cut plantations dramatically reduces bee diversity. Large‐scale bioenergy feedstock production that increases the prevalence of young and clear‐cut stands may cause landscape‐level beta diversity to decline. Nevertheless, bioenergy pine plantations likely support higher bee diversity than corn fields, an alternative bioenergy feedstock.
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Apis dorsata F. (Hymenoptera: Apidae), the giant honey bee of southern Asia, is an important pollinator of crops and non-cultivated angiosperms, and a producer of honey and beeswax. Its populations are in decline in many areas. Colonies migrate seasonally between highland and lowland nesting sites, taking advantage of available food sources. In 2009, a stopover site was discovered in Thailand where numerous migrating colonies bivouacked near one another. Bivouacs used the site again in 2010. I went to the site in 2016 to test the hypothesis that bees use the site regularly as part of an annual migration. I witnessed many bivouacs, spanning almost precisely the same time period and occupying the same area as in 2010. Here I describe their migratory dances in preparation for departure and their subsequent flights as well as periodic mass flight and defensive behavior. Analysis of photographs indicated that the bivouacking bees aged slowly and may thus live long enough to be capable of intergenerational transmission of migratory route knowledge. I describe attributes of the stopover site, e.g., abundant food and water availability, its location along a major river, and other possible navigational cues. Although the site is the only one of its kind so far known to researchers, such stopover sites probably exist wherever giant honey bees undertake long seasonal migrations. I recommend searching for bivouacking sites, particularly along rivers, wherever giant honey bees migrate. Stopover sites are undoubtedly essential to the life history and health of migratory bee populations, and thus warrant conservation policies.
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Insect pollinators are becoming visible to societies. Many peer-reviewed papers evidence biophysical and ecological aspects of managed and non-managed insect pollinators. Evidence on stressors of declines yield peer-reviewed calls for action. Yet, iInsect pollinator declines are inherently a human issue, driven by a history of land-use trends, changes in technologies, and socio-cultural perceptions that unwittingly cause and perpetuate declines. Conservation requires integrating social and ecological understandings to reconfigure human behaviors across societies’ sectors. We review recent literature on the social and cultural dimensions of insect pollinators. People now like bees. We discuss the social challenges and opportunities that accompany this newfound public enthusiasm. These include the generalization of honey bees as representative of bee diversity and pollinator conservation issues, the changing perceptions of pollinators, the paucity of policy research, and how any call to ‘save the bees’ must be a call to stabilize agriculture. We call for greater coordination among biological and socio-cultural researcher to advance insect pollinator conservation practices and policies fit for the Anthropocene.
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While the cultivated area of pollinator-dependent crops is increasing, pollinator availability is decreasing, leading to problems in many agroecosystems. For this reason, pollinator-dependent crop growers often rent beehives to support their pollination requirements to sustain fruit productivity. However, the efficiency of those pollination systems has not been extensively studied. Here, we compared the effect of “precision” pollination (i.e., application of pesticides coordinated with growers, audit of hives, dietary supplementation and individual distribution of hives) with conventional practices (i.e., pesticides applications without coordination with growers and no audit of hives, low maintenance of hives and hives distributed in large groups) on the mean level of pollination and fruit production and quality in blueberry crops. In nine blueberry fields, we measured bee visitation rate to flowers, fruit set, fruit firmness and fruit weight. On average, precision-pollinated plots had 70% more bee visits to flowers and produced 13% more fruits that were 12% heavier and 12% firmer than those obtained through conventional practices. These results showed that pollination efficiency could be improved if key management related to bee strength, distribution and health care are taken into account. Due to these results, we encourage growers and beekeepers to include precision pollination practices to both increase the productivity of blueberry fields and the wellbeing of honey bees within agroecosystems.
