Bee Biodiversity Critical to Crop Pollination, Study Finds

A Rutgers University study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution says that biodiversity of the bee population is critical to maintaining the ecosystem function of crop pollination. Research on farms in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and California showed that different bee species pollinated the same plants at different times of year, and that different bees pollinated a single plant species in different years. Researchers say that although abundance of bee species is important, diversity of species mattered even more for ensuring pollination in the long term. “We found that two to three times as many bee species were needed to meet a target level of crop pollination over the course of a growing season compared to a single date,” explained lead author Natalie Lemanski. “Similarly, twice as many species were needed to provide pollination over the course of six years compared to a single year.”