1. Landscape context influences wild bee abundance and diversity, alongside pollination- related services. Growing evidence supports the positive effects of landscape heterogeneity on bee diversity and fruit production for pollination- dependent crops in flatlands. However, little remains known about these rela-tionships in mountainous environments where the landscape matrix surrounding crops is often more complex than in lowlands.2. We conducted our study in apple orchards in South Tyrol, an Alpine region in Italy, using pan-traps, direct observations of visitation frequency and a pollinator exclusion experiment. We investigated the scale-dependent effects of landscape heterogeneity and other parameters on wild bee assemblages and the related pollination service they provide at five spatial scales (radius 100–2000 m).3. We found that landscape heterogeneity positively affected the abundance and richness of wild bees, with the strongest effect at 500 m. We calculated a multi-diversity index, reflecting the land-use intensity based on the species richness of vascular plants, grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and bats. We identified a positive relationship between this multidiversity index and wild bee richness. Additionally, we found that visitation rate of wild bees was negatively affected by crop cover and that abundance of honeybees did not influence wild bee visitation rate or re-productive success. Finally, reproductive success was positively related to semi-natural habitat cover.4. Landscape heterogeneity should be maintained in apple orchards to continue to reap the benefits of vital pollination- related services. Diversification strategies should be implemented to promote habitat diversity at small scales, even in re-gions with more than 80% of (semi-)natural habitats.

Maintaining habitat diversity at small scales benefits wild bees and pollination services in mountain apple orchards

Dainese, Matteo;
2024-01-01

Abstract

1. Landscape context influences wild bee abundance and diversity, alongside pollination- related services. Growing evidence supports the positive effects of landscape heterogeneity on bee diversity and fruit production for pollination- dependent crops in flatlands. However, little remains known about these rela-tionships in mountainous environments where the landscape matrix surrounding crops is often more complex than in lowlands.2. We conducted our study in apple orchards in South Tyrol, an Alpine region in Italy, using pan-traps, direct observations of visitation frequency and a pollinator exclusion experiment. We investigated the scale-dependent effects of landscape heterogeneity and other parameters on wild bee assemblages and the related pollination service they provide at five spatial scales (radius 100–2000 m).3. We found that landscape heterogeneity positively affected the abundance and richness of wild bees, with the strongest effect at 500 m. We calculated a multi-diversity index, reflecting the land-use intensity based on the species richness of vascular plants, grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and bats. We identified a positive relationship between this multidiversity index and wild bee richness. Additionally, we found that visitation rate of wild bees was negatively affected by crop cover and that abundance of honeybees did not influence wild bee visitation rate or re-productive success. Finally, reproductive success was positively related to semi-natural habitat cover.4. Landscape heterogeneity should be maintained in apple orchards to continue to reap the benefits of vital pollination- related services. Diversification strategies should be implemented to promote habitat diversity at small scales, even in re-gions with more than 80% of (semi-)natural habitats.
2024
bee diversity, fruit set, landscape heterogeneity, mountain farming, multidiversity index, pollination-dependent crops, scale dependence
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1125031
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