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Trade‐offs in the provisioning and stability of ecosystem services in agroecosystems

Montoya, Daniel, Haegeman, Bart, Gaba, Sabrina, de Mazancourt, Claire, Bretagnolle, Vincent, Loreau, Michel
Ecological applications 2019 v.29 no.2 pp. e01853
agricultural land, agroecosystems, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, crop yield, crops, ecosystem services, food security, land use, landscapes, models, pollination, pollinators, profitability
Changes in land use generate trade‐offs in the delivery of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. However, we know little about how the stability of ecosystem services responds to landscape composition, and what ecological mechanisms underlie these trade‐offs. Here, we develop a model to investigate the dynamics of three ecosystem services in intensively managed agroecosystems, i.e., pollination‐independent crop yield, crop pollination, and biodiversity. Our model reveals trade‐offs and synergies imposed by landscape composition that affect not only the magnitude but also the stability of ecosystem service delivery. Trade‐offs involving crop pollination are strongly affected by the degree to which crops depend on pollination and by their relative requirement for pollinator densities. We show conditions for crop production to increase with biodiversity and decreasing crop area, reconciling farmers’ profitability and biodiversity conservation. Our results further suggest that, for pollination‐dependent crops, management strategies that focus on maximizing yield will often overlook its stability. Given that agriculture has become more pollination‐dependent over time, it is essential to understand the mechanisms driving these trade‐offs to ensure food security.