Towards targeted crop pollination management: optimizing synergies between pollinators and supporting habitats

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Community ecology
    • Ecotoxicology
    • Ecosystem services
    • Natural resource management
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Sustainable agriculture
Landscape ecology Sustainable agriculture Natural resource management
Project description

The pollination service of insects is indispensable for the food production of our ever-growing human population. Recent studies conclude that the abundance and richness of wild pollinators is instrumental to safeguard crop pollination. It is also clear that farmers can benefit from these wild pollinators if their fields lie within heterogeneous landscapes with sufficient semi-natural habitat. Further analyses that focus on the pollinator mechanisms and landscape dynamics are required to improve our understanding of the driving factors of this pollination service. Therefore, we will perform two meta-analyses and set up two large-scale field studies. With the field studies, we will investigate the extent whereby complementary habitat use and macroprasites regulate the diversity and nesting success of wild pollinators in agricultural landscapes. A global analysis of the richness and abundance of pollinators across habitat types will reveal the extent whereby different habitat types support key crop pollinators. In addition, the mechanisms that influence the pollination contribution of honey bees and their relationship with wild pollinators will be studied by means of a meta-analysis in multiple crops. The integration of the results of this project will generate novel, compelling insights of the mechanisms and landscape dynamics that drive crop pollination. Hence, this project will inform management strategies to enhance future crop production.