The effect of protective covers on pollinator health and pollination service delivery

Liam K. Kendall, Lisa J. Evans, Megan Gee, Tobias J. Smith, Vesna Gagic, Juan D. Lobaton, Mark A. Hall, Jeremy Jones, Lindsay Kirkland, Manu E. Saunders, Carolyn Sonter, Brian T. Cutting, Sophie Parks, Katja Hogendoorn, Cameron Spurr, Alistair Gracie, Melinda Simpson, Romina Rader

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragÖversiktsartikelPeer review

3 Citeringar (SciVal)


Protective covers (i.e., glasshouses, netting enclosures, and polytunnels) are increasingly used in crop production to enhance crop quality, yield, and production efficiency. However, many protected crops require insect pollinators to achieve optimal pollination and there is no consensus about how best to manage pollinators and crop pollination in these environments. We conducted a systematic literature review to synthesise knowledge about the effect of protective covers on pollinator health and pollination services and identified 290 relevant studies. Bees were the dominant taxon used in protected systems (90%), represented by eusocial bees (e.g., bumble bees (Bombus spp.), honey bees (Apis spp.), stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini)) and solitary bees (e.g., Amegilla spp., Megachile spp., and Osmia spp.). Flies represented 9% of taxa and included Calliphoridae, Muscidae, and Syrphidae. The remaining 1% of taxa was represented by Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. Of the studies that assessed pollination services, 96% indicate that pollinators were active on the crop and/or their visits resulted in improved fruit production compared with flowers not visited by insects (i.e., insect visits prevented, or flowers were self- or mechanically pollinated). Only 20% of studies evaluated pollinator health. Some taxa, such as mason or leafcutter bees, and bumble bees can function well in covered environments, but the effect of covers on pollinator health was negative in over 50% of the studies in which health was assessed. Negative effects included decreased reproduction, adult mortality, reduced forager activity, and increased disease prevalence. These effects may have occurred as a result of changes in temperature/humidity, light quality/quantity, pesticide exposure, and/or reduced access to food resources. Strategies reported to successfully enhance pollinator health and efficiency in covered systems include: careful selection of bee hive location to reduce heat stress and improve dispersal through the crop; increased floral diversity; deploying appropriate numbers of pollinators; and manipulation of flower physiology to increase attractiveness to pollinating insects. To improve and safeguard crop yields in pollinator dependent protected cropping systems, practitioners need to ensure that delivery of crop pollination services is compatible with suitable conditions for pollinator health.

Antal sidor15
TidskriftAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
StatusPublished - 2021 okt. 1
Externt publiceradJa

Bibliografisk information

Funding Information:
We thank Bruce White for useful discussions in the early stages of this review, Melissa Broussard and our anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback, and Tony Corbett of PFR for preparation of the summary graphic. This project was delivered by Hort Innovation, from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme and Plant and Food Research, NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England, University of Adelaide, University of Tasmania and Seed Purity Pty Ltd: Novel technologies and practices for the optimisation of pollination within protected cropping environments, contract no. CON-001793. Liam K. Kendall and Romina Rader were also funded by the Ian Potter Foundation (Australia) and Liam K. Kendall by a Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) PhD top-up scholarship. Lisa J. Evans was also supported by Zespri Group Limited and the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF): optimising pollination of Gold3 kiwifruit under hail netting, contract no. 404958.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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