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Interactive effect of floral abundance and semi-natural habitats on pollinators in field beans (Vicia faba)

Nayak, G. K., Roberts, S. P. M., Garratt, M., Breeze, T. D. ORCID:, Tscheulin, T., Harrison-Cripps, J., Vogiatzakis, I. N., Stirpe, M. T. and Potts, S. G. ORCID: (2015) Interactive effect of floral abundance and semi-natural habitats on pollinators in field beans (Vicia faba). Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 199. pp. 58-66. ISSN 0167-8809

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2014.08.016


Pollination services are economically important component of agricultural biodiversity which enhance the yield and quality of many crops. An understanding of the suitability of extant habitats for pollinating species is crucial for planning management actions to protect and manage these service providers. In a highly modified agricultural ecosystem, we tested the effect of different pollination treatments (open, autonomous self- and wind-pollination) on pod set, seed set, and seed weight in field beans (Vicia faba). We also investigated the effect of semi-natural habitats and flower abundance on pollinators of field beans. Pollinator sampling was undertaken in ten field bean fields along a gradient of habitat complexity; CORINE land cover classification was used to analyse the land use patterns between 500–3000 m around the sites. Total yield from open-pollination increased by 185% compared to autonomous self-pollination. There was positive interactive effect of local flower abundance and cover of semi-natural habitats on overall abundance of pollinators at 1500 and 2000 m, and abundance of bumblebees (Bombus spp.) at 1000–2000 m. In contrast, species richness of pollinators was only correlated with flower abundance and not with semi-natural habitats. We did not find a link between pod set from open-pollination and pollinator abundance, possibly due to variations in the growing conditions and pollinator communities between sites. We conclude that insect pollination is essential for optimal bean yields and therefore the maintenance of semi-natural habitats in agriculture-dominated landscapes should ensure stable and more efficient pollination services in field beans.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:38670

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