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Aims: The native woody vegetation from the Espinal phytogeographic province in central Argentina, found in subtropical-warm temperate climates, represents part of the southernmost seasonally dry forest in South America. Although this vegetation has been studied for over a century, a complete phytosociological survey is still needed. This lack of knowledge makes its spatial delimitation and the establishment of efficient conservation strategies particularly difficult. The main goals of this study were to classify these forests and assess their current forest cover and to better define the extent of the Espinal phytogeographic province in Córdoba region, central Argentina. Study area: Espinal Phytogeographic Province in Córdoba region, central Argentina (ca. 101,500 km² ). Methods: We sampled 122 stands following the principles of the Zürich-Montpellier School of phytosociology; relevés were classified through the ISOPAM hierarchical analysis. The extent of the Espinal phytogeographic province was established by overlaying previous vegetation maps, and a map showing the current distribution of forest patches was constructed based on a supervised classification of Landsat images. Results: Four woody vegetation types of seasonally dry subtropical forest were identified based on the fidelity and the abundance of diagnostic species: (1) Aspidosperma quebracho-blanco forest; (2) Zanthoxylum coco forest; (3) Geoffroea decorticans forest; and (4) Prosopis caldenia forest. These vegetation types were segregated along gradients of temperature and precipitation seasonality and soil-texture and sodium content. The remaining forest patches represent 3.43% of the extent of the Espinal province in Córdoba region of which only 1.05% is represented in protected areas. Conclusions: We present a classification of the Espinal forest based on a complete floristic survey. Despite the dramatic forest loss reported, our results show that some forest patches representative of the Espinal are still likely to be found in the area. However, urgent measures should be taken to establish new protected natural areas in order to preserve the last remaining forest patches. Taxonomic reference: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur (Zuloaga et al. 2008) and its online update (http://www.darwin.edu.ar). Abbreviations: ISOMAP = isometric feature mapping; ISOPAM = isometric partitioning around medoids.
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Pollinator conservation has become a key challenge to achieve sustainable agricultural landscapes and safeguard food supplies. Considering the potential negative effects of pollinator decline, international efforts have been developed to promote agri-environmental measures and pollinator-friendly management practices. However, little effort has been devoted to farmers' perceptions and knowledge about pollinators, or to farmers' role in enhancing pollination. We administered 376 face-to-face questionnaires in four areas of Spain with different dominant pollinator-dependent crops, to assess the factors behind farmers' perceptions, knowledge, and practices adopted to promote pollination. Overall, 92.7% of the respondents recognized that pollinator insects are necessary for crop production, and 73.4% perceived pollinator decline in their farms. We found that farmers had moderate knowledge about pollinators (6.1 ± 1.8, on a 1-10 scale). The most applied practices to promote pollinators were reducing insecticide spraying (53.2% of respondents), diversifying crops (42.8%), and increasing fallow fields (39.1%). Factors such as education, age, concern about the pollinator crisis, and professional dedication to agriculture strongly influenced farmers' knowledge and current application of pollinator-friendly practices. Implications of our results for the ongoing reform of the Common Agricultural Policy are discussed, highlighting the need to increase engagement and trust of farmers through communication and technical assistance.
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Rapid land-use/land cover changes (LULCC) have led to habitat loss and fragmentation in the natural forest areas, which are mainly due to the intense and rapid expansion of urban areas and intense agricultural management. These processes are strongly threatening biodiversity maintenance and the ecosystem services provided by them. Among the ecosystem services under threat, pollination has been widely studied since this service is essential to promote food production and, therefore, human well-being. In a scenario of increasing LULCC it is crucial to understand the interplay between these changes, pollination demand by insect-dependent crops and pollinator availability to ensure these ecosystem services meet the increased demand for food production. In this study, we developed a conceptual model to disentangle the relationships between human-nature, especially LULCC, and its consequences, to the delivery of pollination service. We also presented a case study in the Brazilian São Paulo state, where we modeled the effects of predicted LULCC associated to agriculture expansion between the years 2012 and 2030 on pollinator demand by crops and pollinator supply, for fourteen economically important crops. Additionally, we systematized an expert-based Ecosystem Service matrix to estimate the influences of LULCC on the provision of pollination. Our results showed that by 2030, the demand for pollination will increase by 40% on average, while pollinator supply, estimated using suitability values for the different land-use/cover classes, will show, on average, a 3% decrease. Our results highlight the importance of considering the dialogue among stakeholders, governments, institutions, and scientists to find alternatives and strategies to promote pollinator-friendly practices and safeguard the provision of pollination services in a future under LULCC.
