Beneficial insect populations and the services that they provide are in decline, largely due to agricultural land use and practices. Establishing perennial floral plantings in the unused margins of crop fields can help conserve beneficial pollinators and predators in commercial agroecosystems. We assessed the impacts of floral plantings on both pollinators and arthropod predators when established adjacent to conventionally managed commercial potato fields. Floral plantings significantly increased the abundance of pollinators within floral margins compared with unmanaged margins. Increased floral cover within margins led to significantly greater pollinator abundance as well. The overall abundance of arthropod predators was also significantly increased in floral plantings, although it was unrelated to the amount of floral cover. Within adjacent potato crops, the presence of floral plantings in field margins had no effect on the abundance of pollinators or predators, although higher floral cover in margins did marginally increase in-crop pollinator abundance. Establishing floral plantings of this kind on a large scale in commercial agroecosystems can help conserve both pollinators and predators, but may not increase ecosystem services in nearby crops.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program [grant number 2015-38640-23781], with additional support from the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Minnesota, the Dayton Bell Museum Fund, and the MnDRIVE Global Food Ventures program.
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- Floral plantings
- Floral resources
- Habitat management