Mismatched outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystem services: testing the responses of crop pollinators and wild bee biodiversity to habitat enhancement

Charlie C. Nicholson, Kimiora L. Ward, Neal M. Williams, Rufus Isaacs, Keith S. Mason, Julianna K. Wilson, Julia Brokaw, Larry J. Gut, Nikki L. Rothwell, Thomas J. Wood, Sujaya Rao, George D. Hoffman, Jason Gibbs, Robbin W. Thorp, Taylor H. Ricketts

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Supporting ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity may be compatible goals, but there is concern that service-focused interventions mostly benefit a few common species. We use a spatially replicated, multiyear experiment in four agricultural settings to test if enhancing habitat adjacent to crops increases wild bee diversity and abundance on and off crops. We found that enhanced field edges harbored more taxonomically and functionally abundant, diverse, and compositionally different bee communities compared to control edges. Enhancements did not increase the abundance or diversity of bees visiting crops, indicating that the supply of pollination services was unchanged following enhancement. We find that actions to promote crop pollination improve multiple dimensions of biodiversity, underscoring their conservation value, but these benefits may not be spilling over to crops. More work is needed to identify the conditions that promote effective co-management of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-335
Number of pages10
JournalEcology letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by USDA‐NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative award 2012‐51181‐20105 (Developing Sustainable Pollination Strategies for U.S. Specialty Crops). CCN was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship [Grant # DGE‐1451866]. We thank Robert Jean for specimen identification and Kelsey K. Graham for assistance with compiling site‐related information. We thank the many field technicians for collecting data for this project, and the growers for hosting the research on their farms. We also thank four anonymous reviewers for their thorough and thoughtful feedback.


  • Apoidea
  • bees
  • biodiversity
  • conservation
  • ecosystem services
  • functional traits
  • restoration

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Letter

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