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Insect pollinators and insect herbivores affect plant reproduction and fitness. Floral displays are used to attract and manipulate pollinators' behavior to support plant sexual reproduction while rewarding the visitors with access to nectar and pollen. The plant-pollinator interactions use various semiochemicals as important communication channels for successful species interaction networks. Floral display and scents can also attract insect herbivores (in which case they act as kairomones). Consequently, semiochemical-color-based traps used for monitoring pest insects in crop fields often accidentally capture pollinators, and these interactions simultaneously affect pest monitoring, pollinator assemblages, and crop production in agroecosystems. An integrated interdisciplinary approach that would use inter-and intraspecific signals employed by foraging insects for predator's avoidance with the goal of deterring pollinators and beneficial insects from entering pesticide-treated fields is proposed. Specifically, it should be possible to reduce the bycatch of pollinators by pest monitoring traps if these trap lures also include the alarm pheromones of insect pollinators such as bees. In addition, other tactics for pollinator protection could include first the application of nonlethal repel-lants to fields that have recently been treated with synthetic chemical pesticides to deter pollinators' visitation. A second action would be to incorporate the results of comparative risk evaluations (pollinators vs pests) for botanical pesticides, as well as for synthetic pesticides. Finally, we urge that wild pollinator species be included in pesticide risk assessments, especially for new classes of insecticides. Collectively, these actions should integrate pest and pollinator management strategies.
Article
Pollinators are globally recognized for their role in ecosystem function and reports of pollinator declines are a source of public and academic concern. However, pollinator decline is often erroneously interpreted as if crop pollination services are under threat, which can lead to misguided efforts to protect introduced and/or widespread crop pollinating species that are not in decline, without addressing the needs of other imperilled species. The honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) in particular has widespread recognition for its role as an integral agricultural pollinator and is the focus of many pollinator campaigns. However, we argue outside of their native range that honey bees are inappropriate as umbrella or flagship species for the conservation of pollinators.
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Integrated Pest and Pollinator Management (IPPM) advocates a pollinator-friendly approach to Integrated Pest Management (IPM), with emphasis on the need to protect pollinators from the harmful effects of chemical pesticides. However, in order to link the goals of IPM and pollinator management both more formally and comprehensively, we introduce here a unified decision metric, termed the joint Economic Impact Level (jEIL). The joint EIL integrates the use of economic injury levels, as well-established in IPM, with a proposed pollinator equivalent; the Pollinator Economic Impact Level (PEIL). This joint metric can hence be used to weigh the cost and benefit of pest and pollinator management in a holistic sense – including where these practices interact, and remedial actions (such as the avoidance of pesticide use during flowering) are taken. However, especially when priorities are unclear (when biocontrol and pollination services trade off; flower strips exacerbate pest injury; pests and pollinators show non-linear effects on yield); the joint EIL can be of particular value to identify the most beneficial action. To render this decision metric actionable, we further introduce the concept of pest and pollinator Action Thresholds (ATpe and ATpo). We follow theoretical description of these metrics with a practical example for strawberry, to demonstrate calculation of a joint EIL in support of IPPM decision making. As a whole, the joint EIL provides a flexible framework for integrated decision making, in support of timely management action. This decision metric (supported by a forthcoming jEIL tool) could hence be of broad practical value for farmers, agricultural advisors, researchers, and commercial and governmental agencies.
