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Biodiversity and AgroEcosystem Services

Plant and insect biodiversity can contribute to crucial ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, including pollination and biological control.

Plant and insect biodiversity can contribute to crucial ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes, including pollination and biological control. A diverse assemblage of native plants around farms can promote a valuable community of native pollinators, predators, and parasitoid insects. For instance, healthy populations of wild pollinators and the plants they use for food and shelter can provide insurance against shortages in managed honeybee colonies.

Collage

In the Penn State weed ecology group, we are working developing the knowledge needed to manage these valuable ecosystem services on working farms. Research in this area involves:

  1. documenting current patterns in the abundance and distribution of beneficial plants and insects in PA agricultural landscapes,
  2. elucidating the timing and strength of interactions between pollinators and native plants, and
  3. developing practical management options to enhance pollination services in vegetable crops.

Agronomy Farm Aerial View

Agricultural landscapes in the northeast United States are generally a mixture of crop and non-crop habitats.

It’s all in the timing…

Planting flowers to increase ecosystem services…

Researchers from the biodiversity and agroecosystem services project involved in Outreach activities.

Researchers involved in biodiversity and agroecosystem services research.