Pollinator functional diversity and abundance enhance crop pollination and yield
The role of insect pollination in enhancing crop yield and quality represents one of the most widely appreciated ecosystem services, not least for its contribution to the 580 million tons of oilseeds grown worldwide annually.
How insects promote crop pollination remains poorly understood in terms of the contribution of functional trait differences between species. Meta-analyses test the correlations between community abundance, species richness and functional trait metrics with oilseed rape yield, a globally important crop. While overall abundance is consistently important in predicting yield, functional divergence between species traits also showed a positive correlation. This result supports the complementarity hypothesis that pollination function is maintained by non-overlapping trait distributions. In artificially constructed communities (mesocosms), species richness is positively correlated with yield, although this effect is not seen under field conditions.
PoshBee consortium members Jane Stout, Simon Potts and Maj Rundlöf are among the authors of the paper.
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