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Increasing honey demand and global coverage of pollinator-dependent crops within the context of global pollinator declines have accelerated international trade in managed bees. Bee introductions into agricultural landscapes outside their native ranges have triggered noteworthy invasions, especially of the African honey bee in the Americas and the European bumble bee Bombus terrestris in southern South America, New Zealand, Tasmania, and Japan. Such invasions have displaced native bees via competition, pathogen transmission, and invaders' capacity to exploit anthropogenic landscapes. At high abundance, invasive bees can degrade the mutualistic nature of many of the flower-pollinator interactions they usurp, either directly by affecting flower performance or indirectly by reducing the pollination effectiveness of other flower visitors, with negative consequences for crop pollination and yield. We illustrate such effects with empirical examples, focusing particularly on interactions in the Americas between B. terrestris and raspberry and between the African honey bee and coffee. Despite high bee abundance and flower visitation in crops, theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that agricultural landscapes of pollinator-dependent crops dominated by invasive bees will be less productive than landscapes with more diverse pollinator assemblages. Safeguarding future crop yield and aiding the transition to more sustainable agricultural landscapes and practices require we address this impact of invasive bees. Actions include tighter regulation of the trade in bees to discourage further invasions, reducing invasive bee densities and dominance, and active enhancement of ecological infrastructure from field to landscape scales to promote wild bee abundance and diversity for sustained delivery of crop pollination services.
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1. Nature conservation often depends on the behaviour of individuals, which can be driven by socio-psychological factors such as a person's attitude, knowledge and identity. Despite extensive ecological research about pollinator declines, there has been almost no social research assessing the drivers of people's engagement in pollinator conservation. 2. To address this gap, we used a large-scale, online questionnaire in the United Kingdom, broadly framed around the Theory of Planned Behaviour. We received a total of 1,275 responses from a wide range of ages, incomes and education levels, despite a selection bias towards people with a pre-existing interest in pollinators. 3. A range of socio-psychological factors predicted people's pollinator conservation actions and explained 45% of the variation. Respondents' diversity of nature interactions and perceived behavioural control (feeling able to help pollinators) were consistently important predictors of people's pollinator conservation actions , whilst the importance of other socio-psychological factors depended on the particular action. 4. Notably, knowledge was far less important overall than people's perceptions and other socio-psychological factors, highlighting a knowledge-action gap. Further unexplained variation in people's behaviour could partly be due by structural and contextual factors, particularly regarding social norms around tidiness. 5. From a practical perspective, our findings reveal three main insights. First, several simple, low-cost pollinator conservation actions (reduced mowing, leaving areas unmown and creating patches of bare ground for ground-nesting bees) are currently under-utilised so should be priorities for pollinator conservation programmes. 6. Second, strategies are needed to overcome reported practical barriers, for example by providing free resources (e.g. seeds of pollen-and nectar-rich plants) and communicating simple beneficial actions that can be carried out with limited time, space and money.
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Wild bees, hoverflies and wasps are valuable ecosystem service providers in agricultural systems through pollination and biological control, and their species richness, abundance and reproductive success well indicate ecosystem health. However, they are often limited by foraging and nesting resources that are major drivers behind their steep decline. Although agri-environmental measurements improve resources for these groups, their wider landscape-scale impacts are basically unknown. Here, we questioned whether 2-3 years old, sown set-aside fields could have a potential in enhancing pollinator and predatory wasp communities at the landscape scale in a Central European agroecosystem. We measured reproductive success and parasitism of cavity-nesting bees and wasps by trapnests throughout the vegetation period, and sampled bee and hoverfly communities by colored pan traps in midsummer , comparing landscapes with and without set-aside fields. We measured the effects of increasing distance from set-aside fields, the effects of share of different habitats and flower resources, and the effects of increasing set-aside field percentage area at landscape scale. The landscape scale effects of set-aside fields varied among taxa and/or at different time scales. Reproductive success of cavity-nesting bees and wasps was positively related to the presence of set-aside fields in the landscape and together with the number of cavity-nesting bee and wasp genera increased with the proportion of set-aside fields. Species richness or abundance of bees or hoverflies showed no difference between landscape plots with or without set-aside fields in the midsummer period according to the pan trap samples, and flower abundance and distance from the set-aside fields had only a limited effect. Set-aside fields had no effect on either the most abundant wild bee species or on composition of species of intermediate abundance. Our results suggest that reproductive success of cavity-nesting bees and wasps can be enhanced by additional flower resources and nesting habitats through set-aside fields at the landscape scale. Other wild bees and hoverflies can be less sensitive to the presence of set-aside fields according to our results that might need different conservation approaches. But this might also suggest that such landscape-scale benefits of set-aside field management might be measureable only with samplings covering the whole vegetation period. We argue that well-defined measures specific to spatial scale and target groups are mandatory and should be adapted to the different histories and local contexts of agricultural landscapes in Europe to strengthen ecosystem service provider insects and have the highest benefit for agricultural production.
