Sectoral impacts on pollinators and pollination services

The value of biodiversity to humans is becoming increasingly recognised. The provision of ecosystem services, such as pollination, are an important economic value of biodiversity. However, such ecosystem services are also threatened by a range of human activities. The aim of this project is to examine how changes caused by humans at the landscape level affect pollinators and pollination services. Two of the main sectors currently causing land use changes in Ireland include the cultivation of energy crops and the development of road networks. This project is assessing the impacts of these sectoral land use changes on pollinators and pollination services, at landscape, species and population levels. Two model energy crops are used – Miscanthus giganteus and Brassica napus. We are investigating how land use change leading to the production of energy crops contributes to changes in pollinator diversity and abundance, population structure and loss or enhancement of pollination services in agroecosystems. We are also determining whether road landscaping practices reduce the negative impact of roads on pollinator diversity and abundance, population structure and pollination services. The role of road and field margins as linear features, which may be important for pollinators and pollination services, is also being studied. This project is part of the SIMBIOSYS (Sectoral impacts on biodiversity) project which is focusing on the sectors of energy crops, road building and landscaping and aquaculture, and their affects on ecosystem services including pollination, biocontrol, invasion resistance and nutrient cycling – .

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