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Assessing the role of dispersed floralresources for managed bees in providingsupporting ecosystem services for croppollination

Melin A., Rouget M., Colville J.F., Midgley J.J., Donaldson J.S.. 2018. PeerJ, 6 : 23 p..

Most pollination ecosystem services studies have focussed on wild pollinators and their dependence on natural floral resources adjacent to crop fields. However, managed pollinators depend on a mixture of floral resources that are spatially separated from the crop field. Here, we consider the supporting role these resources play as an ecosystem services provider to quantify the use and availability of floral resources, and to estimate their relative contribution to support pollination services of managed honeybees. Beekeepers supplying pollination services to the Western Cape deciduous fruit industry were interviewed to obtain information on their use of floral resources. For 120 apiary sites, we also analysed floral resources within a two km radius of each site based on geographic data. The relative availability of floral resources at sites was compared to regional availability. The relative contribution of floral resources-types to sustain managed honeybees was estimated. Beekeepers showed a strong preference for eucalypts and canola. Beekeepers selectively placed more hives at sites with eucalypt and canola and less with natural vegetation. However, at the landscape-scale, eucalypt was the least available resource, whereas natural vegetation was most common. Based on analysis of apiary sites, we estimated that 700,818 ha of natural vegetation, 73,910 ha of canola fields, and 10,485 ha of eucalypt are used to support the managed honeybee industry in the Western Cape. Whereas the Cape managed honeybee system uses a bee native to the region, alien plant species appear disproportionately important among the floral resources being exploited. We suggest that an integrated approach, including evidence from interview and landscape data, and fine-scale biological data is needed to study floral resources supporting managed honeybees.

Mots-clés : distribution géographique; distribution spatiale; fleur; apiculteurs; impact sur l'environnement; gestion des ressources naturelles; services écosystémiques; pollinisation entomophile; apidae; afrique du sud

Thématique : Conservation de la nature et ressources foncières; Ecologie végétale; Elevage - Considérations générales

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