Article
The diversity and abundance of pollinators are increased in cultivated areas in proximity to natural and semi‐natural habitats (pastures, forest, tree lines, etc.). Managing ecosystem services, such as insect pollination, is essential to increase crop yields. Although insect pollination is linked to better yields in many crops, pollinators are usually not considered as an input to be managed in crop production. In this study we evaluate for the first time the influence of pollinators on the reproductive parameters of three canola stands placed at different distances from semi‐natural habitats in central Argentina. Inflorescences with exposed and non‐exposed (covered with voile bags) flowers to insect visits were compared in plants growing in the proximity (<50 m) and distant (>50 m) from semi‐natural habitats. Observations of flower visitations by the insects were recorded during the flowering period. The most frequent pollinator was Apis mellifera although twelve additional pollinator morpho‐species were registered. Seven of them were observed in canola flowers for the first time. Pollinators increased the amount of pollen deposited on stigmas and all measured reproductive parameters (fruit set, seeds per pod, seed mass). Seed production per infructescence was increased with proximity to semi‐natural habitats and with pollinators by 34% and 35% respectively. Therefore, the pollination ecosystem service is a relevant input for canola production in central Argentina. It would be important to develop policies that encourage diversified farming systems securing the protection of natural flora and pollinators. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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Pollination management recommendations are becoming increasingly precise, context specific and knowledge-intensive. Pollination is a service delivered across landscapes, entailing policy constructs across agricultural landscapes. Diversified farming practices effectively promote pollination services. Yet it remains difficult to secure large-scale uptake by farming communities. A strong foundation upon which to base policy formulation stems from respecting the perspective of farmers and local communities on the need to conserve pollinators, alongside scientific understanding. Ecological intensification resonates with both indigenous knowledge, local communities and scientific understanding. It emphasizes that the regulating functions of nature require both landscape-level agroecosystem design and recognition of the complexity of agricultural systems. Facilitating ecological intensification across landscapes requires collective decision-making, with institutional innovation in local structures and food system governance.
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The application of ionomics and ecological stoichiometry benefits conservation biology with necessary ecological and evolutionary relevance, allowing unresolved problems to be addressed. The use of ionomics and ecological stoichiometry enables consideration that changes in the environmental nutritional supply affect the ecophysiology, behavior, health and fitness of individuals, influencing their ecological interactions and population functioning. The resulting knowledge can help promote better conservation and restoration strategies. Ultimately, ionomics and ecological stoichiometry facilitate improved forecasting and mitigation of the negative effects of current global change. Here, we present the theoretical background followed by the application of ionomics and ecological stoichiometry in biological conservation. We also propose avenues for future research. For example, larval and adult pollinating insects belong to different feeding guilds, and larvae rely on various stoichiometrically (im)balanced foods (showing herbivory, pollinivory, detritivory or even carnivory). Therefore, the ecology and diversity of pollinators may be shaped by the nutritional quality of larval food, which is required for physiological development into fully functional adults. Although a stoichiometric balance during larval development is crucial for pollinator health and fitness, pollinator conservation is focused on the nutritional needs of adults. Another example is atmospheric CO2 increases leading to nutrient dilution in plant tissues, aggravating nutritional imbalances in consumers and challenging Earth's herbivore populations. CO2-driven nutrient dilution may affect food webs, ecosystems and human wellbeing. However, our understanding of this phenomenon is minimal. These and other unresolved conservation biology problems may be studied and solved using ionomics and ecological stoichiometry.
