Recently I co-authored a publication in Current Opinion in Insect Science with the title “Towards an integrated species and habitat management of crop pollination.1“ It is an opinion paper and our opinion was that we need a to integrate the two most common ways of managing pollination services in crops. One is the use of managed bees, such as honeybees (Apis spp.) and bumblebees (Bombus spp.), usually by saturation of the crop area. The other being conservation and management, sometimes even addition, of flower resources and semi-natural vegetation surrounding the crop, to benefit pollinating insects and their habitats.
The benefit of integrating the two management approaches is that it accounts for the benefits and costs of both approaches. This is lacking in current system where either only one management type is considered or the two is not thought of to affect each other. For example, the costs of having large populations of e.g. honeybees in an area can be competition and spread of diseases to wild pollinators. This can more easy be managed the two approaches are integrated.
A high pollinator abundance and diversity can benefit crop yield but also benefits beyond the crop pollination. For example pollination services to the surrounding landscape which can be important for wild flowers and berries. These pollination services can be provided by both the wild and managed bees. However, while the individual manager experience the costs, the benefits may be distributed beyond the farm to neighbours who did not change their practices. This makes it necessary to take more of a landscape approach for managing pollination services and their costs and benefits to the farmer and society as a whole. Furthermore, perhaps intergrate the benefits to the larger society in the compensation to farmers for their pollinations management.
1. Garibaldi L.A., Requier F., Rollin O., Andersson G. K. S., 2017, Towards and integrated species and habitat management of crop pollination. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 21:xx-yy