GARIBALDI Lucas Alejandro
Increasing crop richness and reducing field sizes provide higher yields to pollinator‐dependent crops
MAGRACH, AINHOA; GIMÉNEZ?GARCÍA, ANGEL; ALLEN?PERKINS, ALFONSO; GARIBALDI, LUCAS A.; BARTOMEUS, IGNASI
JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Agricultural landscapes cover >60% of terrestrial landscapes. While biodiversity conservation and crop productivity have been seen as mutually exclusive options for a long time, recent research suggests that agricultural landscapes represent significant opportunities for biodiversity conservation outside of traditional protected areas.Here, we use a unique dataset that includes annual monitoring of 12,300 permanent 25-ha plots over two decades across Spain to assess how agricultural landscapes are changing over time. We focus particularly on landscape composition and configuration variables such as the diversity of crops grown within a landscape, average plot size or the cover of natural habitats and assess how changes to these variables affect the ability of agricultural landscapes to ensure high yields.We find potential synergistic strategies that are good for biodiversity conservation and can also lead to increasing crop yields. Specifically, we find that management practices that favour increasing biodiversity values such as maintaining small field sizes and high crop richness values at the landscape scale actually led to the greatest average yield values across 54 crops, 41% of which depend on pollinator activity for reproduction.Policy implications: While our analysis does not factor in economic costs and benefits, we show that synergy scenarios that are good for biodiversity conservation and crop productivity are possible, yet not as widespread as they could be.