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The voluntary non-monetary approach to conservation refers to actions that citizens or organizations could voluntarily implement in their area of influence without the incentive of monetary compensations. To be effectively implemented by untrained actors, actions should be clearly defined, straightforward to implement and not require specific scientific knowledge. The costs of actions should also be sufficiently affordable to be widely applied without monetary incentives. A voluntary non-monetary approach has so far not been clearly described as a distinct group of tools for nature conservation. Here we review the scarce scientific literature on the topic. To illustrate the applicability of a voluntary non-monetary approach to conservation, we then investigate its potential for farmland conservation. We considered a list of 119 actions available from “conservation-evidence”, a source of systematically collected evidence on effectiveness of conservation actions. Among 119 actions, 95 could be scored for feasibility of implementation, costs, and existence of evidence in UK, Spain and Finland. Sixteen to seventeen actions were potentially suitable for implementation by a voluntary non-monetary approach. This implies that the voluntary non-monetary approach could be widely applicable across many countries and environments. It is our hope that this study will represent a clarion call for conservation scientists to clearly recognize the voluntary non-monetary approach, its characteristics, and its potential for addressing conservation issues on private land. Adoption of such voluntary measures may be more dependent on encouragement (‘nudging’) than on the usual coercive or financial emphasis (‘shoving’).
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Our review looks at pollinator conservation and highlights the differences in approach between managing for pollination services and preserving pollinator diversity. We argue that ecosystem service management does not equal biodiversity conservation, and that maintaining species diversity is crucial in providing ecosystem resilience in the face of future environmental change. Management and policy measures therefore need to focus on species not just in human dominated landscapes but need to benefit wider diversity of species including those in specialised habitats. We argue that only by adopting a holistic ecosystem approach we can ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the long-term.
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Ecological intensification has been promoted as a means to achieve environmentally sustainable increases in crop yields by enhancing ecosystem functions that regulate and support production. There is, however, little direct evidence of yield benefits from ecological intensification on commercial farms growing globally important foodstuffs (grains, oilseeds and pulses). We replicated two treatments removing 3 or 8% of land at the field edge from production to create wildlife habitat in 50–60 ha patches over a 900 ha commercial arable farm in central England, and compared these to a business as usual control (no land removed). In the control fields, crop yields were reduced by as much as 38% at the field edge. Habitat creation in these lower yielding areas led to increased yield in the cropped areas of the fields, and this positive effect became more pronounced over 6 years. As a consequence, yields at the field scale were maintained—and, indeed, enhanced for some crops—despite the loss of cropland for habitat creation. These results suggested that over a 5-year crop rotation, there would be no adverse impact on overall yield in terms of monetary value or nutritional energy. This study provides a clear demonstration that wildlife-friendly management which supports ecosystem services is compatible with, and can even increase, crop yields.
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There is compelling evidence that more diverse ecosystems deliver greater benefits to people, and these ecosystem services have become a key argument for biodiversity conservation. However, it is unclear how much biodiversity is needed to deliver ecosystem services in a cost-effective way. Here we show that, while the contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, service delivery is restricted to a limited subset of all known bee species. Across crops, years and biogeographical regions, crop-visiting wild bee communities are dominated by a small number of common species, and threatened species are rarely observed on crops. Dominant crop pollinators persist under agricultural expansion and many are easily enhanced by simple conservation measures, suggesting that cost-effective management strategies to promote crop pollination should target a different set of species than management strategies to promote threatened bees. Conserving the biological diversity of bees therefore requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments.
