Distance to semi-natural grassland influences seed production of insect-pollinated herbs

Oecologia. 2014 May;175(1):199-208. doi: 10.1007/s00442-014-2904-z. Epub 2014 Feb 23.


Marginal grassland fragments, such as road verges and field margins, may act as important supplemental habitats for grassland plants in the modern agricultural landscape. However, abundance of pollinators in such fragments has been found to decline with distance to larger natural and semi-natural habitats, and this could have corresponding effects on plant pollination. In this study, we performed a field experiment on road verges with three insect-pollinated grassland herbs to examine the relationship between distance to semi-natural grassland and plant reproductive success in two landscapes with contrasting farming intensities. In Lychnis viscaria and Lotus corniculatus, seed production tended to decrease with increasing distance to semi-natural grassland, but only in the landscape with high farming intensity. Seed production in Armeria maritima spp. maritima decreased with distance in both landscapes. Although many studies have investigated effects of natural habitat on crop pollination, little is known about the impact on pollination in native plants. The results from this study indicate that management of semi-natural grasslands improves not only biodiversity within the actual grassland but also pollination of native plants in the surrounding agricultural landscape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Asteraceae / physiology*
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem*
  • Insecta
  • Lotus / physiology*
  • Pollination*
  • Seeds / physiology*
  • Sweden