Wild insect diversity increases inter-annual stability in global crop pollinator communities

Deepa Senapathi, Jochen Fründ, Matthias Albrecht, Michael P.D. Garratt, David Kleijn, Brian J. Pickles, Simon G. Potts, Jiandong An, Georg K.S. Andersson, Svenja Bänsch, Parthiba Basu, Faye Benjamin, Antonio Diego M. Bezerra, Ritam Bhattacharya, Jacobus C. Biesmeijer, Brett Blaauw, Eleanor J. Blitzer, Claire A. Brittain, Luísa G. Carvalheiro, Daniel P. CariveauPushan Chakraborty, Arnob Chatterjee, Soumik Chatterjee, Sarah Cusser, Bryan N. Danforth, Erika Degani, Breno M. Freitas, Lucas A. Garibaldi, Benoit Geslin, G. Arjen De Groot, Tina Harrison, Brad Howlett, Rufus Isaacs, Shalene Jha, Björn Kristian Klatt, Kristin Krewenka, Samuel Leigh, Sandra A.M. Lindström, Yael Mandelik, Megan McKerchar, Mia Park, Gideon Pisanty, Romina Rader, Menno Reemer, Maj Rundlöf, Barbara Smith, Henrik G. Smith, Patrícia Nunes Silva, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Teja Tscharntke, Sean Webber, Duncan B. Westbury, Catrin Westphal, Jennifer B. Wickens, Victoria J. Wickens, Rachael Winfree, Hong Zhang, Alexandra Maria Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While an increasing number of studies indicate that the range, diversity and abundance of many wild pollinators has declined, the global area of pollinator-dependent crops has significantly increased over the last few decades. Crop pollination studies to date have mainly focused on either identifying different guilds pollinating various crops, or on factors driving spatial changes and turnover observed in these communities. The mechanisms driving temporal stability for ecosystem functioning and services, however, remain poorly understood. Our study quantifies temporal variability observed in crop pollinators in 21 different crops across multiple years at a global scale. Using data from 43 studies from six continents, we show that (i) higher pollinator diversity confers greater inter-annual stability in pollinator communities, (ii) temporal variation observed in pollinator abundance is primarily driven by the three-most dominant species, and (iii) crops in tropical regions demonstrate higher inter-annual variability in pollinator species richness than crops in temperate regions. We highlight the importance of recognizing wild pollinator diversity in agricultural landscapes to stabilize pollinator persistence across years to protect both biodiversity and crop pollination services. Short-term agricultural management practices aimed at dominant species for stabilizing pollination services need to be considered alongside longer term conservation goals focussed on maintaining and facilitating biodiversity to confer ecological stability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210212
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1947
StatePublished - 31 Mar 2021


  • crops
  • dominant species
  • insect diversity
  • inter-annual variation
  • pollinators
  • temporal stability

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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