Invasion vs. Fragmentation: pollinator response to anthropogenic land-use change

Ana Montero-Castaño and Montserrat Vilà have a paper in Early View in the Journal titled “Impact of landscape alteration and invasions on pollinators: a meta-analysis“.  Read it here.

The authors have provided a short synopsis of the paper and an photo of an example fragmented landscape and invasive plant species.

A fragmented landscape in Southern Spain and a generalist native pollinator visiting an introduced plant species in the Balearic Islands (Spain).

Alterations in land use and biological invasions are two major components of global change that threaten biodiversity. There is high concern about their impact on pollinators and the pollination services they provide (e.g. the pollination of crops that, as a whole, constitute 35% of global food production). These components of global change can affect pollinators by altering, both positively and negatively, the availability of food resources and nesting sites, and also by altering pollinators’ interactions with competitors (pathogens, predators, etc.) and mutualists. Therefore, responses vary from negative to positive, or even neutral, as shown in the growing literature that address the effects of landscape alteration and invasions on pollinators.

We carried out a meta-analysis of 58 publications reporting 143 studies (37 on landscape alteration and 21 on biological invasions) in order to explore whether there is a clear pattern of global pollination decline.

Landscape alteration and invasions affected pollinators to the same magnitude by decreasing their visitation rates. In altered landscapes, vertebrates were the most affected pollinator taxa, and the disturbance of the surrounding matrix had larger effect than the reduction of fragment size. In invaded areas, insects (excluding bees) were the most affected pollinator taxa and invasive animals seemed to have a more consistent negative effect than invasive plants.

Therefore, other insects apart from bees seem to require more attention from both scientists and managers, and correct management of land use matrices and animal invasions might have larger positive effects on pollinator conservation.

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