The impact of crop parameters and surrounding habitats on different pollinator group abundance on agricultural fields

K. Brandt, M. Glemnitz, B. Schröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Pollination is a key ecosystem service. Pollinators, however, are in decline and their service is increasingly threatened. The decline is driven by several factors, most of which are related to agricultural management. However, the complexity of the landscape system, consisting of both cropped and non-cropped areas, makes it difficult to address or even quantify the role of farming practices in pollinator abundance. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to improve our understanding of the relationships between pollinator abundance and their habitat use. We intend to identify and quantify the driving environmental factors that determine pollinator abundance in agricultural landscapes on the crop and landscape scale. These information helps us to design algorithms that can be used as a basis for predicting pollinator abundance on agricultural fields. To integrate varying environmental conditions data sampling was performed on farms in three different regions in Germany. Pollinators were classified into different groups with three aggregation levels. We observed crop parameters as well as landscape parameters in the areas surrounding fields in addition to temporal aspects. Generalized linear models (GLMs) were then calculated. Our results showed that both crop and landscape parameters affect pollinator abundance on agricultural fields. However, the explanatory power of the included parameters varied strongly among the particular pollinator groups and between aggregation levels. Furthermore, differentiation between species groups improves the explanatory power compared to models that are more aggregated. We also found that the temporal match between main activity periods of the particular pollinator groups and resource supply by the crop species is a key factor when analysing pollinator abundance. In conclusion, we demonstrated that the assessment and support of pollination services should be carried out with regard to individual pollinator groups. When studying pollinator abundance, the crop as well as the landscape scale should be addressed. A range of different habitat requirements and different activity periods of the pollinator groups must be covered to maintain pollination services, and therefore both diverse landscapes and diverse crop rotations are of crucial importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-66
Number of pages12
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental drivers
  • Generalized linear models (GLMs)
  • Habitat suitability
  • Pollinator conservation
  • Species distribution models
  • Wild bees


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