Sown wildflower strips are increasingly being established in Europe for enhancing arthropod conservation and the provision of ecosystem services, including biotic pollination and natural pest control. Here we use floral traits to identify different plant functional effect groups. Floral resources were provided in four experimental levels characterised by a cumulatively increasing flower trait diversity and vegetation stand complexity. The first level consisted of a bare control strip, whilst in each subsequent level three wildflower species with different functional traits were added (Level 0: control; Level 1: three Apiaceae species; Level 2: three Apiaceae and three Fabaceae species; Level 3: three Apiaceae, three Fabaceae species, and Centaurea jacea (Asteraceae), Fagopyrum esculentum (Polygonaceae), Sinapis alba (Brassicaceae)). Plots with sown wildflower strip mixtures were located adjacent to experimental plots of organically-managed tomato crop, which is attacked by multiple pests and partially relies on bees for fruit production, and hence dependent on the provision of pollination and pest control services. Results obtained here show that the inclusion of functionally diverse wildflower species was associated with an augmented availability of floral resources across time, and this increased the abundance of bees and anthocorids throughout the crop season. Several natural enemy groups, such as parasitoids, coccinelids and ground-dwelling predators, were not significantly enhanced by the inclusion of additional flower traits within the strips but the presence of flower resources was important to enhance their conservation in an arable cropping system.

Augmenting flower trait diversity in wildflower strips to optimise the conservation of arthropod functional groups for multiple agroecosystem services

BALZAN, MARIO VICTOR;BOCCI, Gionata;MOONEN, Anna Camilla
2014-01-01

Abstract

Sown wildflower strips are increasingly being established in Europe for enhancing arthropod conservation and the provision of ecosystem services, including biotic pollination and natural pest control. Here we use floral traits to identify different plant functional effect groups. Floral resources were provided in four experimental levels characterised by a cumulatively increasing flower trait diversity and vegetation stand complexity. The first level consisted of a bare control strip, whilst in each subsequent level three wildflower species with different functional traits were added (Level 0: control; Level 1: three Apiaceae species; Level 2: three Apiaceae and three Fabaceae species; Level 3: three Apiaceae, three Fabaceae species, and Centaurea jacea (Asteraceae), Fagopyrum esculentum (Polygonaceae), Sinapis alba (Brassicaceae)). Plots with sown wildflower strip mixtures were located adjacent to experimental plots of organically-managed tomato crop, which is attacked by multiple pests and partially relies on bees for fruit production, and hence dependent on the provision of pollination and pest control services. Results obtained here show that the inclusion of functionally diverse wildflower species was associated with an augmented availability of floral resources across time, and this increased the abundance of bees and anthocorids throughout the crop season. Several natural enemy groups, such as parasitoids, coccinelids and ground-dwelling predators, were not significantly enhanced by the inclusion of additional flower traits within the strips but the presence of flower resources was important to enhance their conservation in an arable cropping system.
2014
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11382/497861
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