Skip to main content
ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #394090

Research Project: Improving Forage Genetics and Management in Integrated Dairy Systems for Enhanced Productivity, Efficiency and Resilience, and Decreased Environmental Impact

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Title: Altering crop management practices to promote pollinators

item Franco, Jose
item MALLINGER, RACHEL - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2022
Publication Date: 1/13/2023
Citation: Franco Jr, J.G., Mallinger, R. 2023. Altering crop management practices to promote pollinators. Book Chapter.

Interpretive Summary: Agricultural intensification, or the increase in crop production per unit of input or land area to meet the needs of a growing population, has resulted in a landscape dominated by large scale monoculture cropping. Pollinators, specifically, are impacted by the lack of diverse floral and habitat resources often associated with this type of farming. Agriculture must develop practices that diversify the crop landscape and increase the availability of flowering resources to sustain these populations. In this book chapter, we summarize the available literature on how the production space, i.e., within a crop production field, can be better managed to provide resources that sustain pollinator communities. We examine various approaches in different cropping system types (row/field crops, specialty crops, perennial orchards, perennial forage and pasture systems) and conclude with how effective some of these approaches have been. This information is important to land managers, conservationists, bee keepers, and farmers that rely on pollination services for their crops.

Technical Abstract: In the light of growing evidence of global declines in pollinator species, the management, ecology and conservation of wild and managed pollinators is a growing area of research. Despite those concerns, the botanical side of the subject (i.e., declines in pollination services and crop production) remains especially neglected. This collection reviews the wealth of research on understanding pollination processes, the role of pollinators, and how best to protect them and the ecosystem services they deliver in crop production. Specifically, this chapter focuses on how management practices can be modified to support pollinators within the crop production space. Examples include literature covering the spatial and temporal integration of flowering cover crops and companion crops in row/field and specialty crop systems as well as perennial orchard and forage/pasture-based systems, maintaining flowering weed communities, and altering crop rotations to support pollinator resources across the landscape, including nesting areas for ground-nesting species. Collectively, these approaches represent within-field opportunities to diversify the agricultural landscape, which should be modified based on the context of the cropping system and should be geographically-relevant.