Farming with alternative pollinators’ approach supports diverse and abundant pollinator community in melon fields in a semi-arid landscape
Impact factor: 2.915 (Year: 2022)
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Youssef Bencharki, Stefanie Christmann, Patrick Lhomme, Oumayma Ihsane, Ahlam Sentil, Insafe El Abdouni, Laila Hamroud, Pierre Rasmont, Denis Michez. (5/11/2022). Farming with alternative pollinators’ approach supports diverse and abundant pollinator community in melon fields in a semi-arid landscape. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 38.
The presence of pollinating insects in crop fields is an essential factor for agricultural production and pollinator conservation. Agricultural intensification has been identified as a driver of pollinator decline over the last decades and challenges the efficiency of pollination. Several approaches are used to support pollinators and their ecosystem services, notably reward-based wildflower strips. ‘Farming with Alternative Pollinators’ (FAP) aims to attract and sustain pollinators using marketable habitat enhancement plants (MHEP) in the field borders instead of wildflowers. These MHEP are selected in conjunction with farmers. We tested here whether the FAP approach increases diversity and abundance of flower visitors in melon fields in a semi-arid landscape in Morocco. Moreover, we examined whether MHEP increase flower-visitor abundance in melon flowers. We recorded a total of 1330 insect specimens including 573 specimens of wild bees. Lasioglossum malachurum was the major flower visitor in melon and several MHEP. As flower-visitor abundance and diversity in FAP fields were higher than in control fields, we conclude that FAP can be a valuable approach for pollinator protection in agro-ecosystems; 16.5% of wild bees and wasps showed spillover from the field borders to the melon fields.
- Agricultural Research Knowledge