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Trees for bees
- Donkersley, Philip
- Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2019 v.270-271 pp. 79-83
- Angiospermae, computer simulation, cost effectiveness, ecosystem services, food security, foraging, habitats, honey bees, land use, landscapes, natural capital, pollinating insects, pollination, spatial data, trees, woodlands
- Limited resources and land-use pressures require more efficient conservation strategies, from increasingly limited input. Pollinator declines are threatening food security and natural capital. I present a novel perspective on landscape level pollinator conservation from across multiple scientific fields. I examine the value of landscape structure provided by trees and hedgerows compared with floral strips, and discuss use of computer simulation technologies for understanding how spatial structure impacts pollinators’ ability to forage.All bees forage on a mixture of both flowering plants and tree species. Honeybees have a detectable preference for foraging on trees, even when sparse. The spatial information provided by trees and hedgerows positively impacts formation of the “cognitive map”, making pollination and foraging more efficient. Woody habitat features like trees and hedgerows provide more efficient resources for pollinators in a number of ways. They are more efficient forage targets due to absolute resource density; tree and hedgerow planting could provide more optimised foraging landscapes for pollinators. Using computer simulation may enable us to study pollinator responses to landscape development at this scale. Woodland development results in non-pollinator ecosystem services, representing a more cost-effective conservation strategy. Moving forward we need to identify the key impediments to its successful implementation.