|Title||Do wild pollinators help farmers?|
|Group||Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group|
|Description||People and society benefit from the conservation of biodiversity because of the ecosystem services it delivers. For example, wild insects pollinate our crops free of charge. So far, arguments highlighting the importance of ecosystem services such as pollination have mainly been qualitatively. Hardly anything is known about what proportion of agricultural yield or farm income is related to the occurrence of wild species of pollinators.
This is surprising because the contribution of wild pollinators to agricultural production and farm income can be quantified relatively easily. The objective of this project is therefore to quantify the agronomic and economic contribution of wild pollinators to the production of blueberry, an insect-pollinated field crop. It will furthermore explore to what extent the establishment of wildflower strips bordering the blueberry plantations influence the potential of pollinators to provide ecosystem services. This information can potentially be used to inform farmers how to enhance pollinators and the services they provide on their farms.
|Used skills||Work involves sampling of bees and hover flies in and along blueberry plantations, survey flower abundance in field boundaries bordering blueberries, collect yield estimates, identification of bees and hover flies, analyse data and reporting|