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Over half of the European landscape is under agricultural management and has been for millennia. Many species and ecosystems of conservation concern in Europe depend on agricultural management and are showing ongoing declines. Agri-environment schemes (AES) are designed partly to address this. They are a major source of nature conservation funding within the European Union (EU) and the highest conservation expenditure in Europe. We reviewed the structure of current AES across Europe. Since a 2003 review questioned the overall effectiveness of AES for biodiversity, there has been a plethora of case studies and meta-analyses examining their effectiveness. Most syntheses demonstrate general increases in farmland biodiversity in response to AES, with the size of the effect depending on the structure and management of the surrounding landscape. This is important in the light of successive EU enlargement and ongoing reforms of AES. We examined the change in effect size over time by merging the data sets of 3 recent meta-analyses and found that schemes implemented after revision of the EU's agri-environmental programs in 2007 were not more effective than schemes implemented before revision. Furthermore, schemes aimed at areas out of production (such as field margins and hedgerows) are more effective at enhancing species richness than those aimed at productive areas (such as arable crops or grasslands). Outstanding research questions include whether AES enhance ecosystem services, whether they are more effective in agriculturally marginal areas than in intensively farmed areas, whether they are more or less cost-effective for farmland biodiversity than protected areas, and how much their effectiveness is influenced by farmer training and advice? The general lesson from the European experience is that AES can be effective for conserving wildlife on farmland, but they are expensive and need to be carefully designed and targeted.
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This Special Issue on Diversified Farming Systems is motivated by a desire to understand how agriculture designed according to whole systems, agroecological principles can contribute to creating a more sustainable, socially just, and secure global food system. We first define Diversified Farming Systems (DFS) as farming practices and landscapes that intentionally include functional biodiversity at multiple spatial and/or temporal scales in order to maintain ecosystem services that provide critical inputs to agriculture, such as soil fertility, pest and disease control, water use efficiency, and pollination. We explore to what extent DFS overlap or are differentiated from existing concepts such as sustainable, multifunctional, organic or ecoagriculture. DFS are components of social-ecological systems that depend on certain combinations of traditional and contemporary knowledge, cultures, practices, and governance structures. Further, as ecosystem services are generated and regenerated within a DFS, the resulting social benefits in turn support the maintenance of the DFS, enhancing its ability to provision these services sustainably. We explore how social institutions, particularly alternative agri-food networks and agrarian movements, may serve to promote DFS approaches, but note that such networks and movements have other primary goals and are not always explicitly connected to the environmental and agroecological concerns embodied within the DFS concept. We examine global trends in agriculture to investigate to what extent industrialized forms of agriculture are replacing former DFS, assess the current and potential contributions of DFS to food security, food sovereignty and the global food supply, and determine where and under what circumstances DFS are expanding rather than contracting.
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Bees are subject to numerous pressures in the modern world. The abundance and diversity of flowers has declined, bees are chronically exposed to cocktails of agrochemicals, and they are simultaneously exposed to novel parasites accidentally spread by humans. Climate change is likely to exacerbate these problems in the future. Stressors do not act in isolation; for example pesticide exposure can impair both detoxification mechanisms and immune responses, rendering bees more susceptible to parasites. It seems certain that chronic exposure to multiple, interacting stressors is driving honey bee colony losses and declines of wild pollinators, but such interactions are not addressed by current regulatory procedures and studying these interactions experimentally poses a major challenge. In the meantime, taking steps to reduce stress on bees would seem prudent; incorporating flower-rich habitat into farmland, reducing pesticide use through adopting more sustainable farming methods, and enforcing effective quarantine measures on bee movements are all practical measures that should be adopted. Effective monitoring of wild pollinator populations is urgently needed to inform management strategies into the future. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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Over a million commercially produced bumblebee colonies are imported annually on a global scale for the pollination of greenhouse crops. After importation, they interact with other pollinators, with an associated risk of any parasites they carry infecting and harming native bees. National and supranational regulations are designed to prevent this, and commercially produced bumblebee colonies are accordingly now often sold and imported as being parasite-free. Here, we used molecular methods to examine the occurrence of parasites in bumblebee colonies that were commercially produced in 2011 and 2012 by three producers. We then used controlled experiments to determine whether any parasites present were infectious. We found that 77% of the commercially produced bumblebee colonies from the three producers, which were imported on the basis of being free of parasites, in fact carried microbial parasites, with five different parasites being detected across the total sample of bumblebees and a further three in the pollen supplied with the colonies as food. Our controlled experiments demonstrated that at least three of these parasites were infectious to bumblebees with significant negative effects on their health. Furthermore, we also found that at least four of the parasites carried by commercially produced bumblebees were infectious to honeybees, indicating that they pose a risk to other pollinators as well. Synthesis and applications. The results demonstrate that commercially produced bumblebee colonies carry multiple, infectious parasites that pose a significant risk to other native and managed pollinators. More effective disease detection and management strategies are urgently needed to reduce the pathogen spillover threat from commercially produced bumblebees.
