Pollinators, pests and yield – multiple trade-offs from insecticide use in a mass-flowering crop

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


Multiple trade-offs are likely to occur between insecticide use, pollinators and yield (via crop flowers) in pollinator-dependent, mass-flowering crops (MFCs), causing potential conflict between agronomic and conservation goals. However, to date, no studies have looked at both outcomes within the same system, meaning ‘win-win solutions’ for pollinators and yield can only be inferred. Here, we outline a new framework to explore these trade-offs, using red clover (Trifolium pratense) grown for seed production as an example. Our focal insecticide improved clover yield with no adverse effect on its key pollinator, and the presence of clover in the landscape benefitted pollinator populations; thus, growing clover under integrated pest and pollinator management (IPPM) is likely to sustain pollinator populations. In a broad context, we discuss our findings and consider how toxicity, spatiotemporal patterns of insecticide use, the pollinator dependency and pest susceptibility of the crop, the surrounding landscape, and the life history of the focal pollinator and pest species may change the shape of the relationships that underpin these trade-offs. This framework applies to all insecticide-treated MFCs and can be adapted to include other ecological processes. We believe this holistic approach is essential to achieve conservation and agronomic goals and fundamental for IPPM.
Period2022 Aug 25
Event title6th European Congress of Conservation Biology: Biodiversity crisis in a changing world
Event typeConference
LocationPrag, Czech RepublicShow on map