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Interaction effects between local flower richness and distance to natural woodland on pest and beneficial insects in apple orchards
- Saunders, Manu E., Luck, Gary W.
- Agricultural and forest entomology 2018 v.20 no.2 pp. 279-287
- Diptera, Hymenoptera, agroecosystems, apples, bees, beneficial insects, branches, ecological function, ecosystem services, flowers, fruit yield, growing season, insect communities, landscapes, natural enemies, orchards, pests, pollinators, trees, vegetation structure, vertebrates, woodlands
- Local and landscape factors interact to influence animal populations and, ultimately, crop yields in agroecosystems. Yet few studies have considered interactions and trade‐offs between these factors within a single agroecosystem. We sampled insect communities (fruit‐damaging pests and Diptera and Hymenoptera pollinator and natural enemy taxa) associated with focal apple trees in south‐eastern Australian orchards across a single growing season. We also measured marketable fruit yields on netted (preventing access to vertebrates) and open branches on each focal tree. We focused on relationships with local (ground cover attributes) and landscape (proximity to natural woodland) factors. Importantly, we found that local flower richness in orchard understoreys may buffer the negative effects that isolation from natural woodland has on wild bee and natural enemy communities and the ecosystem services they provide. The results of the present study suggest that floral diversity may be more effective in supporting beneficial insects in crop interiors, rather than at edges near natural vegetation. More studies are needed that identify how local and landscape vegetation structure interact to influence communities of pest and beneficial taxa, and relevant ecosystem functions, in agroecosystems.