In some countries, including Sweden, you can get support to add a pond in arable fields, which can benefit for example nutrient retention and biodiversity. However, it is not well known whether these ponds possibly also enhance pollination services in nearby crops. We evaluated this in a study on both pollinator diversity and pollination potential near ponds compared to plots with semi-natural vegetation without ponds and plots with neither vegetation nor ponds, the controls. The result can be read in a new paper in Basic and Applied Ecology1
In cereal fields we put pots with strawberries close to either ponds with semi-natural vegetation, only semi-natural vegetation or neither of them. In each of these plots we measured diversity and abundance of pollinators, and pollination, in terms of both quantity and quality of strawberries. In summary the ponds did have an positive effect on the abundance on some pollinator groups, such as hoverflies, compared to both control and only semi-natural vegetation. Furthermore, the pond and semi-natural vegetation both had an positive effect on diversity and abundance on bees and hoverflies, as well as on the quantity and quality of nearby strawberries.
Future studies should further evaluate the effect of the pond in itself and the mechanisms of the effects. Our study showed that ponds with its associated vegetation can benefit both public interests in form of biodiversity conservation and benefited farmers in form of crop pollination potentials.
1. Stewart R.I., Andersson G.K.S, Brönmark C., Klatt B.K., Hansson L.A., Zülsdorff V., and Smith H.G., 2016, Ecosystem services across the aquatic–terrestrial boundary: Linking ponds to pollination, Basic and Applied Ecology, In Press