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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

The effectiveness of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control, pollination services and crop yield: a quantitative synthesis

Albrecht, Matthias; Kleijn, David; Williams, Neal M.; Tschumi, Matthias; Blaauw, Brett R.; Bommarco, Riccardo; Campbell, Alistair J.; Dainese, Matteo; Drummond, Francis A.; Entling, Martin H.; Ganser, Dominik; de Groot, G. Arjen; Goulson, Dave; Grab, Heather; Hamilton, Hannah; Herzog, Felix; Isaacs, Rufus; Jacot, Katja; Jeanneret, Philippe; Jonsson, Mattias;
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Floral plantings are promoted to foster ecological intensification of agriculture through provisioning of ecosystem services. However, a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of different floral plantings, their characteristics and consequences for crop yield is lacking. Here we quantified the impacts of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control (18 studies) and pollination services (17 studies) in adjacent crops in North America, Europe and New Zealand. Flower strips, but not hedgerows, enhanced pest control services in adjacent fields by 16% on average. However, effects on crop pollination and yield were more variable. Our synthesis identifies several important drivers of variability in effectiveness of plantings: pollination services declined exponentially with distance from plantings, and perennial and older flower strips with higher flowering plant diversity enhanced pollination more effectively. These findings provide promising pathways to optimise floral plantings to more effectively contribute to ecosystem service delivery and ecological intensification of agriculture in the future.


Agroecology; agri-environment schemes; bee pollinators; conservation biological control; ecological intensification; farmland biodiversity; floral enhancements; natural pest regulation; pollination reservoirs; sustainable agriculture; wildflower strips

Published in

Ecology Letters
2020, volume: 23, number: 10, pages: 1488-1498
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Albrecht, Matthias
Kleijn, David
Wageningen University and Research
Williams, Neal M.
University of California Davis
Tschumi, Matthias
Blaauw, Brett R.
University of Georgia
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Campbell, Alistair J.
Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuaria (Embrapa)
Dainese, Matteo
European Academy of Bozen-Bolzano
Drummond, Francis A.
University of Maine Orono
Entling, Martin H.
University of Koblenz and Landau
Ganser, Dominik
University of Bern
de Groot, G. Arjen
Wageningen University and Research
Goulson, Dave
University of Sussex
Grab, Heather
Cornell University
Hamilton, Hannah
University of Sussex
Herzog, Felix
Isaacs, Rufus
Michigan State University
Jacot, Katja
Jeanneret, Philippe
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
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Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG2 Zero hunger

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