Sown mini-meadows increase pollinator diversity in gardens

Griffiths-Lee, Janine, Nicholls, Elizabeth and Goulson, Dave (2022) Sown mini-meadows increase pollinator diversity in gardens. Journal of Insect Conservation, 26 (2). pp. 299-314. ISSN 1366-638X

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Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the foremost threats in pollinator decline, and in England and Wales, 97% of wildflower meadows were lost by 1984. The value of creating flower-rich margins in agricultural environments is established, yet there is growing potential to support pollinator populations in urban landscapes. We used citizen science to investigate the effectiveness of small 4m2 sown wildflower ‘mini-meadows’ in UK gardens and allotments in recruiting beneficial insects. Participants were allocated one of three treatment groups: Mix 1 (commercially available ‘meadow mix’); Mix 2 (formulated based on existing literature on pollinator foraging preferences); or Control (no additional wildflowers). All participants conducted insect sampling over two years using standardised pan and sticky trap methods May–August. Samples were returned for identification by trained specialists. Mini-meadows provided resource-rich habitats, increasing wild bee richness and supporting on average 111% more bumblebees, 87% more solitary bees and 85% more solitary wasps in the year following seed-sowing, compared to Control plots. The wildflower mixes were also taxon-specific in their attractiveness. Mix 1 attracted more solitary bees and bumblebees, whereas Mix 2 attracted more solitary wasps. There was no significant difference in the abundance of hoverflies between treatments. Higher abundance of solitary wasps and bees caught amongst the mini-meadow was perhaps due to shorter foraging ranges.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2022 08:48
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2022 14:30

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