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This text combines two basically different views on pest control namely the scientific researcher's view on pest control and the pesticide regulator's views on pesticide control aiming at a common and pragmatic ecological approach. A set of practicable ’tools’ are discussed that can be used to monitor and reduce environmental impact on agro-ecosystems where the ultimate goal is to move towards a more environmentally sustainable agriculture. General principles governing farming systems and pest control strategies are illustrated with pesticide use and pesticide risk reduction measures in coffee and rice cultivations. Adaptive pest control based on Integrated Pest Management with a rational use of pesticides as a last resort is suggested to be the most viable way forward.
Article
The 2008 food crisis has challenged the political legitimacy and economic efficiency of the liberalization of international agricultural trade. An alternative vision defended by the food sovereignty movement is that long-term food security cannot rely on dependency on food imports, but must be built on the development of domestic production with enough barrier protection to shelter it from world price fluctuations and unfair trading. The purpose of this paper is to look into whether the West African nations can achieve food sovereignty given their various trade commitments and other external constraints. The particularity of our approach is to combine a historical economic analysis with a political approach to food sovereignty and trade commitments. Our results suggest that external brakes on the development of food sovereignty policies are marginal, as the countries still have unused room for manoeuvre to protect their smallholder agriculture under the terms of draft World Trade Organization agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements and under the international financial institutions’ recommendations. Rather, the international environment seems to be instrumented by West African states that do not manage to secure a national political consensus to drive structural reforms deemed vital and further the food security of the urban populations over the marginalized rural populations. Recently, the regional integration process has made headway with a common agricultural support and protection policy project that could herald an internal political balance more conducive to food-producing agriculture.
Article
Over the years hundreds of different chemicals have been introduced as active substances in pesticide products on the international market. Several have become obsolete due to unacceptable health and environmental hazards or problems with resistance. Navigating the wide selection of pesticides is not a simple task and some non-governmental organizations provide information about the most unwanted in the form of 'blacklists'. For decades the principle of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been recommended for plant protection, but it is not a trivial task to determine what pesticides could be included in IPM programmes to avoid biological disruption. It is believed that the IOMC – the Inter-organization Programme for Sound Management of Chemicals – is the appropriate forum for provision of additional guidance and leadership with regard to choice of appropriate pesticides. A list of minimum-impact pesticides should be made easily accessible in several languages and a mechanism for updating this list should be developed. In addition, a multi-stakeholder re-evaluation of the International Code of Conduct should be initiated and it may be appropriate to propose a strengthening of the IPM focus of the Code and to include explicitly 'Responsible Care' and 'Product Stewardship' as integral parts of the pesticide industry's voluntary role. Countries without modern comprehensive pesticide legislation are those that would benefit the most from implementing the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. However, pesticide control issues currently may not be high on the political agenda. To pave the way for legislation or a generally accepted implementation of the Code it should be made easily available to a wide range of stakeholders in the Developing World.
Article
Rising demands for agricultural products will increase pressure to further intensify crop production, while negative environmental impacts have to be minimized. Ecological intensification entails the environmentally friendly replacement of anthropogenic inputs and/or enhancement of crop productivity, by including regulating and supporting ecosystem services management in agricultural practices. Effective ecological intensification requires an understanding of the relations between land use at different scales and the community composition of ecosystem service-providing organisms above and below ground, and the flow, stability, contribution to yield, and management costs of the multiple services delivered by these organisms. Research efforts and investments are particularly needed to reduce existing yield gaps by integrating context-appropriate bundles of ecosystem services into crop production systems.
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