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Keywords:

  • Andrena ;
  • bee dispersal;
  • ecosystem service;
  • foraging range;
  • Nomada ;
  • partial habitats;
  • wild bees

Abstract

Wild pollinators have been shown to enhance the pollination of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) and thus increase its market value. Several studies have previously shown that pollination services are greater in crops adjoining forest patches or other seminatural habitats than in crops completely surrounded by other crops. In this study, we investigated the specific importance of forest edges in providing potential pollinators in B. napus fields in two areas in France. Bees were caught with yellow pan traps at increasing distances from both warm and cold forest edges into B. napus fields during the blooming period. A total of 4594 individual bees, representing six families and 83 taxa, were collected. We found that both bee abundance and taxa richness were negatively affected by the distance from forest edge. However, responses varied between bee groups and edge orientations. The ITD (Inter-Tegular distance) of the species, a good proxy for bee foraging range, seems to limit how far the bees can travel from the forest edge. We found a greater abundance of cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) of Andrena spp. and Andrena spp. males at forest edges, which we assume indicate suitable nesting sites, or at least mating sites, for some abundant Andrena species and their parasites (Fig. 1). Synthesis and Applications. This study provides one of the first examples in temperate ecosystems of how forest edges may actually act as a reservoir of potential pollinators and directly benefit agricultural crops by providing nesting or mating sites for important early spring pollinators. Policy-makers and land managers should take forest edges into account and encourage their protection in the agricultural matrix to promote wild bees and their pollination services.

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Figure 1. Left, a Nomada sp male; right, an Andrena sp male.

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