December 5, 2012
Pollination On Large Farms Boosted By Small Patches Of Native Plants
A combined team of scientists from Europe and South Africa (LuÃsa G. Carvalheiro (University of Leeds, UK & Naturalis Biodiversity Research Centre, Netherlands), Colleen Seymour and Ruan Veldtman (SANBI, South Africa) and Sue Nicolson (University of Pretoria) have discovered that pollinator services of large agriculture fields can be enhanced with a simple cost-effective measure, that involves the creation of small patches of native plants within fruit orchards.
"Mango farmers in South Africa are aware of the pollination limitation of this crop and invest a substantial amount of money renting honeybee hives to supplement pollination within the large farmland areas. However, while during blooming season, mango fields can have millions of open flowers, those flowers are not very attractive to neither local wild pollinators nor managed honeybees." says the lead author LuÃsa Carvalheiro.
However, the effectiveness of flower patches is likely dependent on the preservation of remaining patches of natural habitat and judicious use of pesticides. The study was published in Journal of Applied Ecology, fieldwork was funded by SANBI — South African National Biodiversity Institute and data analyses by the project STEP — 'Status and Trends of European Pollinators' that is funded by the European Union Framework Program 7.
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