Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

New research by Maas and colleagues shows how the interplay between species-specific traits, functions, and services can inform more targeted, sustainable management of agricultural biodiversity. Agricultural biodiversity is declining worldwide, and its conservation does not work through one-size-fits-all solutions. Species respond differently to agricultural developments and new management measures, depending on their individual characteristics – which has major implications for the management of species-specific functions … Continue reading Semi-natural grassland strips promote agricultural biodiversity depending on species characteristics

The hidden benefits of chocolate: cacao agroforests offer a conservation solution that supports biodiversity and livelihoods.

New work by Arnold and colleagues shows that sustainably grown cacao is a conservation solution which can support both people and nature, and that cacao agroforests and secondary forest can enrich regional biodiversity. Conservation initiatives have traditionally focused on protecting untouched natural areas. While this is important, we also need to understand how biodiversity can be promoted not as an alternative to human use of … Continue reading The hidden benefits of chocolate: cacao agroforests offer a conservation solution that supports biodiversity and livelihoods.

Do birds like African chocolate (farms)?

In their latest research, Jarrett and colleagues report the first in‐depth investigation into avian diversity and community composition in African cocoa farms, by assembling a dataset of 9,566 individual birds caught across 83 sites over 30 years in Southern Cameroon. Cocoa, the primary ingredient in all our beloved chocolate products, is grown across the tropics using a range of agricultural practices. Originating in the understory of … Continue reading Do birds like African chocolate (farms)?

When stressed by both pesticides and parasites, honey bees do better than expected

In their latest research, Bird and colleagues perform a meta‐analysis to gain a clearer view of the combined effects of parasites and pesticides on honey bee health. Honey bees pollinate about a third of all crops. Without them, the production of everything from almonds to zucchinis would grind to halt, which makes it especially alarming that honey bees have being dying at increasing rates over … Continue reading When stressed by both pesticides and parasites, honey bees do better than expected

Control de plagas a cambio de ayuda para anidar

This post is also available in English here En su última investigación, García y colaboradores evidencian que instalar cajas nido para aves insectívoras es una estrategia efectiva para incrementar el control de plagas en los cultivos de manzano de sidra de Asturias (España). Demostramos experimentalmente que los agricultores se benefician del incremento de control de plagas realizado por las aves insectívoras que anidan en sus … Continue reading Control de plagas a cambio de ayuda para anidar

Enhancing ecosystem services in apple orchards

This post is also available in Spanish here Sustainable agriculture can be achieved through farming systems that preserve ecosystem services. In their latest research, García and colleagues test the effectiveness of nest boxes in increasing pest control in cider apple orchards. Cider is an iconic product in the Asturias region of northern Spain, and cider apple growing is a key component of the region’s agricultural … Continue reading Enhancing ecosystem services in apple orchards

What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?

A new study by Timberlake and colleagues finds that late summer nectar supply on farmland has an important influence on bumblebee colony density the following year – does this offer an opportunity to devise more targeted agri-environment schemes for pollinators? Pollen and nectar are the primary food source for most adult pollinators, and in the case of bees, their larvae too. It is no surprise … Continue reading What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?

Can forest remnants in oil palm act as microclimate oases for biodiversity?

There is growing interest in the ecological value of set‐aside habitats around rivers in tropical agriculture. In their latest research, Williamson and colleagues investigate the capacity for riparian buffers to act as microclimatic refugia across an oil palm dominated landscape in Borneo. In many ways, oil palm is a miracle crop – it is vastly more productive than its temperate and tropical counterparts and is … Continue reading Can forest remnants in oil palm act as microclimate oases for biodiversity?

Infographic: Pollinator monitoring more than pays for itself

New research from Breeze and colleagues demonstrates that a well-designed monitoring scheme provides  excellent value for money, compared with traditional research funding models, and could help save species and protect UK food security. This infographic provides an overview of their work. ‘Our findings demonstrate that long‐term systematic monitoring can be a cost‐effective tool for both answering key research questions and setting action points for policymakers. … Continue reading Infographic: Pollinator monitoring more than pays for itself

Pollinator monitoring more than Pays for Itself

In their latest research, Breeze and colleagues evaluate the costs of running pollinator monitoring schemes against the economic benefits to research and the society that they provide Take a look at the accompanying infographic here Bees, hoverflies and other insects provide vital pollination services to crops and wild plants throughout the UK. There is a lot of information demonstrating that these insects are declining but … Continue reading Pollinator monitoring more than Pays for Itself