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Agricultural intensification has resulted in a decline in insect biodiversity and threatens the provision of valuable ecosystem services. Agri-environment schemes (AESs) have been implemented in an effort to conserve biodiversity on farmland and increase agricultural sustainability, but their effectiveness can vary widely. To better determine which factors influence AES effectiveness, the relative roles of local habitat features, habitat quality, and landscape context need to be further explored. The aim of this study was to determine the most important factors influencing field margin AES effectiveness in commercial apple orchards, in terms of arthropod biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provision. We surveyed wild bees and aphid natural enemies in field margins and apple trees in 20 orchards, ten bordered by hedgerow field margins (an AES) and ten with herbaceous field margins (no hedgerows present, not an AES). We considered field margin floral resources and the cover of semi-natural habitat in the surrounding landscape as indicators of local habitat quality and landscape context, respectively. We furthermore quantified pollination and pest control as measures of ecosystem service delivery and the relationship between arthropod communities and apple yield (initial and final fruit set) and quality. We found that hedgerow presence strongly predicted both pollinator and natural enemy communities and that these relationships were more pronounced than those with local habitat quality and landscape context. Hedgerows were negatively related to wild bee richness and abundance within the orchard, and positively related to natural enemy richness and abundance at the field margin but not within the orchard. We found no relationships between local and landscape factors and ecosystem service delivery, and no relationship between wild bee communities and apple yield, suggesting that apple is not pollen limited in our study system. There was, however, a negative relationship between natural enemy richness and initial fruit set. We conclude that annually cut hedgerows can benefit the conservation of natural enemies, but have limited arthropod-mediated private benefits for apple production, and likely need to be supplemented with additional local habitat resources for the conservation of wild bees. Our findings indicate that local habitat factors can strongly influence biodiversity regardless of landscape context, but that AESs likely need to be designed with separate biodiversity and ecosystem service targets, and specific taxonomic groups, in mind.
|Journal||Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Apr 2023|
- Ecological intensification
- Ecosystem services
- Natural enemies
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'Hedgerows have contrasting effects on pollinators and natural enemies and limited spillover effects on apple production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
Data for: Hedgerows have contrasting effects on pollinators and natural enemies and limited spillover effects on apple production
Bishop, G. (Creator), Fijen, T. (Creator), Desposato, B. N. (Creator), Scheper, J. (Creator) & Kleijn, D. (Creator), Wageningen University, 20 Jan 2023
- 1 Active
SHOWCASE: SHOWCASing synergies between agriculture, biodiversity and Ecosystem services to help farmers capitalising on native biodiversity
1/11/20 → 31/10/25
Project: EU research project