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Wild insect diversity increases inter-annual stability in global crop pollinator communities

Citation:

Senapathi, D. ; Fruend, J. ; Albrecht, M. ; Garratt, M. P. D. ; Kleijn, D. ; Pickles, B. J. ; Potts, S. G. ; An, J. ; Andersson, G. K. S. ; Baensch, S. ; et al. Wild insect diversity increases inter-annual stability in global crop pollinator communities. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 2021, 288.

Date Published:

MAR 31

Abstract:

While an increasing number of studies indicate that the range, diversity and abundance of many wild pollinators has declined, the global area of pollinator-dependent crops has significantly increased over the last few decades. Crop pollination studies to date have mainly focused on either identifying different guilds pollinating various crops, or on factors driving spatial changes and turnover observed in these communities. The mechanisms driving temporal stability for ecosystem functioning and services, however, remain poorly understood. Our study quantifies temporal variability observed in crop pollinators in 21 different crops across multiple years at a global scale. Using data from 43 studies from six continents, we show that (i) higher pollinator diversity confers greater inter-annual stability in pollinator communities, (ii) temporal variation observed in pollinator abundance is primarily driven by the three-most dominant species, and (iii) crops in tropical regions demonstrate higher inter-annual variability in pollinator species richness than crops in temperate regions. We highlight the importance of recognizing wild pollinator diversity in agricultural landscapes to stabilize pollinator persistence across years to protect both biodiversity and crop pollination services. Short-term agricultural management practices aimed at dominant species for stabilizing pollination services need to be considered alongside longer term conservation goals focussed on maintaining and facilitating biodiversity to confer ecological stability.