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Ecological traits affect the sensitivity of bees to land-use pressures in European agricultural landscapes / Adriana De Palma, Michael Kuhlmann, Stuart P.M. Roberts, Simon G. Potts, Lawrence N. Hudson, Igor Lysenko, Luca Borger, Tim Newbold, Andy Purvis

Journal of Applied Ecology

Swansea University Author: Luca Borger

DOI (Published version): 10.1111/1365-2664.12524

Abstract

1. Bees are a functionally important and economically valuable group, but are threatened by land-use conversion and intensification. Such pressures are not expected to affect all species identically; rather, they are likely to be mediated by the species’ ecological traits.2. Understanding which type...

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Published in: Journal of Applied Ecology
Published: 2015
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa22329
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Abstract: 1. Bees are a functionally important and economically valuable group, but are threatened by land-use conversion and intensification. Such pressures are not expected to affect all species identically; rather, they are likely to be mediated by the species’ ecological traits.2. Understanding which types of species are most vulnerable under which land uses is an important step towards effective conservation planning.3. We collated occurrence and abundance data for 257 bee species at 1,584 European sites from surveys reported in 30 published papers (70,056 records), and combined them with species-level ecological trait data. We used mixed-effects models to assess the importance of land use (land-use class, agricultural use-intensity and a remotely-sensed measure of vegetation), traits, and trait × land use interactions, in explaining species occurrence and 12 abundance.4. Species’ sensitivity to land use was most strongly influenced by foraging range and flight season, but also by niche breadth, phenology and reproductive strategy, with effects that differed among cropland, pastoral and urban habitats.5. Synthesis and applications. Rather than targeting particular species or settings, conservation actions may be more effective if focused on mitigating situations where species’ traits strongly and negatively interact with land-use pressures. We find evidence that low intensity agriculture can maintain relatively diverse bee communities; in more intensive settings, added floral resources may be beneficial, but will require careful placement with respect to foraging ranges of smaller bee species. Protection of semi-natural habitats is essential, however; in particular, conversion to urban environments could have severe effects on bee diversity and pollination services. Our results highlight the importance of exploring how ecological traits mediate species responses to human impacts, but further research is needed to enhance the predictive ability of such analyses.
Keywords: Life-history traits, human impacts, ecosystem services, biodiversity, pollinators, land-use change, land-use intensification.
College: College of Science