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Local management and landscape drivers of pollination and biological control services in a Kenyan agro-ecosystem

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Mark Otieno
  • Ben Woodcock
  • Andrew Wilby
  • Ioannis Vogiatzakis
  • Alice Mauchline
  • Mary Gikungu
  • Simon Potts
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Biological Conservation
Issue number10
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)2424-2431
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Arthropods that have a direct impact on crop production (i.e. pests, natural enemies and pollinators) can be influenced by both local farm management and the context within which the fields occur in the wider landscape. However, the contributions and spatial scales at which these drivers operate and interact are
not fully understood, particularly in the developing world. The impact of both local management and landscape context on insect pollinators and natural enemy communities and on their capacity to deliver related ecosystem services to an economically important tropical crop, pigeonpea was investigated. The study was conducted in nine paired farms across a gradient of increasing distance to semi-native vegetation in Kibwezi, Kenya. Results show that proximity of fields to semi-native habitats negatively affected pollinator and chewing insect abundance. Within fields, pesticide use was a key negative predictor of pollinator, pest and foliar active predator abundance. On the contrary, fertilizer application significantly enhanced pollinator and both chewing and sucking insect pest abundance. At a 1 km spatial scale of fields, there were significant negative effects of the number of semi-native habitat patches within fields dominated by mass flowering pigeonpea on pollinators abundance. For service provision, a significant decline in fruit set when insects were excluded from flowers was recorded. This study reveals the interconnections of pollinators, predators and pests with pigeonpea crop. For sustainable yields and to conserve high densities of both pollinators and predators of pests within pigeonpea landscapes, it is crucial to target the adoption of less disruptive farm management practices such as reducing pesticide and fertilizer inputs.