Organic farming in isolated landscapes does not benefit flower-visiting insects and pollination
Brittain, C., Bommarco, R., Vighi, M., Settele, J. and Potts, S. G. (2010) Organic farming in isolated landscapes does not benefit flower-visiting insects and pollination. Biological Conservation, 143 (8). pp. 1860-1867. ISSN 0006-3207
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.04.029
Organic farming has often been found to provide benefits for biodiversity, but the benefits can depend on the species considered and characteristics of the surrounding landscape. In an intensively farmed area of Northeast Italy we investigated whether isolated organic farms, in a conventionally farmed landscape, provided local benefits for insect pollinators and pollination services. We quantified the relative effects of local management (i.e. the farm system), landscape management (proportion of surrounding uncultivated land) and interactions between them. We compared six organic and six conventional vine fields. The proportion of surrounding uncultivated land was calculated for each site at radii of 200, 500, 1000 and 2000 m. The organic fields did not differ from the conventional in their floral resources or proportion of surrounding uncultivated land. Data were collected on pollinator abundance and species richness, visitation rates to, and pollination of experimental potted plants. None of these factors were significantly affected by the farming system. The abundance of visits to the potted plants in the conventional fields tended to be negatively affected by the proportion of surrounding uncultivated land. The proportion fruit set, weight of seeds per plant and seed weight in conventional and organic fields were all negatively affected by the proportion of surrounding uncultivated land. In vine fields the impact of the surrounding landscape was stronger than the local management. Enhancement of biodiversity through organic farming should not be assumed to be ubiquitous, as potential benefits may be offset by the crop type, organicmanagement practices and the specific habitat requirements in the surrounding landscape.