Publication details.

Paper

Year:2018
Author(s):D. Alomar, M. González-Estévez, A. Traveset, A. Lázaro
Title:The intertwined effects of natural vegetation, local flower community, and pollinator diversity on the production of almond trees
Journal:AGRICULTURE ECOSYSTEMS & ENVIRONMENT
ISSN:0167-8809
JCR Impact Factor:3.954
Volume:264
Pages:34-43
D.O.I.:10.1016/j.agee.2018.05.004
Web:https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2018.05.004
Abstract:© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Wild pollinators are a valuable natural resource for crops, as they often increase their production and quality. For this reason, there is currently a great interest in the development of management and conservation tools that help to maintain a wide variety of wild pollinators in agro-systems. To achieve this, it becomes a priority to study the diversity of wild pollinators in relevant crops as well as the local and landscape characteristics that benefit them. The almond tree (Prunus dulcis) is a crop of high economic interest, with a large dependence on pollinators due to the self-incompatibility of most of its varieties and, thus, it is very vulnerable to pollinator losses. By using field data and habitat characterization of 18 almond fields in Mallorca Island (Spain), we assessed how the abundance and diversity of pollinators varied with local and landscape characteristics (at 1 and 2 km buffer zones) of the fields, and how those affected almond production (fruit set). Almond trees were mostly pollinated by honeybees, but they were also visited by a large number of wild pollinators. The percentage of natural area in the 2 km buffer zones increased both pollinator-species richness and honeybee visits. At the field level, the flower community in the ground positively influenced almond production, both directly and indirectly by increasing the diversity of wild pollinators. Pollinator-species diversity directly increased fruit production but was negatively affected by honeybee abundance, which suggests that a high density of honeybees might result in negative effects on almond production through competition with wild pollinators. Management strategies to improve almond production might include favoring wild pollinators through the maintenance of natural habitats surrounding crop fields, and preserving the flowering herb community that occurs spontaneously in the groundcover of almond fields in Mediterranean areas.

Related staff

  • Amparo Lazaro Castillo
  • Anna Traveset Vilagines
  • Miguel Angel González Estevez
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research