Effect of land-use intensity and adjacent semi-natural habitats on wild and honey bees of meadows

Martin Schlager, Johann Neumayer, Jana Petermann, Stefan Dötterl

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Most terrestrial ecosystems are shaped by the pollination service provided by insects, foremost bees. As bees are also important pollinators of crop plants, they are key for both the pollination of wild plants and for agricultural production. Meadows and semi-natural habitats (SNHs) are important habitats for bees. However, there is limited knowledge on how land-use intensity of meadows affects wild bees and managed Western honey bees. Further, it is unknown whether SNHs adjacent to meadows affect bees in meadows. Here, we examined in a landscape dominated by grasslands, the effects of land-use intensity (nitrogen input, grazing intensity, mowing frequency), flower availability and adjacent SNHs on bee communities in meadows. We recorded more than 5000 individuals of 87 species of bees and found no effect of land-use intensity on wild and honey bees. Flowering plant species richness had a positive effect on bee species richness in one study year. Though we recorded more bee species in SNHs than meadows, overall and specifically in ecologically specialized bee species (e.g. parasitic bees, oligoleges), the availability of adjacent SNHs did not affect bee abundance and richness in meadows. We discuss why land-use intensity and SNHs adjacent to meadows did not affect bees in meadows and conclude that SNHs are important in sustaining functionally diverse bee communities in landscapes dominated by grasslands.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number55
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024

Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012

  • 106 Biology

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